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How do YOU make textures?

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I made some simple texture edits using nothing more than photoshop (only to create a darker/lighter variant of the base texture), and MS Paint (I know its a terrible program, but still...).

Using 24bit colour, I simply paste the "primitive" into the darker image with red as the transparent colour, then paste it again into the lighter texture, this time with yellow as the transparent colour.

Next, I copy one into the other (so now I've got the lighter/darker parts, and the magenta still, then copy and paste the lot onto the base texture, with magenta as the trasparent colour, and voila!

Add a few details after and a pretty decent result imo, with very little effort involved (the most important part ;))

PS: I know the lighting isn't right on the door texture, and it could probably do with some more details, maybe some weapon scarring or demonic claw marks (it looks too clean).

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I use Cosmigo Promotion 6 for all my indexed graphics work.
It is reminiscent to DeluxePaint and similar tools and is catered to Pixel and Low Res art in general.

These are a bunch of quake ones (all a bunch of years old, I think around 2005/6)

This one uses a custom 32 colour palette

All of these are made from scratch and apart from the panel thing with the red and white they did not take longer than perhaps 30 minutes (I think I took the time on the yellow stone one and it was around 20 minutes)

The nice thing about using a program that actually is made to work with indexed palettes is that you can lighten or darken and it will always only use colours from the palette and not make new ones, so you have ultimate control over what you do and what colour goes where, unlike when you downsample stuff made in Photoshop or whatnot.

There also is a layersystem in Promotion (not quite as complex as PS), which can come in handy for overlays and fudging in transparent stuff (like a number overlay that blends into the texture of the wall.

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I'll *******ely have to look into this program, as texture creation has always interested me, that yellow stone texture is absolutely amazing, much better than my simple efforts :). Was that one from scratch, or was it based off of a photo source?

I'll have to admit that photoshop only had limited use when it comes to working with palleted images, I often have to manually edit out random garish pixels by hand, even after simple recolours, but then again I'm not exactly what you'd call adept with the program ;)

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All from scratch, no photo sources :)

You can still get the odd funky pixel with Promotion as well until you properly learn how to use it. I am using it for personal and professional purposes since 2005 now and am a betatester since 2008, so I have my 10k hours in the program for sure :D

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I use Photoshop for nearly all of my textures; I might see about putting together some sort of step-by-step guide for how I do a basic one.

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Texture creation is something that has interested me for a while and it's also something I've been wanting to try and learn. I've juggled around the idea of making all-new textures for Supplice (even if I don't though, I'm pretty much set for textures). Besides that, though, I've done lots of edits and minor texture work here and there, so I have a small understanding on how to make them.

@Ptoing: Those look fantastic! I'll have to give that program a look-see. I use GIMP mainly for graphic work, but what always bothers me is that you can't do the majority of the effects and whatnot while in indexed color mode. Being able to do all of that while not having to worry about palette rape afterwards would be really handy and would probably save a lot of time.

@essel: A guide would be awesome from you. It would save me from PMing you for tips and etc constantly :P

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Alright, texture tutorial, here we go. I'm more or less just winging it with no real plan in mind, trying to cover some of my usual methods. What I actually do, of course, varies quite a bit depending on what sort of material I'm trying to create.

I typically start out with a 50% gray backdrop.

Because Photoshop's default colors are black and white (quick tip: D resets the foreground/background color to black and white, and X swaps the foreground/background colors), rather than bringing up a color picker I'll typically just floodfill with black, Ctrl-I to Invert, then Ctrl-Shift-F and type 50 to fade the invert to 50% opacity, resulting in gray. It probably sounds more complicated, but it's a quick way to do it.

If I'm making a texture from scratch rather than using some combination of texture and grunge overlay photos, this is the point where I'll start creating the actual "texture" of the texture.

Clouds and Difference Clouds are both common methods of generating some sort of brightness variance. And unless your document size is something really tiny, these also have the added advantage that Photoshop will make them tile properly without you even having to do anything! Clouds will use your foreground and background colors, so typically the default black and white is what you'll want to be using for them.

