Join Christian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Sculpt layers, part of Creating PBR Materials with Blender & Quixel.
- [Voiceover] Now that we have our template we can see where we're drawing on our normal map to place those bolts on our cannon. Now we're not going to open up the project at this point. We're going to open up NDO and let NDO make a little side project for us so we can draw in those bolts, sculpt in any other details that we want, right over the normal map that it's been using for the project and then we'll reload the project. So to start we'll hit NDO. Make sure everything else is closed in Photoshop when we do this.
We'll see that NDO wants to launch the NDO project creator, that's fine, click that button. This is the NDO project creator. Pretty much is just asking us the same type of information that we loaded into DDO when we first used it. We'll need our mesh, which is the cannon mesh we've been using all along. The obj file, not the project file. And in this case we only want to change the normal map on the cannon part, not the tools.
Remember there are those two objects. You could change it on both if you want. You would need to load the normal map in for both, but we're just going to load it in for the cannon. Now next, it wants the baked normal. The baked normal you'll find in this folder that Quixel's been creating all along. You'll see that I have it in my exercise folder. And it will be called something like Cannon_Cylinder and then normal. Remember that cylinder piece is something Blender created.
Yours might just say the name of the object, underscore, and then normal. So we'll click on that and open it. Now that's that great, big, layered, normal map that we've been working all along. You could see all the detail that DDO's been adding is there in our normal map. The reason we need that template, is there's areas in here we can't really see what we've put there. So it's kind of like a coloring book. We need to know where the lines are to start with.
Make sure the size is set correctly. I would leave the size the same as what your normal map's been all along or you're going to change your normal map's size and then we'll create the new project. At this point, it's not doing anything more than just getting NDO ready for us to add details to it. This is the tool's normal map, I don't need that one. So I'll click over here to my cannon normal map. That's the one that has all my detail on it. Now next we need to find that area that we want to paint in.
If you remember when we loaded the template, it's somewhere over in here, but now I don't really know where, so I'm going to go get that template file and to do that, I just go to Photoshop, Open. So this isn't really and NDO thing, and we will look for that template. Here it is. Cannon_template, this is the one we rendered from Blender, and we'll open that. Now it's a separate image over here, right now it's not doing anything with Quixel, or DDO, or NDO.
And we're going to copy this. And it doesn't matter if yours is massed or not at this point. And we'll paste that. Now, doesn't really matter where you placed this in the layers structure. I usually place it above my little icon here. Looks like a little spectrum icon. We're going to turn it off anyways. If you leave it on, it's going to bake all this down into the normal map, but we don't want that. But for now, we're just going to use it as a template to figure out what we want to paint on.
Now, if I remember right, we have this little threadlike structure up here that is the area we're going to paint in. Once you've found this, you don't really need the template on anymore. I'm going to turn that off so I can see a little bit better and that's what we're looking for right there. Now, at this point we can just paint some bolts in there. So what I'm going to do is go to my paintbrush. Before I start painting I'll make a multi normal layer like we did a few videos ago.
That's just going to make a blank layer. You'd probably be wise to look at where it created the layer so that you can click on this layer if you need it. It's usually right above the normal map layer which is that blue one. And you'll see that's the layer we just created. So, now we can use our brush. I'm just going to use a regular round brush for this but remember, any brushes will work. And if we come back over here I'm going to start stamping in my bolts.
Now I'm going to zoom in there a little bit. And we're going to change the size cause right now that's a little bit harsh. The depth, we don't need it to be that thick. So I'll kind of make it a little bit smaller. There we go, I'll change the contrast just so it pops out a little bit. And I think that's okay. You can change the curve, the slant, the shape, anything that you want. I'm going to leave mine just like that. We'll go back to our brush and now we can stamp those bolts in.
You can do any sort of details you want, so at this point if you wanted to draw in some cracks, or dents, anything like that, you certainly could. I'm going to leave it here at bolts. And mine aren't going to be evenly spaced. Not a big deal. Text will also work, any Photoshop tools will work. Remember on those multi-layer, normal layers. they'll work great. There we go. We have all of our bolts in place. Now at this point, it's just a matter of saving the file out.
We've already created normals. So, what we'll do is go to this particular layer. We'll go to File, Save As and what we want to do is save it to that file that we just opened, which was the Cannon_Cylinder normal map. And we'll replace that. Okay, at this point we can close everything. We're done with all of this.
And we can close NDO. And what we'll do is go back to DDO and open our project. Let's check that normal map, see if everything took. I'll have to zoom in to see it, pretty small details that we made there. There are our bolts, you can see them. And lastly, let's see what they look like in 3DO. And you can see those bolts look pretty good. Zoom in there. And there are the bolts, on those little pieces.
Now the nice thing is since those are now baked into our normal map, our materials will work around them. So eventually we'll probably have little rust rings around where the bolts meet the metal. Everything will act just like what we're used to. And again, you can use this process to add details anywhere on your model. The multi-layers will allow you to paint details on your normal map. It's a little bit of a roundabout system cause we have to exit our project to go out and create these details with this type of process.
Now, eventually we're going to paint directly on the model, and we could do this type of details by directly painting on the model, but some things like this, the structural elements like bolts, are probably a little bit easier to do where we can just use paintbrushes, just place them right where we want.
By the end of the course, you should be excited about and more comfortable with the Quixel Suite and the Blender import and export system. This workflow is suitable for game assets, models destined for animation, visual effects, and more.
- What is PBR?
- Exporting a mesh from Blender
- Loading maps in Quixel DDO
- Making textures with DDO
- Setting up lighting in 3DO
- Flattening materials
- Using NDO
- Sculpting and painting normal maps
- Finishing materials with dust, dirt, and patina
- Rendering the project in 3DO