Creating a Rocky Texture

This section explores some of Painter's features so you can create a realistic-looking rocky texture. You can expand on these basic steps to create a limitless supply of natural-looking rocky textures.

Let's begin by using the Create Fractal Pattern Command. Because the menu items that we need to make our texture are available only when an image is open or a new image is created, we will make an image to work with first. After we create the image, we can minimize it to get it out of the way.

1. Create a new image. It does not matter what the size of the image is, because you will not use it.

The rocky texture we will create is based on the Make Fractal Pattern command. This command creates a new image.

2. Select Make Fractal Pattern in the Patterns palette, and an options box opens. The options box opens and looks like Figure 3.1.

Figure 3.1 The Make Fractal Pattern options box

We will make our texture by layering several fractal patterns. Each pattern is individually created using various settings in this box. We can achieve the best results by creating at least four individual fractal patterns. Of course, we can use more. The number of fractal patterns that are layered to create the rocky texture is limited only by our patience and creativity.

It is usually best to start with large patterns on the bottom layers and cover them with smaller patterns on the upper layers. Experiment, though, since something as simple as changing the order of the fractal layers will produce completely different textures.

Another nice attribute of the patterns we create with the Fractal Pattern command is that the patterns themselves are seamless. The edges can wrap around on themselves, and there is no visible line where they join. This feature is important if we are going to make paper textures or if we will be using these textures in three-dimensional (3D) programs.

3. Use the following settings for the Make Fractal Pattern by adjusting the sliders and buttons:

• Size: Select the 1024 button

• Leave the channel box set to Height as Luminance

These settings will give you a pattern made of fairly large shapes. You will use this pattern as the base for the rest of the image.

After you change your settings, the preview also changes. Unfortunately, this preview gives you only a general idea of the size of the light and dark shapes; it does not really reflect the look of the pattern when it is applied to a large image.

4. When you are finished, click OK. A new image is created that is 1024 pixels in both the vertical and horizontal dimensions and will look something like Figure 3.2. 71

Figure 3.2 A pattern created using the Make Fractal Pattern command from within the Patterns menu

5. Repeat the process. This time set the sliders to the following settings:

The 1024 size button should already be selected from the earlier pattern, but if it is not, select it. Click OK when you are finished.

The pattern generated should look like Figure 3.3 and will be made of larger shapes.

Figure 3.3 The second fractal pattern with larger shapes

Patterns made of large soft shapes like these last two are generally said to contain low-frequency noise. Patterns made of lots of little shapes are said to contain high-frequency noise.

6. Create another pattern using the following settings: Power: -227% Feature Size: 19% Softness: 0 Angle: 0 Thinness: 100%

This pattern is made of smaller but still generally soft shapes. Your pattern should look something like Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4 The third fractal pattern

Finally, we will create two patterns that consist of high-frequency noise. 7. Use the following settings for the first pattern:

Click OK, and you will have a new image that looks something like Figure 3.5.

Figure 3.5 A fractal pattern with high-frequency noise

Figure 3.5 A fractal pattern with high-frequency noise

8. And use the following settings for the second pattern:

Click OK, and a new image will be created that looks similar to Figure 3.6. You don't need to use the exact settings described in the tutorial; they are given as a starting point. Feel free to experiment with different settings.

We will layer these five individual images into one image to create a natural stony texture. Before combining them into one image, we need to add some color to them. This is easy to do in Painter using gradients.

Figure 3.6 The last fractal pattern that will be used to create the stony texture

Adding Color Using Gradients

Several default gradients are available in the Gradients palette, and we can use any of them. For this tutorial, though, we want to choose something that has earthy colors.

We can edit any of the gradients for this tutorial, but it is often easiest to start with the simplest.

1. Open the Gradients palette if it is not already visible. Then select the Two-Point gradient from the available default library. The gradient preview updates immediately with a gradient made from the primary and secondly colors currently active in the Colors palette.

We want to change the primary and secondary colors to something more rocklike. Tans and grays would be a good combination to start with.

2. In the Gradients palette, click on the small triangle in the upper-right corner and select Edit Gradient. The Edit Gradient box appears with a linear gradient displayed.

3. Editing this gradient is quite easy. Click anywhere in the displayed gradient, and a small arrow point appears along the bottom edge of the display. Click in the Colors palette to assign a new color to this point. Continue adding colors until you have something that looks like Figure 3.7.

Figure 3.7 The Edit Gradient box

You can change any of the gradient colors at any time. Simply reselect the small arrow point and then choose a new color from the Colors palette. If you end up with too many colors and want to eliminate a few, just select the applicable arrow point and press the Backspace key.

