I was recently inspired to explore a new art style after playing games like Overwatch, Valorant and Sea of Thieves. To appease my appetite to design, I spent the last couple of months learning how to paint 3D models using Blender’s “Texture Paint” feature.
Here are some tips and tricks I discovered:
- Design the model first using quads – Unwrapping models using tris is a nightmare. Quads make it easier for computers to automatically unwrap meshes.
- Use the “Mirror” modifier for symmetrical models – Less geometry and smaller file sizes can greatly improve your game’s performance.
- Unwrap your UV map before painting – Do your best to utilize ever pixel on your texture. After you map your meshes to a 2D plane, it is nearly impossible to add new mesh info without introducing visible seems.
- Add the “Triangulate” modifier before painting – Avoid texture stretching by prescriptively rending tris in your Blender preview. Game engines will attempt to convert quads to tris for you, which will introduce more processing and unpredictable results.
- Start your texture with the darkest color – Dark colors should be the foundation of your work.
- Add lightest colors using quick brush strokes – Your brush is like a flashlight: use it to reveal the unseen details.
- Use weaker brush strokes to blend the contrast – Less transparent colors make the texture feel more hand-drawn.
- Paint with a peck-and-drag motion – Short brush strokes create a more appealing texture.
- Use the “Blend” tool to create directional textures – This is super helpful for creating wood or metal textures
- Use the “Soften” tool to hide errors – Use this tool to soften the contrast between 2 colors.
After immersing myself into the world of 3D modeling, I have discovered a new appreciate for artists that do this for a living. I probably invested over 100 hours of creating these stylized models, and feel like I hardly scratched the surface.
In game development, you have 3 options:
- Pause game development and focus on improving other game design skills (this is where I’m at right now)
- Focus on development and accept the fact that your assets look ugly (this is where I often live)
- Focus on development and purchase assets (this is where I should probably be)