Tutorial on Making Texture Maps for Poser Using BodyPaint 3D

This tutorial will outline making texture maps or image maps using BodyPaint 3D. For information on this program, see my review of BodyPaint 3D. I have included some sample figures for this tutorial that can be downloaded here. The figures are from Curious Labs Poser 4 and Curious Labs Pro Pack (service release 3.) The figure I have used here is the standard P4 nude which I have modified very slightly. In the downloadable zip file I have included this slightly modified file and call it "poser template".

I always use a digitizing tablet for all my art work. For this tutorial, one is necesssary.

Preparing the Figure for Painting

Step 1 - Create a figure in Poser and export is as an obj without making any changes.

Step 2 - Open the obj file in BodyPaint 3D. If you are using the one I made, it is called poser.obj. It will open in BodyPaint 3D facing to the side. It did not matter how the figure faced in Poser, it always opened the same way in BodyPaint 3D.

Step 3 - Turn it using the "Object Tool." Do this slowly since it can spin easily. The "Turning" symbol is found on the "Main" toolbar (on the top of the screen.) The "Object" Tool is circled on the left. Moving an object can be tricky. I experienced it having a tendency to move off the screen.

Step 4 - In the "Materials" menu, select file, new material. Drag the new material onto the figure in the "View" window. A box will appear. Retitle it if you like. Otherwise don't change other settings.

Step 5 - Click on the " New Material" to activate it. Go to the "Layers" Tab and put a check mark in the box next to Enable. Click on Channels, and then Color. A menu will open up. Change the size of the canvas from height = 600 and width = 600 pixels to height = 1,000 pixels and width = 1,000. Leave the resolution to 72 dpi. These dimensions were roughly taken from image maps from the Poser CD. Then, double click on the colored box on the lower right and when the color picker opens up, type in Red=200, Green=200, Blue=200. Then click OK. The color of the figure should have changed. I have prepared a figure called poser.c4d in which I have turned it so it faces front and added the new material.

Step 6 - Double click on the "Background" square (the gray one labeled background. This will put a solid gray background into the "Texture" window. Click on the UV Mesh icon to activate the mesh.

Step 7 - A good skin color is Red=251, Green=197, Blue=178, and brightness is 100%. To save this color as a preset on the color palette:

A) Click on any color square. A dialogue box will open up.

B) Click on the arrow below the word "brightness" and select RGB.........255.

C) Go to file and select "add single channel preset." Enter the name of the color.

D) Click "OK" to close the dialogue box.

It is important to remember when closing the program after a change to a preset has been made or a preset added, to SAVE presets when the question comes up on the screen.

Painting the Figure and Image Map

Step 8 - The first step is to set up layers. Go to the "Layer" menu and click on Function and "add new layer." I use layers so if I do not like something it is easy to delete a whole layer.

Step 9 - Since I wanted the model to appear less "shiny", I double clicked on the "new material" icon. In the dialogue box, I unchecked "specular" which is a default setting. This will eliminate shiny areas or highlights from the figure.

Step 10 - Before I worked any more on this model, I made an image map to see if it would properly fit. Use a definite color for the skin, such as blue. Paint in the details of the mouth, fingernails, or any other other body part that might be important. Once it is known that this basic map will work, it can be saved as a template if desired (without the color, obviously.) The map can be saved as a tif or jpg file. Both work the same in Poser and the rendered file size is not different. (This surprised me.)

Figure Created in BodyPaint Map Created in Body Paint Figure Rendered in Poser 4

Step 11 - Since the painting of the image map can extend beyond the lines of the map, the rough work can be painted on the map itself. This is easier because then the figure does not have to be turned so the back or sides are visible. Choose an appropriate size brush. I found that for the rough painting of the skin, a hard brush of 10 or 20 pixels worked very well. Remember to work on individual layers and then merge them when you are finished with the Image Map through the Function command if the file you are saving is a TIFF or Jpeg. Any missed areas can be fixed in a Painting or Image editing program. Remeber, Paint Shop Pro 7 is included on the CD.

