Creating Tiles from a Non-orthographic Reference - Adobe Photoshop

Your assignment: Create a set extension of an elaborately tiled floor. The tile floor is very distinctive and key to blending the virtual set to the real set. If you’re one of the fortunate ones, you get flatly lit, straight-on pictures of each set of tile designs, along with a wider view with the same conditions.

Alas, you are not one of the fortunate onesPretty, but not optimal to the texture artist

fortunate ones Pretty, but not optimal to the texture artist

Think Before You Act

Where shall you start? You can see no tiles straight on(orthographically), so if you try to use the same method you used for the brick tile, you include perspective. You know right away that you have to use your knowledge of transformation to flatten the perspective and prep the image to seem orthographic, or flat. At this point it is good to find out a few things. These factors all contribute to determine how big you should make your tile:

  • How big is the extension going to be?
  • Will you see other borders or does it just follow one side?
  • Does the Lighter have the ability to flip or mirror the tiles?
  • Will there be a separate dirt map?

You may be wondering what a dirt map has to do with the size of the tile. If you have a separate dirt map, you can have a smaller tile, because the repetition or uniformity of the tile will be hidden by the overlaying dirt map. This is, of course, assuming that you can make your dirt map a different dimension than your color tile map.

Preparing the Reference with Transformations

Great Now you have an idea of where you’re going and can start cutting and transforming your image to make orthographic tiles.

  1. Open TiledFloor.tif,
  2. Use the Lasso or Marquee tool to grab a section of the field that you want to start with.
  3. I chose this section because it doesn’t have as much light shine as the closer ones, but is bigger than the far one.

    Preparing the Reference with Transformations

  4. Copy the selection by pressing Command+C(Win:Ctrl+C)and paste it to a new layer by pressing Command+V(Win: Ctrl+V).
  5. Make sure the rulers are visible. If not, press Command+R(Win:Ctrl+R)to bring them up.
  6. Drag guidelines out to form a small perfect square in the center of the canvas. To pull out a guide line, just move your cursor over to the ruler, click it, and drag into place.
  7. For a guideline example. Now warp the tile into place.

    guideline example. Now warp the tile into place.

  8. Go to Edit >Transform > Distort to see the transform boundary with its eight handles.
  9. Pull each node until the tiles look like they’re lined up to your guides. Dragging within the transform boundary moves the selection;

Align the cut selection to make it square. When you are happy with the shape, press Return(Win: Enter) to bake in(commit) the transformation.

cut selection to make it square

Squaring Off the Tile

Now it’s time to square off the tile.

  1. Go to View and see if Snap is selected, as it is in . If it isn’t, click it to toggle it on.
  2. Having Snap on allows you to use your guides and makes it easier to trim accurately.

    Squaring Off the Tile

  3. Select the square marquee by pressing M or Shift+M to cycle through the marquee options until you reach the square marquee.
  4. Select the excess flaps of image beyond the guidelines and press Delete. As you can see in , a section of your tile is missing.
  5. Delete the excess.

    Delete the excess.

  6. Replace it by grabbing the missing area from the other star tile in your cutout.
  7. Duplicate the layer by pressing Command+J(Win:Ctrl+J).
  8. Click the lower layer and press Command+T(Win: Ctrl+T). You can now rotate, resize, and move the piece underneath until it lines up with the upper layer.
  9. Line up the image from underneath.

    Line up the image from underneath

  10. When you are done, press Return(Win: Enter) to commit the transformation.
  11. Merge the two layers by clicking the top layer and pressing Command+E(Win:Ctrl+E). This is the same as going through the submenu and choosing Merge Down.
  12. With your layers compacted, you can again trim away the excess using the Marquee tool.
  13. Zoom in really close with Command +=(Win:Ctrl+=) to see the detail. With a pattern like this, I like to use the Clone brush to clean up.
  14. Select the Clone brush by pressing S.
  15. Set your source for the Clone by pressing Option(Win: Alt) and clicking the area from which you would like to pull. Brush away and check out.
  16. Clean up the tile.

    Clean up the tile.

  17. Make sure that everything for your tile is in one transparent layer—do not merge down to the background. You want the dimensions of the tile.
  18. Select all by pressing Command+A(Win: Ctrl+A).
  19. Copy by pressing Command+C(Win: Ctrl+C).
  20. Create a new file by choosing File > New. The dimensions are automatically exactly the size of the tile you created.
  21. Create the file to hold the tile. My tile was 2 pixels off from being perfectly square, so I increased the width to 180.

    file to hold the tile

  22. Name your new file.
  23. If your tile isn’t perfectly square, increase the smaller dimension to make it perfectly square and click OK.
  24. In the new canvas, paste your tile in by pressing Command+V (Win:Ctrl+V). Upon pasting my tile in, I realized that my tile was still a little crooked, so I pressed Command+T (Win: Ctrl+T) to bring up the free transform controls and adjusted the tile to fit the canvas.
  25. Flatten the canvas. Now you have a tile texture for your set extension. Use the same method for all the rest of the tile. the final canvas.

Your finished tile.

finished tile

Notice that you did not need to do an offset to create this tile. The reason should be obvious: You are making a tile of an actual floor tile. The borders do not need to blend between the tiles. That said, it is a good idea to just double check the tile with an offset to make sure there are no odd paint residue marks when the tile is repeated. Or, you could read the following section and turn your tile into a pattern to check how it looks laid out.


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