Character Process Page 3

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Disclaimer: The point that I am trying to make with this tutorial is sort of conflicting with how I actually did it. I wrote this tutorial to help with the new technology, but it was applied to a model using old technology. Let me clarify. In the near future we will not be shading any volume in the diffuse map, only giving it color, same way we do in hi poly art. Then the normal map, and eventually geometry, will put in the shadows to show volume. This tutorial is to help with getting good skin tone, but because the character was not normal mapped, I still put in shadowing information. This is an incomplete tutorial, as it does not show my skin all the way to completion, but only shows a technique for skin tone.


There are a great number of texture tutorials out there. Having watched a great number of them, I have come up with this method for skin. I am not going to really focus on anything but the skin, because all the other parts were created using similar methods to all the other tutorials out there. The Hair was done using Adobes method, which works quite well.

The reason this method is different is that it combines the best of both of the main methods. I am speaking of painting all one one layer, where you have a pallette of colors that you pick from and paint all of them together. This allows for great results, if you are a great painter, but for most it can quickly lead to a muddy mess. It also doesnt leave room for much tweaking as everything was done on one layer. The second method is to paint all in greyscale, and then overlay a skin color. This method provides great tweakability, but doenst have that extra life that real skin has. My method allows you to have multiple layers, work only in greyscale so you can take your time, and still come out with a realistic looking skin. This allows you to revisit and tweak your volume layer (the greyscale) to your hearts content, and not worry about the colors getting all muddy.

First arrange your lights in the positions and color that you want to be on your character, then bake a light map using Tex porter or texture kiln, or whatever bake to texture plugin of choice. You need this to help you determine your light sources. On my model, there was enough detail in the geometry that most of the muscles and deformations were already formed by the tex porter bake in this map. This map will be referred to as "light map" you cant paint this entirely by hand if you want to as well. this should only have the large scale detail in it, such as biceps, pecs, calves, that sort. Anything finer, like the striations in a muscle, or the forearm muscles, save them for later. I will get to them, but it is important that this map only have about 60% of the volume information.


Adjust this layer, and blur to taste, so that it doesnt show all the evidence of the vertex based lighting. I will explain later, why this layer has a slight color cast to it, it is no longer pure greyscale.
Next, create a flood fill layer of your skin color of choice. You will not touch this layer other than to adjust the overall color. this is where many people stop when creating a skin map. The create the volume in a greyscale layer, and then overlay a skin color. As you can see the results are good, but not yet looking like real skin. it lacks variation in color.
This next step I cannot take credit for, I saw harlequin use it in his timelapse texture vid. it provides a nice amount of skin color variation. Switch over to your channels and do a render clouds once in each layer, red, green, then blue, Your result should look like this. A nice funky cloudy rainbow.
Set this layer to overlay over top of your flood fill skin layer. Then play with the contrast till it just varies your skin and not blows it into too many colors.
Check out how much just this did to your texture! So much more realistic. If you made your flood fill layer too bright previously, darken it so that when you overlay the rainbow layer it will be the correct lighting.