The Dead Demonic Deer

The character from all sides

The handpainted diffuse texture. This little guy started out as a quick test after playing the game Torchlight, I felt the graphics in that game looked very appealing while being simple at the same time. All the models and environments were textured with just diffuse textures to be complimented with some nice lighting. This is pretty rare nowadays as most games sport a whole array of more advanced textures such as specular, normal, parallax and emissive maps brought together with complex shaders. The developers chose to use a much simpler and maybe even dated approach to texturing their game. Using normal and specular maps has been standard practice for almost ten years. Applying merely a diffuse texture is something that reminds me of those early 3d games which, in all honesty, looked pretty crappy. However, they took the risk, and instead of creating a game that looks dated, they managed to give it a beautiful handpainted look. To me it looks more appealing than many games that do utilize modern shader tech.

So, I set out to create a character that would look cool while being nothing more than a few triangles with some diffuse colors slapped on. In the end, I quite underestimated the amount of work that goes into creating a convincing handpainted diffuse texture. I figured I would be able to create this guy in two evenings: one modeling, one texturing. The first part worked just okay, the second… not so much. I think it must’ve taken me more than 5 or 6 evenings to get to this point. After texturing this guy I have even more appreciation for the Torchlight modelers: creating a handpainted seamless diffuse texture is difficult and hard work!

Creating seamless handpainted textures is getting easier now that many tools start to support 3d painting: 3ds Max 2011, Mudbox 2011 and Photoshop CS4 all offer the possibility to directly paint on the 3d model. Of course Maxon Bodypaint offered this functionality for a long time now. Unfortunately, whichever tool you choose, to me it always feels a bit finicky. None of the aforementioned tools offer the amount of control and options that you have when painting in just two dimensions in Photoshop. Also, painting across UV seams is never as seamless as you would hope, regardless of how good your UV’s are. For me, the tools are a good way of “roughing out” the initial diffuse, after which I will detail it in Photoshop the traditional way. That’s how I did this guy as well, it was very helpful for his muscle definition and his tattoo.

I still want to create a nice render of the deer in a cool pose, I will add that to this post later on.

Update: the render is done!

Saturday, July 10th, 2010 Art Blog Tags: ,

1 Comment to The Dead Demonic Deer

  • aparadekto says:

    Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

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    Greetings, dear visitor!

    I'm Jeroen Backx, a 3d artist with a focus on videogames. I am currently the art director at Sticky Studios in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

    You can contact me for questions, suggestions, business or anything else at:

    jeroen [at]