Projection Method - Adobe Photoshop

Projection is probably the most common method for starting textures in the VFX field. The concept is to line up the model with a reference photo of the object and project the image through to the model. This method is crucially necessary when an exact match is dictated(such as a digital double, a 3D duplicate of an actor). I used this method on just about every project I have ever worked on.

Here is a model that you texture with the projection method

model that you texture with the projection method

Unfortunately, there is no way you could do this with Photoshop alone. A 3D paint program such as Right Hemisphere’s Deep Paint 3D is necessary to pull off a projection.

  1. Using a 3D paint program such as Right Hemisphere’s Deep Paint 3D, line up the model to the reference photo.As you can see , the reference photo doesn’t have the same dimensions as the model. Since you know the model’s dimensions are approved, you have to warp the image to look like the model. Although it is possible to do this with Deep Paint 3D, I think Photoshop has better controls.
  2. The model in Deep Paint 3D

    model in Deep Paint 3D

  3. Export a snapshot of the projection wireframe and bring it into Photoshop;
  4. The exported PSD file from Deep Paint 3D

    exported PSD file from Deep Paint 3D

  5. Open the reference photo that you want to use to create the projection for the dog. In Photoshop, press L and drag your cursor to lasso the area of the reference photo that you want to line up for projection for the model.
  6. Press Command+C(Win:Ctrl+C) to copy the image.
  7. Click over to the projection file and press Command+V(Win:Ctrl+V) to paste in the selection. Photoshop puts that image on a new layer above the existing one.
  8. Reduce the top layer’s opacity to 50 percent with the Opacity slider in the Layers palette.
  9. Press Command+T(Win:Ctrl+T) to get into the Free Transform mode and resize the image closer
  10. Transforming to make it a closer match. Take a look at the different parts. You need to cut and work with quite a few pieces.

    Transforming to make it a closer match

  11. Using the Lasso tool, select the areas you want to add and use the same method in Steps 1 and 2 to place your pieces.Keep in mind that you want to work beyond the edges of the wireframe to make sure that entire object is covered.
  12. The Franken-projection image so far

    Franken-projection image so far

  13. Click the New Layer button on the bottom of the Layers palette to create a transparent layer above all your other painted layers.
  14. Click the Clone tool(or press S to select the tool) and set the Clone tool options so that the layer is not aligned and using all layers as source.
  15. Hold the Option button(Win: Alt button) and click to choose a clone source area.
  16. Paint with the Clone brush to fill in any holes and integrate the transitions between the different pieces that create the projection.
  17. Don’t worry about overspill; whatever is outside does not affect the textures much. Notice how the areas around the corner of the mouth and the chest, among other things, have been cleaned up to allow for a clean projection.

    The completed projection painting

    completed projection painting

  18. Once the projection painting is done, make sure you have it at full 100 percent opacity and save it out.
  19. Bring it into your 3D paint application and project it onto your object. You can see the results in Deep Paint 3D in.

The model after projection

model after projection

You may need to project several times from different angles depending on the model, and you may have to clean up all the streaking or messy parts or parts that need to be asymmetrical. for the cleaned color map on the model in Deep Paint 3D. In both of these cases, you start with a base and then you paint on top of that in a 3D paint program. Are there appropriate times to just start painting in Photoshop? Absolutely.

In this case, one projection and a bit of cleanup is all that is needed.

one projection and a bit of cleanup is all that is needed

Painting on Unwrapped Wireframe

UV maps can be represented as a wireframe on a 2D plane. Each vertex on the model is plotted and represented on the canvas. When the wireframe is recognizable in the texture, you can start by using the wireframe as a guide. Depending on the object, you may be able to complete the texture all in Photoshop!

  1. Take a look at the unwrapped wireframe
  2. The wireframe is recognizable.

    wireframe is recognizable.

  3. Press B to select the Brush tool and paint in the mask area of the map. You can change the color of the paint by double-clicking the foreground color swatch and selecting a color from the dialog box.
  4. Start painting the mask

    Start painting the mask

  5. Cut and paste some eyes into the mask like you see in
  6. I put the layer below the painted mask so the mask hides the rough edges of the eyes.

    put the layer below the painted mask so the mask hides the rough edges of the eyes

    Use the same method that you used in the projection mapping and lasso the areas that you want to add to your texture map. Paste them onto a separate layer in your texture map.

  7. Choose a custom brush. I have a custom brush that I use for skin.
  8. Make sure your color is similar to the colors that you used in the eye area and paint the rest of the map. It should look similar to .

Your map so far

Your map so far

Since none of the seams is visible in the use of this model(the model will not get too close to the camera or take off her cowl and show the seams), you are done with this particular texture!

The rendered image

rendered image

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