Chapter9.Texture Painting

Chapter 9. Texture Painting

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THIS CHAPTER COVERS various texturing techniques. It is not, however, a chapter on "how to draw." Rather, it explains how to use Maya in conjuction with Adobe Photoshop to prepare and paint your characters' textures. We also discuss how best to optimize your pages to get the file size as small as possible.

I chose Photoshop for our work in this chapter because it seems to be the industry standard; most companies I know of use it. Feel free to adapt this chapter to whatever digital imaging software you are using, or you can download a trial version of Photoshop from the Adobe Web site using the link on this book's CD.

The Photoshop toolbar shown in Figure 9.1 holds most of the tools we will use to paint our textures. These tools are generally self-explanatoryfor example, the Zoom tool allows you to zoom in and out of your imageand I'll briefly explain the others as we use them.

Figure 9.1. The Photoshop toolbar

For further information on Photoshop's tools, go to the application's Help > Photoshop Help, or press F1.


For best results when creating any 2D artwork on a computer, I highly recommend purchasing a graphics tablet. A mouse is good for work that requires more precision, but for drawing it's not a very fluid tool. Graphics tablets are also pressure sensitive, meaning you can vary the thickness of the line you are drawing by applying more or less pressure. The two main suppliers of graphics tablets are Wacom ( and Nisis (

    Image Preparation

    To begin, we will load in our UV snapshot and prepare the image so we can use it efficiently. We need to invert the UV snapshot so we have black lines on a white background. We can then use this as an overlay, guiding us as we paint underneath it.


    Open up Photoshop and load in the file called KilaHeadUV.tga.


    Go to Image > Adjust > Invert (Ctrl+I/Cmd+I).


    Now you need to duplicate this image and then create a separate layer with it, so first go to Select > All (Ctrl+A/Cmd+A) to select the entire image.


    To remove the selected image from the background layer and place it in a layer of its own, go to Edit > Cut (Ctrl+X/Cmd+X), followed by Edit > Paste (Ctrl+V/Cmd+V). This creates a new layer for you in the Layers window (Figure 9.2) called Layer 1.

    Figure 9.2. Photoshop's Layers window


    Rename Layer 1 to UV Layout by double-clicking on the name itself in the window and then typing the new name.


    Near the top of the Layers window is a white drop-down list with Normal currently selected. The options here alter the way the layer is displayed. Change this to Multiply.

    Multiply will combine the current layer's colors with the ones underneath it. Multiplying any color with black produces black. Multiplying any color with white leaves the color unchanged. So in effect you have the black outlines in this layer while the rest of the layer appears transparent.

    The initial preparation of the image is complete now. In the next section, we'll apply the base colors for our texture.

    Texture Page Size

    If you have the time, I recommend doubling the size of your texture pages before you begin painting. It can be difficult to include lots of detail in a smaller page. Painting it first on a larger page and then sampling it down will improve the overall image quality and retain most of the original's detail.

    As a project progresses, you may be asked to provide some publicity renders for marketing; these might be used for magazine covers, POP displays, and Web site wallpapers. These renders will all need a better texture quality, and the characters will look much better if rendered with the larger texture pages.