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Getting Amorphous in Amorphium, Part 2

Introducing textures and height maps into the process By Dave Nagel
We return this week to our series on Electric Image Amorphium 3 with a further exploration of techniques for creating abstract imagery using 3D tools. Last time around we limited ourselves to working with geometry alone, examining Amorphium's various object deformation tools and relying just on lighting to produce our scenes. This time we introduce textures into the process, bringing depth not just to the object's geometry, but to its surface as well.

Using a combination of a 2D image and a 3D object, such as the one we covered in Part 1 of this series, you can create an infinite variety of abstract images and animations and even use the results recursively on yet another object, bringing more and more depth into the composition. If you're using this process just to create still or motion backgrounds, that might be a bit of overkill. But, if you're working through this process to create images or animations that will stand on their own, the results can be quite stunning.

For this particular exercise, I'll be working with a single 3D object--very similar to the one I created for the previous installment in this series. To this object I'll be mapping still images to add texture, with the result being something along the lines of this.

Though even with a single object, simply changing the camera position and field of view and modifying some material properties can produce quite a bit of variety.

If you don't have Amorphium 3 yet and would like to follow along, you can download a demo version from Electric Image's site here.

Preparing the texture
The first thing you need to do for this exercise is to create a texture (or textures) for your object. Your texture file can come from any source, whether a photograph or a painting. If you're going to use a photograph, you might try switching your camera to macro mode and getting up close to some tree bark, grass, stone or other objects with a goodly amount of texture. If you're working in a paint program, use brushes that will give you a lot of detail.

In my case, I'm going to be using three images I painted in Synthetik Studio Artist. Keep in mind that the images you use for your texture don't need to be complete compositions. We're not using our object in Amorphium as a sort of 3D picture cube for a "finished" piece of artwork. Rather, we're using our textures to infuse the surfaces of our object with color and depth. In fact, our textures, in the end, will actually modify the geometry of our object. So, with this in mind, we'll want to create texture files that contain a lot of detail?such as rough, bristly strokes. The colors you choose aren't terribly important because they'll be modified by the lights in our 3D scene. And, of course, composition isn't even a consideration; the composition will come from Amorphium's camera.

Here, then, are the three images I'll be using for my textures. Each of these as created at 1,024 x 1,024 to avoid pixelation in the final, rendered images. You should work at a minimum of 512 x 512.

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Related Keywords:motion background, amorphium, amorphium pro, electricimage


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