This week , i worked on a metal shader for the subway escalator for Tube.
It’s more of the same techniques from previous posts : so based on a greyscale dirtmap (top-left corner in the picture) handpainted in Gimp using mostly brushstrokes and a bit of overlaying tileable photo grungemaps.
This dirtmap is not a full unwrap of the object, where every face gets its own UV space. It’s just a rectangular patch (tileable on X ) to be mapped on the main side panels, plus two strips above (also X-tileable) mapped on all remaining pieces of the escalator.
This is sometimes a good method : instead of going crazy making unique uvs and then having to paint detailed patterns many times (for each unique piece) , paint more easily on a simple layout and adapt the unwrap to fit what you have.
Also interesting : shading standards and compositing … It’s messy business : i made this material in an asset library file , but i could check the result in shots, using this asset, which already have lighting and comp done on clay materials.
The comp for both these shots pushes contrast a lot, so i made the shader quite subtle/flat … is this a proper workflow? texturing and shading after lighting? I can’t say in general , but it can work.
On 1 hand you’d like shaders to be ‘standard’ and to work well for any lighting and to be there when you start lighting . On the other hand : that’s really hard to do , it’s much quicker to adapt the shader to whatever lighting setup you have, than to make a shader good for all cases ..
The big variable is often the contrast in lighting and amounts of spec vs. diffuse light : a shader looking good in soft diffuse light will often not work in a ‘harsh’, back/rim light setup ( like : if in soft light it shows enough reflections , then in harsh light they’ll be too much..)
As i said i don’t have a definitive answer or best practice , but generally going towards the side of subtler/flatter shaders often works , because it leaves more room for light and comp artists to get whatever final look is intended.