Editing Texture Maps
If you have ever imported some asset files into a 3D project, but wanted to adjust some aspects to your own personal taste, these next few articles will be for you. First and foremost, let’s talk about texture maps, and how to adjust them. I will be using Unity3D and Photoshop in this article.
This game scene I have been designing over the past few articles using Sci-fi assets from Filebase, has a lot of yellow-orange textures. Selecting a single floor tile as an example will show the assigned Base Map, under Surface Inputs. Let’s dial back that orange now.
Clicking on the texture icon in the Base Map will find and highlight the assigned asset in the Project folder.
Right-click on the texture file and select Show in Explorer to open the file directory to the root file on your hard dive, or wherever the assets are saved.
Another right-click on the root file and I can choose to open this in a photo editing software. I am using Photoshop in this video, but the base principals still apply in the editing software of your choice.
Here we are in the warm comforting embrace of Photoshop. Sorry…I have been using this program for a number of years. The texture map is saved as a PNG file and is a single background layer.
Adjustment layers are handy for editing the live image without changing the original reference. Start with a Hue/ Saturation adjustment to dial back the sun-burnt orange color on the texture map.
The Saturation slider can be greatly reduced to make the image closer to black and white. The Hue slider can be used to change the base color tone of the image. Here we move from a warm tone to a cool one.
The Levels adjustment option is a fast way to access the dark, middle and light controls on your image. Bringing the light and dark close together enhances the contrast, for instance.
The curves option is there when you want more gradual and precise control between the three points (light, mid and dark tones). You can even position the nodes to show visual polarization.
Simply clicking in the curves properties UI box will add new nodes which can be dragged into position for the desired effect.
Once the texture map is where you want it to be, export it as a new PNG file.
Using the same directory will add the new file into the Unity projects folder automatically.
Simply add or change the file save name to make a variation, and not overwrite the original.
Now when you go back to Unity and it recompiles, the new texture map should show in the Project folder next to the others.
The Base Map in the Shader on the floors can now be replaced with the subtle cool grey revision texture map. Drag-and-drop the new texture map into the Base Map assignment box to view the new cool tone tiles.
You can see how dramatic the scene change is purely based on a color change to some environment assets.
This same process can be applied to the columns and roof assets in the scene. There is a fast and easy way to apply the current Photoshop curves settings to the other textures as well. Open the next texture map you want to edit, and then return to the first file. Select both adjustment layers (hold shift to select multiple), right-click and then select the duplicate layers option.
A pop-up will display asking where you want to duplicate the adjustment layers. Simply select the document that you want to copy the layers to!
Now both texture files have the same color scheme and look.
Assign the new texture like previously, via drag-and-drop from the project folder into the inspector.
Here is the game scene with all of the floor, wall and roof assets looking nice and dialed back. This cool environment is ready for some action!
Just remember not to save the original file when Photoshop asks to close, as we have already exported variations!
I hope to see you in my next article where I cover editing FBX files in a 3D program. Thanks for reading!