The Base Colors


The Base Colors

The first stage in applying color is to lay down flat shades to act as a base.

Before we paint, we will create a new layer called Flats. To create it, go to Layer > New > Layer (Shift+Ctrl+N/Shift+Cmd+N), or click the New Layer button to the left of the small trashcan at the bottom of the Layer window.

NOTE

When a new layer is created, it is always placed above the one you currently have selected. The new Flats layer should be in between the Background and UV Layout layers, so that the UV Layout layer always overlays your work. If things are not so arranged, you can simply select Flats in the layer window and drag it into the correct position.


We will now paint the base colors onto the Flats layer. These colors should be medium tones, because we will need to apply lighter ones for the highlights and contrasting darker ones for darker areas and shadows.

1.

Use the Paint Bucket tool to fill the layer with whatever color dominates the page. In this case, there is more skin on this page than any other, so we will use that (Figure 9.3, middle). Click the Foreground Color box in the toolbar to open the Color Picker and select the color.

Figure 9.3. Block in the base colors. (See page C1 for color version.)


2.

Continue around the page, blocking in the base color for each element. First select the area using the Lasso tool, and then fill it using the Paint Bucket tool and the appropriate color (Figure 9.3, right).

Now save out two versions of this file, one to work on and a combined, flattened version to view in Maya. Note that if you are running Maya 6 or higher, you can use the .psd file directly. There is no need to save out a separate Targa file to use in Maya.

3.

Go to File > Save As, saving the file as KilaHead.psd. This will be the main file that you work on. Saving it as a .psd (Photoshop) file means it keeps all the layer information.

4.

With the .psd version saved, remove the UV Layout layer. You can make it invisible by clicking on the eye icon to the left of the layer, or delete it by dragging it to the trashcan at the bottom right of the Layers window.

5.

Next go to Layer > Flatten Image. This will flatten all the layers, baking them onto the background layer. If you turned off the visibility for the UV Layer, you will be asked if you want to Discard Hidden Layer; select yes.

6.

Now save this version as KilaHead.tga, saving it as a Targa file. After you click OK, you'll be given the option to change the file's bit/pixel setting. Since we don't have any alpha channels, 24 bits/pixel is fine (we will discuss bit depths later in the chapter).

Follow this procedure for all the other texture pages you have, saving them in both Photoshop and Targa file formats. You should have six pages for Kila, a .psd and a .tga each for KilaHead, KilaBody, and KilaHair. At this point, you can also work on the pages for Grae, calling them GraeBody, GraeMisc, and GraeWing and saving a .psd and .tga for each.

TIP

I recommend creating a separate layer for each item of Kila's clothing. This will make editing them much easier later on.


Before we add more detail to the textures, we will apply them to our models in Maya so that we can view them interactively as we work.


    Viewing the Texture in Maya

    Let's now apply these basic textures to our geometry. Having them applied means we can switch between Maya and Photoshop as we work, keeping an eye on the way things are looking on the actual models.

    1.

    In Maya, open up the file you created in Chapter 8, Kila_Mapped.mb. She currently has the checkered map applied to her, and we now want to swap this for the main texture pages.

    2.

    First we need to create three new shaders, each one holding the Targa files we just saved. Open the Hypershade window or the Multilister, depending on which you prefer, and create three Lambert shaders. We use Lambert because these will give us flat, matte-looking textures.

    3.

    Rename the new shaders to Kila_Head, Kila_Body, and Kila_Hair.

    NOTE

    Maya does not allow spaces to exist in the names of its objects and so will always replace spaces with underscores.

    4.

    Open up each shader's Attribute Editor and click the checker button to the right of the Color slider (Figure 9.4). Choose File in the Create Render Node window that appears then point the Image Name to each corresponding Targa file.

    Figure 9.4. Open each shader's Attribute Editor and assign the color texture.


    5.

    While the Attribute Editor is still open, set the Diffuse values to 1. They are set to 0.8 by default; altering them to 1 will set the texture to be at full strength.

    6.

    Now you can apply these materials to the model. Select the geometry that makes up Kila's hair. In the Hypershade, right-click the Kila Hair shader and select Assign Material to Selection.

    7.

    Select the elements that exist on the body UV page. This should be a single mesh because we combined them earlier. Right-click the Kila Body shader, and select Assign Material to Selection.

    8.

    Finally, select the rest of the geometry that still has the Check texture applied to it, right-click the Kila Head shader, and select Assign Material to Selection.

    An easy way to do this is to right-click the Check shader and choose Select Objects with Material. This will select all the faces that house that material.

    9.

    In the Hypershade window, select Edit > Delete Unused Nodes. This will delete the Check texture, as it is no longer used.

    As seen in Figure 9.5, Kila now has color and is looking more like the original concept art. Save the file as Kila_Texture.mb.

    Figure 9.5. The Kila geometry with base colors applied (See page C6 for color version.)


    Do all these same tasks on the Grae model, applying the base materials to him (Figure 9.6). Call this file Grae_Texture.mb.

    Figure 9.6. The Grae geometry with base colors applied (See page C1 for color version.)


    With the base colors applied, we can now go on to check that each section lines up correctly. It's important to do this now, before we work the details into the texture pages.

    Texture Alignment

    Because the UVs for Kila's top and sash have been split in two, we need to make sure they line up on the model before we begin adding details. Look at the armpit area shown in Figure 9.7, left. You can see that the front and back textures don't line up properly.

    Figure 9.7. Adjust the texture and UVs to line up the texture. (See page C1 for color version.)


    This alignment problem will often occur at seam locations, but correcting such areas will get easier as you become more experienced. To help reduce the misalignment, you can use the UV Layout to help guide the placement of your colors.

    1.

    Make sure you have both Maya and Photoshop open, with the model loaded into one and the texture loaded into the other.

    2.

    Initially, look at the geometry in Maya, particularly at the seams, to identify areas that are not aligned properly. Then, in Photoshop, select the appropriate color and, using a small brush, work on the .psd file.

    3.

    When you are happy with your work, flatten the file (Layer > Flatten Image) and overwrite the Targa file that is used by Maya. (Make sure to keep updating the .psd file with the unflattened version at regular intervals, too.)

    NOTE

    Another way to do this realignment is to keep both the .psd and the .tga open in Photoshop. Tweak the .psd file, hide the UV Overlay layer, and then select all (Ctrl+A/Cmd+A). Use the Copy Merged tool (Ctrl+Shift+C/Cmd+Shift+C) to snapshot all the layers of the .psd file without having to flatten the file, and paste (Ctrl+V/Cmd+V) into the .tga file. Flatten the .tga and save.


    TIP

    Setting up a shortcut key for "flatten image" is a great time-saver, too.


    Move back into Maya and reload the texture so you can see it applied to the model.

    1.

    In Maya, go to your Hypershade window and select the Textures tab above the main window. This presents the three main texture files used on Kila.

    2.

    Open the texture for her body, which will open the Attribute Editor.

    3.

    Click the Reload File Texture button to reload the texture. The view panel will now be updated.

    Alternatively, you can use the first button, labeled Tex, in the GCDM shelf supplied on the CD. This will automatically reload all the textures in the scene.

    TIP

    If you can't get the seam to line up perfectly by editing the texture, you can always fine-tune the UVs in the UV Texture Editor.


    Now that you've realigned the armpit area, fix the strap of the T-shirt. Then work on the left and right sides of her sash (Figure 9.8).

    Figure 9.8. Fix the texture on the sash. (See page C2 for color version.)