Character Texturing Tutorial

-- Tutorial based on book: Game Character Development with Maya --


The first thing youll want to do, before you even start a model, is a Character Reference Sheet. Here you put your concept art, or full turnarounds you use for modelling, and add your base color schemes and other details. For this tutorial, Ill be using the model and character from the above book, named Kila. Put as many details as you can on the character sheet, it helps with modelling and texturing. After the model is complete, make sure your UVs are aligned correctly. This book has a wonderful UV layout method, and Ill start the tutorial with the finished UV model.

1. With your UVs imported into Photoshop, create a new layer under the UVs and name it 'Flats'. Use the colors on your character reference sheet and quickly lay in your flat colors. After they are complete, save them as flat images (Layer > Flatten Image) in a new file and then create new Lambert textures and place them on your model. Its best to keep two different Photoshop documents - a working file with everything on different layers, and a texture file that is flattened and attached to your model. Below are the flat colored UVs.


2. At this point, take the time to closely inspect your model to make sure all the UVs line up nicely on the painted texture. Its easiest to fix all the line errors now as opposed to later!


3. Now its time to add shadows. Its easiest to add a new layer in your working file, name it 'Darker Tones' and paint in the darker shades you have on the character Sheet. Look at lots of real life references to get skin, hair, and clothing to look realistic.



4. Now for the lighter tones! Same concept as the darker tones, only brigher, of course. Make a new layer named "Lighter Tones" on top of flats and Darker tones, and paint in the highlights on the character, clothes, and hair. I would suggest two layers of lighter tones for the hair, as hair is much more complex in texture.


5. Now make two new layers "Shadows" and "Highlights" and make small, dark and bright, areas where shadows and highlights would naturally hit this character no matter the lighting. This can be very subtle in effect, however its one of the small details that really makes a character 'real'.


6. Now finish painting all the little character details, such as eyes, her tatoo, and other details laid out in the Character Reference sheet. Remember to use a new layer per detail, not only does that make it easier to change opacities, colors, and other details you can change your mind much easier if its not all one layer!


7. Now, Kila is all painted and ready to go. There are some added details you can add through Alpha maps, however! First the hair, make a new layer in the hair file. Paint outside the hair shape with black, and all the hair white. Now, take the Smudge tool and blur the 'ends' of the hair - moving the black into the white. Ending up with something like the alpha map below. Now save the Alpha file as a seperate flattened image.


Now go into photohshop into the hair texture file. Go to the Channels box and create a new layer, called Alpha 1. Cut and paste the Alpha Hair into this channel.

Once again, flatten the image. Now go into Maya, and look at the Hair texture. Drag and drop the KilaHair file onto the texture's Transparency attribute. Now her

hair has transparency! This step might cause some gaps - so redo some steps if the alpha was too stringy. Double check that you have black, white, a small

amount of grayscale if you are still having troubles.


8. Using the hair texture, create a duplicate of the eyes geometry in Maya and move them forward for a realistic eye shine. Create black circles at first

and then create eye details, looking at real eyes for reference. On the same map, you can create eyelashes as well.


9. Now, for the final steps. Kila doesnt really need a very enthusastic bump map, due to her clothing. Her skin could use a specular map

due to the shininess of skin, but since she is a game character genereally these details are left out. Here are some final screenshots of

Kila, with all her textures, specular maps, and a tiny amount of bump map.