Monday, February 18, 2013

Mapping Textures

Often, an illustration that is painted all in Photoshop will have a soft, blended, bland surface. The following tutorial will show you how to use a texture to create a "bump map" that will liven up your image's surface. Photoshop will create highlights and shadows of your imported texture.

A gessoed, heavy brushstroke surface works well. See the blog post "Creating a Texture to Scan." The texture should be optimized to tile (covered in the previous blog post), and the resolution should be 200 to 300 ppi.

I started with a fully rendered painting, then made a composite Layer from all of the visible Layers (cmd-opt-shift-E).

The beginning illustration. Click on any image to enlarge.

Composite Layer (cmd-opt-shift-E).

To create a “bump map” texture over a selected area (or over the whole Layer if you don’t have anything selected), go to Filters > Filter Gallery > Texture > Texturizer. Next to the Texture drop-down menu there’s an icon for a flyout menu that allows you to load your own texture.

Use the drop-down menu to find your  texture. Photoshop also has presets.

Click on the flyout menu and choose your texture to load. Adjust Scaling and Relief. 

Consider blending the texture effect by lowering the Opacity for that Layer. 

Use a Layer Mask to tone down the texture in some places.

Also, mask out the texture effect in some places (like highlight areas). Click on the Layer Mask icon (on the Layer panel it is a light-colored rectangle with a dark circle in it) and paint black on areas to mask out the texture effect. Try painting at 50% opacity at first.

One problem with this method is that the brushstrokes are more or less random and don't follow the form. You can remedy this by using the Bristle Brush (on a copy composite Layer, of course). I prefer the Round Fan Stiff Thin Bristle variant, but I like to lower the Bristle Count to around 40% (on the Brush Panel). You can paint across the form to give the object dimension.

The Bristle Brush controls on the Brush Panel.

Just about done ...

You can blend in the Bristle Brush Layer by painting on a Layer Mask and/or lowering the Layer Opacity.

Now your illustration has a more interesting surface and brushstrokes that follow the form.