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Texturing workflow - software

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polycounter lvl 8
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Spoon polycounter lvl 8
Hi guys,

Im interested in hearing what other people are doing in the texturing workflow. I dont feel I have found a solid one yet. I am primarily using photoshop and ddo, because I really like a mask-centric workflow.
But I feel I am lacking the 3D paint side of it, especially when working on assets that need UV seams in places that are very obvious to the player.
Atm I get around it by making a "seam fix" layer in the end, on top of everything, but I would like to get away from destructive workflows.

3D Coat seems great for bringing layers to and from photoshop, but doesnt support masks as far as I know.
Neither does mudbox (?)
Mari is quite expensive, and doesnt support non-uniform textures, which we in games use a lot.

Basically I am hoping to find some way to combine 3D painting and photoshop layer masks.

So, what are you guys doing? What is your texturing workflow/software choices, and why?

Replies

  • Tomm
    hey, I'm interested in this too..

    3D coat seems like the best option so far .. but I haven't really tried it yet.

    I've been experimenting with modo's painting, and it works rather well.. but the sad part is, no psd layer support.. well actually there is.. but it's super awkward and clearly not finished. And it makes me mad.. it's such a key feature for many people.. ah well.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    I think Mudbox does support masks? Need to look more info up about that. So from personal preference I always liked 3DC for low poly painting, its really great for that. If you're doing a lot of hand painted textures (WoW, Wildstar style, etc.)I would definitely recommend it.

    I prefer Mudbox for more realistic stuff than hand painting, the stencil system/3D projection painting just seemed to work better for me in that style. No reason why you can't use either though, they do a good job. There's also bodypaint and Mari, Mari looks amazing for texturing but kinda makes my computer chug as my PC is ancient :D I would say download the trials of said software and give them a shot to figure out what suits you more.
  • battlecow
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    battlecow polycounter lvl 9
    3D coat does have layer masks, you can use a layer as a mask.
    I've been trying 3D coat for a week and I must admit I am really impressed, I just want to handpaint the shit out of everything.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for your replies, guys.

    Yeah, heard about MODOs paint, and we might use MODO down the road at work anyway, so that would be great.

    I will check more up on Mudbox, Torch. I just thought it didnt support one-click swapping of stuff to and from photoshop like coat does, with masks and everything. Will read more about it :)
    Also, I used Mari at another studio, and it is by far the best texturing app in my opinion - as long as you are not doing game art! :p

    EDIT: Hi Battlecow. thanks for chiming in! I read it supported masks, but I thought it was only its own masks, and when swapping between photoshop and coat they both would get lost. Is that incorrect?
  • PyrZern
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    PyrZern polycounter lvl 9
    What about Substance Painter ? Heard some about it but never tried it.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 8
    Looks interesting, Pyrzern. Just got the free trial, will poke around in it.
  • battlecow
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    battlecow polycounter lvl 9
    The layers are not exported, I confirm.
    You could save your 3d coat layers and masks individualy and rebuild everything in photoshop,it would make the swiching between apps annoying but it would work. Maybe you'll find that the painting tools are worth it as they do have a great feel to them.
  • Minato
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    Minato polycounter lvl 5
    Currently installing substance painter, the particle workflow seems really interesting and fun, not to mention the touch of realism it brings to the table...

    I'm just curious though, how many of you guys have tried Max's Viewport Canvas? I use it from time to time and for an integrated piece of tool it's surprisingly powerful and flexible, it's completely layer based with masks and blend modes, paints across uv's, projection, cloning from screen, supports pressure sensitivity, adjustments and filters, interop with PS, you name it, if you work inside Max you should really give it a try..
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    I use viewport canvas all the time to clean up seams, it works great for that

    But I would never use it to paint textures in because the way brush opacity works is completely stupid and hard to control

