How does one actually make a UV texture?

Hello,

So I’m trying to get into 3D character development. I understand the technical aspect of unwrapping the surface of a 3D model and mapping it to an image file, since there’s millions of tutorials about that, but I do not understand how the artistic aspect of actually creating the UV texture. I’ve seen a few tutorials about how to do it for background elements like wood floors and stone walls, but not character parts, like faces or clothes. If anyone has any tips or knows of any tutorials out there about this subject, I would greatly appreciate it.

If you need to know more about where I’m at and what I’m trying to make, I’m mostly interested in fantasy/sci-fi anime-esque characters for RPG and brawler games. I like the character designs from games like Radiata Stories, Star Ocean 3, Shining Force EXA, Crimson Tears, Grand Chase and Elsword. I used to make a lot of 2D sprite animations, like this guy but it’s a major hassle and outdated these days, hence the jump to 3D. I sometimes experiment with more traditional 2D art, but I don’t much care for that form of expression. Often I’ll skip complex shading and just use flat colors or tone areas, but sometimes I try harder, and sometimes I just fool around with other techniques like manga toners or digital painting.

I have made some simple 3D characters and backgrounds, but the best I can manage with the textures is to use solid colors. I feel like the main problem is that when I do 2D art, I use colors for shading and lines for structure, but in 3D, shading comes from the light source and structure comes from the model, except for small items like rivets or seams that would be unnecessary use of vertices on a game sprite.

“I’ve seen a few tutorials about how to do it for background elements like wood floors and stone walls, but not character parts, like faces or clothes.”

This might help from CGCOOKIE:

Unwrapping a Female Character

http://cgcookie.com/blender/2010/03/02/unwrapping-a-female-character/

OK, a bit old as in Blender 2.5 but the principals should be the same as it is the new GUI.

Alot more Texturing / UVing tutorials there also:

http://cgcookie.com/blender/category/tutorials/texturing-uvs/

This one might also help re making a texture for UV:

You don’t have to let the computer handle lighting and shading if you don’t want. You can hand-paint the light in if you like, and just use a shadeless material. Here is an example I did awhile ago:

For more references/inspiration, you can thumb through these:
3dMini #40 : entries | thread
3dMini #35 : entries | thread

I really like your work btw. The 3D model examples remind me of PS1 era fighting games.

This might help from CGCOOKIE:

Unwrapping a Female Character

etc…

Let me repeat, I completely understand the technical aspect of applying a UV texture to a model, which is all these tutorials do, but I don’t understand how to make a UV texture in the first place. Colors, brushes, strokes, screentones, edging, that kind of thing.

You don’t have to let the computer handle lighting and shading if you don’t want. You can hand-paint the light in if you like, and just use a shadeless material.

I’ve dabbled with pre-shading in the past. It looks great in a gallery kind of viewer, but for the kind of action games I like to make, characters are often doing backflips or getting knocked on their tails, so pre-shading becomes very obvious very quickly. It also means I can’t use environment lighting to distinguish one location from another.

Although . . . It might be an interesting exercise to make a pre-shaded texture and then try to remove the pre-shading and see what I’m left with.

I really like your work btw. The 3D model examples remind me of PS1 era fighting games.

Thanks. It was designed for Flash, so I felt compelled to keep the vertex count and texture sizes low.

The character models in Radiata Stories are pre-shaded. You can’t go too crazy with cast shadows as that indicates the direction of a light source, but painting in wrinkles and things isn’t going to throw someone off; especially in motion.

Screenshot of character backflipping for example, note the shadows are not technically correct (undersides are darker, even though they’re facing the lightsource). They’re just painted directly into the texture.


AceSV, you might also want to take a look at these aging videos by Ben Simonds.

Basic idea is to use “cavity maps” as a starting point to creating texture, you can get them like mr. Simonds does in those videos, by painting dirty vertex colors and baking them out, or you could also try baking out ambient occlusion and use that instead (or even in conjunction).

There is also Kent Trammell’s awesome Realistic Portrait series, he uses somewhat similar approach but also dives into actual texture painting right inside Blender.

These are all faces, but the same techniques can be extrapolated to clothing as well.

I recently did a web search on texturing space craft. Came up with a helpful tutorial. I know it’s not exactly what you’re looking for but you might be able to glean some info from it. You’ll need Photoshop though.

This one shows how to create textures or ‘skins’ for Blender models. Hope this helps or even close to what you’re looking for. I had the same problem but eventually I’ll work it out.