I will try to show you through this tutorial
how to create a metallic looking texture. There are probably
another hundred ways to do it so you must play around with
layer options, blending options and filters, as well as your
own imagination. The best way to create a texture is to have
a real one nearby, found anywhere on the net. A good place
to search for images is on Google's Image Search.
Now everything I did was done
with Photoshop 7, and a few brushes that you can download
for free on resource sites or even make your own. This
tutorial will explain how to create your own. Here is how
your final product will look like:
your final product ]
Creating the Texture:
The following steps will explain how
to create a metallic texture in PhotoShop:
I used a picture probably
found on the net as a reference texture - as you will see
this has nothing to do with the final, photoshop-made
I used the eyedropper tool to take the lightest color as a
foreground color, and the darkest one as a background
color, to use these colors as my basic gradient. You can
choose anything you like for your colors.
reference texture ]
Open up photoshop; create a document, RGB,
whatever size you want. I kept mine small at 700x500 such
because I later used a brush that had this same size.
Fill your background layer (or a new
layer) with a nice, large linear gradient, I used
the two tones of gray but any grey or blue tone will do -
just keep in mind the colors should not be extremely
bright or dark.
[ the gradient ]
Give your gradient some noise - I chose 6%
level of noise, Gaussian (because it sounded cool) and
monochromatic, it wouldn't look too nice with colors. This
should give you the 'brushed' aspect of the metal.
The more noise, the rougher the metal will be, if you only
use a slight noise the texture will look smooth and
[ apply some noise to your
The actual 'brushing' is done with the
motion blur, very handy filter. Once again you can change
anything in your filter options, but the longer the
streaks the smoother the metal and the angle doesn't
really matter. I chose a 12° angle on a distance of 12
At this stage you might want to crop your image because
the motion blur doesn't affect the area near the borders,
so crop your image leaving out the borders. It didn't show
up too much on mine so I didn't crop - but I usually do
with the motion blur.
[ motion blur ]
Now you can work on the contrasts and give
the metal texture more highlights and dark tones - you can
use any of the handy tools photoshop provides, I went in
for a bit of contrast and played around with the curves,
giving the image more light and dark colors.
[ adjust the contrast ]
That's it! You've got the basis of a metal
texture. Now if you are doing 3d I'd recommend a few
things - keeps a black and white layer following the
steps, or make a new layer and give it a grayscale - this
is to be used for bumpmapping - highlight maps or
Try to make the gradient straight, not slanted, to give
the texture a seamless pattern.
Here is a good tutorial for making seamless textures with
non seamless ones.
What should be done now is add details -
give the texture more realism; that is - a proper
lighting, some scratches and non uniform colors...plus a
little extra at the end.
For the scratches - there's only one way to do it -
brushes. You can make them yourself or download them.
Search on Google for rust, metal or scratch PS7 brushes.
Here's a good brush site. The other solution is make
your own brushes -
here's a tutorial on how to do them - basically
you take scratch from photos, existing pictures, etc. and
give it a very high contrast.
The brush is used was made
from the metal texture of the beginning of the tutorial; I
used the curves to make it look fuzzy and heavily
contrasted and then turned it into a brush
Edit>Create Brush (eventually save your set of
new brushes, can be handy for later projects)
The blending options you mostly use with the brushes are
the cherished dodge and burn
options. What I did was use the eyedropper
to pick the color of the light area, use my brush
with the 'color dodge' mode and a 35%
Since the color dodge doesn't affect dark areas I use the
same brush (but changing brush would be wiser). Picked a
dark color and used my brush on the bottom area with a
'color burn' and 35% opacity:
[ some further modifications
to our image ]
We've got one fine texture now - and what
would make it even better is a nice lighting. Now DON'T do
this if your texture is to be used for a 3D model - it
won't look good I assure you.
The lighting effects are found in Filters>Render>Lighting
Effects. Once again you must play with the position,
strength of lighting (check the material percent for
example). I used a spotlight with the numbers that are
shown in the following image:
[ the spotlight settings ]
We're almost done now. The
*extra* bits that I was talking about are here. I viewed
sci-fi movies and noticed that ships always had a metallic
grate for the hull and almost always, there was grease/oil
leaking or smearing from the joints. So what you can do is
re-create those 'leaks'.
Here's how you do it: create a new layer, and make the
rectangles in black, using lines 1, 2 or 3 pixel large.
Now make a copy of that layer, and smear the copy using
the smudge tool and a round brush set to
80% opacity. You've got to give it your own feel. You can
even make rivets or anything else.
Now for the final touch, take the first layer and give it
a bevel and emboss - to give some depth:
images: first one details the blending options; second
shows the 'leaks' ]
That's it! You're texture is done. Now it's your job to
turn everything your own way. Mail me textures you did,
I'll post them on
my site! If you have any questions, feel free to
contact me by clicking the link at the bottom or by
posting in the
appropriate forums forums.