Floorboards made easy


This is a quick walk through of my technique for creating the floorboards in Rufus (and Rex). Using Adobe Photoshop it is possible to paint first and then create the perspective later, which makes the whole process very quick and very easy.


First fill the document with a solid woody colour:


Next, activate the grid (View --> Show Grid), then go to Preferences --> Guides and Grid and set the grid lines as a percentage of the document, then adjust the spacing to suit the size of the individual floorboards you are going to create.


With the grid visible, create a new layer and set the foreground colour to black. Then using a hard round brush, hold down shift to draw some vertical lines using the grid as a guide. It's a good idea to vary the pressure on your Wacom stylus as you do this to create lines which have some variation in width, so they don't look too mechanical.


Next we are going to create some wood grain. Draw a row of dots and create a new brush from them, this brush will draw streaks and can be pressure sensitive to give some variation.


Go to the original wood coloured layer, set your streaky brush's blend mode to Multiply (in the tool options at the top left of the screen), and select the wood colour as your foreground colour. Paint some grain all over the wood, adjusting the brush size and opacity suit.


Then without changing the foreground colour, set the brush to Screen and paint some lighter grain.


Next go back to the layer with the black lines, and lower the opacity to 60-70%.


Duplicate the layer, drag the copy below the original, invert it and move it to the right by a few pixels. This creates a bevel where light is catching to suggest form.


Merge all the layers, and if the image is then flattened float the background layer by holding down Alt and double-clicking it. Move the layer to the left half way across the document.


Duplicate the layer, and move it over to the right so the two edges just touch. Merge down.


Use the Transform tool to create a one point perspective.


Once the perspective has been created we can then add lighting to the floor.


Firstly, create a new layer above the floorboards and set its blending mode to Luminosity. Then using a large airbrush paint some areas of light and shadow, using black and white as your colours.


Then create another new layer, set its mode to Colour and airbrush in some loose areas of colour.


At this point you can strengthen the colours by creating a Colour Balance adjustment layer and a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer and intensifying the lighting effects.


Finally add some freehand airbrush on a new layer on top to finish off.


To create the shadow, make a new Alpha Channel and paint the shape of the shadow. I created each of the two shadows separately so that I could move them around in relation to each other.


To finish off, load the shadow alpha channels as selections and then create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with that selection as a mask, select the Colourise check box in the Hue/Saturation dialog and make the shadow blue.


That's it, by using a combination of hand painting and some Photoshop tricks it's possible to create complex scenes with perspective and lighting very quickly. With a bit more work and ingenuity you can also create two-point perspective this way.

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