This chapter begins with an overview of the topics. General advice: save all the images you can, you may want them later. The author defines a resource as any digital image that helps you create your art. (page 132) This includes photos, scans, images that inspire you to do something, and more. The author recommends getting a large hard drive to store your resources on, which is good advice for anyone who works on a computer.
The author discusses creating original art from scratch in Photoshop, which is the most likely method of avoiding unauthorized use of someone else's art. Note that I did not say it was a sure way. It is still possible to create derivative art if you are basing your art too closely on someone else's.
A variation that the author discusses for several pages is taking digital photos of interesting source material, and using them either as references when you create art, or using them as source material to manipulate in layers in Photoshop. He makes a point with the images on pages 138 and 139 that an image can become something new when used as a part of a new texture. Look at the image of the hair dryer intake vent on page 138, and compare it to the "sewer grate" on the same page. You can see that the art was based on the original image, but enough has been changed to make it look more solid, more weathered, more like the end result the author wanted.
The author provides some general tips on taking photos that will be texture resources:
The author recognizes that you can buy collections of digital images that may be of some use, but he recommends not using them unless you change them significantly. He recommends not using stock game art because it has all been used before. He recommends not using photos from collections of pretty photos, because they typically do not have interesting textures in them. He does recommend collections of textures, but recommends more strongly gathering your own image resources, swapping with friends who get their own as well, and always compositing and modifying to create a new end result in Photoshop.
The author is a little vague in his discussion of looking for images on the Internet. He points out that they are often low resolution images, and that they are often copyrighted. The second issue is more of a problem for most students who have not been taught to keep their hands off someone else's work, even if it is posted on the Internet. In general, look on the Internet for information, for references, for inspiration, but not for free art. If you are researching what something looks like, fine, look it up. And when you find it, make your own image based on the information you found.
The author briefly discusses using a 3D modeling program, like 3DS Max, to model an object and to render an image of it. His focus in this book is using Photoshop, so he does not go into detail about this method. We will cover it with a bit more depth in this class, and will cover it again in the next six classes in this curriculum.
On page 152, the author turns to things you can do in Photoshop to clean up digital images and get them ready to use. He talks about several uses of the Crop tool, warning us first that the use of the Crop tool is generally permanent: you can't reverse it. For this reason, and many others, never modify your only copy of any file.
Page 157 illustrates the effects possible with the Free Transform tool. The author explains that you may have to reshape an image a lot to get it in shape to work with another image. Be advised that you can use this tool to make an image bigger, but that will not increase the pixel depth of the image. It will try to interpolate pixels, guessing what the missing pixels might look like, and putting those guesses in place in the image.
Tutorial 4-1, Tiling Stones: The author discusses tiling images for several pages, and you should look over this material, but it will be clearer once you start the tutorials that begin on page 169. This tutorial continues through page 179. Carry out all the steps, and make sure to save your work incrementally. Show me your work periodically through the lesson.
Crop Tool Exercise
We will also do an exercise in class to practice using the crop tool to correct a bad camera angle.