View Full Version : Tutorial: Painting a face/skin texture in Photoshop. Color map.
11-09-2005, 04:37 PM
Some time ago, I had a request to make a skin tutorial and here it is.
We will be making a color map for a face, female. Color, specular color, transparency and bump maps for the eyebrows and color and transparency maps for the eyelashes. I have a different tutorial on how to texture the eyes. (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=244153) (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=244153)
This tutorial is written for users with some previous knowledge of Photoshop.
I assume you have a UV-map of the head you are going to texture. The UV-map I have is in one piece, I find it easier to texture that way. It isn't necessary to have the same UV-layout as me, as the main idea behind this tutorial is to show brush settings, layers, workflow etc.
While you work, test your texture in your 3D-application to see what it looks like.
I recommend using many layers, layer modes (screen, hard light etc), layer masks, adjustment layers, and for those of you who have later versions of Photoshop, do make use of the layer sets. However, this tutorial should work with most versions of Photoshop.
I will also use custom brushes. If you don't know how to make them, I will start this tutorial showing how I make and use them for skin textures.
At the end of this tutorial you should be able to use this technique, both for creating a color map in conjunction with spec, bump/displacement/normal maps etc. or use it for sub-surface scattering.
So let's get started!
We're starting off with the brushes.
11-09-2005, 11:39 PM
speechless, this is a perfect tutorial on ppl who wants to get into face texturing!
SOOO..... when is the tutorial on bump map and spec map coming? :p
11-10-2005, 09:52 AM
Over to the texture...
First open up your UV-layout image from your 3D-application in Photoshop. Make a copy of the background layer.
Set the background layer to layer mode Screen and lower the opacity, I usually use around 20%. This is so that it will be easier to see the underlying layers. If your UV-map is white with black lines then:
Invert layer: Image - Adjustments - Invert (CTRL+I) or
Keep it white and set the layer mode to Multiply instead.
Next we will change the background colour in the background layer to a nice skin colour. For this texture a pinkish caucasian colour. Below are the main colours I use for my facial textures. I suggest you either use these colours and/or make your own palette of colours depending on the race of the character in question.
Study other people's skin colour; in real life or from photographs. If you are using photos as a reference, please take note that the photos might be tinted and not totally correct in colour.
Make a copy of the pinkish background layer
Add Filter - Noise
Choose a setting that will be appropriate for your texture (size of texture, the character etc)
Add a small amount of Filter - Gaussian Blur
Add Filter - Pixelate - Facet
Set the layer mode to Soft Light - lower the opacity to 20-30%
Duplicate "Base Skin Layer 1" - rename it "Base Skin layer 2"
Use Levels to get greater contrast.
The colours might be saturated, if so use Hue/Saturation to lower the saturation.
Add Gaussian Blur to Base Skin Layer 2
11-10-2005, 10:02 AM
Now it's time to start painting, so bring out your Wacom pad or other digital pen. If you don't have a pen, then you have to set the opacity of your brush to very low and slowly build up the colours.
What I usually do is, I almost always use the Flow setting of the brush rather than Opacity. When you want to use the opacity/flow settings you have to check "Other Dynamics" and choose Pen Pressure. 0% is for an even result when painting.
For this test I have used a custom irregular brush with semihard edges.
The difference is, as you can see, that when you set the opacity to a lower setting then you can't get the colour to be any stronger than the opacity setting you have set. Sometimes this can be good of course.
The Flow setting, the lower the setting the softer result you will get. There's less colour in each stroke.
Using both Opacity and Flow will also get very good results. If you're new to Photoshop I recommend that you experiment with different brushes and different settings.
You can also change the softness/hardness (firmness) settings on your Wacom pad. I have an old Ultra Pad and I know that on the newer ones there are quite a few settings. As there are so many different digital pens and pads, I won't go into those settings. But for best results and a good workflow which suits you, I recommend you get to know those settings.
Back to our texture:
Create a new layer for each colour that you will use, let the two base skin layers be on top of all layers, except the one with the UV-layout.
Now pick a semihard irregular brush, make it quite big and work with a low opacity/flow setting.
