Gosh, I’ve been holding out on posting about this since my grades were not updated as it should have been. Now, that that’s dealt with, though, I’d like to catch you all up to what’s been up in my education at Full Sail. 🙂
For the last month of 2017, Texture Painting and Sculpting (TPS, in short) ended the year nicely with even more knowledge I wish I knew from the beginning… The class taught two distinct ways to add texture maps onto meshes and both are amazingly fun to do, albeit time consuming.
Now, I’d hold off on linking to my ArtStation images since my future professor says it’s not organized well and was, quite frankly, weak (I entered a mini-depression here), but I digress and will still do despite me having to fix things later on. In the case that I forget to update the links, please let me know so I can fix them appropriately. I’d like to be sure that you folks can follow along as you read on.
The class, as always, is divided into 4 weeks of major projects. This time is no different. The first two weeks focus on handdrawing stylized textures a la World of Warcraft or League of Legends. The following two weeks are realistic using Substance Painter and following the footsteps of something like The Witcher 3 or Fallout.
We learned how to UV map more efficiently to help with the texture painting process. It is now a common school of thought for me to make sure to divide UV shells according to major part of the model. I also learned that we are able to overlap UV shells, only taking note that both shells will be mirrors of each other (meaning if you flip the model, you would se the exact light sources and shadow, but in reverse). Nothing to crazy is used here, only Photoshop once the UV snapshot is taken and saved. Within the layers, we are taught to utilize a similar pipeline to standard digital drawing: UV snapshot (lines) on top with multiply, colors underneath and base gray color at the bottom for a neutral baseline.
Following that, we learned that Substance Painter is an invaluable asset to any digital artist. Dabbling in some of in from previous classes, we have dedicated a full 2 weeks just to master its basic components. All the fancy materials that we have access to is very basic, but it has many uses even on that level.
How was it?
TPS was fun in the sense that I can finally go back to 2D hand drawing since it was my forte prior to 3D digital. And I’m learning cool tips for lighting and shading in 2D. This was always an issue with me. I can’t say I’ve perfected the art, but at least I’m moving towards the right direction. This goes for both Photoshop textures and Substance Painter texures.
I think my favorite part of Substance Painter was their smart brushes. You could literally paing in rain and it would rain on your object and leave residue. Just the best feature!
In Substance Painter, though, I had a rough time getting transparency to work as I wanted it. The ambient occlusion kept making my bottle fog up inside and it messed me up on my final renders. Opacity is a whole new moster, according to my teacher, so I did not get docked for any opacity issues on my final renders.
Tips for coming students?
If you are new to UV mapping or are uncomfortable with it, please work your way into a comfort zone in UV mapping. This is key to making great textures by means of making hard edges with separate UV shells. Means you’ve technically masked off an area without taking extra steps!
Photoshop hand drawn textures are hard to master since you turn lighting completely off and you have to draw in the illusion of light and shadows. I’m weak here, but I learned a lot since I was literally painting a 3D object. Color choice is primarily my issue. Which color hue and saturation to pick to make it look nice. I think I play colors too safely. I want to breach this hurdle one day soon.
Substance Painter is straighforward and there are tons of tutorials. You pretty much just import your stl file or obj file that is fully UV mapped and use the proper settings to upload and bake the high res mesh as your other maps. From then on, the painting is as traditional as it gets. A la coloring book style, really. Then you make sure to re-bake any maps and include any new maps you added (like omissive maps, if used) and export all into maps that you can plug into programs like Unreal Engine for showcasing. It’s all super intuitive.
I can say that this is one of the rare classes that really require raw skill and creativity in tool usage to get somewhere. 🙂
Also, make sure you have a drawing tablet of some sort. That will definitely be most recommended item to have beside your capable computer! I drew the 2D stylized textures on an iPad Pro 12.9″ via Procreate. Similar to Photoshop. Otherwise, I was using an Intuos Pro medium for Substance Painter. 😀
That’s all for Texture Painting and Sculpting for December 2017, and next up in January 2018, I’ll be heading straight into
Project and Porfolio 4!! OH NO!! — Correction: Game Characters, where we will be learning to play in zBrush! I’m a little intimidated since zBrush was so confusing the first time, but I’m hoping for the best…!