    VPCanvasVsPhotoshop.jpg
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 16
    In 3D Coat I make mask layers with an opacity of 0, so when I go over to photoshop I can ctrl+click that layer to make a selection and use that as a temp layer mask in photoshop if I need to. I only do hand painted stuff so 3D Coat is amazing for my needs, your mileage may vary.
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    I tend to do fairly realistic work and 3DCoat is one of my first stops as well. If I'm worried about UV distortion, I'll use it to lay down texture bases. It's also a nice tool for adding machine-precision lines without a bake. After I have my key features/masks down, I'll move over to Photoshop where I still do the bulk of my work.
  • Minato
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    Minato polycounter lvl 5
    @AtticusMars.. It seems that your brushes spacing is too high, the same thing can happen in PS, take a look at my settings, take note of my brush settings:

    5bofvo.jpg
    I need to mention that the last three strokes had an opacity of 5, 2 and 1, which is kinda odd to me, seems like a bug, so you'd need to work in the single digits for opacity to actually see it's effect, aside from that it works as expected...
  • Tadao215
    I like using mari 2.0.. its nice that they've added a layers palette. The channels I create are usually diffuse, spec, and normal then just export flattened from there.

    Nowadays I don't use photoshop that often. The only instance i can think of using it is when I need a tileable texture. Is this what you mean by non-uniform textures? Sorry, I'm not familiar with the term.
  • iniside
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    iniside polycounter lvl 6
    I'm now using Substance Designer, for everything. I sometimes launch some photo manipulation software when I need some more hand-made photo manipulation (like cutting, pasting, localized fixing).
    Other than that I don't see anything that I can't do inside SD.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    If you can I'd also recommend trying out Mari, its SO GOOD! Started using it today after some recommendation (mainly Mudbox user for texturing and sometimes ZB polypaint) and its awesome :)
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    @Minato: That's not a spacing issue

    It's the result of the brush opacity multiplying with itself during a stroke, reducing the spacing corrects the stepping artifacts but worsens the opacity problem which is why you had to reduce the opacity to the single digits to get something useable. You can see this if you look at your example, turning the opacity way down turns your hard edged brush basically into a soft edged one. This is because the outer edges of the brush have fewer overlapping sections.

    I made an image (visual approximation) to try to better explain this, but photoshop and 3dsm do the same thing, as you draw it lays down a bunch of textures (in this case hard circles) and they overlap to form the brush stroke. But in 3DS Max the overlapping parts multiply with themselves to create higher opacity, while in photoshop they do not.

    VPCanvasVsPhotoshopRound2.jpg

    I don't know if I would describe this as a bug, for whatever reason lots of developers implement their paint tools this way and I think it sucks
  • redhonour
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    redhonour polycounter lvl 8
    Sometimes, on special days, I do Polypaint then Photoshop

    But 3D Coat and Photoshop all day, every day
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    Recently I've been doing: Photoshop > 3dcoat. Previously I'd use Zbrush's projection painting while working on a texture. I'll still do that from time to time but have started using Photoshop's 3d painting for projection stuff lately.

    3d coat is nice, its super fast, relatively easy to get meshes set up in. I really like that you can import more than one base diffuse/texture into one layer if you have multiple UV sets/meshes, has been super handy. I hate the fact that their eye dropper is not on ALT, but have gotten used to it I guess. It is also fast. Crashes infrequently, but most importantly is very responsive and fast. You can export a PSD of your texture with all the layers you built in 3dcoat easily.

    For projection stuff, using Photoshop's projection painting has been all i need it for. It requires a little patience with clunky workflow, but its honestly perfect for that kind of work. 3d painting within Photoshop is also not always terrible, but most of the time its horrifically slow and you'd be much better off in another package. I've done full on things in it, but its so sluggish and unresponsive (on a powerful PC) at best.

    my time is probably spent:

    60% Photoshop
    35% 3dCoat
    5% Other

    one problem I have been having is that I need to figure out a better workflow for saving RGB masks. Have a few ideas to write a script for it, but have been coming up short. Would love if Adobe fixed the layer group blending option.
  • Minato
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    Minato polycounter lvl 5
    @AtticusMars.. I wasn't using a hard edge brush to begin with, about the multiplication issue, that's interesting and also quite odd, but not unmanageable, what I was getting at, as you yourself pointed out, was that the jaggedness was the result of the spacing, or more accurately it makes the jaggedness noticeable..
  • AtticusMars
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    AtticusMars greentooth
    @Minato: The stepping artifact was never my problem, the opacity is. Your solution also doesn't fix that, it just slows it down a bit at the cost of precision.

