Tutorial:Hard Surface Texture Painting


This is a method I use for texturing hard surface,sci-fi type objects…hope you find it helpful :thumbsup:
knowledge of Photoshop is assumed


Color Map

…happy painting:arteest:


…Bump & Spec

scratch brush,basic example:

Step by Step Tutorial published in 3DWorld Magazine issue #88

for a step by step look at how I texture hard surface objects,please Click the image below to access the .pdf version of the article

here are some examples where I’ve used this texture technique:


Yeah great tutorial , and good explain. thank you Stefan-Morrell :thumbsup: great


What a great tutorial! I really envy your eye for detail, those industrial-enviroment artworks are really something!
Many thanks Stefan for this workaround and the tips as well!


exellent work, thx for the effort for writing this tutorial!!!


great work thanks for sharing your knowledge, very helpful:applause:


Very nice. Great work and great tutorial -Thanks!


Excellent tutorial :thumbsup: One thing, I wish you could also include making the red light lens texture.


Outstanding. Wow. And Thanks.


Hey very nice presentation, good tutorials and tips, but I HAVE to mention this:

Use layer masks.

I noticed you actually use the eraser on the textures. This means you actually destroy the original texture. Instead, you should use layer masks (Layer/Add Layer Mask). This is basically a black and white alpha map linked to your texture. Paint white and the texture is revealed, paint black and it is hidden. This means your original texture is never affected, it remains as it was when you imported it. If you end up not liking that yellow and black stripe pattern you just replace the texture, the layer mask will still be there. Hence you don’t have to redo it all, it’s just a question of a few clicks and the change is done:) You could only do this with your current method by first selecting your texture and then reapply that selection on your new texture but it would require clean up and wouldn’t be as fast (the results would not be very good because PS’s selection methods are not perfect).

Also, you can apply layer effects on layer masks by double clicking it. This can be good to make the edges of a rusty texture (using outer glow functions, etc). No need for an additional texture, and this can help save ressources/memory.

Give it a try, let me know what you think:)

Other than that great tutorial, thanks for sharing!


I was wondering if anyone would pick up on the lack of layer masks :smiley:
very good points Phil

I started using them more recently as Photoshop has an unpredictable crash bug when using the eraser,but for the majority of my textures I’m fairly sure of what the final thing will look like…so it’s just a case of going through all the above motions…it’s a very rare ocassion when I need to redo any layers

but again…very good points about using layer masks:thumbsup: …I’m slowly getting used to them

EquiNOX…the red lens is a very simple grayscale texture that sits in the self illumination shader,set to a bright color & anything on the texture that’s white will show through as the color you’ve chosen…anything black will be masked out.
great for scifi consoles & faking ‘glowing’ lights.

at final rendertime I render a self illumination pass(this will render an image containing only the self illuminated materials),that pass is then given some subtle blur in photoshop & set to screen to give the illusion of a glow



Wonderful job. I can’t wait to try out some of these techniques.


Wow! Great tute, Stefan!:thumbsup:
And thanks, Phil, for the additional hints:)


Awesome tutorial! Knowing photoshop is only half the battle. Tutorials to help with all the little tricks to make these specific effects is always very much appreciated!


Thanks for the good tutorial Stefan.


Hi Stefan,

It is a real pleasure to watch your painting & texturing skills. absolute awesome and a fantastic tutorial. Reminds me about one thing… i have much to learn :wink: :smiley:

Keep going this way… i will watching you. :wink: :beer:


Thank You Stefan…you know I was looking forward to this :wink:



Thanks for sharing this great information. The end results of your technique are always amazing. I think you make a good point in your reply to Phil_Osirus; knowing what you want for an end state before you begin is probably as important as knowing the tool(s) you are using.


great tutorial Steffan, very clear and pictures are self explainatory very good job you did with this one thank you and looking forward to see more of these.


Very good and clear tutorial, SM! I haven’t seen anything on how Max’s auto uv creation option works. is there a simple explanation of that anywhere?

Seeing your latest wip images makes me wonder how the hell (and how long) doing the uv mapping for it would take?

Lightwave’s UV mapping tools are archaic, and I’m looking elsewhere for uv mapping solutions.