Learning Texturing – Tires

Digital Texturing and Painting

Displacement Maps

This one was a little trickier to follow. You see, this book was published in 2002, and apparently they painted displacement maps back then. I’m sure they still do, and in some cases it may very well be a good solution, but from the beginning of the chapter I was feeling weird about painting greyscale shapes on a rectangle that I’d later apply to a torus-ish shape. It just wasn’t intuitive to figure out what the result would be, not to me at least.

Then I also had a hard time, for the first time, to translate things from Illustrator to Inkscape. Mesh gradients, for example, are not implemented in Inkscape (or rather, they are not supported by the SVG standard, so they’re not in Inkscape because of that if I understood correctly). I more or less solved that by feathering edges, but then those got funky when I exported to PNG… and exporting to Gimp isn’t as straightforward as one would expect it to be… so after all these setbacks I realized “hey it’s 2011 – all the times I heard about displacement mapping were related to sculpting and baking the displacement from the hi-res mesh”.

So I gave up on painting and picked up my sculpting brush. I tried (not very hard, I confess) to create a similar effect to what the author envisioned, using symmetry to make my job easier, and then baked the resulting displacement into a map (after getting help from Ben Simonds’ recent tutorial on BlenderCookie). The process is not as intuitive as it could be, but that has recently been solved for Blender 2.58 (due any minute now!) with Bake from Multires. Applying the map got me this:

Sorry for the lousy lighting

So now I had to create a color map. I created a layer of solid brown below the copy of the displacement map, duplicated this displacement layer twice and set them to multiply to get me values of dark brown going to lighter brown, which I then just had to enhance by hand-painting on another layer on top of the others. None of this was described in the pages, which made me realize again how awesome the book is – I already just know these things I didn’t before I started.

Then I duplicated this file, made it black and white, sharpened it, and added scratches and bumps to create a bump map. Final result:

The UVs were pretty stretched and there's a nasty seam there, but I really have to move on now. Better luck next time.

Less exciting this time around, but I learned some useful new stuff and now it’s just a matter of practicing. Oh and a final note: in the middle of a thread in BlenderArtists Ben Dansie suggested what looks like a pretty useful resource on texturing. Check it out!


This post is part of a series on the book Digital Painting and Texturing.
You can find the base post of the series here.

Next post on the series: The Face (3D Painting)
Previous post on the series: The Hoses (Tileable Textures)


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