    If you're comfortable working like this and think it's a managable problem then I salute you.

    For me the problem isn't managable, I can't get the quality I expect from my texture by painting with multiplying opacity.
  • Minato
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    Minato polycounter lvl 5
    Hehe, before you mentioning it, I had never even noticed this, I'm not suggesting one should do everything with it(it's like saying you should do your sculpting with Maya's artisan), but yeah for everyday common tasks, I think it's an absolutely great and flexible tool, it supports mirror painting for gods sake, Photoshop still doesn't do that!
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    If you're using CC, you can *kinda* get mirrored painting by embedding a linked PSD into another document twice (PSCC), and flipping one on H :) as you save the linked file the other will update showing the mirror. Not active painting but still a way to see it in a mildly annoying way.
  • Minato
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    Minato polycounter lvl 5
    Lol, yeah, I've seen that being demonstrated on YT(I was looking everywhere for a solution, or why it's not implemented yet), I really dig these kinds of tricks and workarounds, but yeah, pressing ctrl+s on every stroke can get a bit irritating, but to adobe's credit I've really enjoyed the recent updates, and I'm one of those people that believes PS will always have a place in a texture artist's tool bag, there's only so much photo manipulation you can do with a 3d paint program. :)
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    try this: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2976372/PSMirrorPaint/PSMirrorPaint_Square.zip

    Note, you may need to set Unlit Texture in 3d options. In CC that is a property of the Scene (3d Pallete). Not promising it'll work in older versions of PS, but should work fine in CC, tested in CS6 and 5 and it did not.

    other notes:
    with this, you're painting a texture in photoshop. To have multiple layers, you'll need to duplicate the 3d layer and set it to multiply.

    if you make a new layer, paint, and merge down, it will mirror the drawing.

    to get a "rasterized" version, you need to duplicate teh layers, and merge them to a non-3d layer.

    if painting is slow, try reducing texture size by selecting the _PS_3d_Default texture in the 3d palette, and in the properties create a new diffuse of a smaller size. Can also reduce the image size of the doc to increase performance.

    one final note, if the camera ever gets messed up, click the camera in the 3d pallete, and in the properties choose "Top" from the drop down.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks for your replies, everyone!
    Tadao215 wrote: »
    I like using mari 2.0.. its nice that they've added a layers palette. The channels I create are usually diffuse, spec, and normal then just export flattened from there.

    Nowadays I don't use photoshop that often. The only instance i can think of using it is when I need a tileable texture. Is this what you mean by non-uniform textures? Sorry, I'm not familiar with the term.

    I agree, Mari is very very nice. But I find it quite expensive. Maybe further down the road :)

    By non-uniform I mean a ratio other than 1:1. I dont know if that is the correct term.
    For example, a 2048 x 1024


    Torch Thanks, but as I said in the first post it doesnt quite suit my needs :) It is definitely the package I have tried that I liked painting in the most. I miss it almost every day :p
    But for games it just seems like overkill. We cant quite afford it, for purely a texturing program.


    I will look more into the SD!

    Does anyone do a combination with 3D and DDO? DDO works purely because of layer masks, and those dont seem to transfer well into any 3D software, as far as I know.
  • Tadao215
    By non-uniform I mean a ratio other than 1:1. I dont know if that is the correct term.
    For example, a 2048 x 1024

    oh ok. I see what you mean and that's a good point. theres a work around for it in mari, but it would take another couple steps of exporting out a couple patches and using photoshop to combine them into a single map.
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 8
    mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari
  • Michael Knubben
    Manga studio 5 and Krita (free!) both do symmetry, and Krita even does tiled painting. You can also set up a few planes with symmetrical unwrap and paint on those in 3dcoat. 3dcoat does actual 3d painting, so no blurriness resulting from reprojection, and there's a pixelbrush for detail work.
  • iniside
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    iniside polycounter lvl 6
    mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari mari

    I'm not sure if 2k $$ is really worth for it, when Substance Painter in commercial version will cost about 500$...
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 16
    moose wrote: »
    I really like that you can import more than one base diffuse/texture into one layer if you have multiple UV sets/meshes, has been super handy.

    Moose how do you do this? I've been trying to import multiple meshes and connect up multiple textures or 1 mesh with multiple textures and can't figure a good way of how to pick what gets applied where.
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    When there are multiple IDs, I've been bringing each in as their own FBX/object by "Merge Object" in the File menu, after your initial mesh import.

    On import, make sure you give a specific name to the UV set. I make a 'base' layer, and import textures to it. On Texture > Import Diffuse, if you have multiple named UVs you choose which UV set it goes to. When you import a new diffuse to that same layer, choose a different UV set from the drop down.

    Can also keep layers cleaner too this way, by painting across all objects. When you export it only exports the contents of the layer per object, so you can have one 'dirt' layer that will export properly across all objects.
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 8
    iniside wrote: »
    I'm not sure if 2k $$ is really worth for it, when Substance Painter in commercial version will cost about 500$...
    Substance Painter is nowhere near the same feature set or quality you can get out of Mari.
  • iniside
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    iniside polycounter lvl 6
    BARDLER wrote: »
    Substance Painter is nowhere near the same feature set or quality you can get out of Mari.

    Prove it (;.

    I see mari as software tailored for used in films.

    And Substance Painter specially made for use in games. With features that are eactually usefull for games.
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 16
    Thanks Moose! Totally helps a ton.

    How do you choose which texture gets exported?
  • MM
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    MM polycounter lvl 14
    i use Photoshop mostly and often will use Mudbox. Mudbox 2014 has layer mask painting ability as far as i know.

    I tried Mari, but since it is projection only i find it very slow for game asset texturing. Mudbox has both projection and real 3d painting. Mari can be close to photoshop in terms of painting capability but it is too damn slow and too damn expensive for me.

    nothing can beat Photoshop though when it comes to hand painting in 2D. with some saved PSD templates and some customized actions to speed up workflow, Photoshop really cant be beat in terms of quality and level of precision work that it can produce. I do a LOT of manual hand painting in my texture even when they are for hyper realistic assets, so Photoshop seems to be the only affordable tools that is stable, fast, and feature rich for now.

    ddo, subtance designer/painter and other such tools dont offer the ability to create high quality work in my opinion. i have not yet seen anything done with either of them that didnt look very generic or procedural in nature. may be with time they will improve but for now they just seem like tools for mass production of low priority art assets.
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 8
    iniside wrote: »
    Prove it (;.

    I see mari as software tailored for used in films.

    And Substance Painter specially made for use in games. With features that are eactually usefull for games.

    http://vimeo.com/65408722

    also read up on ready at dawns mari pipeline
    http://blog.selfshadow.com/publications/s2013-shading-course/rad/s2013_pbs_rad_slides.pdf
  • moose
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    moose Polycount Sponsor
    jeff: When you have multiple objects/UV sets it will ask you to choose which set on Texture > Export, or all textures (in which case it'll save multiple files). The part where you name your UVs on import/Merge is crucial for this though, if you forget to name them you cannot (that I've found) change the names once imported, and you'll need to delete the object from the scene and re-merge. If you export textures w/ the same UV set names it'll overlap everything on one texture and be fucked up :)

    I've become a huge 3d coat fan, its the one 3d painting tool in the past few years that does pretty much everything I want, is fast, and isn't overly complicated with mode switching/states (deep paint), bunch of stupid rules, etc. Only odd stuff to get used to is turning off Depth frequently, and dealing with finicky mouse-controlled brush sizing.
  • BARDLER
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    BARDLER polycounter lvl 8
    iniside wrote: »
    Prove it (;.

    I see mari as software tailored for used in films.

    And Substance Painter specially made for use in games. With features that are eactually usefull for games.

    Maybe Substance Painter will get there at some point, but right now its lacking a lot of painting tools that Mari has. I don't have the time to list all the awesome features Mari has, but I can say that it works awesome for game art, and people shouldn't discredit it so quickly.
  • iniside
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    iniside polycounter lvl 6
    Well. 2k is still way to expensive.
    I still rather buy SD + SP.

    Does mari have any procedurall automagic to generate lots of textures with several clicks ? If I have to paint every texture from scratch over and over again, it's way to much time wasted for me.
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 8
    iniside wrote: »
    Well. 2k is still way to expensive.
    I still rather buy SD + SP.

    Does mari have any procedurall automagic to generate lots of textures with several clicks ? If I have to paint every texture from scratch over and over again, it's way to much time wasted for me.

    yes.
  • Neox
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    Neox quad damage
    for stylized stuff i almost entirely dropped any solution besides polypaint, zbrush just has some features that makes painting so fast and easy tha i dropped the idea of needing layers for my albedo painting
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 16
    The 3DCoat devs said they are going to focus on improving the paint room. Right now 3D Coat lets you do direct 3d painting or it can quickly swap over to Photoshop for projection painting.

    Projection painting in Photoshop has some bugs, I typically do any projections on separate layers, I've had too many instances where I projection paint the back of the model, rotate it around and paint the front only to find all my work on the back got deleted because I worked on the same layer.
  • Shadownami92
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    Shadownami92 polycounter lvl 7
    I actually do the majority of my painting in Blender, I don't use layers but I can set it up to make tilable textures, also with the brushes that I found that someone made on BlenderArtist it makes painting a lot more fun. If need be I will take it into FireAlpaca after to clean things up.

    I'd probably Zbrush though but my computer is old as dirt and can't handle many subdivisions.

    you can see the brushes in this video, this is the guy that made the ones I use.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT3JdHSxROU

    and here is where you can get the blender brushes https://github.com/xrg81/brushes
  • Jeff Parrott
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    Jeff Parrott polycounter lvl 16
    Thanks Moose. I think exporting with the same uv names has been my issue for the most part.
  • cmgillett
    Another vote for Mari. They just released 2.6 which is addressing more game workflows. Layered PBR workflow, transferring maps (non-destructive), etc. Very exciting stuff!

    http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/products/mari/latest-mari-release/
  • jgreasley
    @cmgillet...

    Glad you liked this release. We've been working closely with our games customers to add functionality specific for next-gen games workflows. You will be seeing a lot more games published with Mari this year.

    I'm happy to answer any questions you guys might have about Mari.
  • Nosslak
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    Nosslak polycounter lvl 12
    jgreasley wrote: »
    I'm happy to answer any questions you guys might have about Mari.
    Does Mari support non-square textures yet (e.g 512*1024)? Without that I'll probably just keep using Photoshop and/or try another alternative as a lot of my models use non-square textures.
  • jgreasley
    Hi,

    At the moment Mari doesn't support non-square textures, but it is something we're very aware of.

    If anyone is interested there are some feature videos available for 2.6

    Physically Based Shading and Layered Materials
    https://vimeo.com/90974835

    Environment Lighting
    https://vimeo.com/90974834
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 8
    jgreasley wrote: »
    Hi,

    At the moment Mari doesn't support non-square textures, but it is something we're very aware of.

    If anyone is interested there are some feature videos available for 2.6

    Physically Based Shading and Layered Materials
    https://vimeo.com/90974835

    Environment Lighting
    https://vimeo.com/90974834

    Digging the new Layered materials, are there any new additions to easily setup multi channel painting?
  • David-J
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    David-J polycounter lvl 11
    I give my vote to Mari as well. It has pretty much everything you want from Photoshop and more.
    Also you can share layers across channels (Diffuse, Spec, etc) So you can use your diffuse as a base for your spec and if you edit your Diffuse it will update across every channel you are using it for.

    Lots of neat features. It does suck that it doesn't support non square textures but the workaround is pretty fast.

    I keep seeing 3d coat videos and it looks really cool for straight up 3d painting so I may give it a try.
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