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   Discovery Zone: Texturing in TrueSpace

Texturing in TrueSpace
By Jon Kolton

Welcome! This tutorial has been designed to pass on to you; the pupil, the knowledge that I have gained through 4 years of using trueSpace in the field of texturing. It's not an easy thing, and you can expect to be working for long hours to get your textures to work just right for you, but hopefully with the help this tutorial will give you, you'll at least learn how to juggle. You can decide between the chainsaws and torches later. ;)

Alright.. Soap up Doc, it's time to operate!

Preface: UV Maps- Which ones and why?

There are 4 basic UV Projection types. (In versions earlier than 3.x there will be only the first three of these options)[figure 1]
1. Planar UV Projection: Specifies a rectangular image space. Use Object Rotate to reposition the mapping plane, which is squashed and stretched to match the object's cross-section as it is rotated about the object. The image is projected "through" the object, and appears on the "front" and "back" sides.

2. Cylindrical UV Projection: Specifies a cylindrical mapping space, much like the label on a can of food. This space can be moved as well as rotated.

3. Spherical UV Projection: Specifies a spherical mapping space. This space can be moved as well as rotated.

4. Cubical UV Projection: To apply cubic mapping, click on the UV Projection tool to access the UV Map panel, and select Cubic mapping from the far right. The resulting UV space is a six-sided (cubic) direct projection on every face of the selected object.

figure 1
Figure 1

In choosing your UV map, you should take into consideration the shape of the object. If your mapping a label to a wine bottel, you want to use a Cylindrical UV Projection, if you're texturing a planed, use Spherical projection; but all this will be explained in a later tutorial. For this project, I chose to use a Planar UV Projection seeing as how the Lifeboats Heat Shield is relatively flat, and the texture is really only detailed on the top of the object.

Getting Started

Step 1.
Now that you've got the basics of UV mapping, lets get into the planar mapping of the lifeboats heatshield. I won't insult you guys by telling you that the largest surface on the shield will be the one we're creating a texture for. (Ok, I said it anyway. You can never be too careful.) This technique can be used for Saucer sections and such also so when practicing, don't limit yourself to lifeboat heat shields. :)

Your first task is to move the axis to the center of the object by using the *gasp!* Move Axis to Center of Object button.     

Step 2.
Once this is accomplished, you'll want to copy the object and move it away from the rest of the mesh (assuming it isn't the only piece) then use the Look at Current Object button.     
Step 3.
Now zoom in untill the object occupies as much of the screen as possible without any of the sides extending beyond the boundries of the screen and delete all lights in the scene, setting the backround color to white.

Step 4.
Render this image as large as you need it remembering that the larger the image, the more memory it need to render, yet the better it looks and the closer you can get to it with the camera.

Step 5.
Open up the image you just rendered in Photoshop (or your program of choice). It should look something like figure 2.

figure 2
Figure 2
Step 6.
Now select just the black area of the image and copy it to the clipboard. Create a new image and paste the selection into it. The black area should now have absolutly no room between it and the edges of the image. Flatten the layers and your ready to start adding detail.

Step 7.
I've already taken the liberty of adding the details to this texture as your details will meet your own preferences. :) Here are some examples of the texture, bump map and shinyness maps that can be applied to your meshes.

Texture Map
Figure 2

Texture Map- Simply the image from step 6 with all your details and color added. It can be applied to the mesh with the paint over tool. Remember to set your UV map to Planar and fix the axis incase the image appears backward on the mesh.

Bump Map- These are the details from the texture map that you wish to be either recessed (darker portions) or raised(lighter portions).
Bump Map
Figure 2
Shinyness Map
Figure 2

Shinyness Map- This map is made by simply grayscaling the texture map and increasing the contrast. To apply this map (trueSpace 4.x only) you need to open up the reflectance shader and select Caligari Phong as your default, making sure the slider for shinyness is all the way up, and the slider for roughness is all the way down. As your next reflectance option in the field below the first select Matte. Then select your shinyness map as your image mask.
Step 8.
Now apply the texture map, bump map and shinyness settings and you have your final result.

I hope this tutorial helped shed some light on your texturing woes. It's not an easy process, but as with everything, practice makes perfect. Keep trying and you'll get it right. Trust me!

Jon Kolton -

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