Render Clouds a few times until you have something that looks relatively even, then if you want more variation you can either do a few Difference Clouds passes until, again, it looks like a relatively even distribution of light and dark, or you can open up the Curves dialog in the Image > Adjustments menu, and screw around with the bezier curve to turn it into some weird /\/\/\ kinda shape that distributes brightness about how you want it and looks sort of like the brightness variation arrangement you want.

Apply Auto Contrast to it once you're done so that it'll be centered on 50% gray, because 50% gray is the "neutral" color, not only because it's your backdrop, but also because it's the neutral color of blending modes such as Overlay and Soft Light. I suppose in this case it doesn't matter quite so much because we only have solid gray behind our clouds, and we can just keep the Normal blending mode, but just do it. Shut up.

Here I've used a ton of Difference Clouds to create a really warpy, wavy, complex pattern, that could possibly be used as the base for some sort of glossy-looking, reflective marble or something. So, I guess that's what we'll be making! (I'm completely making this up as I go along, folks!)

A technique I like to use every so often, particularly for textures like the one we're making here, is to use the Glass filter (under Filters > Distort) on clouds to give them more of the faux-glossy, reflective look we're creating here.

Here I've used Distortion: 6, Smoothness: 6, Texture: Canvas, Scaling: 100, and enabled Invert on the texture. It's worth noting that I picked these values pretty arbitrarily; your mileage may vary, and feel free to experiment.

Of course, now we've got the problem that this no longer tiles properly:

There are several ways we could fix this. One way is to use the Offset filter (in the Filters > Other submenu), offset our layer by 64 and 64, and use the smudge tool, the clone brush, or just draw stuff in manually to smooth over the edges. (If you do this, be sure to note that if you have any image data outside the boundaries of your image, it won't offset in the way you expect. As such, do a Select-All and Crop before you use Offset!)

I'm not going to do that, though, because we're going to take the lazy way out, using a nice little feature called Pattern Maker. It's toward the top of the Filters list.

Open up Pattern Maker, Ctrl-A to Select All, click Use Image Size to have it create a pattern the size of your image (128x128 for me), and click Generate. You might want to mess with the Smoothness and Sample Detail parameters, or try Generate Again several times until you get something that looks vaguely decent and not too uneven. Here I've used Smoothness: 3 and Sample Detail: 5.

(Continued in next post)

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While for this texture it's probably not really required, I might then create another 50% gray layer (50% gray is the neutral color for layer blending modes such as Soft Light and Overlay) and add some monochrome noise to it (uniform or gaussian, percentage somewhere between 3 and 20 depending on what sort of pattern I'm going for).

For this example I'll go with Uniform noise at 6%. I'll set the layer's blending mode to Soft Light, and the layer's opacity to 60%. I've also turned the Clouds layer's opacity down to 50%, to decrease the contrast by letting some of the gray behind it show through.

For the next step, I'm going to darken our marble...but I'm going to do it non-destructively using a really useful feature called Adjustment Layers.

In the Layer menu, select New Adjustment Layer and pick Brightness/Contrast. I've turned the brightness down to -80, and increased the contrast to +20. The cool thing here is that I can later decide to change those brightness and contrast settings just by double-clicking on the adjustment layer's icon, or temporarily turn it off entirely by hiding the layer. I can make any changes or additions I want to the stuff that's behind the adjustment layer, and it'll be affected non-destructively.

For the next step, I'm going to turn our basic pattern into some actual panels of marble!

Create a new layer in front of all your other ones (including the brightness/contrast layer) and draw a 64x64 square in the top left corner of it. You can either use the Rectangle Tool by itself, or use the Marquee tool to select the square shape and then use the Paint Bucket to fill it in. Either way, make sure you've disabled antialiasing on the tools you're using for it, so you don't get blurry edges.

Oh, right! I should have mentioned that you can go into Photoshop's Preferences, go to the Guides, Grid, Slices & Count page, and set the grid to have a gridline every 64 pixels with a subdivision every 8 pixels. Then in the View menu, pick "Grid" from the Show submenu. Ctrl-H will allow you to hide and show this grid, so you only have to see it when you need it.

