Texturing & Shading a Stylistic Character

Texturing & Shading a Stylistic Character

With this course, my hope is that you will develop a solid foundation of shading principles supported by basic scientific observation. This in turn will prepare you to tackle your future shading tasks with confidence.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

See what this course is all about.

Chapter 2 - Texturing

With a custom character like this it's best to paint custom texture maps to eventually influence materials. This chapter covers hand-painting and photo-sourcing texturing workflows.

Chapter 3 - Quiz

Answer these questions correctly. Or incorrectly...the choice is yours.

Chapter 4 - Lighting Preparation

Shaders depend on lighting for appropriate interpretation, thus before we begin constructing materials we need to establish an appealing light setup.

Chapter 5 - Shading

With textures painted we turn focus to constructing believable shaders for the Cycles render engine.

Chapter 6 - Quiz

How much do you really know about material creation with Cycles?

Make your Cycles materials more tangible and appealing!

In computer graphics, “shading” is the process of developing surface qualities for 3D models. The way your model interacts with light is very important. It’s a key step in achieving realism, tangibility, believability, and appeal. If you ever have doubts about this, go watch the film “Rango”. The artists responsible for the visuals in that film clearly spent a lot of time perfecting the thousands of material types throughout the movie. The tangible quality of each eyeball, rock, wood board, and glass bottle is nothing short of stunning. The materials are so believable that you can forget to notice them because your brain accepts them as authentic.

If you’re new to the concept of shading, the best place to start is to intentionally observe reality. Take note of your car’s reflections; the spotty specular quality of an asphalt road; or the frosted transparency of a condensating glass of water. Lucky for you and I, scientists have done the hard work of measuring reality’s phenomenon and programmers have mathematically implemented them into 3D software like Blender. Thanks to those rockstars we have the freedom to use their discoveries and tools to more efficiently create something beautiful.

Speaking of something beautiful – For this course we’ll be working with the lovable “Pancake Hobo” character designed by Citizen user, Galit Weisberg!


So, how does one “Shade”?

Shading is more than simply building custom materials. Texture painting and Lighting go hand-in-hand with material creation and all three disciplines compliment one another. Therefore, the first half of this training course covers Texture Painting and associated tasks:

– Photo-sourcing and stenciling
– Paint-by-Hand
– Deriving a bump map from a color map
– Making non-tileable textures tileable

Then we’ll dive into material creation by first establishing a solid lighting setup before tackling each material one by one:

– Metallic Objects: The Fork
– Fabric Material
– Translucence/Subsurface Scattering: Butter, Skin, and Pancake
– Transparency/Refraction: Maple Syrup
– And more!

CC Attribution

Lesson Questions and Answers

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  • Replies: 1

    That great! but a try to paint the mesh and it gets blurred, I put the link below to show up the doubt.


    1 year ago

    • Replies: 0

      I’m getting an error with the link. A guess would be that your image texture’s resolution is too low.

      1 year ago

  • Replies: 0

    more of a comment i thinkits really cool,i hit the wrong thing now i have to start all over again
    never too old to learn (56)

    1 year ago

  • Replies: 1

    HI , im using blender 2.76b, the stencil mask it doesnt display on the view port ,when i paint on the object it also gets some weird tiling ,i looked around online , for other similar issues but , such as the reset transforms, which i used but nothing happened ,and there is also the alpha overlay which i cant find any where, any idea how can i make the texture being displayed in the view port ? thanks

    1 year ago

    • Replies: 0

      ok i managed to sort it out there is a show brush setting under the appearance tab in the options in 2,76, so Please ignore my question i figured it out .

      1 year ago

  • Replies: 0

    I solved the problem it is i think compatibility issue with version of the blender that was used for the course,go download blender 2.68a paint the texture,save painted image and project,then open it with blender 2.75a and you should be able to see the stencil image in texture paint mode and brush also.Greets

    2 years ago

  • Replies: 2

    I am using blender 2.75a and when i try to paint texture the pancake it is not showing me the stencil image in the 3d view and also it is not showing me the brush circle,is there a setting for this or maybe it is the matter of compatibility with earlier versions of blender.Thank you

    2 years ago

    • Replies: 0

      Hmm somehow those settings must have been changed. You might want to try File > Load Factory Settings.

      Manually, you can check the “Options” tab in T-panel (while in Texture paint mode) for Overlay > Texture alpha and Appearance > Show Brush

      2 years ago

    • Replies: 0


      I had the same problem – and came to the same conclusion that there might be a Blender version compatibility issue (this occurred when I was trying to open the source file provided in Blender 2.76).

      My solution was simply to create a new project in 2.76 and import the mesh/model from the provided project file. When I did this, there were no issues with stencils not appearing. A small advantage to this is that some of my personal setup (specifically the zoom level of the panels) was retained.

      For what it’s worth, though, Kent’s observation that enabling ‘Appearance > Show Brush’ in the options panel also worked for me (just tried this now). Nice to know what the underlying problem/solution was, even though I didn’t notice the comment until after I’d fudged my way to my own solution.

      2 years ago