Gritty Pipelines

Another texture tutorial. You may want to visit the Dirty Texture Tutorial before doing this one. I'm working in Photoshop 7, although there shouldn't be any problems following these steps in other versions of PS. I also recommended you read up on "Offsetting". I do not cover this in the tutorial, but it is crucial for making a tiling texture. (oh yeah, and I'm aware that the image file names don't necessarily match up with the image letters I've assigned to them. ;)

Step 1: Open a blank document. I made mine 512x512 but you can work at 256x256 if you like. Fill the background with a low-saturated color. I used a greyish tone.

Step 2: Now we're going to build up our basic background. I do this by combining elements from other images into my grey base. In this case, I'm lifting texture from a photo of rusting, peeling paint (shown below). Using the Healing Tool, Alt-Click the area where you want to "lift" texture from. Begin painting over your neutral base. The Healing Tool combines the two together, but alters the color to match where the texture is being pasted. If you're using an earlier version of Photoshop, you may use the Rubber Stamp tool - although it will not make the color changes for you. If you look at Image B, the first circle on the left side shows how the Healer Tool will copy texture. I found these colors to be much too harsh, so I've gone over and desaturated it with the Sponge Tool. You can see the results of this in the second circle. To mute the intensity of the texture even further, I've painted over the top of it with the grey background color. Just take a few textured brushes and splotch it around a bit. If you like, you may use the brushes I've done. Download them here. As you may have already guessed, you can see the results of this in the third circle of Image B. To view the entire texture so far, click the thumbnail for Image C.



Step 3: The base texture is coming along, but isn't as even as it should be. To help bring it all together, I've taken another image (broken glass, Image A) and pasted it onto another layer above the base. Select your blending mode from the dropdown menu. The mode you select may vary from texture to texture, depending on the effect you want. I've also lowered the opacity of this layer significantly. You'll notice that things still aren't even throughout the picture, for instance the leaves in the glass are too obvious. This is an easy fix. Just go over the top of these places with either the Healing or the Rubber Stamp tool to clean it up. You don't want any areas to stand out too much, otherwise when you tile the image it will look terrible. That brings me to another point! I always have an HTML file with the background set as my texture so I can see how well it tiles. If you're not sure how to do this, do a Google search - unfortunately this is not an HTML tutorial. ;) For the finished look, click on Image B.


Step 4: Now that we have a good wall to build on, we'll start adding our pipelines. You can add one big fat pipe, 20 tiny pipes, or a few various sized pipes like I've done. It makes no difference. Working on a new layer, use the Rectangular Marquee Tool and make a series of selections across your image. To make more than one selection at a time, hold down the Shift key every time you click and drag. After selecting a color slightly lighter than your background, go up to edit -> fill -> foreground color.

Step 5: Things get just a little more tricky now. We need to make our pipes look three-dimensional, and if you don't have a very basic understanding of form this step might prove difficult for you. All I have done to get this result is put shadows and highlights onto my selections with either the Dodge, Burn, or Paintbrush tools. To built up this effect I use a soft feathered brush (round), click at one end of the pipe, hold down the shift key, and drag across to the other side. Holding down the shift key keeps your strokes in a straight line. To put it in a very basic way, keep the shadows on the outer edges of the pipes and the highlights on top. Make sure that your lightsource is uniform (meaning that each of your pipes should look similar because the "light" hits them in the same way).

Step 6: Right now our pipes are too smooth, they seem out of place on our gritty background. To fix this, I've pretty much repeated Step 3, but done it only on the pipes. To select your pipes by themselves, ctrl-click the layer that they are on. This way you can work within this area without overlapping.

Step 7: To get the wet, smeared effect under the pipes I scribbled some rough brushstrokes underneath the pipes (new layer) and ran a motion blur on them. For the best results, make sure that your strokes and your blur are going in the same direction. In other words, draw your lines up and down, then set the motion blur at the appropriate angle so that it smears your lines down farther - not left-to-right or diagonal. Fade the opacity down on this layer a bit so the effect isn't overbearing and the original background texture shows through a little.

Step 8: Last I heard, pipes didn't float so we need something to mount them to the wall. :) Using the same technique as mentioned in Step 4, make a vertical selection over the top of your pipes and fill it in. Unfortunately, there is no trick or quick fix to get something like this to look good - I've almost completely hand painted it. You can't really go wrong if you put shadows between the pipes and highlights on top. To make the mount look more attached to the pipelines, put a slight shadow beneath it. If all looks good, you should be done! Voila!

Step 9: I added this step just for fun. A good, complete texture set includes not only the "base" textures, but also the worn-down, slightly ornamented, or modified textures to go with them. How boring would that be to have a plain brick wall span on for a mile? Give yourself a little more to work with. Shattered bricks, spraypaint, lights, stains, etc. In this case, I'm added a gaping hole behind my mount... well, mainly because I want to play with the photo source (Image A). If you followed through this tutorial without any problems, you should be able to figure out how to do this by looking back over previous steps (or maybe without looking back!). What kind of teacher would I be if I walked you through every little thing repeatedly, huh? Now get to work and figure it out! :D


Wanna continue on to the Gritty Wall Light Tutorial? Click ze thumbnail!