Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Seams and Skin Textures

One of the joys (not) of making realistic skin textures is making them seamless. The "skin" wraps around the 3D body and joins up the center of the head and back, under the neck, in a crooked line down the inside of the legs, where arms meet shoulders, and where the tops and bottoms of toes and fingers join.

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get rid of all those seams so that when someone renders an image, there are no hard lines where one side of the body meets the other. You can see what I mean below. Notice the faint line in the skin texture that the arrow points to -- in Poser character creation, that's a no-go.

You can't really ignore even little seams like that. People pay good money for these textures and if they find a seam, even if it's a seam in between the toes that no one could possibly see unless they rendered it at extreme magnification, they're going to kvetch about it.

So that's how I spent my day today, working on seams. It takes me about as long to get rid of the seams as it does to make the actual skin texture. I'm not kidding. It's not fun, but it has to be done in order to finish it up. I do have an awesome program called Bodypaint 3D that makes touching up seams a lot easier, but it's not for gross problems like a dark neck meeting a paler head texture. Stuff has to blend together better than that for Bodypaint to work optimally.

So yeah, tomorrow I'll be back at it, hours of fixing in Photoshop then rendering in Poser, finding the seam, trying again, etc. until it's all smooth and seamless. It's lucky that I'm a good obsessive-compulsive and have a lot of patience. I'm just saying.

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