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"How To Create Custom Texture Decals To Use In Level Designs & Game Environments With Unreal® Engine 4"

SOFTWARE: UE4, PS

TOPICS: UE4 Intermediate/Advanced

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: 12 videos (90min) - 435MB

UE4 How to Create Custom Texture Decals

Learn how to create custom decals for your level designs and game environments with Unreal Engine 4.

  • Learn how to create  your own custom texture decals
  • Workflow includes Photoshop to Unreal Engine 4
  • Follow along to create 7 different variety of decals
  • 30-Day, Money Back Guarantee
  • Check out securely with PayPal or with a Credit Card (see image)
  • Read the rest of this page for more info on this series...
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"UE4: How to Create Custom Decals"

"Too Clean, Add More Detail...":

"Your environment is lacking a layer of additional detail.

Dirty this up. Add some stains, some dirt, and grunge. Some more detail! Maybe some text on the walls, posters or graffiti. Some wall stain leaks.

Bring this environment to life. It is too clean and repetitive."

I remember this criticism well. At the time it stung to hear it. I've spent so much time working on the environment and I thought it was done. I started thinking, "I don't want to add all that detail back in. That means I have to redo all the textures, reimport, update materials, rebuild."

I hate having that feeling where you think you are done with the project, until others (your teacher, art director, friends or people on the forum) tell you otherwise.

But it is something I needed to hear, regardless of how I felt. They were right.

I started to go through various solutions in my head.

One solution is to go back to Photoshop and add extra dirt detail into textures. You add dirt, stains, leaks, blood stain/splatter, text and numbers as a part of the texture.

The problem with this approach is any instance of that texture will have this unique detail as part of it.

But what if you want a wall to contain some text/numbers on one instance of a wall but not another? What if you want to add unique grime detail, dirt streaks on the top of the wall in one texture but not on another?

Another solution is to create several different material variations. One material with a clean texture look without unique detail and second material with added dirt grime, stained texture detail. You would then swap that material on various Static Meshes in your environment.

But this is wasteful, as you would have to create two different materials with two different textures. Also due to model UVs, you could only use that material on specific Static Mesh. You couldn't use that texture material anywhere you want.

I wanted a simpler way to add all that detail into the environment without having to redo all textures and have multiple additional materials.

Then someone says, "You can just use decals".

No decals

With decals

 

Just Use Decals:

Decals are one of the best ways to add unique detail to your environment by projecting a material onto existing surfaces within your level without having to add that unique detail into the texture itself.

These decals can include things like bullet holes, blood stains, blood splatter, posters, stains, leaks, dirt, graffiti, text/numbers and more.

You need stain leaks from the wall?

Maybe a poster or a painting on a wall?

What about a blood splatter?

Sewer grate panel?

You would not need to add these into a texture. You simply create a decal and project it onto an existing geometry (BSP brushes or Static Meshes) within your level.

As an example, modular wall set with and without projected decal:

Modular Static Mesh wall set without decals

Same modular Static Mesh wall set with decals

You see, when constructing game environments, you usually start off with BSP brushes to prototype the level. You would then replace all BSP brushes (or as much as possible) with Static Meshes.

Most of these Static Meshes are modular. Meaning that 3d models work like a set of Legos – snapping together to create a structure. Building would be made of up several modular assets such as a wall, window, door, floor, ceiling and columns. You would use these meshes to create a building floor. With just a few Static Meshes you can create a full level.

You would then do a Static Mesh detailing pass, where you add additional layer of Static Meshes. These are minor decorative meshes such as wall lights, props, furniture, plants, electronics, debris, trash etc. This helps a lot to make the environment more believable. But modular Static Meshes still look the same.

All of your walls, floor, ceiling and windows repeat and look identical. To break up this noticeable repetition you would add decals in areas of the map that require it.

Stain leaks on top of the wall. Blood splatter in the corner of a room next to the basement. Stenciled text and number decal in the parking lot outside. Propaganda posters in the underground tunnel leading to the subway. Dirt in high traffic areas on the floor next to the elevator in the lobby.