Step 12 - With the Unwrapped UV Mesh activated, paint around the edges of the meshes. Then, deactivate the UV Mesh and paint in the rest of the areas. This way it is much easier not to miss any areas.

13 - The next area to paint is the eyes.

(A) Add a new layer and with a hard round bush of 10 pixels, paint in the white of the eyes.

(B) Add another layer and with a brush of only 1 or 2 pixels paint in a dark circle for the pupil. The acrylic thin brush is a good brush. Just customize it so that it is only 1 or 2 pixels in size. This layer will be the top most eye layer.

(C) Next highlight the eye layer which you painted white and add a layer above that. On this layer you will paint the basic color of the iris. Use a softer brush (soft round) and paint it tan (for example).

(D) Next add a layer above this one. For the next few steps you will add as many layers as you like. On each layer use an acrylic brush of 1 pixel and draw lines as per the illustration. The various layers can be enabled at different percentages. The lower the percentage, the more transparent will be the color.

(E) The last step involves coloring the rim around the iris. When you add this layer, make sure that this layer resides under the pupil layer. Use the same brush that you did for the the lines of the iris.

14 - (A) The eyelashes are always a bit of a problem. It is very hard to feather them so they look natural. The first thing one needs to do, however is to paint the lids so they look natural. Paint the lower lid a skin tone that is slightly pink and the upper lid the regular skin tone.

(B) Take the number 2HB Pencil and make its size1 pixel. Feather the strokes by changing your hand's pressure on the stylus. Make their length such that they help give the appearance of curving.

15 - Take the pen tool at a size of 1 pixel and follow the outline of the brow going from the bottom up. Then darken the color a little and add some more strokes.

16 - (A) For the lips, choose the chalk square brush and a shade of red or pink. Don't paint it too evenly so that the lips will look natural. Then choose the small size smear brush and smear it to soften it and blend it. Again, lip color is not perfectly defined; so again, leave it slightly uneven.

(B) Add a streak of white to the lower lip and blend it with the medium smear brush to add a highlight.

17 - (A) Take the same color as the lips or any color desired and spread it on the cheeks according to the illustraion. Use the square chalk brush at the default setting.

(B) Use the medium smear brush. First stroke from the cheek color toward the skin color. The blend in the oppposite direction. The more you go over an area, the more transparent it gets.

(C) Then enable the layer to 62%.

18 - Lastly, to finish the face add color to the chin an nostrils. I chose a light pink for the chin and forehead and a very dark brown for the nostrils. Then smear it with a medium smear brush to blend it and enable the layer at whaterver percent looks good.


Before and After

Troubleshooting Runaway Objects - The "Runaway Object" problem occurred when I exported a figure in the obj format from Poser and opened it in Body Paint 3D. If I tried to move the figure, it flew off of the screen. I could rotate it but had to do it very slowly. It happened when I used my mouse as well as when I used my digitizing tablet. Each computer is different and each operating system is, too. Thus, I am only writing this footnote so that people don't think something is wrong with their computer should this happen. This problem happened with both my Pentium III's under windows 98 second edition and with Poser Pro Pack SR 3 on the machines. It only happened if I exported obj objects from Poser directly into BodyPaint 3D. I do not believe it to be a function of BodyPaint 3D because if I exported a 3ds (3D Studio Max) from Poser and brought it into that program and changed it to an obj, the problem did not happen; but the figure was not satisfactory. This problem did not occur if I brought the Poser obj file into another program. It only happened with obj's exported from Poser into BodyPaint 3D.

The work-around is to use the magnifying glass. Bring the figure or map into the window so it fits the window. Then, magnify each area by making a marquee with the magnifier around the area to be painted until it is large enough. While this was cumbersome at first, after a while, I got used to it and picked up speed in manipulating the figures or the texture map.

After the tutorial was up on Renderosity's web site, I received a message from Curious Labs telling me that I could not use any objects from Poser so I am having to delete a template and an obj figure from my extra's file. (The one that can be downloaded). I hope the instructions in this tutorial will be sufficient for creating them on your own. I am sorry for this problem since it was my intent to only instruct Poser users and give them a head start on creating a texture image.