So, anyway, use your grid to draw a 64x64 square in the top left corner of your image. I used black, but after the next step it's not going to matter what color I made it, so it doesn't really matter.

Right-click on your 64x64 square's layer and pick Blending Options. First, set its Fill Opacity to 0% to hide the color you filled it with. It should now be invisible, for the time being at least. We're now going to use it to create shading!

First I'm going to go to Bevel/Emboss. (Note that by clicking on the actual Bevel/Emboss text, you'll be taken to a page with options for it.) There's a ton of options here that can help me set up the basic beveling of the panel.

I've set Size to 2, Highlight Opacity to 65%, Shadow Opacity to 50%, and left the rest of the settings alone. I then went to the Contour page, clicked the Anti-aliased checkbox, and set the range to 75%. I don't have any magic formulas or whatever that I got these numbers from, I just adjusted them until it looked vaguely right.

This is still extremely plain, though, because we're not done yet!

(final installment in next post)

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Something I do pretty frequently is adding a subtle Inner Glow to my panels, to add some more depth to them.

So, go to the Inner Glow page, and first of all we're going to change the weird default yellowish color to white.

Then, turn the Size up to 11, set Range to 27, enable the Anti-aliased checkbox, and turn Opacity down to 20%. I've also set Noise to 3, because a slight bit of noise (but not so much that it'll be obvious) is generally good to add when working with a texture that's going to be palettized. Actually, considering that we've already got a noise layer behind this, adding noise here is probably not even needed. Oh well!

Well, that's..something, I guess. Adding the Inner Glow sort of canceled out our beveling a bit, so I'll turn the Bevel's Highlight Opacity up to 75% and its Shadow Opacity up to 60%. (That's a 10% increase for each, which you can easily do by clicking in the textbox and presshing Shift-Up).

I'd still like to give the panel some more depth, though. One way this can be done is to add a slight Inner Shadow to sort of counteract part of the Inner Glow. I've set the Inner Shadow's Opacity to 50%, Distance to 5, and Size to 11.

If you disable Use Global Light, you can set the angle the Inner Shadow is cast from, without affecting the Bevel and anything else. The default angle of 120 will give us an almost indented-inside look, while something like -50 will appear more like the panel is smoothly beveling outwards a little bit like a pillow. Either way, it no longer looks flat. I'll go with -50.

To add still more depth and glossiness, let's add a Gradient Overlay to our layer. We'll use the default black-to-white gradient, with a 90-degree Angle, and a Blend Mode of "Hard Light" because it's a bit glarier than Soft Light, so it can help with the faux-glossy appearance we're going for. Set the Opacity to 30% or somewhere around it, and click OK.

Now, we’re going to duplicate that layer to create the other three panels. With the Move tool selected (that’s the regular black arrow at the top of the tools palette), hold Alt and drag the square layer into the other three positions. It should snap neatly into place.

Okay, so maybe we overdid it a bit with the glossiness. When the panels are put next to each other, it looks a bit overcontrasted.

To do our adjustments, let’s work on the one in the bottom-right, opening up its Blending Options dialog again.

Turn the Gradient Overlay’s opacity down to 20%, and the Bevel’s Highlight Opacity down to 50%. Click OK, then right-click on that layer and Copy Layer Style. Now, select all four of your panel layers, right-click, and Paste Layer Style, to apply your changes to all of them.

That’s a bit better! Probably still a bit too glossy, but hell, this is just an example so it’ll work well enough.

I’ve also just noticed that my clouds pattern seems to look better inverted, so I’ve done that. Your mileage may vary.

Now, we could probably palettize (Image > Mode > Indexed Color, and load up the Doom palette exported from XWE or whatever) and call our texture done, but there’s still more we could do to it.

Something I use pretty frequently for colorizing paletted textures is the Gradient Map kind of Adjustment Layer. It takes a grayscale image and remaps the white-to-black range into colors defined by a gradient.

