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Texturing Sculpt Studio Sculpties with Photoshop CS4 3D

I’m by no means an authority on this subject, but I’ve been Googling for months and have never found a tutorial specifically telling me whats required for texturing a Second Life Sculpty using Photoshop CS4 3D (Extended) so I thought I’d record my findings here to assist those with a similar mission, and perhaps bring the true experts out of the woodwork 🙂

Unlike most tutorials you’ll find, which assume that the object file you’re importing is coming in fully textured and all you want to do is light and tweak it to produce the ultimate 2D photo, here I’ll be showing you how I made a new texture and exported it from PS for importing into Second Life.

Crucial fact # 1: Only the ‘Extended’ version of CS4 has 3D capability.

Crucial fact # 2: Not every imported sculpty you paint on in PS will produce a sculpt texture that will co-incide with SL. You actually have to construct your sculpt a certain way.  For SS users this poses some problems, so read on.  I recently went through the painstaking process of stamping an intricate sculpt, only to discover that part of the texture ended up upside-down.   I’m not sure if this is because of how the object file is produced but perhaps some changes could be made there which will prevent this from being an issue in the future …

In the meantime, if you’re going to be using PS CS4 3D to texture your sculpty, always make sure you build it front-on with slice 0 at the ‘top’ and any cross-activity going from left to right.  Or if your sculpty does start with slice 0 at the bottom (as is the default in Sculpt Studio) if you need to ‘cross’ the sculpty, cross it from right-to left (and the resulting texture will be upside down but in the right sequence).  If it still comes out wrong despite your best efforts, you’ll have to work out which section of the texture isn’t right and flip it.  You may also need to rotate it 180 degrees in sl.

Now I’m not 100% sure that the rules I’ve come up with are spot on, but after thinking about what happened to my sculpt texture, it was the conclusion I woke up with this morning :).  If you discover situations where this doesn’t fix the problem, or come up with more definitive rules, please let me know and I’ll update this post accordingly.

Step 1 – Open your obj file

Sculpt Studio produces an obj file every time we make a sculpty.  Other sculptors will need to export an obj file from whatever program they’re using.  For 32×32 sculpts, Sculpty Paint can also export the sculpt as an obj file.

Step 2 – Set up PS to work with 3D (should only need to do this once)

Set up PS CS4 for Sculpty Painting

Set up PS CS4 for Sculpty Painting

  1. Select the Advanced 3D workspace (Window/ Workspace/ Advanced 3D from the menu)
  2. Click on the Scene Explorer button.  (Small square button which has a tiny folder tree icon on it).
  3. Change ‘Paint On’ to ‘Diffuse’.  (Check also 3D/3D Paint Mode/Diffuse in the menu)
  4. Unless you have a high powered pc, leave the Anti-Alias set to ‘Draft’.
The other thing that you might want to change, is the ‘Paint Falloff’ setting – if your sculpt is curvy or intricate it could be difficult to find the rotation which will actually take paint – you can increase the hit area of the paint by changing the settings at 3D/Paint Falloff ….  Minimum is 0 and maximum is 90 ..

Cam Tool

Cam Tool

Step 3 – Create ‘ Front’ and ‘Back’ camera view of your sculpty

This will help you enormously to get back to a front or back view quickly if you’ve cammed beyond recognition.  The default settings in Photoshop don’t co-incide with an SS Sculpty object.
  1. Click the cam tool in the Toolbox.
  2. Click on your sculpt and drag – straight up, straight down, horizontal left or horizontal right, until you’ve Got the sculpty front on.
  3. Click the ‘Save’ button to save the view.
  4. Do the same for the back, and any other views you think you might need to jump to quickly.

Step 4 – Import a photo or graphic to apply to the sculpt

If you prefer to paint right onto the sculpty, you can do that too, using all PS’s painting power, what I’m describing here is the method you need to use to transfer a photo or other graphic onto the sculpty.

