Texturing our pot

Texturing a model is about applying materials to an object to achieve a given look and feel. These materials can be as simple as colors, or as complex as applying bumps, reflectivity, color and shine.

We can very simply drag and drop the standard glass material onto our pot to create a glass pot. Likewise, we can make it gold, plastic or chrome by using many of the standard materials.

But we want the pot to use an image. This image could be a drawing, a color or a photograph. We will map this image onto our pot using the Cylindrical mapping method. We have many methods to apply the image to a model - parallel being the most obvious - it projects the image onto the model in the size and aspect you set when applying the material. Cylindrical mapping works on the same principle - but it wraps the image around the cylinder walls - much like the word COKE is written around a can. We can wrap 1 image right around the object, or we can make it Tile around. If I wanted COKE to appear twice, I would make it tile 2 times around.

In this example we are going to map a simple strip of color around our pot to make it look real. To do this we need to make this Strip tile about the pot 10 times. Here's how we do it:

Load Pot_Part1 tutorial if its not already active (it is located at: tutorprojects/material/pot/Pot_Part1.r3d). Select the TOP view. Drag the Pot object mesh from the Select window and into the view window. This maximizes the object in the view window. (you can do this for any object including a camera.)

We should now have a wireframe view of the object like in the example image at the right.

Let's go to the Materials tab: In the select window, select the Materials tab. Let's purge any unnecessary materials from this project - under the pull down menus, select Materials/Purge material Library. This deletes any UNUSED materials. If a material is being used, it is kept. This should delete all the materials as we have not assigned any yet.

Right Clicking in the blank area inside the material window should bring up our pop up menu. Select New/VSL material. This creates a new blank material for us to edit.

Select the new material and rename it (by slowly double clicking) to 'Pot'. Now quickly double click the material. This should bring up a new window called Property Window. This shows us all the selected objects properties. In this case, it shows us the properties for our material Pot which happens to be empty. Let's fix this by using one of the pull down wizards. Select Texture Map from the wizard pulldown, Add this by pressing the ADD button next to the wizard. This inserts a file requester. Let's grab our texture map image by clicking the '...' button. (Next to the SHOW button) Navigate to our tutorprojects/material/pot/textures directory, and select D_potside1.jpg.

Let's map this material to our pot. In our material window, right click on the Pot material and select Map/Cylinder. This activates a tool to cylindrically map our texture to our model. It automatically assigns our material to whatever object is selected in the select window. Which should be our Pot Mesh as it is the only object.

To create our cylindrical mapping, first click at the center of the mesh, then just outside of the mesh. The result cylinder should just encompass our pot at its widest point. Rotate the view and see the result. Click the Side view. It should look similar to this image.

Note that the cylinder mapping is shown dotted. It is also smaller than our pot. We need the cylinder mapping to be just a bit taller than our pot. Let's size the mapping to fit the pot:

Go to the select window and examine what has happened to our structure. Our mesh has been dropped to a new level. Click the '+' icon next to the level to maximize its contents.

Note how the mapping is level vertically with the mesh. This mapping is now applied to anything inside this level - but nothing outside of it. Select the Cylinder Mapping(Pot). This selects just the mapping object. Let's use the handles of the object to position it correctly.

Put the mouse cursor over the blue line of the object handle - the cursor should change to a Move icon. Click the mouse on the blue line and move the object to just below our pot. This puts our object handle out of view. If needed, Pan the view so you can see the blue dot at the end of the object handles.

Now put the cursor on this blue dot at the bottom of our object handle - it should change to a pencil icon - this means we can scale the object about this axis. Click and drag down to scale our mapping object larger vertically. Keep modifying the object until the mapping is just larger than the pot. Note how the scaling or rotating of an object occurs about the handle, hence it scaled upward. If it was positioned in the center of the object, it would be scaled in both up and down directions. Our mapping should look like in the adjacent image.

Render the view to see the result. As you can see - we have applied our strip of color around the pot but it looks awfully dark! Let's add some lights next.

Go to Light Sources under the main toolbar to add some Point lightsources: Select Point - and click on the view for the light's center point, then another click to define how far the light should go.

Point light tool

Add 2 or 3 lights around the pot. Render the view to see your progress and move the lights if needed. (Check your top and side views for light positions - move the lights by moving the mouse cursor over them and dragging).

Above is the image that we have stretched around the pot. (We have applied it vertically) It is very narrow and this results in a very blocky looking render of the pot. What we can do is tile this image around the pot a number of times. We change this by editing the Scale parameter of our mapping object;

Select the Cylinder mapping object, and click the Spec tab in our Property Window. (Remember we brought this window up by quickly double clicking any object). There are three numbers in the Scale field: '1 1 1'. This means that the mapping is mapped once in each three directions (X Y Z). If we want our strip to be repeated 10 times around, we actually need to make it 1/10th of the times in the X axis. Which means we need to punch in '0.1 1 1' There needs to be a space between each value as each value represents the X Y Z value. Try rendering the pot now and see what happens.

Our pot has only a strip of the image applied now! This is not what we want - it should be tiling around the object. We set this parameter in the material itself. Go back to our material tab and select out Pot material. In our Property window, there is a checkbox for Tile X. Turn this on and render again. Much better! We have now tiled the image around our pot 10 times.

Just for the sake of making our scene a little more interesting, Let's add a ground plane. In this case, let's put a disk underneath the pot so we can see some shadows. Under our Analytic tab, select the Disk icon. In a Top view, click the center point first (Center of the pot) then another point further out, well away from the pot. In a side view, move the disk to just below the pot.

Save your work as Pot_Part2.