Hello, there. What's that, you say? You'd like to learn how to make textures? Well, let's see what we can do for you!
This tutorial will walk you through using basic tools to draw a basic texture, and then spice it up using filters. The software I use is called Corel Paint Shop Pro X, although any mid- to high-range graphics utility should work fine (though the tools may work a little differently, and filters might have different names). If you're one of those people who swears by Paint Shop Pro 7, I have good news for you! PSPX retains enough of Seven's features and layout to be familiar, but enough new additions to make you a more powerful artist. It's definitely worth the upgrade.
For those of you who can't afford Photoshop (like me), PSPX is an excellent alternative.
Enough with the formalities; let's learn to draw!
First, open PSPX (or your favorite mid-to-high-level graphics editor), and start a new workspace. You can start by creating a new raster image.
I prefer a resolution of 300 dpi (which stands for "dots per inch"), at a size of 1" x 1". Don't worry too much about the size of the final product for now; you can always resize images to fit your purposes.File:Arttut1 2.png
In PSPX, you can set your Width and Height properties in the appropriately named pane. You can also set your measurement units to inches here. In the Image Characteristics pane, choose a Raster background. We'll be using the airbrush tool, so we'll set the color depth to 8 bits per channel - the depth required by the airbrush tool. (Don't worry if you forget to do this - PSPX will take care of it for you the first time you try using the airbrush tool on your image.)
I'll show you how to make a dungeon-style stone floor, so I chose black as the base color. We'll also use grays for the rest of the tutorial, since that's the color most commonly associated with stone.
To begin, we'll choose a very dark gray color - not much lighter than the base. Since it's staring us right in the face, we'll choose the color blot right next to black in the Materials blotter pane.
Next, we will use the airbrush tool to mix this color with the base. In PSPX, the airbrush tool is "hidden" next to the paint brush tool.
When the airbrush tool is selected, the tool properties will appear just above the workspace. You should tweak these settings so that the brush is set to its maximum size, but with low density and medium to low hardness.
Now, use a "dotting" technique to partially cover the base color. To use the dotting technique, simple move your mouse around, occasionally stopping movement and then tapping the mouse button.
When you are done, you should have something a little like this:
Next, we'll choose a slightly lighter color than the previous. Let's blot the next gray in the Materials pane.
After you've done that, change your airbrush properties so that the brush size is smaller - about 40. Then, draw some small, irregular areas in the image. These will be guidelines for the next stage of painting. If you need an idea of what to do, take a gander at this image:
These sections will be used to make painting the texture a little easier. Now, don't worry about not being able to color within the lines. In fact, you don't even have to touch the lines with the edge of your drawing tool - they're there for visual effect. You'll see what I mean soon enough.
Now use the section borders as guidelines, drawing in circles (clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever you are most comfortable with) from the outside inward. It doesn't necessarily matter if there are some dark areas. In fact, these dark areas will become "grooves" in the stone floor.
This brings up an extremely important aspect of color theory: Variance. When your base color and its opposite (essentially the same color, but with the highest brightness as compared to the base) are too close, you get a very flat, washed-out result. But, if you put more variety in the shades of color you use, the results are more lush and full. When you finish this tutorial, try some experimentation, trying textures with fewer, closer shades, and textures with more varied shades. Of course, you can also use variance to give your textures more or less depth; to give your stone floor deep grooves, leave some dark patches. For a smoother floor, try to get the colors closer to each other.
So, when you're done, your results might look something like this:
At this point, we're almost done painting. I know, it doesn't look like much - yet. But believe me, it'll get better.
Next, we do some highlighting. We do this to further cement the point about variance - the more shades, the better! Let's blot the lightest gray in the Materials pane now.
Now, airbrush over the painting, avoiding the darker areas. It's not worth it to undo any mistakes on this, just try your best not to lighten up the dark parts too much. You can use a mix of the dotting technique plus normal strokes to get the look to your liking.
All right, since we're drawing a stone floor, let's add some cracks. Simple blot black into your airbrush, change your brush size to a smaller area (I use 5 personally), and draw a few nice cracks in there.
Believe it or not... we're done painting! Now comes the fun part - filtering the image until it looks like stone.
Using the filters in PSPX to make nice stone effects is easy. First, we'll apply a filter called "Soft Plastic." I know, doesn't sound like stone to me, but trust me - it works pretty well. You'll find it in the Effects menu, under Texture Effects.
When you see the Soft Plastic settings dialog box, you can play with the properties a bit to suit your tastes. For stone, I use a low blur effect, with fairly low detail and density settings.
We're starting to get there. Next, go back to the Effects menu, this time going to the Distortion Effects submenu and choosing Displacement Map.
When the Displacement Map dialog box appears, again, play with the settings until you find what you like. For this example, I simply changed the Intensity to about 5, the Blur to 30, and the rest was there by default.
Now, we have a stone floor.
You might be ready to say done at this point, but if you look at it long enough, the stone is so bright that it looks like smooth, wet stone. This may not be the effect you're looking for. There are a few ways to fix these problems - usually, they involve playing with the brightness and contrast of the image.
To remedy the problem with this particular texture, go to the Adjust menu, and follow the path from Brightness and Contrast to Highlight/Midtone/Shadow.
Next, set the midtone to 100.
What's that? It's even brighter now? Well, true; it is brighter. The deal is though that the colors aren't quite as "clashy" as before - they're a little more even. So, the image is still bright, but this is easily fixed.
To fix it, go back to the Adjust menu, then Brightness and Contrast, and then Brightness/Contrast.
Once you set the brightness to your liking, you're pretty much done. If you want a dark-dungeon type of floor, make it dark; if a daylight-exposed texture is more what you're after, you can just darken it a little, or even leave it as is.
Here's the final product. Your version will vary, but this is the kind of result you can get by using these techniques:
Other Applications Edit
These techniques can be applied to many other texture types. Sand, water, metal, you name it. You will obviously paint things differently, and use different filters at times, but you have the basics now.
You could, for example, create a dirt landscape using these techniques. Simply use browns to paint the base (or paint it in gray and use the Hue/Saturation tool on it, which is more flexible) and layers. When you have the colors down, simply hunt for a nice filter or two to make it look more like sand. It's that simple.
The main things that will help you become better as an artist, however, are very simple - experimentation, and practice. Nothing can replace these two invaluable tools. Be sure to use them both whenever you can!
It is very simple to make great-looking textures. With a mix of the right basic tools and modern filters, creating photo-realistic textures can be a piece of cake. Just practice, experiment, and most of all - have fun!
Soon, I'll write tutorials on things like seamless textures, making good-looking grass textures, and more. See you soon!