Texturing the large urban environment

Tiling base materials

Base materials are the simplest of the textures (cement, bricks, metal, streets), consisting of all things that tile and make use of no extra maps. These textures cover large areas of the world and are called base textures because they compose the base materials of the world—they are what the world is made of. In this case, there are cement and asphalt textures that can tile repeatedly and a couple of textures dedicated to the streets and ground surfaces. Since the first thing to do is block out the level in its most basic form, the following are the first textures you will need for the first set of geometry you will build:

  • Asphalt/base streets
  • Base cement/sidewalk
  • Intersection

 Asphalt/base streets

To create the asphalt, start by opening the webpage on the CRC Press website. This is a pretty subtle image of dirt. I spent some time cloning and cleaning this image because it has to tile over a fairly large area. Because I plan to add detail using alpha-channeled images on polygons, I can make this a pretty subtle texture. Refer to as you perform the next steps.

Noticing details

  • Signs
  • Newspaper machines
  • Bus stop
  • Phone booth
  • Garbage can
  • Dumpster
  • Mailbox
  • Light
  • Traffic light
  • Parking
  • Fire hydrant

Creating the alpha channel

No layer effects can be active when creating the alpha channel. If you want to, copy the layer so that you can change things later. Create layers from the Layers palette menu and merge all the layers together. We do this because Photoshop doesn’t see the pixels extending from a layer effect since they are being created in real time by the program. We need Photoshop to recognize these pixels so that it can calculate the proper alpha channel for us. Copy the image and merge all the layers, except for the background, together. You need to make the objects layer white and the background black. I find that the fastest way to do this is to jack the brightness all the way up or down, depending on whether you want all black or all white (Ctrl + U)


Presents all the meshes and textures in the scene. Remember, if you are going to have an alpha channel, use it. Add all the cool you can with it. Don’t just add a manhole cover—put dirt and cracks around it, too.

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