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Create a World War II Era Dogfighter

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In design, great concepts can often be created by playing with words. In this tutorial, our friends at INK will show you how to create a furry World War II era aircraft, that we are calling a "dogfighter" using a handful of photos and a 3D model. Let's get started!


Speed Art Video

Take a look at the following video to see how this artwork was created from beginning to end.


Tutorial Assets

The following assets were using during the production of this tutorial. Please download them before you begin.


1. Creating in 3D

Step 1

Open your 3DS Max file (VICKERS_WELLINGTON.max). In this file you’ll find 3 elements: (01) 3d model, (02) camera and (03) light. The model has been already unwrapped. The dog texture needs to be created using Viewport Canvas which is found under the Tools menu, Viewport Canvas. You can learn how to use the Viewport Canvas from this Autodesk tutorial. The background to the render is generated from a standard studio setup in 3DS Max using a curved plane and a typical two-light setup.

step 01

Step 2

For this tutorial you will need to paint a dog texture using the Viewport Canvas. You are going to paint 2 main textures, one called Texture_A.jpg (which will cover the red parts in the image below) and the other Texture_B.jpg (which will cover the blue parts in the image below). This texture is going to be used to colour the fur. For a natural look, you will need to generate a lighter version of both textures using Photoshop, which we will call Texture_A_Lighter.jpg and Texture_B_Lighter.jpg.

step 02a

Now we are going to bring the texture onto the airplane.
Open the Material Editor (01) and select the first material slot (02). Click on the square box in the material slot next to Diffuse (03).

step 02b

Step 3

The Material/Map Browser menu will pop up. Select Bitmap option.

step 03

Step 4

Select Bitmap Image File dialog box will open. Select the file Texture_A.jpg that has been painted by you earlier using the Viewport Canvas. The material is now complete. Rename your material as MTL_A.

step 04

Step 5

Select the geometry called FUSELAGE. A bounding box will appear surrounding the geometry and click the Assign Material to Selection button.

step 05

Step 6

Apply the same material to the remaining airplane geometry parts painted red in the image below following the process in step 05.

step 06

Step 7

Now we are going to bring texture for the remaining geometry. In order to create the MTL_B use the same process as shown in steps (02, 03, 04) for this material we the second texture painted by you. 
In order to load the second texture, Texture_B.jpg, repeat steps 02-04, selecting the correct bitmap in the Select Bitmap Image File dialog box. Once created, rename this material MTL_B.

step 07

Step 8

Apply the same material to the remaining airplane parts painted blue in the image below following the process in step 05.

step 08

Step 9

Activate Edge Face mode by pressing key F4 to enable the wire line surrounding our geometry which will help our modeling process. Now we don’t need the bounding box to show if it is selected because the wire lines will be highlight in white. To turn off press key J.

step 09

Step 10

Select the FUSELAGE geometry and add a HairMesh Brush modifier from the Hair Farm tools bar.

step 10

Step 11

When this modifier is applied, an orange wire line will appear in which indicates fur direction.

step 11

Step 12

In order to help brush/comb the fur on the FUSELAGE, first isolate your selection by pressing Alt + Q on your keyboard. Go to the settings panel on the right of your screen, select the HairMesh Brush modifier (01) and select Auto Comb (02) and set the value to 60 (03). Under the parameters, set scale to 0.4m. This is going to set the comb size for brushing.

step 12

Step 13

Now select Direction Brush (01) in the HairMesh Brush modifier and brush (02) the fuselage from front to back.  Brush in wave patterns in order to get a natural look.

step 13

Step 14

Now select Hair Generate (01) within the Hair Farm tools bar applying to our model with the following settings: Under Parameters, set Count/Area (02) to a value of 1000.0, set Thickness to 0.55m (03) and Thickness Multiplier to x.001 (04).

step 14

Step 15

Select Thickness Curve and follow the shape as seen in the picture.

step 15

Step 16

Now we need to apply our material to the fur. The main idea of this material is to bring some colour variation in order to create a more natural look. This material is going to be used on portions of the fur with the geometry indicated red in step 06.
Select the Material Editor (01), select a third slot (02) in the material editor and select the Get Material icon (03).

