View Full Version : Texturing a starship

04 April 2002, 12:26 PM
ok this is destined to be the first of many questions about texturing...

lets say I have this spaceship right? and its rather complex in its design. Lets say i want to put dents, rust, chipped paint, smoke discoloration, and dripping grease from all sorts of different parts and boxes. What would be the easiest way to create the least amount of textures and still have them be able to look good on many different areas? For instance, could i make a grease texture and apply it in different ways to a box, a sphere, and a pipe and make it look good?

That brings me to my second question. If i use a bunch of different textures, like grease, chipped paint, and faded logos on the hull, how do i control what can be seen and not seen, for instance, can i make a logo on the side (think star wars or something) and have grease over it, on another texture layer? how would i control whats on top and what can be seen?

Any help here would be great. There will be more posts to come.

04 April 2002, 12:30 PM
ok even better, lets say that i make the base material a very matte black or matte dark could i add those details mentioned above, but still keep the matte grey or black?

Crap, forgot...
*****IM USING MAX 4*******

04 April 2002, 04:01 PM

The problem I aslways had with Max's Material Editor was it's lack of layering. I'm not sure if Max 4 does maybe now support this, but the last version of Max that I used was 3.1, and you caould only have one image in each channel.

If this is still the case, then you only really have one option:

You are going to have to make one hell of a huge and detailed image for each property

That means doing some kind of UV unwrap and exporting it to Photoshop and working on it.
Very important note - if you want the textures to look really good close-up, you are going to have to make these texture images really big.

So once you have your UV maps in PShop, then just make an image for colour, bump, spec, reflection, etc, just ensuring that they all interact with each other properly (eg. where your colour map shows dripping grease, make sure that the spec and bump maps show the blobby shiny grease too.) I find the best way to do this is to do each different map on a seperate layer - usually what I actually do is make a base layer for each attribute - for instance, for the colour map, I'll make a very basic colour wash, and then if I was to add, say, grease, I'd make that grease on a new layer called Grease Streaks or whatever, so when it comes to making the bump map, you can just copy that Grease Streaks layer over your basic bump layer, so that the bump shape and position for it will already be there. Once you have all your different attibutes on their various layers, then just show/hide the layers each and Save A Copy or whatever to get each property out individually. I hope this makes sense...

Unfortunately, this method does of course create HUGE PShop file sizes, and so your virtual memory can get a bit bogged down. So make sure you have at least 500Mb free on your HD that PShop uses as a scratch disk.

Otherwise, just switch to a different software, like Lightwave, which supports an infinite number of layers in each surface channel, so you can just stick 17 different images with alpha channels to make your surfaces the way they are supposed to be :)

However, I do use Lightwave, and I still do make all my base textures in the process I described above. It's just that I still then have the freedom to add more and more detail with other images...

Hope this helps you. If it seems a bit garbled (I've just woken up :o ) then just say so.

Otherwise, good luck!!

04 April 2002, 06:23 AM
no, that was admirably precise! Thanks for the answer. Although the lack of layering is...disturbig...i can work around it and just put all the weathering in the one texture. I will definitely try the UV unwrap. Thanks a lot!

04 April 2002, 02:20 PM
You know, I thought the days when users of other software (ironically, it always used to be Lightwave) would claim that 3ds max "didn't have" a particular feature just because 3ds max didn't implement it in exactly the same way as their preferred program were behind us.

If you want to "layer" textures in max, you can choose from the Mix map, the Composite map, or the Mask map, depending on the type of effect you wish to achieve and the types of images that you're using. For more complex "layering", you could use a Blend material, a Composite material, a Shellac material, and, for certain effects, a Double-Sided material.

You can use the UVW Map modifier to create up to 99 separate UV co-ordinate spaces for optimal positioning of your textures, should you choose to do so.

To the best of my knowledge, all of these options were available in 3d Studio Max 3.

In future, it might be an idea to replace comments like "EEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWW Max :( " with "I'm sorry, I don't know how to use 3ds max :confused: ".

