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How to create a realistic looking turtle - Part 2
How to create a realistic looking turtle - Part 2
sdb1987, added 2005-09-08 20:01:57 UTC 67,487 views  Rating:
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Hi everybody!

With the second part of the tutorial (the first one was about the modelling) I will explain how to make a seamless texture map using a marvellous tool that you can find in Maya: the Convert to File Texture (Convert to Solid Texture in Maya 2.5).

First of all I want to thank Massimo Liani, senior TD at DarkSide, who tought me this technique that can be used every time you need to make a texture map with drawings, lines or other graphic elements that have to go seamlessly all around your model.

An example of seamless texture map

Let�s start!

To work better, open Maya and Photoshop, too.

Since this technique is quite complex, I will use simple texture maps to apply to the tortoise-shell.

Using the Layer Editor (Window>General Editors>Display Layer Editor) hide all the parts of the turtle except the tortoise-shell.

Since we will begin from the top drawing the texture map, you need a reference of the top part of the tortoise-shell:

1. Go in the top view
2. Press Alt+LMC (left mouse click)+MMC (right mouse click) and "fill" the top view with the tortoise shell
3. Press Print Screen on your keyboard (this gets a snapshot of what is displayed in your monitor)
4. Go to Photoshop (Tip � Use Alt+Tab to change application)
5. Press Ctrl+N
6. Press OK in the window that appears
7. Press Ctrl+V

Using the , cut the image paying great attention: you need only the image of the tortoise-shell and nothing else since you will project it to the top of your model. Have a look at the pictures below.

The screenshot � the dotted line shows how to cut the image You must be veryaccurate

Once you get the right image, you can begun drawing your texture; before this, change the image resolution to 1000 x 1000, so you�ll get a more detailed texture and you can go closer with the camera.

(Tip � to work better, use the image as reference and draw on different layers; set the opacity of the "drawning layer" to 50% or less).

In this step you have to draw your texture map as it would appear from the top. As I said at the beginning of this tutorial, to better undestand the technique, we will use no realistic looking texture maps, but:

pattern - to see how the texture will be deformed

lines - to see how we can control them all around th model seamlessly

gaudy colors � to identify the different parts of the texture map

So, using these images as reference, draw the top texture map.

The reference image - The Top texture map

As you can see I used a pattern for the tortoise-shell, a gaudy green for the border (4-5 pixel) all around the tortoise-shell. I filled the rest of the image with the same color not to have problems with the projection of this map (in the picture above I traced the border to show you its width. In the final map you don�t have to trace it (see the picture below);

The Top texture map to use

the same with the lines (the red lines in the picture above). Since we will project this map, we won�t have problems with the image that goes outside the model; but you will understand this better, later.

Now we are ready to project this top texture map onto our model. Let�s see how.

1. Save your image in tga format
2. Name it top_Projection
3. Go back to Maya
4. Window>Rendering Editors>Multilister
5. RMC and choose Edit>Create�
6. Press Surface Shader in the Create Render Node window (Fig.1) under Surface Materials (we use this shader because it isn�t affect by lights, so we won�t have problems when we convert it with the Convert to File Texture tool)
7. DoubleClick on the Surface Shader icon name and rename it topProjection
8. DoubleClick on the Surface Shader icon and click in the topProjection window (Fig.2), near Out Color
9. Choose As projection and press File (Fig.3)
10. Press   in the window that opens, near Image (Fig. 4)
11. Press   in the window that opens, near Image Name and load the top_Projection file (Fig. 5)

Fig. 1 - Fig. 2 - Fig. 3

Fig. 4 - Fig. 5

Now we have to assign the topProjection shader to the tortoise-shell:

1. Go in the top view

2. LMC on the topProjection shader in the Multilister

3. Select the tortoise-shell

4. RMC in the Multilister and choose Edit>Assign