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Old 08-25-2008, 03:20 AM   #1
redrob41
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Tutorial: Photoshop Tricks for Character Skins

Well, I've been making quite a few skins and mods here now for over a year. Recently though, I was making some suggestions to a fellow modder, and he asked me to make a tutorial. I'll slowly add new posts for new tricks. The first one is fairly simple;

This is how I maintain shadows in newly textured areas:

Step 1: Open the file you want to work on (in this case P_BastilaBB01.tga). I usually save it right away as a Photoshop file, and rename it.
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Step 2: use the selection tools to outline the area you want to work on (see the dashed outline in the image above). Then create a new layer (for now it is called Layer 1 by default).
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Step 3: desaturate the new layer. This will make the layer appear as greyscale.
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Step 4: set layer 1’s Blend Mode to “Overlay”. This will make Layer 1 affect the layer directly below it. Now, the shadow areas will cause the layer below to become darker (aka “multiply”), and the highlight areas will cause the layer below to become lighter (aka “screen”). The closer to middle grey on this layer, the less the layer below is affected.
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Step 5: in order to increase the contrast, I usually use the Levels adjustment, so that I have a little more control.
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On the histogram in the middle, there are three sliders that control the Input Levels. By sliding the black one to the right, all the dark areas become darker. Sliding the white one to the left makes all the light areas whiter. When you slide the grey one to the left, more contrast. Slide it to the right, less contrast.
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Step 6: create any new texture you want on a new layer (in this case, a simple render clouds filter followed by the water paper filter). On its own, it looks fairly flat and lifeless. (I’ve also turned Layer 1 off for now.)
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Step 7: select the blank area of Layer 1.
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With this area selected, make Layer 2 active again. Then create a "Layer Mask". A layer mask controls layer transparency.
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Here you can see the layer mask as a little black & white picture next to the layer thumbnail. Basically, the white areas are 100% opaque (100% visible). The black areas are 0% opaque (0% visible). Any greys will be partially transparent. (Advanced: you can edit the mask by clicking on its thumbnail, and painting with white, or erasing with black.)
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Step 8: now that layer 1 is turned back on (renamed to Highlights & Shadows Layer) it will cause layer 2 (renamed to New Effect Layer) to have a little more three dimensionality instead of being relatively flat.
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Step 9: if the highlights and shadows seem too harsh or contrast, they can be readjusted using Levels again. Here, the bottom two sliders are used, and they change the Output Levels. As the black slider moves to the right, all the dark areas of the layer become more grey (lighter). Similarly, as the white slider moves to the left, all the white areas of the layer also become more grey (darker).
Show spoiler



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Old 08-25-2008, 03:25 AM   #2
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Advanced Version of Shadows & Highlights

The great thing about Photoshop is that there is a hundred different ways to accomplish the same task. Here is another way of adding shadows, but a bit more advanced:

Step 1: create a New Effect Layer (step 6 above) and make a layer mask of the area you want to work on by using the selection tools.

Step 2: copy the entire background layer, move the new layer (background copy) above the Effects layer. Desaturate the layer, and change the Blend Mode to “Overlay”. (these methods were all covered in the post above)

Step 3: Create a “Clipping Mask”. What this does is makes the current layer visible ONLY in the same places that the layer below it is visible. In our case, the layer mask on the New Effect Layer is what controls the transparency of both these layers.

I’ve condensed these three steps into one image:
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Here is the result of the clipping mask. Note that the thumbnail now has a little arrow pointing down at the layer below it (the layer that it is clipped to).
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Step 4: Adjust the Levels. This time though, I used an Adjustment Layer.
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A box will pop up where you can change the name of the Adjustment Layer, and where you can choose to use the layer below it as a Clipping Mask.
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Using the Levels box is the same as before. The difference, however, is that it will affect all the layers that it is clipped to (in this case, both the Background Copy and the New Effect Layer).
Show spoiler

The advantage of using a layer for your adjustments is that any changes you make can be undone at any time. You can also go back into the Levels dialog box and make more adjustments at any time (just double click on the layer thumbnail). You can mask parts of the adjustment layer by clicking on the Mask thumbnail (then painting or erasing).



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Old 08-25-2008, 04:33 AM   #3
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Great stuff Redrob

Should poke a Moderator to get this stickied, its pure gold !


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Old 08-25-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
Marius Fett
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Great stuff Redrob!

This will be VERY useful for people getting into skinning!




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Old 08-25-2008, 07:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Great stuff Redrob

Should poke a Moderator to get this stickied, its pure gold !
We don't sticky, we stick in the tutorials
Anyways, quality stuff. I just might try it today or tomorrow.
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Old 08-25-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
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Amazing stuff. I've been fiddling with textures a bit, but this'll make things easier and quicker. Great tutorial!
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Old 08-25-2008, 09:36 AM   #7
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Incredible tutorial. You've made a great job. This will be very helpful for the community!

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Old 08-25-2008, 09:40 AM   #8
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Couldn't say it better than it already has been
Excellent tutorial.. thank you fo ryour hard work... and..

Congratulations.. you have been immortalized!

