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Follow a practical guide to building 3D cityscapes for games. IAuthor Adam Crespi constructs a city block in 3ds Max utilizing low-polygon modeling and advanced texturing techniques. The course shows how to model common city elements such as buildings, intersections, curbs, and roofs and explains how to expand a city quickly and easily by reusing existing geometry in a modular way. The course also sheds light on simulating real-world detail with baking, lighting, and ambient occlusion techniques and offers a series of best practices for exporting to the Unity gaming engine.
In this chapter we'll look heavily at texture techniques for use in game environments. Quite often we need to paint textures from scratch versus using photographs, as we simply can't get a close enough or straight enough view in the photograph of the element we need. As an example in this building, we can see we need this pink brick or tan brick as it runs up the side. There is really not a good place to get a large enough photo of it straight on in any kind of neutral lighting. So we need to paint it by hand. That also gives us the advantage, painting textures by hand, of getting exactly the color and matching we want on our texture sheets, like we've seen in previous chapters.
In this first movie then I'll show how to paint clean brick from scratch in Photoshop using the Offset filter and selections and clouds to make what looks like naturally varying brick. I'll begin with a new document. In my new document in Photoshop I'll make this first width and height a multiple of the size of a brick. A standard brick is 8 inches x 3 inches tall and 4 inches deep, including one mortar joint on the side and bottom. If I assign a working ratio, as an example, of 20 pixels to the edge that gives me a brick plus a mortar joint of 160 pixels wide by 60 pixels tall.
I'll start with that ratio, giving myself a two brick by two brick document. This gives me a Width of 320 and a Height of 120. Games always work at screen resolution. So we will leave it at 72 pixels per inch, RGB 8 bit is fine, and a Background of white. Great! In this document I'll hit M for my Marquee or choose it off the toolbar and under the Style choose a Fixed Size. We will make the Width slightly less than that, 160, just a brick width. I'll put it at 155 and a Height of 55, giving myself a 5 pixel mortar joint between the bricks.
I'll land a brick on there, snap it against the top on left, and fill it in really any color. I'll make sure to either do this on a new layer or cut and paste this onto a new layer so I can move it cleanly off the background. I'll press Ctrl+X and Ctrl+V to cut and paste. Now I'll take this brick, make sure it's snapped against the top left, then hold Alt and clone the brick over, letting it snap against the adjacent layer. Then I can move this, either with the Error keys or the Offset, five pixels over. I'll use my Arrow keys, tapping the Right Arrow five times.
Now I want to clone the layer. I'll do it in the Layer palette by holding Alt+Dragging and then in the Filter under Other I'll use the Offset filter to move this brick. In the Offset I'll offset it half a brick to the right, or 80 pixels, and I'll offset it full brick down, 60 pixels, giving me a half brick. I'll pick the first layer, clone it, and repeat the process. Finally, I'll clone the half brick to the other side, either using an Offset or an Alt+Clone.
Now I have my base pattern for the brick setup. I'll press Ctrl+Shift+E key to merge the visible layers. Then I'll Select All by pressing Ctrl+A and choosing Edit > Define Pattern. We can name this if we would like. I'll leave mine at Pattern 3 for now. Now I need to make a larger document of brick that's the multiple of this brick size. These bricks multiply out into 1920x1920 image size. I'll start a new document with a size of 1920x1920.
I'll fill this document, choosing Edit > Fill, and under Use instead of Foreground Color I'll choose Pattern and select the custom pattern I just made. Now I have an even square of brick. In fact, two even. What I need to do is add variety into this. I'll go to my Paint Bucket, pressing G or choosing it from the toolbar. In the Paint Bucket settings making sure that Anti-alias is off, but Contiguous is on. Now I'll choose easy to recognize colors, such as green, blue, red, or yellow, and I'll fill select bricks, one at a time, clicking through here.
I'll do this with at least three or four colors. What I have done here is to fill in large areas of brick with select other colors, again using easy to recognize colors so I can find them, select them, tell them apart. Trying to work in brick color and a slightly different color is very hard on the eyes. This is actually going to be a selection layer. I won't actually use this as the proper color. I'll rename the Background layer to selection. Now I want to find my brick color and the easiest way to do this is to eyedropper it from the reference.
I'll go to the reference photo, zoom in on a section of brick, and eyedropper one of the brick colors, looking at the foreground color to make sure I didn't get any odd shades. Then I'll press X to swap foreground and background and pick a slightly different brick color. In this case maybe a little deeper and a little redder. Back in my original drawing I'll use my Magic Wand, pressing W for Wand, noting that Anti-alias and Contiguous are not checked. I'll Magic Wand one of the brick colors, create a new layer, and fill this with clouds, choosing Filter > Render > Clouds.
Then I'll press Ctrl+D to deselect. I am going to repeat this process, probably changing foreground and background colors of brick ever so slightly each time. What I have done is to select each of the colors in my selection layer. On a new layer with that selection, fill them with clouds of the foreground and background colors, varying ever so slightly. It's difficult to tell at the moment, but I actually have bricks that are slightly warmer, slightly cooler, slightly more saturated, slightly less saturated. Brick is never the same color. There is a slight variance within the tonal range.
Now I'll put a new layer underneath my brick layers, which would be the mortor, pressing Ctrl+Shift+N for a new layer. I'll fill this mortar color in a variant of the foreground, using the hue but desaturating almost down to 0. Then maybe just a little bit brighter. So it's a pretty good match. Raw concrete is sort of a yellow gray, but sometimes it helps to bias it in the right direction, to match the brick so it doesn't stand out. Now I have a raw section of brick ready to apply across a wall, span of the texture, or use further in a texture map, and it has the natural variation we expect to see in brick.
By extension we can use this technique in things like stone block, paving, other sides of brick, and even cinder block.
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