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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)