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
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.
The model in Deep Paint 3D
The exported PSD file from Deep Paint 3D
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.
The Franken-projection image so far
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
The 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.
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!
The wireframe is recognizable.
Start painting the mask
I 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.
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
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