Hello everyone. Today, I've decided that I should write a tutorial on my method of texturing, seeing as the majority of the people here cannot, in fact, texture.
Now, the "Stupidly Simple" in the title of this tutorial is actually a pretty accurate description of how easy my method of texturing actually is. I'm sure that when most of you think of texturing, you're picturing hours upon hours of brutal Photoshop work. Well, that's not always going to be the case. While it will require some Photoshop work, it's not going to be as brutal as you think it will be.
*Please note, that when I say Photoshop, that means GIMP, too. Or hell, you could actually do most of it in MS paint if you wanted. Anyway, the tutorial will use Photoshop, but all the steps will be possible in GIMP, too.
The texturing method I'll be introducing to you is here, in order:
1: Creation of an extremely simple blend of textures
2: "Clusterfuck" style UV mapping
3: Slightly more intricate UV mapping
4: Detailing and emissive (Glow) maps
So, let's get started, shall we?
Here are the materials you'll need:
Wings 3D (Note: I used Wings 3D version 1.2. I'm not sure how well this tutorial will translate into newer\older versions)
A model, of some sorts.
An image editor (GIMP or Photoshop, preferably)
A shard of human intelligence. (If you run into a problem, don't scream at me about it instantly. Try to solve it, and if you can't, then you can scream at me about it.)
And, some patience. While this method is simple, it can't be done instantly.
Part 1: Creation of an extremely simple blend of textures.
The basis of this texturing method relies on having two or more different textured areas on your model's main texture, and then moving the UV mapped faces between the different areas.
Here's an example of one of the textures I made for one of my frigates:
See how it has two sides? A tan texture on the left, and a grey plating texture on the right. We're going to do the exact same thing.
You can use any two (Or more, if you please) types of textures that you want. Just make sure they have a somewhat decent contrast to them. Find the texture that the main areas of the ship will be. (In my texture, it is tan.) Then, find the secondary texture that only some of your ship will have. (This was the grey plating, in my case.) And, if you choose to, you can find other textures, like window lights, or things like that.
So now, let's open up Photoshop. Once open, create a new image in the texture size you want your ship to have. I used 1024x1024 for the frigate I'll be texturing.
Open up the textures you selected earlier. Go to your primary texture. Copy it, and paste it in the new image so it covers the whole thing.
Next, go to your secondary texture. Copy it, and paste it into your new image so it covers about a third of it.
And finally, if you have a tertiary texture, you can paste it into your new image as well. Use your own discretion as to how much space it takes up.
Oh, look, we're done. Just save the .psd or .xcf file somewhere as you might have to adjust things later. Make sure you keep GIMP\Photoshop running, you'll be going back into it pretty soon.
Part 2: Clusterfuck UV maps.
A crude name, but it's quite accurate. Let's open up Wings 3D, and your model.
First, make sure all the different parts of your model (If any) are combined together. Select the model, right click, and then left click on UV mapping.
The UV segmenting window comes up. This next part is pretty easy. Right click>Segment by>Projection
Yay, now your ship is all UV mapped. Yes, the UV map will be a total mess, but relax, it doesn't matter.
Right click>Continue>Projection Normal
Now you've got a clusterfuck map in the UV editor window, and the alphabet pasted onto your ship. Total chaos. But guess what? It totally doesn't matter.
Almost to the fun part now. In the main window of Wings 3D, go to the menu bar at the top, and click on Window>outliner
See that thing titled auvbg? With all the letters and crap? Select it. Right click>Make external
*Note: In the event that your ship does NOT have that alphabet texture pasted onto it, you will have to add it in manually. Select the auvbg image in the outliner, and drag it on top of the material that has _auv at the end of it. For me, it was cube4_auv. Once you release the mouse button, select the diffuse option.
Save it somewhere easily accessible, like your desktop.
Did you save it? Good. Now pop back into Photoshop with the composite texture you made still open.
Navigate to where you saved that auvbg file. It's a bitmap. So, in Photoshop, select the .bmp filetype. Then save it over that auvbg file.
And now we're at the fun part. Switch back into Wings 3D, and go into the outliner. Select that auvbg image again. Right click>Refresh
Hurray! Now your texture has been applied to your ship. But it still looks like crap. Let's fix that. Select your model, right click, and then left click on UV mapping again. This will bring up your UV editor window.
So, what are we going to do here, you ask? Here's the answer: Moving a ton of crap. Before we begin, it would be a very good idea to have the move command hotkeyed to something easily accessable.
In the geometry window, right click on something, and then only HOVER over the move>normal option. Press the insert key on your keyboard. Then, press the hotkey you wish to assign to the Move command. I use the 1 key.
Now, let's begin moving stuff.
See this area right here?
I want it to have my primary texture, not my secondary texture. So, I select it. When I select it in the Geometry window, it also selects the faces in the UV editor window. So, in the UV editor window, I'll press the 1 key, and move those faces over to the left where my primary texture is. It doesn't matter a lot if they overlap other UV maps. The only time you don't want to have overlapping faces is if you plan to put decals on the piece, or add more intricate detailing to it. For example, when it comes to the engines, you're not going to want to have anything else overlapping them. If something does overlap your engines, then some other part of your ship will have the engine decal and it will look stupid.
Now, just start moving all the pieces of your model in the UV editor so that they have the texture you want them to have. You'll basically be repeating that step until everything is in the position you want it to be in. Keep in mind, depending on how many polygons your model has, this step can be either really short, or really long. But not hard; not at all.
Next up, we'll be getting ready for detailing, and doing a bit of clean up work.
Part 3: Slightly more intricate UV mapping.
Now, you see, I want to put some nice details on these areas on my ship.
But they're all fragmented in the UV editor! Well, let's fix that.
