Scifi Texture Art

This document is part of a Realtime Sci-fi Texture art online class I held around 2000.Sci-fi is one of the most interesting types of fantasy design, and greatly used in video games. Typical scifi is usually moody, mechanical and almost always covered in a with a layer of grime.... which is probably why it seems to attract so many young men who play games. Video games are no longer a new media; it is a billion dollar industry working on new titles with budgets that are comparable to feature films.

One of the most interesting careers in this industry is that of a texture artist. Painting textures for games is no small thing , you must have good sense of design and be able to transmit dimensionality that is not available due to restricted modeling.Typically, in realtime projects, due to memory and engine speed, the 3D models are kept very simple, the intricacy and beauty is totally created by the texture work.

For example: a simple box can be converted into an intricate and interesting object, with one texture only.
And with two textures, you can add an enormous amount of intricacy to a simple cylinder:

 

True, it is not an extremely photorealistic depiction, especially where the lighting is concerned, but in the gaming world ultra-realism is not as fundamental as in other industries such as film.

A good realtime texture artist therefore is one that is capable of showing a lot of intricacy on a single flat piece of texture art, one that will give character and life to the simple polygonal models that make game levels.