A Year of RTS Texturing


Hey, I suppose this post fits under the “typical introductory topic” category. I’ve lurked for a long time, registered a few accounts
just never really got up the nerve to post. Most of the stuff here is quite intimidating; feels a little like a first grader holding up a crayon drawing at an art expo.

A little about me; 22 year old aspiring texture artist, working on a computer science degree. I started out modding as a coder, drifted into texturing to fill the need since we couldn’t find any artists. I ended up getting addicted to it
something about doing art that is functional really appeals to me. I ended up learning to uvmap (again, out of need
got sick of texturing horrible maps) and am working on modeling. Hmm, seems like I am learning this all backwards texturing > uvmapping > modeling.

Anyway, I’ve decided to just post up my most notable work from the past year and hope someone can offer some pointers as to which areas I need to improve upon. As the topic title suggests, these are textures for RTS mods. All of the models (besides the bm-13) and most of the uvmaps (I did end up tweaking a lot of them though) were done by others.



Last fall I started up a ww2 mod, which ultimately I’d cancel.







[Panzer IV](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/r1sshot15.jpg)


[ZIS-5 (bm-13 reskin)](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/r1sshot9.jpg)

[Rolls Royce Phantom II](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/r1sshot10.jpg)


Out of the above, the only one I am still happy with is the Stromform. At the time I was using some weird highlight method which while it fit the cars perfectly, wasn’t so well used on tanks.

I ended up dropping the weird highlighting method, as well as my old detailing method (basically using heavy inner/outer glows). For details I switched to using bevels/drop shadows, which had good results.


[Stug III](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/r1sshot18.jpg)

[Oil Derrick](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/r1sshot19.jpg)

I did the above three textures over a period of 3 months. Then a friend of mine got me involved with a semi-paid project. I did roughly 40 textures over a couple of months, while doing full time school which meant I didn’t have much time to experiment with techniques. It taught me quite a bit about balancing putting in the amount of time I’d prefer with the fact that there were deadlines (as shown, there are about half that were rushed, the others I put the proper time in).

[Israel compilation](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/mec_israel_units.jpg)

[Syria compilation](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/mec_syria_units.jpg)

[Folder of my favorites (zoomed in renders, along with some 2d work)](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/mcpromo/)

About halfway through those units I switched to actually painting in some of the body details
works on some units more than others. The supply truck and ssam turned out well due to it, the airplanes ended up feeling kinda flat/unpolished.

Took a few months off from doing much work after being nearly burnt out. Then I experimented with a redone panzer texture, before deciding to kill the project.

[Panzer IV](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/panzerIV_render.jpg)

[Panzer IV-H](http://www.derelictstudios.net/blitz3/screenshots/panzerIVh_render.jpg) [[i]flats[/i]](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/panzerIV_uvmaps.jpg)

Took another few months off, and when I jumped back into texturing I was able to do far better work somehow. I am guessing it has to do with not being tied to a project and given unlimited time to experiment. These were all done within the past month and are my most recent work.

[Locomotive](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/blitz2_locomotive.jpg) [[i]flats[/i]](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/loco_texture.jpg)


[Humvee](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/humvee_final.jpg) [[i]flats[/i]](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/humvee_flats.jpg)


[Orca Fighter (Tiberian Sun version)](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/orcaf_2.jpg)  [[i]flats[/i]](http://www.derelictstudios.net/users/smurf/temp/orcaf_flat.jpg)




Most, if not all of them use baked-in lighting. I usually go in and heavily tweak/tone-down the shading. It works out well ingame since there isn’t much lighting done by the game itself.

I typically work at 512x512, then go in and tweak the mip maps (sharpening them up mostly).



If anyone actually persevered through the orgy of links I have to applaud you. As stated above, the point of this is as an intro post and to see which areas I could use improving or any tips.


Perhaps I missed it or was to lazy to read but I assume you are texturing in Photoshop.

The work looks good. My advice would be in technique based upon some of your explanations on “how you do things”.

If they look good and it works for you (efficiency usually) then stick with the bevel/emboss type of stuff but to improve you may be better off without using any Photoshop tricks/filters etc.

Just simply paint. Obviously its ok to start from a baseline texture (wood, stone, etc) but otherwise try and paint in the details all by hand. Don’t get used to messing with blending modes, bevels, emboss, drop shadows, blurs, flares, dodge, burn etc.

Think of it in traditional media. You have to understand shape, lighting and color to get your highlights and the 3d edges. I think in the long run, that mindset will help you to improve you core painting skill.

I learned an invaluable lesson from a good friend while going through game art school. Learn to paint the best you can on every level and your game textures will improve greatly.

Its much easier to manipulate the program to achieve your effect and to find realistic high res stone textures - but to truly learn how to observe stone and understand and paint a realistic looking stone texture is another art entirely.

hope that helps. Good stuff though.


i checked em all :wink: …nice improvement - learning by doing!
have u done organic texturing yet?


Those last few models show a very marked and encouraging advancement, you seem to be headed down the right path!

I’d like to temper Creatix’s comments by saying that all those photoshop shortcuts can be VERY useful - but usually only as small, subtle, time-saving tweaks, rarely as useful tools for the actual paint process.


Thanks for the tips.

@basvas, I can draw organic things fine (and paint them fairly well…just have accuracy issues, if i go by reference)…but no organic textures.

@creatix/adam atomic,

Yea I forgot to mention it is Photoshop that I use mostly. I had thought of doing a 100% tablet painted texture for practice…just never thought of it being much of a benefit over using line tools/blending options/etc. My mindset had been that if I practiced painting more traditional images it would transfer over to better textures.

I’ll definitely have to start doing full painted peices then. Some questions though on the “rules” of it though; Are line tools/shape selectors allowed? or should even those be handpainted? That is the part that always concerned me since doing perfectly accurate lines/shapes is quite hard.


Wow. I’m very impressed.

I like your style. I like every model.

I cant really crit, but… This has inspired me to get some more texture practice!



Hey man, nice stuff, you are on the right track. Keep working on your skillset, it is great that you found your way into art over programming :smiley:

Concerning your question what is allowed, … everything actually. Theorie should be put to use in any kind of way, you don’t wan’t to restrain yourself now do you. Experiment, use ideas, toss them away, … dive in and don’t be afraid to drown because you can’t.

I would recommend to start drawing (if you haven’t until now) and getting that feel for form and everything that goes with it :D. You will see how your texturing work will improve and the joy grows and you will gernerally become more of an artist.

Drop by at www.conceptart.org and check out the forums, you will find all the links and help you need there.

Have fun - I´ve got to get back to work :smiley:


I actually used to sketch quite a lot, I just ended up converting my sketching time into photoshop time.

As for the programming to art, I was always fairly good at both. Both are similar in that you get a great sence of satisfaction by creating things. The key thing for me is; art doesn’t ever give you annoying bugs and errors to stress over. :stuck_out_tongue:

I think I might end up actually using my conceptart account (yes, I lurk there too…hell, know that cooking message board your mom visits? i’m there as well) since I am throwing concepts together for a new mod atm.


lol i couldnt agree more, i feel the same way. but i wouldnt worry you have some nice stuff here.


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