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=191609


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Old 08-25-2008, 11:10 AM   #9
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Yes, I'm immortal, now bow before me "puny" mortals, moehahahhahahaha

Ah, nuts its just this thread is stickied


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Old 08-25-2008, 12:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChAiNz.2da View Post
Couldn't say it better than it already has been
Excellent tutorial.. thank you fo ryour hard work... and..

Congratulations.. you have been immortalized!

http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=191609
Thanks ChAiNz.2da

So... when I want to add a new trick to the thread, do I add it here? Or do I add it to the thread in the "Skinning and Modelling"? Or do I just make a new thread somewhere? I've got a lot more tricks to add in the future (Color Matching vs Hue/Saturation vs Color Balance; how to get the uvw map into Photoshop; creating automatic Actions; etc).



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Old 08-25-2008, 12:43 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrob41 View Post
Thanks ChAiNz.2da

So... when I want to add a new trick to the thread, do I add it here? Or do I add it to the thread in the "Skinning and Modelling"? Or do I just make a new thread somewhere? I've got a lot more tricks to add in the future (Color Matching vs Hue/Saturation vs Color Balance; how to get the uvw map into Photoshop; creating automatic Actions; etc).
If it pertains to the above tutorial/topic just keep adding to this thread and we can update the tutorial thread with your additions to this one

If it's a completely new topic/tutorial, then a new thread would be appropriate.


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Old 08-25-2008, 02:30 PM   #12
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Thanks again ChAiNz.

So, do the hidden screenshots (Spoiler tabs) really make a difference? I used them because I figured it would be easier for 56k modem users if they didn't have all the pictures loaded at once. Or, should I just paste the images in so that they're always visible?



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Old 08-25-2008, 02:30 PM   #13
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Thanks RedRob41,now I get the idea.Btw,what about the reskin I made where bastilla's pants,arms etc clothing is gone.If I apply it it looks like a cloth.BTW, there is another way to make the colors of darkened skin look like the real flat texture.All you have to do is save the flat texture applied on the skin and then do the steps to get a darkened skin.Now open the flat texture .tga and the darkened one and then go to adjustments and then click match color and then choose the flat texture so the color can be changed to that.Of course it doesn't work in all situations but it works.


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Old 08-25-2008, 03:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by redrob41 View Post
Thanks again ChAiNz.

So, do the hidden screenshots (Spoiler tabs) really make a difference? I used them because I figured it would be easier for 56k modem users if they didn't have all the pictures loaded at once. Or, should I just paste the images in so that they're always visible?
Either way really. The hidden tags are rather nice.. it's a feature we didn't have for older tutorials.. but if you cramp your fingers up trying to BBCODE everything, then don't worry about it. I'm sure the community won't mind in either case


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Old 08-25-2008, 03:51 PM   #15
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Many thanks for this tutorial. I've always wanted to improve some of the textures in KotOR II (I.E., making them more realistic), but the entire editing process has always seemed intimidating to me. With your guide, perhaps it'll be much easier for me. Thanks again.
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:44 PM   #16
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Muhahahaa, bumped !

Not just for fun, but I found this rather nice tutorial on painting faces(in photoshop) for game characters.

Its not a full take the user by hand and go step by step, though it gives a good idea on how you might want to do this from scratch.

LINK

Hope you don't mind RebRob


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Old 09-24-2008, 02:49 PM   #17
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Tutorial I wrote a long time ago on facial hair (link). The small blurb in the tutorial Quanon linked is also very good if you want something a little more detailed.

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Old 09-24-2008, 03:31 PM   #18
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Thanks Quanon & Inyri. Those are some good tutorials . I'll have to take a really good look at them and incorporate some of the steps into my regular skinning habits. The biggest problem I've seen around here, is the "re-coloured" skin tones (usually Twi'leks) that looks flat and uniformly coloured. It gives the character a plastic look, instead of the layered, sublte multicolour that live skin actually has (I'm sure Inyri would agree). So, to help combat that, I'll point out some simple and slightly more advanced tricks that I've learned from various magazines and websites.
Of course, I'm still having problems with my computer in Windows (installed on an iMac using Boot Camp), so it'll be a while before I add a new trick. After I got it back from the repair shop (they replaced the logic board and video card), it is still having display problems. It might be because of my new router (a Mac Time Capsule) needs some software to be WinXP comptable. Oh well, I'll try to update soon.



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Old 09-24-2008, 03:35 PM   #19
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One way to combat monotone skins is to add subtle colors in the hilights and shadows. Typically shadows will have more blue in them and hilights will have more pink. This is a good rule of thumb if you're not actually intimately familiar with how coloration works. If you are you'll know there are other color combinations depending on light color, but if you assume a yellow light then blue shadows should be fine.

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Old 09-24-2008, 04:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Typically shadows will have more blue in them and hilights will have more pink.
Yeah, I really like using a Color Balance adjustment layer for this, because it's quick and so easy to tweak afterwards. I'll also use a layer set to Color blend mode, and then just paint in where I think the shadows & highlights need a colour touch up. I'll definately go into detail with screen shots to show people what I mean.



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