I’ve loaded the Doom colors into the Swatches palette so that, when creating a gradient, I can pick colors straight from the palette and try to create something that will palettize nicely. It’s somewhat an art, and somewhat just fudging it until it works, and doing a lot of Indexed Color conversions just for the sake of seeing how it looks and undoing it to mess with stuff more.

You can also add noise or clouds or some combination of things to the Gradient Map’s Layer Mask, to have some variance between the parts that get colored and the parts that don’t.

Also useful, though less precise, is floodfilled layers using the Color blending mode. Create a couple different layers, floodfilled with green or tan or whatever nice “base” colors can be mixed together nicely in Doom. Give each of them a Layer Mask and put some noise or clouds or whatever tomfoolery into it. (Keeping in mind that noise will give you the exact same pattern again unless you change its settings.) This is at least part of what I did to color this texture, if I remember right.

You can also easily create different panel and bar arrangements by changing the shapes and sizes of your square layers that you put the Blending Options shading on. To create continuous bars, use Free Transform to extend out their width to far beyond the edges of the document:

Adding subtle scratches is also something nice to do, and it’s pretty easy. Just take a 1-pixel brush, draw various black scribbles at different opacities, turn the layer’s main opacity down, and give it a Drop Shadow that’s cast 1 pixel above it (by changing the angle) with Distance set to 1 and Size set to 0. I’ve already spammed the hell out of this thread so I’m not going to include pictures of it, but you get the idea.

Hopefully this was at least somewhat educational!

I’ve also uploaded the final psd file in case anyone wants to look at it. It’s far from my best work, but oh well: http://sl4.poned.com/screens/tutorial/texture/16.psd

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Speaking of textures, i believe there was an old thread some time ago regarding textures making ( some guy asking for help if i'm not mistaken ) and you linked a ftp with some of your creations, i'm pretty sure i've noticed some Startan remakes as well as their colors variants in there ( and they looked ten time better than the original Doom material ). Feel free to correct me if i'm wrong if it's just my imagination, but if they really exist, would you mind if i include them in my project?

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I do use a good bit of Irfanview and sometimes Paint.NET but MS Paint is simple and I like it that way.

If any you guys are interested in doing recolors, I found an easy and effective way to create GOOD recolors using MS Paint and Irfanview.

Let's suppose I wanted to create a map with some kind of ancient archealogical dig. I found this marble texture I like because it looks genuinely crafted and I like the skull moating.

But this texture looks far too clean and polished to have been found in a dig site. So I want this texture to look more muddy and aged. If I want the texture to look muddy, obviously I want it brown. But we're fusing colors here, so we'll have to mix brown in combination with another color. If this texture were aged, the color would be more desaturated and faded away, and since brown and gray has proved to work pretty well together in the past, combining it with gray should look pretty good.

So after deciding on the texture I like, and the colors I'd like to mold together, I create two versions of the same texture. One in Brown, and one in Gray. I lowered the gamma correction a little too because I think it could look more sinister that way.

Open up the first gray image in Irfanview, go to Image > Effects > Effects browser... Then scroll down to the effect called "White Noise (snow)" set it to a range like 3 or 4. I set it to 3, In MS Paint, white is considered to be invisible. This effect hollows out the texture so only parts of it are visible. Alternatively, if you use a different program to do image coloring, you can open the image and in MS Paint and do a light mist with the airbrush in white over the image. Make sure you get the sides and the corners. Then go to Edit > Copy, and copy the image.

Now open up the brown colored texture in MS Paint, then got to Edit > Paste to paste the image you copied over top of your current image. Make sure you select the option under the tool bar that makes white transparent. Now the colors of these two textures are fused together to create this brownish-grayish rock. Cool!

Experiment with all of Doom's color ranges and try other fusion styles too. For example, Using MS Paint's Airbrush tool, I white snowed all of the top of this Door and left the bottom bit to create this door with a green nukage trim.

Here's a bunch of other experimental recolors I've been working with too.

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Excellent guide Essel! I'll have to give that one a go when I get a few free hours next, you have described how to use some more advanced tools that I'm not yet familiar with, by following that I should be able to do some more with the program.

@40oz, that nukage stained door looks pretty smart, I'll have to give that go.

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