Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a base material for water-struck, sand-struck, and wire-cut brick, part of Creating Brick 3D Textures.
- Brick is a versatile ancient building material. It's been around since well, since people figured out that clay dried in the sun or by fire is really good to make houses with. History aside, the neat thing about brick is it so vary, and it's small enough that you can fit a brick in your hand while you smear the mortar on or butter it. We can then put bricks together in almost infinite patterns and the colors available are nearly limitless. The big deal with brick is to make a based brick color first and then make a bond pattern and select the bricks from it.
And this way you can get the randomness you expect to see in brick. I'll take a look at some reference imagery and then come back and make a brick base here on Photoshop. In the exercise files, I've gone into the reference folder, and these are pictures of bricks I've taken around Seattle. And we open up the first one. We can see that this is a fairly uniformed wall. Now it's had some graffiti on it here and there, and it's produced a bit of discoloration. But overall we can definitely tell that there's a color range in the brick. What we can also see is that the bricks are more or less even, but there's a little bit of variation.
Here's a closeup of that same brick. What we can see here is that within a brick there is considerable color variation that these bricks range from kind of a caramel color, through a latte or something similar, and that they've got fairly narrow mortar joints and they're more and less even in their courses, the horizontal strips a brick. They're also laid in a running bond where each brick overlaps by half the one's above and below. So the vertical joints are staggered. Lastly it's a glazed brick, where we can definitely see it's got a bit of a shine to it.
Now brick varies widely, there's glazed, there's not glazed, there's sand-struck and water-stuck and wire-cut, each of which produces a different look and shine to that brick. Here's that same brick then in a more oblique view, and we can definitely see the glazed on it as well as how the mortar joint are struck or recessed in. We can also see that although the wall is pretty well even, there is some variation slightly in the depth of the brick. So we need to have our normal map just a little bit varied.
Here in this turned image is an example of one of the most common pairings we see, brick and stone. Where the stone is used as an accent next to the field of brick that makes up most of the building. Here's a different brick on a different building, and in this case it's wire-cut were the cutting by, well a wire produces an obvious vertical striation in the brick. We can also see that this brick has considerable variety that the colors ranged from caramel and camel through almost a green and then there's some yellow and a mustard and honey and all kinds of different colors.
There's larger mortar joints and they're struck or recessed back a little bit more than the previous one. Here's one other neat thing about this brick, on the corner of this building, instead of just simply making a corner of brick, they've recessed the corner in by half a brick on either side. And so just from the very design of it we have an extra shadow line in here in this corner. Here's another pairing of brick and stone, and again this illustrates a common well pairing of materials, there's granite at the base. A cast stone is kind of an intermediary between the granite and brick, and then finally the brick, whereas the materials go up on the building they get softer.
Then in the store front of the left side there's a marble and some wood above that. So we see this kind of mingling in the materials, where some buildings maybe all brick and some have accents or other elements of stone. And it really varies depending on the taste of the architect and the owner. When we look back at our first brick picture there's one more thing to take note of. This is a small section of brick and there's a lot of bricks in this image. It's very reasonable to see, say on the side the of the building an enormous number of bricks.
You could be looking at a wall that's a 100 feet long and 40 feet high composed of nothing but brick and therefore your texture needs to be fairly uniformed with some variation and without any obvious patterning beyond the bond pattern of the brick. So that when we see a ton of bricks in there quite literally, they look they're all fairly close and roughly the same. So with this idea of close within a range and varied color, we'll start out in Photoshop by making our base color for our brick.
Here on Photoshop, I'll open up some reference imagery and sample some colors from my brick. I'll press control L and browse into the reference files. And in here, I'm going to take my colors from the wire-cut brick. I'll pick one of the closeups and hold control and added one of the farther away shots and click Open. Now Eyedropper the color and just check for consistency. Because of different exposures in different light, we may find that what we think is one brick actually varies widely. I'll sample by pressing Eyedropper one of my caramel colored bricks.
And we can see in here in the foreground color it's a got nice warmth to it. That same brick in the other image is considerably more yellow. And we can definitely see in here that there's a variation across that image. What I'm going to do then is to sample the color I want, just kind of a, we'll call it a caramel. Hit X to swap foreground and background, an Eyedropper one of the other colors, in this case, a little bit more yellow of a color. Now I'll make a new document pressing control N, and I'm going to make this new document 3000 on the side, this will be my base brick, where I can sample bricks from this once I get the colors established.
I'm going to make this image at 72 Pixels/Inch in RGB Color as an 8 bit image. And at the moment I'm not going to color manage, I'm going to leave the Color Profile at the default sRGB. Later, if you're working within a distinct profile such as Rec 709, you can add that in and adjust your final colors to match. I'll click OK. And I'm going to leave the background color at whatever I had my background set to. Now I'll get my brick going. I'll choose Filter, Render and Clouds.
These Clouds phase then gently between those two colors. And the important thing here is that we need multiple Clouds in here. I'll press ctrl + shift + n to make a new layer and click OK to open. Now, I'll click on the Foreground Color and I'm going bring up the Brightness by just a couple of points. I'll also go in to maybe add a touch more yellow, bringing up the yellow on the CMY case scale to let's say 72 from 69. So we got a slightly different color in there. And on this new layer I'll run my Clouds again.
Now I've got a little more yellow and some brown in there, and then a brick that's a little more brown with some yellow. And this way by sampling bricks from here I'll get bricks that really match within a range but definitely have some variation within each brick. Now what I'll do is add a little bit of streak to this and a little bit of faceting in that color. I'll choose Filter, Pixelate and Crystallize. And I'll Crystallize this brick at a size of maybe six or seven to add just a tiny bit of faceting across it.
I'll click OK, pick the Background layer and press control F to repeat that Filter. Now what I'll do is add in some Streaking, and I'll zoom in to show this. We can see in here, there's a little bit of a hard edge here and there on some of the colors from the Crystallization, but not too much. Now I'll choose Filter, Blur and Motion Blur. And I'm going to Motion Blur this brick at a distance of maybe 16 or 18 at an angle of zero, so that I'll get a little more horizontality in those colors, a little more Streak across it.
I'll repeat this Filter on the background. So now I've got both background images, not quite just the default Clouds but a little variety in them and they've got similar and roughly in the same vein color ranges without being radically different or exactly alike. And I'm ready to use this to take bricks from. Here's what we look at then. If we take a Marquee, M for Marquee and we land our fixed size Marquee on here, roughly in the proportion of a brick, say a three by eight or here's a Width of 400 and a Height of 150, and we land that on here, within that Marquee, but what we can see in the test is there's some gentle facing and color within that brick.
But it's very reasonable to have one brick that's more brown and one brick place somewhere else that has considerably more yellow but has some of that same spotting. If we switch over on other layers we can see the same in the browns. Here's a brick with a lot of brown in it and a little bit of yellow, and here's even more brown with some pronounced yellow spotting. And again here is more yellow in that brick but still in the same range. So by having two samples to start from, and mixing them up in the brick, but each one having the some of the same colors, we're ensuring that we get the variety we expect to see between bricks and within bricks, while adding some, well some mix to it.
So it's a heterogeneous mix of similar bricks not exactly alike. And that really gets the idea across of bricks that have been mixed where the different bundles or pallets of bricks are mixed up before applying to avoid an obvious pattern. Now with this ready, we'll make a selection bond, where we'll establish our bond pattern to put this nice subtle color onto.