Weathering a Texture

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This tutorial shows you how to create a new Weather Lab node and use it to refine a texture.  It assumes a basic knowledge of working with Lab Nodes that is covered by the previous tutorial.



Step 1


First we'll open a texture for us to weather. Start a new document. In the Overview tab, select the "Legacy Presets/Stone/Marble" preset category, then click the "Honey Onyx" preset texture.






Step 2


Switch to the Nodes tab, and then enter the Group by clicking its "Enter" button.






This texture is composed of two nodes, a Substance Lab that generates the material itself, followed by a Sharpen node that makes the final result look a little sharper.


We want to weather the material in order to make it look rough and worn.  We'll do this by inserting a new Weather Lab between the Substance Lab and the Sharpen node.



Drag Weather Lab

In order for the Weather Lab to be inserted below the Substance Lab, it must be

dropped on the Substance Lab's bottom edge.  An elongated blue rectangle surrounding

the bottom edge during the drag will indicate that the mouse is correctly positioned.



As illustrated above, select the "Advanced" category within the Library panel (1), drag the Weather Lab icon from the lower portion of the Library panel (2) and drop it onto the bottom edge of the Substance Lab node (3).  Alternatively, the same action could be performed by clicking the bottom edge of the Substance Lab and typing "weather lab", followed by the Enter key, into the box that appears.  Another alternative is right-clicking the Substance Lab, then in the popup menu selecting Insert Below > Lab > Weather Lab.



Step 3


You should now see a Substance Lab, a Weather Lab, and a Sharpen node, as shown in the image below.




The Weather Lab we created is now between the

Substance Lab node (above) and the Sharpen node (below).



As you can see, we now have a Substance Lab that creates the base material, which is then passed into our new Weather Lab which will weather the image, which in turn passes its result to the Sharpen node which sharpens the final image somewhat.  The Weather Lab has spaces for two inputs, the first one labeled "Material" and the second one labeled "Noise."  The Material input is the most important one--it takes the original material that is to be weathered.  The second input can be optionally used to provide a noise pattern for use by the Weather Lab.


The new Weather Lab you've inserted into the node tree won't change the texture until you edit its properties to tell it what to do. Click the Edit button over the top left of the Weather Lab.  The button is indicated in the above image.  As explained in the previous tutorial, clicking it will switch to a tab containing the node's properties.



Step 4


First let's lighten the texture at certain spots.  In the Weather Lab tab you will see three main sections "Weather 1," "Weather 2," and "Weather 3." Click the "Weather 1" section, which will cause a number of subsections to appear below it, then select the "Adjust Color" subsection.  Finally, set the Brightness property to a value of 30.  At this point the interface should resemble the following image:




1. Select the Adjust Color section.

2. Set Brightness to 30.

3. The small preview shows what the Adjust Color operation would look like applied to the entire texture.

4. The Area Selection section defines which parts of the texture will actually receive the effect.

5. Only "Weather 1" is active at the moment, but "Weather 2" and "Weather 3" can also be activated for up to three weathering effects.

6. The final texture only gets brighter in the areas specified by the Area Selection section (4).



Step 5


As shown in the above image, the brightness adjustment is applied to only certain parts of the image in accordance with the Area Selection settings, which select the parts of the texture to receive the weathering effect.  Since our goal is to lighten the texture in a more speckled pattern, select the Area Selection section so that we can alter the selection pattern.


In the properties area of the tab are two yellow boxes, each labeled "Select Noise."  The first of the two yellow boxes has "Bubbly Noise" selected as the active noise type.  In order to change that noise type, click the "Select Type..." button that is found in the top "Select Noise" box, then click the "Plasma" icon in the window that pops up.  Notice how changing the noise type also changes which properties appear directly below it.  Specifically, selecting Plasma caused "Coarse Scale," "Fine Scale," Coarse Amount," and "Fine Amount" properties to appear. Set Plasma's Coarse Scale property to 70, and set its Fine Scale to 45.  Finally, set the Brightness property to -22, and the Contrast property to 60.


All fields and buttons that were involved in this step are circled in the following image:




Lighter areas in the Area Selection preview (top left corner of illustration) specify the locations that will receive the effect.



Step 6


We've now successfully added light speckles to the texture, but there's no reason to stop there.  By activating "Weather 2" we can apply an additional weather effect.  As indicated by the following image, select the "Weather 2" section then click the "Yes" radio button in order to activate it.



Weather 2



Once activated, a number of subsections appear below the Weather 2 section. Select the Adjust Color subsection that now appears below the "Weather 2" section.  You will now be presented with a list of properties that are like the ones in Step 4.  The very first property is labeled "New Color" and has a "Color..." button at its far right.  This property supplies a color that can be used to tint the image. Click the "Color..." button appearing to the right of the "New Color" property, then in the window that pops up set the red, green, and blue fields to 180, 250, and 160, respectively.  Click OK.


Please note that the color numbers specified above will only be correct as long as the color dialog is set to the default color space of "RGB" and "0 - 255" as shown below.



Standard Color Space



The texture hasn't changed yet because the New Color Strength property, which controls the extent to which the texture is tinted with New Color, is set to zero. Set the New Color Strength property to 45.



Step 7


As explained in Step 4, the preview within the Weather Lab tab shows what the color adjustment would look like applied to the entire texture, while the preview in the Nested Groups panel shows the adjustment applied only to the areas specified by the Area Selection section.  In order to modify which parts of the texture receive the color adjustment, select the Area Selection subsection that appears below the recently activated Weather 2 section.


As before, click the first Select Type button and select Plasma from the window that pops up.  Then set the Scale property above it to 3.



Second Area Selection



Step 8


Finally, we want to give our texture a rough appearance. Select the "Indent" subsection that appears below the Weather 2 section, then in the properties that pop up, set the "Depth" property to 8.  The indent effect uses the same noise that we just defined in the Area Selection section in Step 7 as a height map that indents various parts of the texture.  Because that noise also defines which parts of the texture receive all of the other weathering effects, namely our color adjustment from Step 6, the same areas that look more indented also look more green, giving the weathering a more natural appearance.



Tut 3 Before and After



Go ahead and click Render Texture to admire your final texture.  The image above shows what the texture looked like before and after your adjustments.


Next: The Making an Animation tutorial will show you how to create an animated texture.



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