Remember to activate the correct layer (by clicking on it in the layers palette) each time you change colour. This way it will be easier to change the opacity setting of the layer or the layer mode, erase parts of one colour or change the colour entirely.
Remember when you're painting, this is a human face with irregularities, assymetry and imperfections. And this is the color map, no shininess or shadows.
Yellowish areas are around the mouth, around the eyes and some forehead.
Areas that will be red are the cheeks, nose, chin and some forehead.
Blueish/purpleish colour around the eyes, especially between the eye and nose.
Lightblue colour around the eyes.
Pink is for the inside of the eyes.
With these colours we get this result.
11-10-2005, 10:06 AM
We will add some freckles, birthmarks and other marks.
Use big custom brushes to click-paint and then click-erase a lot of what you have painted. Vary the sizes of the brushes.
Use different colours, different layer modes (multiply, darken), lower the layer opacity settings. You only want a little of these marks, but it all depends on the character you are making the texture for.
Be careful not to make the character look dirty, unless that's the intention.
This is the result after I have added a couple of "marks layers".
Add some more birthmarks by painting them with a semisoft irregular brush(orange/brown) and a hard brush (darker brown).
This is what we have so far:
11-10-2005, 10:17 AM
Lips, nostrils and ears
Next is the mouth. Create a new layer (and new layer set), name the layer "Mouth base colour".
Let the mouth layers be on top of the Base Skin Layers.
Pick an orange/red, quite desaturated colour for the lips.
Pick a semihard round brush. Uncheck the brush opacity (Other Dynamics), the base colour of the mouth will be painted with a solid colour.
Paint the shape of the mouth, use the UV-layout as a guide. Go back and forth between the 3D-application if you need to, to make sure the lip colour is in the right place.
The following images are shown at 200%.
Create a new layer, move it so that it's underneath the Mouth base colour layer.
Next, I recommend creating a new layer for each new colour, as it is easier to make changes that way.
To make sure you don't paint outside of the mouth, CTRL-Click on the "mouth base colour layer" in the layer palette, that way you will stay inside the selection when you paint. To hide selection, press CTRL-H and to show the selection press CTRL-H again.
For the following I usually use my irregular custom semihard brush, and with "Other Dynamics" checked for opacity.
Pick a very light colour (light yellow, light pink, light orange) and paint lightly around the mouth, especially above the mouth.
New layer - on top of the base colour layer, pick a darker reddish colour to give the lips a variation of colours.
A new layer again, this time pick a lighter colour. I have painted mainly along the edges of the lips.
A new layer, and with a small brush, paint a few soft "lines" and some variations using a darker colour, around the middle of the mouth.
Remember this is only the colour map. Spec and/or reflection map will take care of the shininess.
This is a mouth without lipstick. If you want lipstick for your character, then use your lipstick colours and then make a specular or reflection map for the shininess.
Next we will paint the nostrils. Use the UV-map as a guide.
Use a dark redbrowninsh colour for the middle of the nostril and a pinkish colour surrounding it.
I usually put some colour to the ears as well. Areas were the cartilage is close to the skin is usually more yellow in colour and the fleshier areas redder/pinker.
Create two new layers, one for each colour. Use a soft brush and paint with a low opacity setting. Use the UV-map as a guide.
This is the finished face color map.
11-10-2005, 10:23 AM
Eyebrows & eyelashes
The eyebrows can be done in several ways.
As this is a texturing tutorial, we'll texture the eybrows. I have two separate objects for the eyebrows and have imported the UV layout into Photoshop.
The image is cropped, the original image is 512x512.
Let the background layer be pure black, or it won't become totally transparent in your render.
Start by drawing the general shape of the eyebrow on a separate layer.
Next use a small, hard brush to paint the little eyebrow hairs. I have used the following settings.
Use a white brush on a black background layer. This will be our transparency map.
Study different people's eyebrows, some are bushy, some are naturally neatly combed. Notice the direction of the hairs. This is a plucked eyebrow.
But to make the eyebrow look more real, add some smaller hairs around the eyebrow and some in among the other hairs. Just simply use a smaller brush. Again I do this on a separate layer.
Pick a softish brush and lower the opacity, paint in some white colour on a layer below the other layers. This will make the eyebrow look softer and a little darker.
This is the finished transparency map.
11-10-2005, 10:32 AM
But what about the colour you say? You can either use a procedural for the colour or paint a texture. I paint a very simple texture. I have used a variation of brown colours.
I have used one of the layers to make a bump map, with a very low setting in the 3D-application.
For the specular color map I have used a copy of the main eyebrow layer and added a layer mask. I have used a black, soft, low opacity brush. With this brush, paint in the layer mask so that the eyebrow is not so strong in colour. You could also use a eraser to get the same result, but I often use layer masks, as it's easy to make changes that way, by just using a white brush to get the image/layer back. I have used a light blue colour and a brownish colour to paint lightly over the eyebrow in the paint mode. You go from the mask mode to the paint mode by simply clicking on the thumbnails.
These are the maps for the eyebrows. Next we will start making the eyelashes. They can also be made in several ways, but this is how I texture them.
I use pretty much the same technique as with the eyebrows.
Use a small brush, with the same settings as you did for the eyebrows.
On a new layer use white colour to paint the eyelashes, this will be the transparency map.
The outer edges of the lashes are somewhat transparent and thinner. Unless of course the person is using mascara and you want really thick eyelashes.
To achieve that effect, add a layer mask. Use a soft brush to paint ireggularly over the eyelashes. Paint very lightly.
For the color map I have made a quick and simple texture.
And that's it!
Please let me know if anything is unclear or I have missed anything.
Bump and spec map for the face?..... Can't say when, it will have to wait a while.
But for now... Good Luck and Enjoy!
11-10-2005, 01:15 PM
whoa! what an awesome tutorial, this goes to my favorites! You rock.
11-10-2005, 07:26 PM
Amazing tutorial so far madart, I can't thank you enough! :buttrock:
11-10-2005, 09:47 PM
seriously, as I am currently working on/struggling with a face texture,
this comes in very handy,
thanks a lot
11-14-2005, 07:18 AM
Thanks for your comments! I'm glad to be of help.
11-29-2005, 01:04 AM
Madeleine thank you very much for listen to my request, you have no idea of how much this will help me, and i`m sure it will help a lot of artist out there.
Is well explain, beautiful results, is everything.
I notice this wonderful tutorial until now.
thanks, thanks, thanks....you`r the best..
11-29-2005, 06:35 AM
Thank you yolao for your kind words. I'm sorry, I should have send you a message, sorry!
12-17-2005, 06:31 AM
wow awesome tutorial!! i been looking for something like this so i know how to go about painting face textures too!! thanks so much!!!
oh if u applied it to a 3d model can u post some pictures? me just curious to see ur final outcome. thanks for the tut imma come steal some ideas off it later hehhee
12-17-2005, 07:08 AM
You're welcome! If you look at the first image of this thread, you will see the result.
12-20-2005, 03:18 AM
oh yeah doh im stupid.... nice skin texture just wonderin though since this is only the color map is that why the moles appear really really bold? cause i dunno to me everything else looks fine but the moles just stick out so much lol....
and why did you make ur model sad? whats wrong with him today? lol.... nice model and texture... god i really need more practice...
12-20-2005, 08:13 AM
12-27-2005, 05:34 PM
Thanks so much for the great tutorial!
This is the most through tutorial on texturing that I've ever seen.
Thanks again, and have a great new year!
12-27-2005, 06:54 PM
Great tutorial with all the right details on brush strokes and all. I've been pulling out all my hair on eyelashes for a very long time I was about to go back and just model them vs. painting them. I will have to give your style a try.
12-29-2005, 09:55 AM
Thanks for your comments!
noobie, you are right bout the moles sticking out, I suppose they could be more neutral. And why the sad face, don't know....
cecofuli, turbokitty77, sllink, thank you for kind comments. I am sure that the eyelashes that I made can be improved upon greatly :)
And a great new year to you too!
