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Preparing and applying a grungey brick wall texture in 3DS Max
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Posted on October 31st, 2005
3D Studio Max

Whats this?
After a request or two on creating a nice realistic textured brick wall along with some bumping or displacement, here it is.

It is in two parts:

Part 1: This will basically be covering the creation of a texture by way of mixing several pre-made textures together, and then creating a usable bump map, in Adobe Photoshop.

Part 2: Applying what you have created in max.

This is a tutorial aimed mainly at newer users to max (or any other 3D application that is), but it doesnt mean slightly more advanced users can't use it. For example, I often find it useful knowing other peoples techniques and comparing them to my own, hence improving them, so maybe you will too. There are a few different way to do this i'm sure, as with everything, but this is the way I taught myself and a process I personally am comfortable with.


Finding the right texture(s)
One problem alot of people face while trying to texture an object in max is finding the right textures to use. What alot of beginners and short term casual users also dont realise is that the key to making a nice, realistic texture actually lies in mixing several textures together as oppose to finding one and plonking it in the diffuse slot.

What I am going to do, is go to Mayang and download one of thier many free brick wall textures available. I have chosen the following texture:

Brick Texture

I have simply posted it here for a) your reference, and b) i wouldnt want to eat up the nice people at Mayangs bandwidth. But feel free to go look around at Mayang they have some great textures for you to experiment with and use with this tutorial.

So now we have the base texture we are going to use. Now what about some dirt masks? Lets have a look on Total3D, the creators of Total Textures (if your serious about your texturing, these CD's are all you will ever need to purchase). I've picked two of the samples they have on offer.

(Note: I'm not always this lazy but I didn't see the point of creating my own as this is just a tutorial).

Dirt Mask 1
Dirt Mask 1

Dirt Mask 2
Dirt Mask 2

Now off to Photoshop.

Creating the Texture
Ok, we have opened Photoshop. Now open your three textures we have got. Now just simply drag to two dirt masks onto the brick texture canvas, and we are set up and ready to go.

Now step by step to get this thing looking life like:

- Name the dirt mask layers dirt mask 1 and dirt mask 2
- Hide dirt mask 2 on your canvas.
- Position dirt mask 1 at the top left of the canvas.
- Increse the size of dirt mask 1 by hitting CNTRL+T and dragging outwards whilst holding shift.
- Copy the resized image over to the right side so it fills the whole width of our brick texture.
- Using the Rectangle Marquee tool make a selection slightly larger than the height of the copied image now on the right of your canvas.
- Feather this selection (Right click > Feather) by 20 or 30 pixels. Move this feathered selection slightly away from the image to the left and start hitting delete till it has started to blend in a little bit and the sharp corners from where the two were overlapping has gone.
- Merge these two layers (CNTRL+E once)

You should be looking something like this now:

Step 1

- Now, create a new layer, name this 'noise'.
- Just select the whole page using the Rectangle Marquee tool and fill it with a light-ish red colour. I have used #AB7B71, but this is really up to you.
- With our selection still selected, add some noise to the layer, how much is completely up to you though, just have a fiddle with it (Filter > Noise > Add Noise).
- Make sure this layer is the one above our newly merged dirt mask layer, and turn it into a clipping mask (CNTRL+G).
- Reduce the opacity to around 50%.
- Set the blending mode of the dirt mask 1 layer to lighten.

You should be here:

Step 2

Now what shall we do with our second dirt mask?

Use the same steps as before to create a random placing of dirt map 2.

- Once you have a placment of the dirt map and you are happy with it, create a new layer on top of everything. Name this 'moss'.
- Once again, Select the whole canvas using the Rectangle Marquee tool, and fill this with a dark green.
- Have your second colour set as a light shade of grey.
- Filter > Render > Clouds.
- Set the blending mode of this layer to colour burn and reduce the opacity to 40%.

This creates our nice mossy kind of feel to the wall and gives it that extra bit of colour and random dirtyness we need to try and fulfil this realistic effect we are going for.

Save this as bricks.jpg

Final Texture:

Step 3

Bump Map

This is very simple. But just a short explanation first on what we are trying to achive. With bumps maps or displacment maps I tend to use the original texture I have, except I completely desaturate it so it is just monochrome without colour.
The different shades are how it distinguishes where to apply bump on the image. So the darker the area the stronger the bump effect will be.

Open the original texture of the brick wall again in Photoshop.

- CNTRL+U to open the Hue/Saturation dialogue box, and move the saturation slider all the way down to -100.
- Image > Adjusments > Brightness/Contrast. Set the Brightness to -15 and the contrast to +50. The reason we are doing this is to just try and define the areas we wanted bumped a bit more so it comes out crisper and sharper.

Save this as bump.jpg

Step 4

This is the end of the Photoshop Section. So go have a quick break or something and then come back and fire Max up!

Setting up the scene
I'm not gooing to go the whole 9 yards here and set up some amazing scene for you all to look at in awe, so just simply use the scene you downloaded at the start of this tutorial that i have made up.

Material setup
Once you have opened the scene, just hit 'M' straight away to bring up the material editor, and we will go straight into creating the materials.

Ok, so in your first material slot, name the material brick-wall, and we shall get started.

- In the Diffuse slot, click Bitmap, and then go to your brick texture that we made earlier and load it in.
- Go down to the 'Maps' rollout, and select Bump Map.
- Insert our bump map we made into this slot, and change the strength to 60.

Step 5

I have already applied the UVW Maps to the wall so you don't need to worry about that.

So thats pretty much it. Very very very simple indeed.

My result with a little play around:

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