Select the faces on you want. Once selected, right click> and then RIGHT CLICK on uv mapping. This will bring up the UV segmenting window, and only the faces you selected will appear in it, not the whole ship.
So, instead of just segmenting it by projection this time, we'll do it manually. Hit ctrl + A to select all the faces. Then, right click, and go to AuvChart1. Wings 3D keeps faces with the same color attached to each other.
Next, do the same thing we did last time. Go to Continue>Projection normal.
But, oh no! They're gigantic! Right click>Scale>Uniform (It's also useful to have Scale bound to a hotkey as well)
(Also, you won't see the other UVs for your model. This is because you're only editing the few faces you had selected. Don't worry, the rest of your ship's UVs are still there. Just select the model, right click, and then left click on UV maps.)
That's better. But, hey! Wouldn't it be easier if we could overlap these two similar pieces? So we only have to do the detailing work required for one, and save space on the UV map at the same time? Of course we can.
Select one of the pieces. Right click>Flip>Horizontal. Now they're facing the same direction.
You can do one of two things to get them to overlap: You can simply move one so it overlaps the other. It's hard to get it 100% perfect that way, though.
Or, you could use the "Move to" commands. Select both of the faces. Right click>Move to>Center
Now the pieces are perfectly overlapped. Move them wherever you wish.
That about covers all of the more advanced things you need to know about UV mapping. Continue to move the pieces of the model around until you are ready to continue onto the last step, which is detailing and finalizing the texture.
Also, this tutorial: http://hwu.homeworldaccess.net/uv_tutorial/ Has some more stuff on UV mapping, specifically, the stuff about unfolding. Have a look at the beginning of that.
Part 4: Detailing and glow maps.
So, now you have everything in the correct place, and the texture on your model looks basic, but not too shabby. Let's make it look better.
Select the entire model, and Right click> left click on UV mapping. Right click in an empty area, and select "Create Texture." When the draw options window appears, select the same image size as the texture you see in the background.
Where did my previous texture go? Chill. You saved it somewhere in Photoshop, it didn't go anywhere, and the UV map is still the same as it was.
Now, what you're going to want to do is this: Go into the outliner, and select your texture. (It will probably be renamed) Right click>Export>Save somewhere where you can find it.
Pop over to Photoshop, and open the texture you just exported from Wings. Press ctrl + I to invert the images color. (It makes it easier to see) Now, copy the whole thing, and paste it over your original composite texture. Set your new layer's mode to Lighten. You should now have your original texture with the UV coordinates overlayed on top.
We can now start detailing the texture so it looks like the image above! But, I'm not going to tell you how to do that here. There are hundreds of Photoshop\GIMP tutorials out there that teach you the various operations of the program. Look them up if you're still unsure of what to do.
As you keep working on the details of the texture, make sure to save it over the original auvbg file (Not the one with the lines you exported), and keep refreshing it in Wings 3D to see how your texture changes look on the model. And be sure to disable the layer with the UV coordinates on it when you do save it, because then there will be white lines all over your model and it will look stupid.
The last thing that we will talk about is the emissive map, or, the glow map.
The glow map, obviously, will determine which parts of your model will glow. This is used for things like windows, engines or hangar bays, stuff like that.
The glow map has two main colors: Blue, and Green. Dark blue will dominate most of your model, and will represent the specularity your model has (The brighter the blue, the more shiny your ship will be), while green will only appear in the areas you want to glow.
So, let's begin.
In Photoshop, save a copy of your final texture, and then flatten the image so it's all one layer. Go to Image>Adjustments>Hue\Saturation.
Then, check the colorize box. Move the hue slider until your texture is blue. Move the saturation slider to 100. Then, adjust the lightness slider so that it's a very dark blue.
Now, we can start the glowing areas. Create a new layer. (Not necessary, but it helps if you makes mistakes)
Set your brush color to a shade of green, with no other colors mixed in: 0, 255, 0
The darker the shade, the less intense the glow will be, and the brighter, the more intense it will be.
Now, simply paint over the areas that you want to glow.
And, this concludes my texturing tutorial. But, I do have one last little fun piece of information to give you guys, which, I'm sure will be of extreme interest to a lot of you:
I'm sure that the majority of you want to create ships that use similar, if not the exact same, textures from Homeworld 2. This is very simple to do. Stupidly simple. In fact, you only really need to do steps 2 and 3. And it's very favorable if you have no experience with any sort of image editor.
The thing is this: In step one, instead of creating a composite of the few textures you picked out, you simply export a default texture from one of Homeworld 2's .hod files. Then, just paste that texture over your auvbg bitmap you exported from Wings 3D, refresh the texture, and start moving faces around.
Okay. And with that, the tutorial is concluded. I hope I helped some of you out. If you find something to be unclear, by all means, just say so, and I'll do my best to elaborate.
Now that that's over with, there's something I want to chat with you people about.
The Homeworld 2 modding community seems to be... rather... selfish when it comes to sharing mod materials, mainly in the department of ships. Sure, there are a lot of ships that people can use, but there are just about as many that people cannot use.
What I would like, is this: If somebody successfully learns how to texture ships by reading this tutorial, I urge them to make the ships they create free for public use, on a basis of "Just give me credit for it."
If the texture is created by you, and only you, I can understand you being a bit reserved when it comes to sharing your ships. This request is mainly directed towards those who use existing Homeworld 2 textures, however.
I hope to see some mods in the future that don't reuse the same ships we see over and over again. No more overuse of Axel's Destroyer models, no more kitbashing... you get the idea. (No offense to Axel, his models are great, just overused.)
Thank you. This has been a public service announcement from a guy who took a major chunk out of his day to bring you a hope in hell at texturing and who's voice should have some weight due to that action.