04 April 2002, 03:54 PM
Hey there Socrates - ummm, I actually used Max for about 18 hours a day for 2 years and I think I pretty much knew the software inside out, I actually switched to LW because Max could no longer do everything that I needed it to do.
Yeah I know about compostite and mix maps, but they are not quite the same. Have you used LW?
Because in LW's surface editor, you can just dump image upon image into it using blending options similar th the blending options in Photoshop - multiply, divide, subtract and so on. This is the kind of layering that I was referring to, and it is a shame that not all software supports it :)
I have nothing against Max, I just find it frustratingly limited.

04 April 2002, 04:04 PM
Oh by the way, Antilles, glad my advice made some sense :)
Please, if you are actually making a starship, and this isn't merely a hypothetical posting, PLEASE POST IT WHEN YOU MAKE IT!!! :)
I'd love to see it :D

04 April 2002, 08:37 PM
I don't want to labour the point, but, as I implied, different software uses different methodology and terminology. The particular names that Photoshop uses for compositing functions (Blending Modes, in Photoshop terminology) aren't authorative. I'm having trouble visualising how a "Divide" function might work, if Photoshop should have such a mode (which, like "Subtract", it doesn't).

Your original response makes no mention of specific compositing functions or Blending Modes, or the lack thereof. One can certainly "stick 17 different images with alpha channels to make your surfaces the way they are supposed to be" in 3ds max. Why anybody would wish to unneccesarily increase rendering time by using such a technique is not clear to me.

I have no trouble at all admitting that "I'm sorry, I don't know how to use Lightwave", so it's entirely possible that Lightwave does have functionality that would be useful for this job. I just see no indication in your posts of what such functionality might be.

I have no particular axe to grind. I'm just pointing out that your advice - that "you only really have one option" - is quite simply false.

04 April 2002, 03:15 AM
Socrates - hmmm, I also don't wish to labour the point, but I do think I need to clarify certain things...
Firstly, um, I got confused about the Subtract blending mode - it's PShop equivalent is exclusion. And divide - I think I was getting confused with After Effects - sorry it's been a really long day, and my brain is a bit sore :p
I'm certainly not suggesting that PShop's terminology is authoritive, I'm using this as an example because most peeps are familiar with this software, and would therefore know exactly what I mean :)
I really have nothing against Max, I think it is an excellent piece of software, EXCEPT for it's surface editor. And I believe, maybe a bit arrogantly, that I have a good opinion of what is good and what is not when it comes to texturing, because that is primarily what I do for a living. I do believe that Max's material editor is very limited.
I, personally, find it very useful to be able to add loads of layers into my surfaces, although I do have the luxury of a rather large render farm at my disposal, so i guess rendering time isn't always an issue for me.
I was by no means, suggesting that "you only really have one option" - I was just pointing out the advantages of other software. Yes, as you say, you don't know LW, and neither did I until I started using it.
I then saw the advantage of having such options available, as they do give you greater control over how your final surface is constructed.
Everybody knows that compositing is an extremely important function in compiling footage, so why not also on textures? :)

04 April 2002, 06:14 AM
People. people. my friend and I just got done talking abotu how everyone on here is nice and professional. There's no need for the silly back and forth arguements. Anyway, about the ship, i dont know how to get two images to show in this post, but here goes...

04 April 2002, 06:18 AM
one more for good measure

04 April 2002, 06:25 AM
Antilles - heheheh, I'd hardly call that an argument. This is, after all, a texturing and surfacing forum, so naturally peeps come here to argue the best ways of texturing things :p

I was beginning to think it was a bit unfair to talk about something completely unrelated to your post though :)

Very cool model design! :D Oooooh, this one will be cool to texture :drool:
Come on lets see this baby get some sufaces!! :D:D

Btw, to post more than one image, you have to have them uploaded on a site, and then you use the image tag link to link to them :)
If you use the attach image option, you are limited to only one per post :p

04 April 2002, 06:45 AM
understood on posting images, but I dont have anything online, so oh well.

04 April 2002, 01:58 AM
Actually I've been reading the posts here and following what has been said and I thought that this was one of the more constructive disagreements I've read. I'm a 3DS MAX4 user and found this thread facinating as I feel that (as I'm just learned to texture) I'm running into a lot of "Good God in heaven, why couldn't they just have made it work like _____ ". I actually had no idea lightwave used layers similar to photoshops because I've always used max.

