CAP 161 - Digital Imaging for Animation

Lesson 4 -The Sci-Fi Setting


This lesson covers material in chapter 5. Objectives important to this lesson:

  1. Concept sketch to texture ideas
  2. Tutorials: creating textures

The text calls this the first tutorial chapter. It has several lengthy tutorials for textures used in a "science fiction" scene. In my opinion, it could just as well be a waste treatment scene from Dirty Jobs. Regardless, let's take this as an art assignment. The author asks some reasonable questions on page 184, regarding the age, use, and materials used to make the "real" structure that we will be making textures for. Does that matter? Yes, it does. Whether we are texturing for a movie, a video game, or something else, we want to make the textures match the characteristics of the scene.

The author explains his plan to make several textures that can be combined and reused in the scene. The concept art shown on pages 182 and 183 is blurry and vague, but the descriptions of it on the following pages should be taken as specifications to the artist about what is needed for the scene. The author develops a list of required texture elements on page 185:

  • base metal for most surfaces in the scene
  • metal fill
  • wall panel
  • floor panel with grate
  • detail texture for vents, panel, bracket, hose
  • pipe
  • caution stripes

This is what makes a realistic job assignment: requirements from an authority that must be met (a director, art director, lead designer, or someone else in charge). Without knowing what must be done, it is impossible to complete an assignment. You may be as creative as any artist the world, but if you do not get the design goals and requirements at the outset, you will will be wasting your creativity and your time.

For each tutorial you do, you must show me your texture file for grading.

Tutorial 5-1, base metal: This tutorial begins on page 186. Carry out all the steps, and make sure to save your work incrementally.

  • In step 6, repeat the filter until the texture looks like it could be modified to be tiled
  • Note the instruction in step 11 to access the Fade options screen: ctrl-shift-f. This instruction is not repeated in the following steps, but you are expected to use it each time the tutorial tells you to fade the current image.
  • In step 12, enlarge the circle around the whole image to even the light on it. You do not want hot spots.
  • At the end of the tutorial, lower the contrast to make it more even, and less like a cheap, slag metal.
  • Save the file. Just giving it a name at the beginning is not enough. Save the completed version.

Tutorial 5-2, metal fill : This tutorial begins on page 187. Make sure to save your work incrementally.

  1. There are no numbered steps here. Begin by copying a part of the base metal texture.
  2. Make a new file, 256 by 256.
  3. Paste the copied texture into the new file.
  4. Lower the contrast. I took mine down to -64.
  5. Save the file with an appropriate name.

New assignment: The remaining tutorials are missing several pieces of information. We will continue with an alternate assignment.

  1. I will place two new brick wall images on the server. Copy these to your data drive.
  2. Examine these images and you will find that they do not tile well. Also, they are not usefully sized. You need to change both of these facts.
  3. Use the material from last week as a reference. Use the brick wall images as source material. Create new images that will tile well, and convert them to a proper square, power of 2 sized format. You may have to experiment to find a usable size.
  4. Show me both of the new textures as tiled images, using the test procedure from last week as a guide.