step 16

Step 17

The Material/Map Browser will open where you will select the Hair Realistic option.

step 17

Step 18

Click in the square box next to diffuse in order to load the bitmap.

step 18

Step 19

Select Hair Mutant Colour in the Material/Map Browser.

step 19

Step 20

Select Mutant in the material slot.

step 20

Step 21

In the pop up menu, select bitmap option to load a map.

step 21

Step 22

Select Texture_A_Lighter.jpg to apply to this material. Texture generated by you using Viewport Canvas.

step 22

Step 23

Now, in the Material Editor select go to parent.

step 23

Step 24

Select the Colour slot in the Material Editor.

step 24

Step 25

In the pop up menu select, Hair Color Variation.

step 25

Step 26

Select the Colour slot in the Material Editor.

step 26

Step 27

In the pop up menu select bitmap option and load Texture_A.jpg. At the end of this process rename your material to MTL_C.

step 27a
step 27b

Step 28

Now we need to bring this material to the fur. Simply click and drag the material from the Material Editor (01) onto the empty slot under Material in the settings panel on the right of your screen (02).

step 28

Step 29

Now paint a mask similar to that shown in the image below using Viewport Canvas and save with the name Mask_a.jpg. The mask will be used to generate fur just in the areas needed. White area means 100% fur and black means 0% fur.

step 29

Step 30

Select the square box next to Length in the settings panel to load the bitmap file Mask_a.jpg mask that you painted.  For instruction on how to do this, follow steps 03-04.

step 30

Step 31

Now we need to add a hairstyle. Select Add HairStyle Wisp Modifier and apply the following settings. Under parameters, set hair strands per wisps count to 7 and in wisp properties set radius to 0.15m and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.

step 31

Step 32

Now we need to add another hairstyle. Select Add HairStyle Frizz Modifier and apply the following settings. Under parameters, set amount value to 0.15m and set the internal noise parameter frequency to 200.0. This completes our first layer of fur.

step 32

Step 33

Because of multiple modifiers you will end up using, it’s a good idea to add a letter to the end of each modifier in order to organize your stack structure. Select each modifier and with the mouse right click and a pop up menu will appear. Select rename and add a letter or a number. In this tutorial we used “//A”.

step 33

Step 34

We are going to follow the same steps as 10-15, 28 and 30-33 to create additional fur layers to the fuselage to create a natural dog fur.
We are going to use the same mask as in step 30 and we will use the same structure as in steps 10 to 15 and 30 to 33.  The settings are laid out in the image below as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.7m and brush as in step 13.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, set the Count/Area value to 30.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and Thickness Multiplier set to x.001. Load the mask Mask_a.jpg, refer to step 30 in order to load the map, and load MTL_C as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 149, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.13m, Fuzziness to 30.0, Twist to 1500.0 and  under and Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.4, Stretch % to 100.0 and Frequency to 100.
  • (E) After renaming adding “//B”, refer to step 33 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 34

Step 35

Now we are going to add fur to the front part of the geometry FUSELAGE, following the same steps as 10-15 and 30-33. To do this, paint a mask similar to that shown in the image below using Viewport Canvas and save with the name Mask_b.jpg. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.15m and brush as in step 13.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 4000.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the mask Mask_b.jpg, refer to step 30, and load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 8, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.09m and Length Var. to 20.0 and under and Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.4, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 300.
  • (E) After renaming adding “//C”, refer to step 33 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 35a
step 35b

Step 36

Now we are going to work on the geometry FRONT_WING, so select the FRONT_WING, isolate it by pressing Alt + Q on the keyboard and apply Hair Mesh Brush and under Scale value set to 0.4m. An orange wire line will appear in the surrounding model.

step 36

Step 37

Brush the base strand from right to left using the Direction Brush option.

step 37

Step 38

Now we are going to add more modifiers following steps 14, 15, 28, 31-33. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 1500.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and Thickness Multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (B) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 6, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m and Length Var. to 20.0 and under and Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (C) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.2m, Stretch % to 50.0 and Frequency to 150.
  • (D) After renaming adding “//A”, refer to step 34 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 38

Step 39

In order to cover the angular front part of the FRONT_WING we need to add an extra layer. We are going to follow the same steps as 36-38. We are going to use the mask just to generate fur in the front area of the FRONT_WING. To do this, paint a mask similar to that shown in the image below using Viewport Canvas and save with the name Mask_c.jpg. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.4m and brush as in step 37.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 1500.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the mask Mask_c.jpg, refer to step 30 in order to load the mask. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 6, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m and Length Var. to 20.0 and under and Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.2, Stretch % to 50.0 and Frequency to 150.
  •  (E) After renaming adding “//B”, refer to step 34 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 39a
step 39b

Step 40

Now we are going to work on the geometry ENGINE so select the ENGINE and isolate it and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear in the surrounding model.

step 40

Step 41

Select the Auto Comb option and set value to 40. Begin brushing from front to the back of the ENGINE.

step 41

Step 42

Now we will follow the same steps as 14,15,28 and 31-33. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.6m and brush from front to back using Direction Brush, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, set the Count/Area value to 1000.0, Thickness to 0.5m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 5, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m, Length Var. to 20.0 and Fuzziness to 30.0 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.4, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 20.
  • (E) After renaming adding “//A”, refer to step 33 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 42

Step 43

Now we are going to work on the geometry ENGINE_DOOR gear, repeating process as in steps 40-42 and the settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.6m and brush from top to bottom, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, set the Count/Area value to 1000.0, Thickness to 0.5m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 8, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.07m, Length Var. to 20.0 and Fuzziness to 0.0 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.2, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 10.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 43a
step 43b

Step 44

Now we are going to work on the geometry REAR_WING  repeating 40-42 and the settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.4m and brush from right to left, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, set the Count/Area value to 1500.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 8, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.12m, Length Var. to 20.0 and Fuzziness to 0.0,  UVW Span to 1.0  and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.2, Stretch % to 50.0 and Frequency to 10.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 44a
step 44b

Step 45

Now we are going to work on the geometry TAIL. Select the geometry TAIL, isolate it and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model.

step 45

Step 46

Now select the Direction Brush and brush from top to bottom, see step 13 as reference.

step 46

Step 47

Now we will repeat steps 42. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.6m and brush as in step 38.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, set the Count/Area value to 450.0, Thickness to 0.5m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001 Load the same material as step 30.  Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 5, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m, Length Var. to 20.0, Fuzziness to 30.0 and UVW Span to 0.5 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.2m, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 10.
  • (E) After renaming adding “//A”, refer to step 33 to rename, your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 47

Step 48

Now we are going to work on the geometry REAR_ELEMENT. As a reference, see steps 14,15, 28  and 31-33 in order to complete this step. Select the REAR_ELEMENT, isolate your selection and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model and use the following settings:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.6m, select Autocomb with a setting of 40 and brush from top to bottom, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 1000.0, Thickness to 0.9m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 10, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.17m and Length Var. to 20.0 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.15, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 30.
  • (E) Your stack it will look like as the image below.
step 48a
step 48b

Step 49

Now we are going to work on the geometry NOSE of the airplane. As a reference, see steps 14, 15 and 28-33 in order to complete this step. The fur is going to be generated just in the white areas as shown below. To do this, paint a mask similar to that shown in the image below using Viewport Canvas and save with the name Mask_d.jpg. Select the NOSE of the airplane, isolate your selection and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model and use the following settings:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.1m, select Autocomb with a setting of 40 and brush from front to back, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 5000.0, Thickness to 0.3m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001.  Load the mask Mask_d.jpg, refer to step 30 in order to load the mask and load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 7, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.05m and Length Var. to 20.0  and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.03, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 400.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 49a
step 49b
step 49c

Step 50

Now we are going to work on the TOP_DETAIL of the airplane. As a reference, see steps 14,15, 28  and 31-33 in order to complete this step. Select the element, isolate it and apply a Hair Mesh Brush.An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model and use the following settings:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.4m and select Autocomb with a setting of 50 and brush from top to bottom, see step 13 as reference.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 1000.0, Thickness to 0.9m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the same material as step 28.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 10, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.17m and Length Var. to 20.0 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.15, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 30.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
  • Stroke set to none
step 50a
step 50b

Step 51

Now we are going to set up a material for the blue areas in the image below.  The process is going to be the same as steps 16–27. The main difference is that in step 22 you will load Texture_B_Lighter.jpg instead and in step 27 you will load Texture_B.jpg.  At the end of this process rename you material to MTL_D.

step 51

Step 52

Now we are going to work on the geometry  STRUTS of the landing gear. Select the STRUTS, isolate them and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model.

Select the Auto Comb option and set the value to 40.

step 52

Step 53

Now we are going to generate fur for these elements. As a reference, see steps 42. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.2m and brush as in step 38.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 2000.0, Thickness to 0.9m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the MTL_D into material slot, see step 28 as a reference.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 25, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.08m, Length Var. to 20.0, Fuzziness to 30.0 and UVW Span to 0.5 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.07, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 10.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 53

Step 54

Now we are going to work on the propeller so select the propeller, isolate it and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model.
Select the Auto Comb option and set a value to 40.

step 54

Step 55

Now we are going to generate fur for these elements. As a reference, see steps 42. The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.31m and brush as in step 38.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 1000.0, Thickness to 0.8m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the MTL_D into material slot, see step 28 as a reference.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 45, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m, Length Var. to 20.0, Fuzziness to 30.0 and UVW Span to 0.5 and under Subdivision set value of 3 in Add. Steps.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.07, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 30.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 55

Step 56

Now we are going to work on the geometry WHEEL of the airplane.  As a reference, see steps 14, 15, 28-33. The fur is going to be generated just in the white areas as shown below. To do this, paint a mask similar to that shown in the image below using Viewport Canvas and save with the name Mask_e.jpg.  Select the element, isolate it and apply a Hair Mesh Brush. An orange wire line will appear on the surrounding model. Use the Direct Brush to brush the wheels from top to bottom. 
The settings are as follows:

  • (A) HairMesh Brush. Under parameters, set scale to 0.1m and brush as in step 38.
  • (B) Hair Generate. Under parameters, click/tick Set Hair Count per Area and set the Count/Area value to 500.0, Thickness to 0.75m, Thickness Curve as per step 15 and multiplier set to x.001. Load the mask Mask_e.jpg, refer to step 30. Load MTL_D into material slot, see step 28 as a reference.
  • (C) HairStyle Wisps Modifier. Under parameters, set Hair Strands per Wisp to 22, under Wisp Properties set Radius to 0.1m and Length Var. to 20.0.
  • (D) Hairstyle Frizz Modifier. Under the amount properties, set the Amount to 0.15, Stretch % to 0.0 and Frequency to 12.
  • (E) Your stack will look like the image below.
step 56a
step 56b
step 56c

Step 57

Now we are about ready to send the render. Press C to go the camera view and click the Render Production button.

step 57

Step 58

After the airplane has rendered, save the image as a .TIFF or .EXR in which you can include an alpha channel to separate the airplane from the background when in Photoshop.

step 58


2. Compile the Renders

Step 1

The post production starts with 3 renders, one for the background and shadow, and two lengths of fur. Compositing two renders with varying lengths allows for some creative flexibility, and also means less time spent in 3D.Open the renders and locate the Alpha Channels located in the Channels dialogue box.

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Step 2

Apply the 3D generated Alpha Channel as a Mask (Command + Click on the Channel) and Duplicate your Layer (Right Click > Duplicate Layer) both renders into the Background render.

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Here the basis of the composite Layer Stack. Rename your Layers appropriately.

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3. Blend the Renders

Step 1

Here we will start to bring through elements of the shorter fur. Replace the Layer Mask onto a Group and then Mask the Layer inside. This method allows total flexibility in terms of working with the Layer, and adding Adjustment Layers etc. without having to clip them to the Layer. It’s all bound within the constraints of the Group Mask.

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Step 2

Invert the Mask (Command + I) and Brush through the desired elements of the shorter fur version. Especially the detailed parts which may have become ‘overgrown’.

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Step 3

Here we’ll fix a ‘blown out’ area in the render. Using the Lasso tool, select an area of well exposed, detailed fur. Feather the edge 50 Pixels (Shift + F6) and Copy Merged (Shift + Command + C) and Paste (Command + V). Add then patch over the area, and using a Soft-Edged-Brush erase the unwanted areas.

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Step 4

Merge the renders and patch to one Merged Layer. Select all your Layers, except for the background, and Duplicate them by either dragging them onto the new Layer icon, or ‘right click’ Duplicate. Duplicating will give you the chance to retrieve parts of the unmerged version if you need it. Merge the new Layers. (Command + E).

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4. Create Edge Fur

Step 1

With the Merged Layer ready, configure a standard Brush, set the Shape Dynamics to Pen Pressure and select the Smudge tool, with ‘Sample all Layers’ in the top menu bar Unchecked. This will allow the pixels to be smudged from the Merged Layer outwards to resemble stray fur. With the Shape Dynamics set to Pen Pressure, the Brush will end with a fine tip.

Your Brush should look like this.

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Repeat the process of dragging out, from the edge of the Layer, making a new piece of fur each time.

The Size and the Strength of the Smudge Tool play a large part in the type of smudge you’ll achieve. A Larger Brush gives a stronger effect, while a percentage of Strength less than 75% will not smudge very far, more than 90% tends to smudge too much. Toggle around in between these values and you’ll find the sweet spot.

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5. Composite Nose Texture

Create a Group Mask for the nose. Note how dark the nose is compared to the reddish / yellow fur around it; this means we create a Mask for it easily via the Channels.

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Step 1

Bring up the Channels Dialogue box. Have a look through them by clicking on them one at a time, you’ll begin to see the varying levels of contrast inherent within them. Especially in our case; the Red Channel. Duplicate the Red Channel by dragging it to the New Layer Icon.

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Step 2

To achieve a really crisp Mask and area to work our Dog Nose texture into; we need to make the nose black and the area around it white. So bring up the Levels dialogue while working on the Red Channel Copy (Command + L ) and select the Dark Eyedropper on the dark nose.

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Step 3

And then the light Eyedropper on the lighter parts. This gives us a really good ‘crunch’ for our Mask.

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Step 4

While still in the Duplicated Red Channel, Brush out the unwanted areas. Make sure you haven’t gone too contrasty; leave a little room throughout the Midtone – this will allow for a smooth transition.

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Step 5

Select the Channel (Command + click) on the Channel, and come back to the Layers Palette. Create a new Group and Mask off the Group. You’ll now be able to work your texture into the Group, and add more adjustments as you go with the benefit of being constrained by the Group Mask the whole time.

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Step 6

Download and open the Dog Nose Texture image from Stock Image #1. Select the nose texture area and Feather (Shift + F6) the edge. Bring the texture into the working area within your nose Group Mask.

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See how we’re already Masked? Now we just need to resize and shape the nose to fit a little better.

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Step 7

Use the Transform and Warp tools to get the nose into a more realistic looking shape. (Command + T). Within the working Transform area, Right Click to select Warp.

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Step 8

Add the nostrils (actually gun mount bays on the actual Wellington) by adding a Mask to your Nose Texture Layer and Brush through.

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Step 9

Darken the nostrils on the Merged Layer with the Burn tool.

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Step 10

Create a highlight to make the dog nose look wetter. Create a New Layer (Shift + Command + N), a big round soft Brush and paint one drop of white paint onto it. This will give a nice smooth highlight.

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Step 11

Then Transform (Command + T) the highlight Layer onto the top of the nose and reduce the opacity to add realism.

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To look like a wet highlight.

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6. Composite Paw Texture

Step 1

Go back to your Channels and duplicate the already Duplicated Red Channel. We’re going to create a Mask for the paw area using the same technique we used for the nose. Notice that as the tones of the paws / wheels in the render are similar to the nose, (e.g dark, and the fur around them is redder and lighter), our Mask is already partly there.

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Step 2

Select the Channel (Command + Click)

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Step 3

Invert the selection (Shift + Command + I ). Select the Lasso Tool, Hold down Shift + Command and select the paw / wheels from the rest of the selection. With this key combination, the Lasso tool is set to Intersect the selection, so you’ll end up with only the areas you want.

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Which when the Mask is previewed, will look something like this.

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Step 4

Remove the Midtone areas around the wheels to obtain a really neat Mask of just black and just white. Preview your Mask, (Alt + Click on the Mask) and bring up your Levels, select the Dark Eyedropper and click on the areas unwanted. Note to remove unwanted areas that aren’t Midtones, you’ll need to Fill / Brush these out.

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Here we now have a neat, Black and White Mask.

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Step 5

Open the file Stock Image #2 and select some paw texture.

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Step 6

Bring it into your Masked off working Group, as before, and Transform to fit.

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Step 7

Resize and Duplicate for the rest of the paws. To Duplicate small working parts of a Layer onto the same Layer, Select the area of paw you’re working with and (Alt + Command + drag) and you’ll have Duplicated the same piece, within its own Layer.

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Step 8

Refine the Mask by Brushing using the Smudge Tool once again. Do this on the Mask and it will push pixels back to reveal a little more paw detail.

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Step 9

Now to Colour Correct the paw. A slightly healthier looking pinkish Hue would be good here – so while within the Group Mask again, create a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer. Access your whole range of Adjustment Layers from within the bottom of the Layers Palette.

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Step 10

Colourize the Adjustment Layer to something pinkish.

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Step 11

Reduce the Opacity to taste, and within the paw Group Mask, Brush some tone in on a Curves Adjustment Layer. Here try to imagine where the light and dark areas would fall; so where the underside of the paw is meeting the shadow on the Background, we would also have a shadow area under the paw. Repeat the process for the rest of the paws.

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7. Composite Mouth Texture

Step 1

Locate the image -  Stock Image #3 from SEPPics.

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Step 2

The mouth needs a little straightening so select the mouth area and select Liquify, from the Filter Menu. (Shift + Command + X). Using the ‘Push’ tool, start attempting to smooth the mouth.

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So you end up with something like this.

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Step 3

Bring the mouth into our document, flip it the correct way, Mask it, and Brush with a soft Brush to remove the unwanted areas.

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Step 4

Now to Colour Correct the mouth areas, this will help blend it into the fur. Here we’ll use Group Layer Modes. Create a new Group. Its automatic Group Layer Mode is set to ‘Pass Through’, change this to ‘Normal’. Add a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer, and set to Colourize, and move the Hue Slider to a colour nearing the fur colour.

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What a Group Layer Mode set to Normal does, is it allows you to add Adjustment Layers within that Group to affect only the pixel data within the group itself. This means you can add multiple corrections without having to be concerned about Mask constrains.

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Step 5

Now for the fun part. Warp the mouth into the desired shape. I wanted a cute smile so deliberately attempted to curl the mouth up at the end.

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Mask areas off of the mouth that aren’t required and keep warping until you’re happy. Change the Opacity of the Colour Correcting Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer to suit the fur colour around the mouth required.

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8. Add Whiskers

Step 1

Next, draw a 1 or 2 Pixel White Line on a New Layer. This will become a whisker. A nice way to draw a line with a Brush is to Drop one point on your Canvas, release and holding down Shift, click another area. A line between the two points you’ve created will be drawn.

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Step 2

Warp the line into a whisker shape by selecting Transform (Command + T) and then Right Click into the working Transform area and selecting Warp. Select ‘Arch’ in the Warp Menu from the Menu Bar, and, Warp into a whisker shape.

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Step 3

Duplicate your whisker Layer to produce more whiskers and move them into the face area.

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Step 4

Once happy with the amount of whiskers you’ve added, Merge them (Or put them into a Group and Mask that) and Mask the starting points of the Whiskers.

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9. Modify Paw Shape

Step 1

Finally to add a little realism and ‘weight’ to the paws, change the shape of them by Merging all of your working Layers into One Layer, and select the lower half of one of the paws.

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Step 2

Again select to Transform (Command + T) and Right Click to Warp. Then using the Warp tool just pull down the central bounding area of the tool, while taking care to not stretch the pixels too far. This should just change the shape a little. Repeat for the remaining paws.

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Conclusion

And here we are. A finished Wellington – Retriever, a ‘Dogfighter’ – or actually in this case – a ‘Dogbomber’.

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