How to make your 3D look smooth with curvy effect even though the 3D surface is actually flat, can high poly solve your solution. Ever heard about texture shading?  Find out more in this tutorial.


Tools to be used in tutorial:

updated :  5/10/2002


Ready for texturing/shading?

What is texture shading? - to make it  simple to understand it's like adding a smooth shadow on 3D's flat surface to make it look as if there's a bumpy curve or dented effect beside your vehicle wall. Shading helps to create a virtual curvy realism  effect on flat 3D surface and also added life and real texture to the surfaces.

Below are sample of 3D object with and without texture shading properties. Object: N.O.S cylinder.

Before/After Info image sample
Sample sample of low poly object (before added texture) Can we turn this ugly boxy looking object into beautiful swan?
[BEFORE] Without Shading This parts are applied with texture (flat color) but without added contour and shading onto the texture.
[AFTER] Added shading texture and contour. This parts uses texture added with shading and contour to make it look real and alive.

Texture uses Gaussian Blur (Shading), Embossed and Plastic effect to create real life texture and shading.

Click here for paint tutorial on how to create shading and texturing effect.

Why we need texture shading? - We all know without texture  shading the 3D object eg: a car body parts will look like rough boxy polygon unless it is made with thousands or millions of poly/ vertices to create curvy smooth edged surface.  Create a high poly object to achieve smooth looking object can be a good solution but it might kill your CPU workload when running high poly 3d in games especially user that running at bottleneck performance might suffer lagging in their PC.

High poly 3D solution create realism?:  Bad mistake!  - In some cases high poly can create smooth looks and shading that only generated by a good or top notch display card but it'll take out more CPU and RAM to generate 3D shading.  Texturing still rules.  If you watch 3d animated animation or movie like "Dinosaur Movie, Disney's Pixar Animation or other 3D generated animation" they depended on texture to create surface that looks as if alive and almost looks self 3D (embossed texture). In gaming world texture shading used as an eye trick to deceived user to think the 3D object looks like high poly object  and almost real in their eyes.  Actually its a shortcut to decrease high poly surfaces and reduce CPU and computer resource consumption used to render real 3D object.

Truth about my 3D work - I guess you guys have seen all my 3D parts shown in this website...they look cool and real eh? High poly?..NO.  They are simply low lag, boxy looking polygon.  Its simply a stack of boxes arranged together to create a life less object. How to make it look alive? TEXTURING and SHADING.


Below are sample of step by step on how to add texture shading onto your 3D object. Make sure you have all tools required for my tutorial as mention earlier on top of this page:  Below are texture and shading sample based on my recent project "NISSAN X-VERT Elite XL" [Rear view].  I will demonstrate how to add shading shadows and realistic texture on this truck.

Before/After Info image sample
Sample of un-textured low poly object with rough edges. (before added texture) This truck body parts consists of rough boxy polygon and looked very unpleasant to our eye.  Very flat surface and sharp edges.


[BEFORE] Without Shading and texture contour. This truck parts are apply with basic texture but lack of realism such as shading and surface contour/pattern.  Please scroll the page below on how to apply shading and contour.
[After: Mid Stage] Added shading and plastic effect. To add texture shading and contour use Blur/Gaussian Blur and  Plastic effect to create embossed/ bulk contour on the texture surface.

[Blur/Gaussian Blur] -  Apply shadow on texture  area where an object hover/ located against sunlight's perspective point. Eg (look at the picture on your right): add blurred "X" dark shadow on top of your truck bed, below N.O.S cylinder and another circular blurred shadow under the 'snap pin'  to imitate dropped shadow cast from the sunlight.  This give life and realism to the truck appearance.

[Plastic] -Similar to embossed.  Next use plastic to embossed other parts of the trucks Eg: truck's bed surface, "NISSAN" font, side fender, Windows outline, metal rivet, suspension wishbone/axle and other to create embossed surfaces and curvy outline.

Then add extra shading where necessary eg: N.O.S cyclinder surface, Spoiler, glass windows, Fog lights and below the bed rail to imitate smooth curvy surface.

Click here for paint tutorial on how to create shading and texturing effect.


[Final Stage] Texture emboss and sharpening process. Once you've finish done the above texturing task you can try another texture effect that might help to push your texturing realism to top notch.

[Embossed] - Similar to bump-mapping, used to create small bumpy effect on your texture, it's an ideal effect to create bumpy aluminum/metal sheet surface on your truck.

[Sharpen] - Sharpen the texture so the lines along the sticker/ decals, doors, windows lining, metal river, font and etc looked more contrast and real and sharper so it looked very nice in your game.

The result: compare the right picture with the picture shown on "Mid stage" texturing.  The embossed and sharpening technique enhance the texture  of the truck by  creating a "virtual folded aluminum sheet" on every edges of truck's surfaces. Thus increase contrast and sharpness to patterns and surface texture.

Last advice - When designing and apply effect to your texture  don't try to over do and max out every effect you apply on the texture or else your texture may looked unbalance, unharmony and unrealistic and sometimes doesn't look right in your games.. use logic thinking to create realistic texture and shading,  apply the texture effect where necessary. Use your common sense.  Last but not least, here's my quote of the day " LOW BOXY POLYGON CAN BE BEAUTIFUL WHEN YOU PUT PROPER DRESSING"....

Good luck!