Texturing Techniques:

The Cabinet Case-Study - Part 2

Written By Zintis Vandelis-Muir, Also Known as 'SLickY'

Well as I outlined earlier in the tutorial, there are 3 major problems which appear in photo-textures. Two of them have been corrected already, and the final one which needs addressing is flash spots, which are abundant in this texture and are very difficult to remove. Light is an important element to textures, they help add depth to your object, but flash spots are completely artificial and are a dead give-away for photorape, so they must always be removed.
If in the last part of the tutorial you lost your way a bit, have no fear, just click here to download the PSD file which is exactly where we left off.

Ok, now you may want to center the miniaturized and grid-fitted version, just because it's easier to work on this way. You can hide the large version image for the time being, there's no reason other than its a good idea to keep your work area tidy. That done, there are several areas which are going to be needing touching up, I've outlined them all in this image.

The basic tool which is used for touch ups is the clone brush, it's on the toolbar and has a little icon that looks like a stamp. You use it by holding 'Alt' and clicking on an area - this defines the image source, - then drawing elsewhere. If you still dont understand check the photoshop help file. We're doing to start by getting rid of the huge flash-spot in the center panel. Hold 'Ctrl' and click on that layer, it will generate a selection of that layer. Turn off the grid and hold 'Alt' , draw a big box to cut off the lower part of the selection with the center panel. Click here for an image to illustrate what i mean. Then copy this as yet another layer and paste it back in. Now as I explained a few sentences earlier, use the clone brush and select the right side of the panel then copy that part over the flash spot, use a brush size around 65, you can adjust it at the top-left. When you start cloning it in, it will look all spotty and bad, don't worry about this, just keep doing it and the colors will start to equalize. Just make sure when you're cloning you dont paste in bits from other parts of the cabinet. Once you feel that layer looks about even color-wise (click here for an example). You are going to apply some lighting to get rid of the remainder of the color variation. You may be thinking you just wasted 2 minutes getting rid of lighting only to re-apply it, but this is of a different non-artificial looking kind.

When you clone-brushed in the wood, you likely left crap around the edges, so first turn on the grid for a moment and select all the bits that went over the edge and cut them out by hitting 'delete'. OK now, let there be light! click on Filter / Render / Lighting Effects... , select 'Omni' as the light type, and play with the scales until you have a gentle sort of light spot in the middle of the layer. Your settings should be similar to those i have below.

Well one down, 4 to go, now zoom in (rather than using your mousewheel as you are probably doing, try using the '+' and '-' keys while holding 'Ctrl' it lets you zoom in at even increments, go to 200%, it will say it on the top bar.) at 200% zoom select a long thin strip of the wood you applied the lighting to, the strip should be about the same size as the strip of wood you see on the shelf thing just above. Click here for clarification. now paste that strip back in and lay it over the shelf strip. You may need to adjust the layers to make it be on top, you do this by clicking on a layer in the layers window, then dragging it up or down the list. Once you've got it positioned and layered on top, you may need to resize it to make it fit on top of the other strip so it covers it perfectly, use 'Ctrl-T' as I described earlier in this tutorial. Now you may notice the strip looks out of place, this is because it has completely consistent lighting on it. You are going to correct this using the 'dodge' and 'burn' tools. These are just fancy names for 'lighten' and 'darken.'

  • First select the burn tool, it will appear in the toolbar just above the capital 'T' which is for text. Right click on it and select the circle with the line coming out of it, this is the dodge tool and it may have been selected by default.
  • Select the layer with the shelf strip you made and set the dodge brush size to '3'. On the top bar next to the brush size set 'exposure' to around 20%, and put the 'range' on highlight. Then hold down 'shift' (this lets you draw things in straight lines) and draw a thin line with the dodge tool across the top of the strip you made.
  • Now right click on the dodge icon again and this time select the hand thing, this is the burn tool. Now repeat the same exact thing you did with the dodge tool only this time make the line along the bottom edge of the strip.

Once you've done this your image should appear like this . Now select the big center panel with the lighting on it and select another block, this one is going to be fitting into the cubby above the shelf strip you were just working on. Paste it in then fit it to the cubby space with 'Ctrl-T' as per usual. Then apply lighting to it as you did earlier with the center panel, only this time make it really dark. Play with the scales till it looks about as dark as you would expect for the inside of a shelf.

As you've likely noticed, even though you applied lighting to the the inside of the shelf and the big center panel, they don't quite have shadows as you might expect them to, this is simple to solve.

  • First select the layer you were just working on with the shelf hole, then right-click on it. Select 'Blending Options'
  • On the list on the right click on 'Inner Shadow' play with the different dials until it looks about right by your eye. If you feel unsure these are the settings i used
  • Select the center-panel you put the lighting on, give it an inner shadow as well. You should now have nice depth to your texture.

Well, have a look at what you've made so far, be proud of what you've done. The remaining things to be done for this texture are

  • To remove the flash marks from the top part with the little cabinets. I did this by copy and pasting the right little cabinet over to the left and giving it lighting
  • Apply dodge and burn to the edges all around the texture to enhance them.
  • Apply shadows around the cabinet doors. (Instead of Inner-Shadow try using Drop-Shadow)
  • Clean up the trim at the top of the cabinet (clone brush, or alternately, try copy and pasting a section of it in. Then use the eraser tool - just above and to the left of the dodge tool, - with a small brush size to blend it in over-top.)
  • Give the colors a final touch-up
  • Sharpen the image ( 'Filter / Sharpen' )

Having now covered how all of these things are done earlier in the tutorial in some way, I leave you to your own wits. Remember that every texture artist has his own style, and tutorials are a very limited way of teaching someone, self-teaching is a very important discipline. The fastest way to learn how something functions is by making mistakes, tutorials do not allow for this, bear that in mind. Tutorials provide linear understanding, a set of actions which let you arrive at a precise goal, imagine teaching a person how to draw by saying 'well first you pull your pencil upwards and then slant it sideways like this.' You may learn how to draw that object very quickly, but you will not actually understand how it's done. So i strongly recommend you learn as I and many other experienced texture artists have - the highly scientific process of playing around. Below is an image of my texture as I've completed it. Be thankful there is little else to be known about photo-textures that hasn't been covered here in some way. All that's left really is practice, lots and lots of practice. Remember it's tutorials that make the texturer; it's experience that makes the texture artist.

Good luck :)   - SLickY

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