#59: SHADOWS & LIGHT (Vue)
#58: ADVANCED DIRT MAPPING (Vue)
#57: SSS IN VUE 9, AND THE "SPECKLE" PROBLEM
#56: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAIL OF ART
#55: FIXING POSER CLOTHING
#54: MAKING "FOREST WAR - GOBLIN SHAMAN"
#53: MAKING A STUDIO RENDER FOR VUE
(and other apps)
#49: NEBULA MKIII (Vue)
#48: RENDER SETTINGS FOR VUE (Vue)
#47: POSTWORK - MAKING A RENDER INTENSE (Any)
#46: MAKING RIVERS THAT FOLLOW TERRAIN HEIGHTS (Vue or Bryce)

WEATHERING YOUR 3D ART

 Using 2D applications, like Photoshop and Paint Shop pro, you can add grunge, age etc to 3dDtextures, as well as paint of course :)
In 3D Applications, you can apply these "weathered" textures, as well as create your own effects inside the apps themselves: dirt mapping.


1) UNDERSTANDING "WEATHERING"

  Real world surfaces of objects are rarely ever, clean and perfect. This is vital to note, as it's part of what makes things look "real". Remember, in digital art, your goal is to trick the viewer into making what you make believable or intriguing. You have to "con" the eye of the audience into accepting something as real. Sometimes that may actually mean making something that you know is odd, but the end result is good!

Thus, "grunge" is GOOD!! ;) It's vital to achieving realistic looking objects.

Surfaces get affected by several factors:

  • Staining. This may come from dripping water, of spattered mud, or spilled materials.
  • Sun bleaching. Over time, the UV rays and heat from the Sun bleaches and fades colours.
  • Physical damage. Corners of objects get hit, surfaces get scratched, dented and parts broken.
  • Add ons. Someone may slap a poster on a wall, another layer of paint etc.
  • Irregularity. Paint jobs, wood etc are rarely perfect and will have variance. It's especially important to remember this about historical or hand made items, as they don't have perfect manufacturing standards! ;)

2) EXAMPLE OF WEATHERING A COPPER SPHERE
Note how the sphere on the right has smears and greenish verdigris. Not perfect yet, but still much more realistic than the "perfect" sphere to the right (which I added some blotchiness to anyway, previously, as pure copper is very unbelievable in most scenes).

weathered copper


3) WEATHERING TEXTURES IN PHOTOSHOP ETC

  2D Textures made for 3D objects in Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro etc, can of course, and should be, weathered.
Methods for adding weathering to an image:

  • Brushes. You can find lot of brushes specifically for grunge. Careful use of them can easily add staining etc to a texture, as they are designed to look like such features.
  • Smearing, blurring etc of paint. You can paint some shapes, then use Gaussian Blur to soften it, Motion Blur to smear it on one direction (great for water staining dripping down a wall etc). Or use the "Liquify" tool (Photoshop) or Warp Brush (Paint Shop pro), to distort the texture itself. That's great for making things not so perfect and repetitive. Radial Blur can make dirt or weathering look like it's spread out from a source, say an exhaust or bullet strike.
  • Use varied bits of effects on different layers with different layer settings. One layer maybe in Soft Light, another on Multiply. You can actually paint weahteirng in grey on a new layer, set it to multiply and ti will darken the original texture. I often make layers for "dirt" and "scratches", and "edge highlights".
  • Plugins. Some Photoshop Plugins can be good for adding weathering. A very good plugin of that type is "Machine Wash", by "Mister Retro".

WEATHERING #1

  • With this image, I started with 50% grey fill.
  • Then in a selected rectangle to the left, I chose a darker grey, used the FIll tool, but set a Pattern, rather than the normal "Fore Ground Colour". This gives an interesting textured, partially transparent fill over the base grey.
  • Next, in another rectangle more to the right, I repeated this fill, and applied the Radial Blur filter, to show how it smears things out in a way reminiscent of an explosion pattern.
  • In the final, furthest right area, I used some specific Grunge brushes in Photoshop.
Weathering  1

WEATHERING #2

  • In this image, over a sandy brown colour, on the left, I opened a new layer, and with a darkish grey colour and normal paint brush, I painted in some strokes, and set the layer to "Overlay". This made the grey alter the underlying brown, making it darker. This is a nice trick to add grunging you can alter at will, without messing up the underlying image, as it's on it's own layer! It doesn't add colour though.
  • In the middle I used a "Machine Wash" plugin, choosing a lighter brown colour for the effect, and a darker slightly greenish one too. The result is an interesting, natural-looking effect.
  • On the right side, I used a large grunge brush, with a grey colour, but set to "Color Dodge", which makes it greatly lighten the colour, giving a distressed, sun-bleached look.
weathering #2

  Now, I'm not going to explain to you HOW to make and paint weathering in 2D, beyond this, it's up to you! Look at real objects for reference, it's largely learning for yourself :)

  This is, IMHO, one of the best tutorials on weather painting itself, on the Net, by James O'Donnell

4) WEATHEIRNG IN 3D

  In your 3D app, you can apply the weathered textures you've made in 2D. You can also use many 3D apps material systems to add weathering . I've explained how to do this in Vue, in a previous tutorial: "Dirt Maps in Vue".
  Basically, you can mix two materials, or overlay them, or the like, depending on how your app works, with the idea to add a dirty, weathered, but largely transparent material, over the main material, to make it look dirty and real.

  The big advantage to using "dirt maps" and procedural or mixed materials to create dirt, rather than just a single image, is that you can vary the dirt at will, thus using the same material, you can make it very dirty, or covered in green slime, or ornage rust etc.


SHIP WITH WEATHERING

  Here, weathering has been applied in different ways.

  • The metalwork and wood panelling has an overlayed procedural material, giving random dirty looking marks.
  • The turret at the rear has two materials: one shiny steel, the other rusty steel, and they blend together using a procedural function, to make the bottom dirty, but not the top.
  • The hull has a special function driving the dirt: it's a mix of a random procedural and an image based on the UVmap of the model which let me place dirt precisely. The random function adds convincing natural touches.
  • The sails are painted textures. I used two layers to make the image: base pale tan, then over the top a layer with a very large texture with darker tan-brown applied. Then using layer maskes I ate away much of the top layer, leaving darker areas near the edges, which I left thicker near the places where the sail is tied down.
ship with weathering

SHIP WITHOUT WEATHERING

The weathering has largely been removed (except the sails), and you can see the difference.

ship without weathering

4) ADJUSTING A 3D TEXTURE TO MAKE IT LOOK MORE REALISTIC

  Here, I start with a basic procedural material in Vue, and try to get it more realistic. To do so, I went nad looked at pictures of actual bronze and copper. From them I got correct colours using the Photoshop "Eye Dropper" tool, and tweaked away, to get a roughly decent weathered bronze.

ORIGINAL MATERIAL

  It's not very realistic, is it? ;) Corroded metal like that would have more staining. Verdigris is a pale greenish grey, and it builds up on a surface as it forms crusts, not into the metal.

FIRST TWEAKING

  Here, the colour is more like old bronze, actually setting the material colour in Vue to match colours from pictures. Areas of verdigris though are *not* shiny, it's a chalky material, so it needs more work.

FINAL MATERIAL

  It's sitll not perfect but a LOT better than it was :) The verdigrisis the right colour, and sticks out of the metal. The bronze has a lto of patina, but it too lightfor "odl" bronze, it's nice for recent, but corroded bronze though. To make it older, it's very simple ot merely darken down the colour driving the bronze.

I hope you find this of use! :)
Silverblade,© 2008

HOME
All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012