3D Artist

Free tutorial: easy texturing in Mudbox

Tips & Tutorials

Something for the lunch hour: a free texture painting tutorial for Mudbox to help you on your way to better-looking greenery!

We asked Mudbox master Wayne Robson: How can we easily texture a tree stump in Mudbox?

Here’s how…

Estimated time: 1 hour 20 mins

Step 1: Using the projection brush to texture the tree rings

Using the projection brush to texture the tree rings

Making sure you have the Paint button depressed in your layers tab, create a new diffuse texture. Go for 4K in size, as this can be reduced later. Make your Paint Tools tab active and choose the projection brush. It will say there’s no active image for it to project, so change your main window to the Image Browser tab and select the image to use for the tree rings. Align this to your model using the mouse buttons and the S key, then paint over the area. Don’t worry if you go over a bit – we’ll solve that next.

Step 2: Using Layer Masks to help with the tree rings

Using Layer Masks to help with the tree rings

With your ring texture layer active go to the small arrow and choose New Layer Mask. Use a brush with a solid black colour by clicking on its colour swatch and changing its colour to solid black. Paint the areas you need to hide on your texture masking out any areas that are outside of the tree rings area. You’ll find some areas may require either a different brush size or changing your falloff curve from the Falloff tab.

Step 3: Making the tree ring bump map

Making the tree ring bump map

Now create a bump map layer by clicking on the new layer icon and choosing Bump map as its type. Now duplicate your rings texture and then, holding down your middle mouse button, drag this copy onto the bump layer and adjust its intensity. You may now delete the unused original empty bump layer and using a layer mask again to correct any overspill from the texture, as layer masks do not duplicate with the texture.

Step 4: Using the projection brush for the bark

Using the projection brush for the bark

Choosing the image you wish to use for your tree bark, use the projection brush and paint this onto your model. Try to follow the way the forms of your sculpted tree to imitate a real tree. Create another new layer mask and mask out any areas that intrude onto the rings texture. Duplicate this bark texture layer and drag it into your bump section, then adjust its intensity. Then, with your rings colour layer active go to the ‘>’ button and choose Adjust Color. Use it to balance it with your bark texture.

Step 5: Adding the moss

Adding the moss

With a nice mossy texture or photo active, use the projection brush once again, but this time pick a stamp from the stamps tab, or one of your own to help it look less harsh around the edges. Once you’ve done this, and added a copy to your bump section, take the foamy brush and sculpt in more mass for the moss itself. Moss also softens the forms that lie under it.

Step 6: Adding the finer details

Adding the finer details

Finally, sculpt in some finer details and adjust your maps as need be. You can also paint over the existing bump map layers to correct or add details using one of the painting brushes and values between black and white. White going outwards, and black going inwards. As you’ve worked in layers you can now correct any part of your textures and even darken or lighten areas using the Dodge and Burn brushes. You can also paint any other map types you need, such as specular or reflection, in a similar way.

Watch out for:

  • With many models you’ll find it’s easier to sculpt as you texture. Sculpt to your texture – not against it!
  • Using layer masks in Mudbox is a far easier way to work than the old method of being very precise with your brushwork
  • Make sure you save incrementally, in case you need to roll back to a previous version at any point
  • Take care with your UV map if you’re using a UV-mapped workflow – make sure it’s correct before exporting to Mudbox (although it will warn you if it’s not)

About the artist: Wayne Robson is a freelance digital artist – and the first Autodesk Master for Mudbox. His clients include Cartoon Network, Disney, Hasbro, The Open University, Sky TV, BBC Films and The Discovery Channel.

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