04 April 2002, 03:49 AM
oh right right, the disagreement brought out many new options. Its just felt like the language was sarcastic. Cant texture until tonight, but ill post screens for critiquing.

04 April 2002, 03:54 AM
Come on! Come on!!! I want to see what you are going to do!!! :p :bounce:
Btw, I didn't detect any sarcasm here, well... maybe just a bit of friendly sarcasm ;)
Hey the software wars will ALWAYS be going on..... :buttrock:

04 April 2002, 05:15 AM
antilles, is that LW you're using?

if so...

edgefx will do most of what you want

check it out :

04 April 2002, 10:21 AM
Like i said before, im using MAX 4. I'm still working on the textures, btw, but concurently, im still finishing up the mesh, so i have to split my time between modeling and texturing.

04 April 2002, 04:57 PM
I had to texture many starships I modeled. And according to me, the best is to use Blend materials in max, after applying uvw coordinates. Most of the time I use cylindrical uv, with a little bit of unwrap. then a exprot it with textporter, and I make alpha masks in photoshop, making black panels lines on a white layer. I aply blur then. I use this map as blending maps. For the two blend materials, I use a light and a darker colr, both using rost textures at 20% for diffuses, and instance for specular level. and that's it. For metal scratches, I also use blend: the first material is the first blend made, the second is chrome.

this may not be very clear, but it's easier to explain it in french.

here is an exemple of the result: three blend mat , one for red-green, one for light-dark, one for chrome:

05 May 2002, 02:44 AM
Dude, i already talked about your model in the TFN 3D forum! lol. I said i liked it, and said that it reminded me of Boba Fetts helmet as well. Anyway, its really cool and Ill learn from what you have done. BTW, some constructive criticism, unless the ship recently flew through a asteroid field or assaulted by pebbles, there is too much weathering and white scratches! Still cool though.

05 May 2002, 03:41 AM
I like it when two people can argue/discuss about a mode of working (texturing in this case) with specific details and examples. As I read these posts I'm learning alot about the advantages of Lightwave and 3ds max layering (surfacing) capabilities. I use both programs, and I have only worked with Lightwave a year longer than 3ds max.

It would be nice to hear about more contrast and comparison, so I can use these tools more efficiently.

Oh yeah, can't wait to see this ship textured! :bounce:

05 May 2002, 03:25 PM
Hi guys

I'm a bit new here (but not in 3D) so i do not even know if this got
to the right forum...

I beg your pardon for continuing this "debate" but I just couldn't
let it pass that way...

I'm a 3dsmax/maya user.

yes maybe maya and lightwave shading abilities are better than max.But many assumptions are made for max's ability to provide tools for surfacing. it's a fact that max doesn't have additive or inverse etc options but not exactly.
it doesn't have them the way photoshop or other software do...

you can invert add subtract screen overlay alter HSV maps by using the little tool just under the basic material attributes called
"Output" and the "Extended Prameters" section of every map/shader.

the only thing max is lacking of is nice and smart fractals for Proc. Textures..
if you know how to use max's renderer (which might seam to someone point and click at first glance but there actually is a lot of depth) you can produce astonishing images. some people when they talk about max they still talk about version 1.2 , 2.5 or even maybe 3.1. but that is not fair for the software.
It's not fair as certain products have left 3 versions to pass without inverse selection and non uniform scale tools.....
bugs in a renderer when you don't render square images or don't use square image maps ....and many more that would be pointless to add.

everybody is trying to compare the late 2 years but there is nothing to compare actually.. these tools do it differently.

the fact that going the max way to produce astonishing surfaces is the hard way but doable stays a fact.

my 0.2 Eurocents

06 June 2002, 05:26 AM
Hullo everybody, I'm also very new, and very new to 3d modeling/texturing/animating. I'm just not new to the concept of 3D.

So I'm an ultra newbie, but I'm learning Lightwave7 for an internship this summer, and max4 for personal preference, except it's only been a week since I seriously try to learn either one of them. And I'm learning quite a lot from this thread, but where has everyone went? Where's the wonderful spaceship and the anticipating coup'de grace texture for it?


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