The Cabinet Case-Study - Part 1
Written By Zintis Vandelis-Muir, Also Known as 'SLickY'
Texturing is a very complicated process, one which is often not fully appreciated by many people who engage in it. Rather than try to explain all the technique involved in it, which would be impossible, I'm going to be using this single texture as a case-study. Note this tutorial assumes only a very basic understanding of layers and some simple tools in PS, all of which can be learned with the help file that comes packaged with photoshop.
Using google i searched out this image:
This is a relatively high resolution image and would work fine for any game at this point (2004). Some people who are either ignorant or lazy would simply draw a selection of the image in Photoshop, resize it and save it, then call it a texture. This is what 'photorape' is. Photo-texturers are given a bad reputation by these people, photo-textures are now the industry standard for FPS games, but they are often far more difficult to do well than scratch textures. Photo-textures typically have the following problems which need correction before they can be proper textures.
- Flash-spots from the camera
- Barrel-distortion and rotation
- Color inaccuracy
Note i said 'typically,' occasionally you have a really excellent photo-source. I chose this case-study in particular because it has all 3 of these major problems. Now that weve covered those bases, let's get down to work shall we?
Start by opening your copy of Photoshop, this tutorial was written using version 7.0. Download the uncompressed source image here . Open up your grid settings, they can be found in Edit / Preferences / Grids, Guides, and Slices... then set it up according to the image below.
If you dont see a grid press 'Ctrl - H' . If when you draw a selection, it doesn't snap to the grid, press 'Shift - Ctrl - ;' . These are important hotkeys and u may want to write them down if you dont already know them.
Select the layer with the unedited source image and go to Edit / Transform / Distort . Turn off grid snap but keep the grid visible, select the control points at the corners and drag them around to correct for the camera-perspective distortion. This source image has a downwards perspective, this can be corrected by drawing the two upper points inward as shown below
Once you have it so it looks like the outer edges of the cabinet are parallel with the grid lines, press enter. That corrects one of the three problems, now we will be addressing the color problem.
This image is suffering from wash-out and too much blue. There are several different tools for correcting color in PS, they can all be found under Image / Adjustments . 'Hue/Saturation' , 'Brightness/Contrast' , and 'Color Balance' are sufficient for just about everything. Color balance is a very simple one to use so open up that window and play with the slide bars. In it's original state the image has too much blue coloration, so try pulling the bottom slide bar towards the yellow side until the preview has a more natural wood tone to it.
The settings above are what i found to work best, now that the color tone is improved, open up 'Brightness/Contrast' , and play with the slide bars in that window to give the image more contrast and less brightness. I settled on the settings shown below.
Ok you now have a symetrical and properly colored source image. The final problem of flash spots has to be corrected manually and very carefully. I'll be covering that later in the tutorial. Now we'll be moving on to arranging the image sections and resizing.
Select the main layer, if you have your grid turned on, hit 'Ctrl - H' , and turn it off for the time being. Draw a big selection around the left cabinet. If your selection doesnt quite fit the outer edges of that cabinet you need to adjust the distortion more. Your image should look quite similar now to what i have below.
Once you've got the cabinet selected nicely copy it and paste it back as a new layer. Then turn both grid and snap on, and hit 'Ctrl - T' . This is also a very important hotkey. Drag the control points of the layer around and fit it into the top-left corner. I sized it to be 2 horizontal grid points by 6 vertical, click here for an image if you feel confused. Now do the exact same thing for the other cabinet on the right side. Leave a space in the middle 4 grid points wide for the TV thing. When you're done you should have this:
Now hide the 2 cabinet layers by clicking on the 'eyeball' things next to them in the layers box. draw a selection for the upper portion of the center cabinet, starting from the bottom edge of the center shelf to the crown at the top of the cabinet. Just like I've done below.
Now paste that in as a new layer and use 'Ctrl - T' again to resize it in between your two resized cabinets. I made it 4 horizontal grid squares by 2 vertical. Click here for clarification. Now hide all your new layers and select the lower part of the center cabinet down to the floor and paste that in as a new layer. Then resize it to fit in nicely with the rest of ur resized layers, this should be obvious but here's an image nonetheless: