Texture Design : Every artist needs a secret tree.

Oil painting concept art.
Crystal Cove WIP Oil painting by Matt Hodge, under the guidance of Ma Ly.

Video demonstration of my painting techniques included!

Oh Bob Ross. How I miss your secret little bushes and trees. As a kid I spent many afternoons watching that guy paint. I never practiced what I saw, but what I did do was gain an appreciation for brushes and canvas. As an adult this appreciation is continually helping me gain my own style, and grow in quality. So for all you aspiring game artists out there, I’m going to share this little morsel of wisdom with you… and it’ll be our little secret 😉

Ready for the big reveal? TAKE SOME OIL PAINTING LESSONS. It was only a couple of years ago that I struggled to make decent textures for my 3D environments. All I knew was to strive for was photo realism, and to PhotoChop pictures into textures. At the end of the day, my environments often looked like early Half Life mods. Anything that was cool was by accident. That is a problem. I realized that I could not control my visual look.

I scheduled a few lessons with oil painting instructor Ma Ly.

Under his direction I was quickly learning to push color around on canvas. There is the big take-a-way. PUSH COLOR. Select your palette, throw down the color you want in the basic shape and area you want it in. It’s okay to be sloppy at this stage. It’s often good to start with a sketch or guides, to help you understand where you want to throw your color down. Once you’re color is in place, you can use a smudging tool to begin precisely pushing color exactly where you want it. Some of the best game art out there is not pulled directly from photographs. Once I learned to push color into place, I gained control over my visual presentation.

Check out the video companion to this blog, I use two textures to demonstrate my process.

Happy painting!

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