Tutorial - Jon Solmos: Creating an Ice Texture for Angmar Fortress
While working at Breakaway Games I was given the task to create various environment ice textures for EA Games expansion: Battle for Middle Earth: Rise of the Witch King. Since a number of the art assets from the original game were being used for the expansion it wasn’t difficult to understand the style of texture that was needed. Regardless, finding enough real word ice reference was key to knowing how to start.
I was given the following texture for Angmar Fortress to start with.
The Art Director told me that EA wanted an Ice Wall that covered roughly three-quarters of the height of the fortress wall. I started with a base layer that was a mid-tone blue gradient fading to transparent. Since the ice would be thicker towards the bottom of the wall the gradient should be more opaque on the bottom of the wall and more transparent towards the top.
Before going further I should mention that I am using a Wacom drawing tablet for the majority of this tutorial and highly suggest using one for any digital painting work (such as texturing). The next step would be to create a build-up of ice and snow on the bottom lip of the wall which encircles most of the fortress’ walls. I created another layer above the gradient layer and started to paint the ice build-up with a grunge brush with the following settings:
Scatter is set to Both Axes at 150%. Brush Texture has a cracked concrete image loaded in the texture slot with Color Burn used for the Mode. Color Dynamics has Foreground/Background Jitter set to 50% where I used 2 shades of a dull light blue color. Smoothing is turned on as well. I concentrated most of the paining to where the ice would be thicker and accumulate more.
The next step is all about creating the top edge of the ice wall. This area will be more opaque than the area directly below it and would tend to have an accumulation of snow and ice. I used another grunge style dual brush, smaller in size with 2 different colors of pale blue. To break up the top edge I used the Eraser with a slightly different grudge brush with Scatter turned on.
The final steps will be more detail oriented. I added more snow/ice in any area where it would naturally accumulate such as cracks, crevices and over-hangs. For this effect I created a custom
brush that looks like one highlighted below.
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