3D Game Textures by Luke Ahearn

3D Game Textures by Luke Ahearn
Even if you aren’t a game artist, this book will help any digital artist learn to create photorealistic textures. One of the most important features of an image, and one that can make the difference between a good or a great image, is the textures you use. In 3D Game Textures the author, Luke Ahearn, teaches the basics for creating 3D game textures. The book is written for AdobeR PhotoshopR version 7 or CS, but can apply to future versions of Photoshop or any image graphics software supporting layers.

The first chapters cover the basics of visual art such as shape/form, light/shadow, texture, color and perspective. Ahearn uses several game art sample images to support the discussion, which makes it easier to apply these concepts to 2D texturing. Next, he gives you an overview of computer graphics including file formats, grids, UV mapping and shaders and teaches the reasoning behind his approach to creating 2D textures for 3D game art. He then moves on to Photoshop and the many features this software has that can be used specifically for digital texturing. He gives some tips for naming and organizing the large number of image files that you will soon accumulate.

Ahearn covers four real-world projects. The first is a sci-fi setting which requires only the base materials. He gives step-by-step instructions for creating metals for floor and wall paneling, pipes, hoses and venting. Next is an urban setting which requires the base materials and also a few textures for detail objects in the scene. The third project, a fantasy setting, was my favorite. It required the most detailed artwork so far and Ahearn discusses using the Photoshop painting tools. The textures created for this project will eventually be used with a shader. Some of the base textures he creates are stone walls and floor, wood beams, stucco and metal. You will also learn how to make detailed textures for a table, chest, fur rug, candle stick, book and parchment. The fourth project is an outdoor setting. When creating photorealistic textures for the trees and other organic subjects, Ahearn uses Photoshop layers and source photo overlays.

For each project, Ahearn starts with a concept sketch and identifies the base materials that will be needed for flooring and walls. He then moves on to creating textures for the detail objects such as tables, windows, rugs and doors. At the end of each project, he gives at least one variation. Lastly, the book covers the three types of visual effects; static, animated and particle. The CD that accompanies the book contains many photo source images.

Luke Ahearn has worked in the game development field for many years as a background artist, designer, producer and art director. He has written six books on game development.

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