Image manipulation, compositing images, plan view images, image editing "How to" from Realworld Imagery for architectural rendering.
Following are more "How to" techniques to get the most from your collections. Click:
Colorizing textures and images
Swapping image palettes
Rearranging geometric patterns
Overlaying textures and images
Cutting out elements
Making "plan view" elements
Many textures and images were specifically set on a neutral base color (i.e. siding), making an infinite range of colorizing and bump map options available. Many image editing, paint, and 3D modeling program will have tools for altering color. These tools offer adjustments to image levels, curves, brightness/contrast, color balance, hue/saturation, and a key command often called "variations". Refer to your software manuals for help with these topics. See also, Image Processing Recommendations for an expanded discussion of some of the methods mentioned here.
Wish you could just have "that wood grain with this finish" or "the leaves from this tree on that one"? If your software has palette mapping capability, simply save the palette from your favorite texture or image and load that into the texture or image you wish to modify. During this process, become familiar with any "modes" commands in your program, as they too open up new creative possibilities. These modes are available in most programs; they typically include dissolve, overlay, lighten, darken, and difference, among others.
Let your imagination go wild! Each of our texture maps were created with a uniform module dimension. For example, select a brick pattern. Based on this uniform modular dimension; measure and cut-out, from the original texture map pattern, each individual brick along the center of the grout lines into a separate file(s). Now open a new file, sized to match the original texture, for your new pattern arrangement. Simpy drag and drop each of the individual brick files you've made onto this new canvas to create basketweave patterns, herringbone patterns, soldier courses, just to name a few.
Using layers, you can superimpose one texture over another texture with your transparency set at less than 100% to make your own unique texture maps. And, they will already be seamless and tileable! Don't be shy about trying just a little transparency, say 20%-30%, to give just a hint of additional texture to your image. Other ways to combine textures or images, such as trees, is to use the "calculations" command, common with image processing software. This command essentially takes two images and combines them in various ways. With two different images open, select the calculation option and start experimenting by clicking on different blending modes. Photoshop, for example, allows you to blend the different channels for great grayscale bump maps.
Need a piece of curved concrete to complete your design and don't see a texture map for it? Find an object like a bollard or concrete waste receptacle for example, and, using the standard crop command, cut-out the section of texture meeting your needs. With a lasso type tool, you can isolate pieces of imagery to composite a new image or add to an existing one. A clone type tool can also be used, carefully, to transfer a piece of one image to another, as well. Each image was selected, not only for its own use, but also to provide a range of texture available for other uses. Be mindful of your software's undo capabilities. Some programs only let you undo one layer, so be sure you like what you've done before you continue. Otherwise, you create extra work and you may have to place yet another piece, or pieces, over the one that should have been removed initially. To learn more creative ideas, read Using 2D in a 3D World.
Plant materials are very easy to reshape for your needs. Take a mature tree. You can cut away part of the trunk, trim down larger branches and trim the leaves to create a more juvenile tree. This works well for those needing to show growth analysis. The power to do this is found in the highly sophisticated alpha channel masks (see also: Putting the Alpha Channel to Work) that come with each 2D object image.
For another example, let's say you needed to make a hedge, but only have a single shrub. Load in your shrub image to use as a base. Re-load that image, again and again if necessary, off to the side of your base image. You can cut out pieces from the duplicate shrubs and add them to the original singular shrub. By adding "cut out" pieces, you can create a more random looking hedge. Completely fill and remove the left over pieces when you are finished. You can also overlap the same shrub multiple times to create your hedge, however, it will look as if you did just that, which may or may not be the look you want to achieve. Another useful idea, is to take several similar shrub species, junipers for example, and cut out pieces from several different images. This will give you a much more random, natural looking hedge.
By all means, take advantage of your clone tool! It will work wonders in creating the exact shape you are looking for in a tasteful way. You can put a little dab of shrub here and there to fill in the gaps missed by larger cutting and pasting. Be sure you put some anti-aliasing on your clone tool, so you won't leave any tell tale edges. Once you get a feel for the right amout of image to clone at a time, this tool will become one of your favorites. Your newly designed hedge will look fantastic!
Let's say you wanted to group several individual images into one image. We will composite a plant, a planter and some soil for our example. Load into your software program all the images you will be using (plant, planter and soil). Begin with the planter, by first creating an elliptical mask over the portion of the planter opening where the soil will be placed. The border for this will be the back edge of the front rim and some point along the inside back wall, below the planter rim. Then paste or fill your soil texture into this masked region. Remove the mask. Then highlight your plant and bring it over to the planter filled with soil, place it, and you're done. Save your new composited image. Another useful article to read is The Best Choice for Simulating Plants.
We now have an excellent collection of Plan View Trees & Shrubs. If you want to create even more plan view images, you can take our existing elevation view images and form stunning photorealistic
plan and aerial views for your personal use. Review the section on Cutting
out Elements and load a tree image. Using lasso or trace tools, scribe
an artistically rounded circular shape at about the mid portion of the
tree. Build shadow either directly around the image or alter the alpha
channel mask, offsetting its location relative to the image.
This is useful if you are using software that can show relief through "bump mapping techniques". All our textures already have bump map information, which you can see by making a copy of the image and/or converting it to grayscale. Any good 3D paint or rendering program allows you to simulate height/ depth in your texture by using the luminance (brightness) value of your image. Learn to examine the luminance information in your textures and alter them to suit your needs. Understanding bump mapping, and planning ahead in your paint program goes a long way in creating depth effects rendered in your 3D program. For additional discussions, see Visualizing Projects Photo-Realistically.
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