  1. Place Image – ‘Place’ a graphic – firstly put it on a layer above the 3D object.
  2. Cut and paste – Using selection tools, cut out the piece you’re interested in using, and paste to a new layer.  You can hide the placed image now, until you need to come back to it to grab another piece.
  3. Transform to match – Using Transformation Tools (Edit/Transform) Change the elements of the graphic you’re going to be using to approximate the size and rotation of the sculpty.  I usually do this directly over the top of the sculpty which has been rotated the way I need it.  This is really the most fiddly time consuming bit, because you need to get the sculpty cam rotated in a way that will take paint first.  The ‘Warp’ transformation tool is very useful for the types of crazy transforming you’re probably going to have to do.  Naturally its best to try to minimise distortion of the image you’re stamping from.
  4. Set up the workspace for stamping – Now drag the image section away from the sculpty and place in a spot you will be able to see at the same time as you’re applying the image to the sculpt.  Also drag the layer below the sculpt object.
  5. Stamp the image onto the sculpty – Select the Stamp Tool from the tool box and make sure that ‘Sample’ is set to ‘Current and Below’.Stamp Tool Settings

Show Clone Source Panel

Show Clone Source Panel

I’m assuming you already know how to use the PS Stamp Tool – the ‘Current and Below’ setting is apparently new especially for 3d painting, and very handy because you don’t need to swap layers, the other thing thats useful is to turn on ‘Show Overlay’ in the Clone Source panel (Windows/Clone Source).

Step 5 – View and export your sculpty texture

Open the texture

Open the texture

When you’re done texturing, or any time you want to see what your texture looks like, or add layers to it, you can open it directly.
  1. Go to the 3D Materials Panel and select the Explorer icon.
  2. Click on the image under ‘obj Mesh’ (the default name of the image is __PS_3D_Default)
  3. Beside the ‘Diffuse’ heading that appears in the details box below, click the drop-down icon and select ‘Open Texture’.
When its open you can add a new layer, apply 2D effects or export it as a 2D image.
** Congratulations – you’re done.  **
Note that any 3D effects you might have applied to the model, like shadows or bump-mapping will not be present.  I haven’t found the best way to incorporate these yet, but I’ve had satisfactory results using Photoshop’s regular 2D Filter: ‘Render Lighting Effects’ to do simple lighting and apply a bump map .

6 Comments on “Texturing Sculpt Studio Sculpties with Photoshop CS4 3D”

  1. #1 Texturing Sculpt Studio Sculpties with Photoshop CS4 3D – Sculpt … | Portal site of Second Life and metaverse"MetaLog-meta log"
    on Jan 8th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    […] I’m by no means an authority on this subject, but I’ve been Googling for months and have… […]

  2. #2 Anastasia Magic
    on Jan 8th, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you for posting this – it seems very helpful. I have one question, will this work for CS3 Extended? As CS3 Extended does have some sort of 3D capabilities, just not sure if it does actual texturing. I will have to work through your tutorial and see if it works – just thought I would ask. THanks again for this – It will be very helpful XD

  3. #3 bloodsong
    on Jan 8th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    can you define ‘crossing’ the sculpty?

  4. #4 Fleur Dollinger
    on Feb 27th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Hi all, sorry for the delay in responding, and now that I am responding, I probably won’t be giving you any useful answers 🙂 but as for CS3, someone else will hopefully be able to comment whether or not it can be used. And for bloodsong, when i say ‘cross the sculpty’ I mean make a cross with one set of slices going south-north and the other set going east-west, using poles to ‘disconnect’ the ends of course.

  5. #5 ele newell
    on Mar 27th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    CS3 was the first implementation of the extended version which supported .obj files. However, it is sorely lacking in how it works with them and ultimately, was very difficult to work with. CS4, on the other hand, was a simple, “open the .obj” and you were done and ready to work.

    Fleur, you kinda answered your own querie on the upside down-ess of the sculpts because it is with “0” at bottom that this appears to happen.

  6. #6 Sculpties texturieren mit PS CS5 3D - SLinfo.de - Second Life Forum
    on Aug 4th, 2010 at 8:51 am

    […] von Sculpties habe ich keine Ahnung, von PS schon ein bisschen. Ich habe ein Tutorial gefunden Texturing Sculpt Studio Sculpties with Photoshop CS4 3D

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