It is generally a good idea to make the first and last color in the gradient the same color. Doing so makes the transition between colors smoother in the next step when you color the five patterns.

4. When the gradient looks the way you want, click OK. It is now active and displayed in the Gradients palette. It is a good idea to save the custom gradient just in case there is a problem and you need to access it in the future. Use the Gradient Mover to save the custom gradient.

Note: The gradient used in this tutorial is available for download.

Coloring the textures using our edited gradient is the easiest part of the entire process. 5.

Select one of the textures created earlier to start off. With the custom gradient active, highlight Express In Image from the Gradients drop-down menu in the upper-right corner of the Gradients palette. Figure 3.8 shows the location of this command.

The Express In Image options box appears with only one control: the Bias slider. Use the Bias slider shown in Figure 3.9 to cycle through the colors of the gradient in the textured image.

Figure 3.8 The location of the Express in Image command
Figure 3.9 Moving the Bias slider changes how the gradient is mapped into the pattern.

All the colors in the gradient will be used; the Bias slider just shows how the colors are mapped into the image. There is no right or wrong setting, so experiment with different Bias settings.

7. Click the OK button, and the gradient will be mapped into the texture created earlier and look something like Figure 3.10.

Apply the same gradient to each of the remaining four images. Figures 3.11 to 3.14 show each image with the same gradient mapped into it.

Figure 3.10 The first pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.11 The second pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.10 The first pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.11 The second pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.12 The third pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.13 The fourth pattern with the gradient mapped into it

Figure 3.13 The fourth pattern with the gradient mapped into it

As the frequency of the noise in the image gets higher, the size of the individual colored shapes becomes smaller until the final image has an almost sandy appearance, like Figure 3.14.

Figure 3.14 This pattern has a sand-like appearance.

It does not matter if the images you have created do not look just like the example images. The method of creating these images in Painter is what is important, not duplicating my results.

All we need to do now is to combine all five of the individual images into one rocky-looking texture.

Combining the Images into One Texture

Right now, none of the individual textured images look much like a rock. In this next section, we will combine the textures into one image that will have a more realistic look and feel of rock.

1. Select the texture with the largest colored shapes to use as the base of the image.

2. Copy and paste each of the remaining four images into this first image. Put the textures with the largest colored shapes on the bottom layers and those with the smallest sandy textures on the top.

3. The real work begins now as you lower the Opacity setting of each layer to around 50 percent. Evaluate the appearance of the entire image, and then rearrange the layers to see many different looks. Figure 3.15 shows the Layers palette with the five layers and, in this case, the top and second layer switched.

Each layer is at 50 percent opacity in the default Composite Method. Figure 3.16 shows the whole image with a convincing rocky appearance.

Figure 3.16 The image now has a very rock-like appearance.

Lest you think your options are limited when rearranging the layers, you should know that if you only rearrange five layers with no additional changes to any of them, you will have created a total of 120 different textures. When you start to make changes to any or all layers, the possibilities are virtually endless.

The last touch is to add a small bit of 3D texture to the surface of the rock.

4. From the Effects menu, select Surface Control > Apply Surface Texture. The Apply Surface Texture options box appears (Figure 3.17). Numerous settings and controls are available in this box.

Figure 3.17 The Apply Surface Texture options box

5. Watch the preview window update as you change the default options to the following:

• Change the Using menu from Paper to Image Luminance. This designates the light and dark passages in the image to drive the 3D effect instead of the active paper texture.

• Set the Amount to about 30%. The Amount of the effect applied is much more effective when it is set to a lower value than a higher one.

• Reduce the Shine slider to 0%. We don't need or want a shiny surface.

Leave the rest of the settings at their default value and click OK. A nice subtle rough surface is added to the rock, finishing the image. Figure 3.18 shows the results.

Figure 3.18 The rocky image after applying a surface texture

Now you know a process for creating realistic-looking rock textures. With this knowledge, you can create an infinite number of variations. This is only the beginning. As you become more familiar with the many features of Painter X, your creative options will continue to expand.

In the following tutorials, we will use this texture as the base for some interesting painting effects.

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  • jane
    How to make rocky textures in drawing?
    8 years ago
  • Maximilian
    How to draw a rocky texture?
    4 years ago
  • anja
    How to make a rocky texture?
    3 years ago
  • arcangelo
    How to make rocky texture in artwork?
    1 year ago
  • Adaldrida
    How to make a simple rocky texture unity?
    8 months ago
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    How to make drawung look like a rocky texture?
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