Will make the bump and spec map tutorials when I get back from my holiday in sunny Spain and get the plaster off my right arm. :)
01-04-2006, 07:34 AM
that's a great help Madart...though i follow the Dr. julans's (am i right???!!!) proces of texture painting a face map...this pretty interesting and i'll defenitely give it a try for my next model texturing.......please continue this and show also the way of finishing the specular, bump and the transparency maps also!!!...hanks a lot.....!!!
02-02-2006, 06:27 AM
dhruvsm, thanks for your comments.
The bump and spec map tutorials will be posted very soon.
03-21-2006, 11:49 PM
I effing love you. Great tut! Just what I was looking for. :)
03-25-2006, 07:33 PM
Great tutorial man, thanks!
03-26-2006, 08:47 PM
just wanted to say thanks, very cool tutorial !
04-10-2006, 06:01 AM
I would love to see the bump tut if you can. This tut iv very good and rare....
04-10-2006, 01:34 PM
Thanks for your comments all!
Sinnn, there is a bump and spec tutorial, just look below in my signature!
It's not specifically for this face (female face), but a more general one. I hope that it will be of help to you.
04-12-2006, 01:57 PM
Great tutorial! Very easy to follow and understand. Do you have something similar for clothing - shirts, pants, etc?
04-15-2006, 12:54 PM
mehn_15, sorry about the late reply, but no I'm sorry I haven't made any tutorials for fabrics. Couldn't find any other tutorials on that subject right now.
Thanks a lot..........and Thanks again..
04-26-2006, 08:44 AM
laltu dey, you're welcome!
10-25-2006, 08:18 AM
I have been looking for this exact info for 2 weeks. another forum members did not seem to want to be helpfull at all. this will help me see the true way to do this better than ever before.
10-26-2006, 05:22 AM
primemac, Glad my tutorial could be of so much help to you! Have you seen the other tut: Painting a bump and spec map?
10-26-2006, 03:14 PM
but i think u better to explaine how do u make glossing, reflection & bump maps on photoshop
really i liked the tutorial ... keep on
10-26-2006, 05:36 PM
al3ashiq64, thank you! But I didn't forget to make a tutorial on how to make a spec and bump map. I made that tutorial later on. Look in my signature and you'll see. :)
10-28-2006, 08:08 PM
11-15-2006, 07:21 PM
Woot for you! This is giving me a heavy foundation to start aggressively messing with photoshop. Thank you for posting these tutorials!
11-19-2006, 12:26 AM
super tutorial!! pls teach more :)
03-22-2007, 05:57 PM
i love the tutorial for the eyebrows, can you do one for how to do hair at all?
03-24-2007, 11:15 AM
magiclop, I read your question in the other thread as well.
There are many ways to make hair. It depends on if you're making a game character, a hi-res animated character, realistic or toon, a still image......
You can use a hair system like Maya Hair or XSI Hair, Maya Fur. You can model the hair and use textures...
I can give you a quick explanation on how to paint textures for hair.
You know how to make eyebrows, you basically use the same technique to paint hair.
This is an image with different layers laid next to each other, so that you can see the brushes and what I have painted on each layer. The final result is at the far right. You have to make an alpha map as well.
I will continue this when I get back home again, time flies... I have to rush out. Sorry about the half explanation.
03-25-2007, 11:21 AM
Right, to continue where I left off yesterday.... :)
To explain the image further, the background layer is a gradient and shows in all sections of the image.
I have used several layers with different brushes, a lot of them are standard Photoshop brushes. The colours here are very similar, you can use a greater variety in colours for a better result.
Then you need an transparency map, I usually desaturate the image and use levels and/or curves (adjustment layers) to increase the contrast. You know that black gives transparency.
One other way is to select all the layers, not the background layer though. Create two new layers and fill the selection with white on one of them. Fill the other layer with black and let that layer be below the white layer.
You might want to paint some hairs in your face texture to make the transition from skin to hair look better, but again that all depends on what you are working on.
I f you put your hair geometry close to the head or in strategic places, and work carefully at your textures, you should be able to get a good result.
But remember there are many ways to make hair, sometimes you'll use a combination of methods.
And this way is an old and very simple way of doing it.
Let me know if anything is unclear.
10-17-2007, 06:38 PM
Grat Tutorial, thank you so much for sharing :)
10-17-2007, 06:38 PM
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