Texturing With Masks (Advanced Tutorial)

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Let’s leave WicEd for now. And for those of you who work with Photoshop; you should know a thing or two about the process behind how we made the ground textures for World in Conflict. From here on I take it you are an advanced user of Photoshop and have a drive to create better levels then those being shipped with World in Conflict.

The idea behind working with your texture in Photoshop is to take full advantage of the 8k texture for the maps in World in Conflict. For instance; you can’t paint gravel roads or asphalt areas in WicEd. These kind of attributes we solely made by hand in Photoshop for the maps in World in Conflict.

1: The first thing you would want to do to work with your splatted in Photoshop is to export the different masks you created in Wiced. You save them in the Targa (TGA) format.

2: Create a new document in Photoshop. The resolution should be 8192x8192 pixels.

3: Open the TGA masks in Photoshop. Place them in mask layers in your new document. Use them as masking and add textures to the mask layers.

4: You will soon notice that it won’t take to long to rig a texture in Photoshop. What takes time is to paint those gravel tracks and anything else you’d like to add.

(We used Wacom Boards during this process. We also made a bunch of custom brushes.)

The idea behind the masks is that you are free to add completely new masks outside those you created in Wiced. So you might want to add a new asphalt mask. Just go ahead and paint loose. Add the sweet details that your map design deserves. Remember that you are painting in the mask and now in the texture itself. You are making the texture visible by painting “new white” into the mask. The mask uses the alpha channel.

Remember to sync the painting with the height-map from time till time. A parking lot probably should be flat on a terrain in most cases.

5: I will soon tell you how you bring your texture back in to Wiced but first let me explain the whole process in Photoshop.

Continue adding more new mask-layers and keep painting till you feel that you are done. When you are done; save the psd (psb in some cases when the texture file gets to big.)

6: Merge all layers and save the texture as a TGA.

7: Duplicate the TGA.

8: Make it black and white.

9: Download the Normal-map / dds plug-in for Photoshop from Nvidia’s homepage.

Direct download link: http://developer.nvidia.com/object/photoshop_dds_plugins.html#downloads.

10: Use the Normal-map function for creating a normal-map of the black and white version of your texture. Remember to split your black and white version into four 4096x4096 parts. Nvidia’s plug-in can’t handle to create a normal-map from an 8k texture. Create the Normal-maps and merge them together again so that you get an 8k normal-map of the texture.

11: Save the normal-map.

12: Make sure to export the masks you have been painting on. You will use these to determine detail texture distribution for your texture in Wiced later.

Now we have a texture, a normal-map it and the edited masks. Be proud of yourself!

13: When you want to check your texture in Wiced it is important to make a backup of your map, because from here we will restructure the layers for your maps.

14: Open your map and delete all the layers you created for the splatting and for the mask generation process.

15: Create a new layer. This is your base layer. This is where you load your texture created in Photoshop.

16: Also add the Normal-map to this layer.

17: Assign a detail map that will be on the greater part of the map.

18: Keep adding layers for the different detail maps. Assign the masks you have been painting on in Photoshop.

19: Keep on fine tuning the settings for each layer. Add mass Grass and what not. We used to create separate layers in Wiced for Mass-grass and auto-props, and also import masks that we made in Photoshop.

20: And that is that as they say. There are a lot you can do with the texturing of your level. It all depends on your own creativity and patience.

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