All of a sudden, your environment comes to life with decal imperfection pass.

GIF: Environment with/without decals

Dirt, grime, leaks, stains, text/numbers, posters, bullet holes etc. All help to add a layer of additional detail that would be very impractical or otherwise time wasteful to add into a texture. But, you have to know how to create different variety of decals and how to make them work inside Unreal Engine 4.

For example, did you know that by default your decals will not work in indirect baked static lighting? As well as in Unlit View Mode?

Of course there is a way to make it work and you would have to use Stationary or Dynamic lights to make those decals appear. But a quick solution is to enable DBuffer Decals and update your decal materials to use DBuffer Blend Mode.

You will learn a lot of the needed and required techniques to create your own custom decals to use within your level designs and game environments.

Decal Creation:

You will go through and learn a set of techniques to create your own custom decals.

How to Create Your First Decal and How to Use Decals

We'll create a very simple solid color decal entirely inside Unreal Engine 4. We'll set up a decal material, change Material Domain and use 3Constant Vector for color.

We'll then cover how to work with decals inside your level, how to rotate, scale and project them onto Static Meshes.

Also how to disable certain Static Meshes from rendering decals on them.

How to Create Texture Image Decal

We'll create very first texture image decal. We'll use an image texture; resize it to power of 2 dimensions and export it.

We'll import that texture into Unreal Engine 4, create a new decal material and make it work by projecting it onto a Static Mesh.

We'll then expand further by creating a detail normal map using NVIDIA Photoshop Filter. We'll cover how to generate a good quality detail normal map, which settings to use with NVidia Photoshop Filter and import it into UE4 to use the Normal input of the decal material.

How to Make Decals Work in Indirect Baked Lighting

One of the commons issues you'll discover is "decals not showing" problem.

So when place a decal in shadow areas where there is indirect lighting you will find out that your decal won't show up. Also, if you switch to Unlit Viewport Mode, decals will disappear.

We'll cover how to fix "decals not showing up in indirect static lighting" problem and how to enable DBuffer Decals.

How to Create a Masked Texture Decal

Most common decal you create will require a mask. It is texture which uses an opacity mask via Alpha Channel to make certain areas of that texture invisible/visible.

So if you wanted a circular decal to be projected on to a wall such as a manhole cover or text/number decal, you will need to have opacity mask created for that decal. You'll then have to know how to export it properly and use that in a material decal to make it work.

How to Create a Sewer Texture Decal with a Normal and Roughness Map

We'll create a sewer/drain grate texture decal complete with a texture mask, normal map and a roughness map.

We'll take an image, prep it by removing unwanted image detail and create an opacity mask. We'll then create and use three different maps. This decal will be one of the more involved ones we'll do and you'll learn all the steps along this pipeline.

How to Create Stains, Leaks, Grime and Dirt Texture Decals
Dirt, stains and grime and dirt are one of the most common type of decals you will use. There are parts of the Static Mesh that will always be dirty – top or bottom of the wall.

We'll create a leaking stained dirt texture decal to apply to specific areas of the Static Mesh wall. We'll use a "Color Range Technique" to extract dirt/grime/stain detail from an image and to create an opacity mask. This technique is very versatile and you will end up using it to create variety of decals.

How to Create Blood Splatter Texture Decal

Blood splatter/stain is a very commonly asked for decal.

We'll take a texture and extract splatter or stain blood section from it. We'll color it, create an opacity mask around it and use that as a decal to project on walls, floors or anywhere else you want to tell a story within your environment that something gruesome happened there.

How to Create Numbers and Text Texture Decal

No decal list is complete without knowing how to create stenciled text and numbers to project on walls of a building. Such as "Base", "Area" or "Lab" painted on the walls of Static Meshes.

We'll create a clean text/number decal that you can use anywhere in the level to identify locations.

How to Create Damaged/Weathered Numbers and Text Texture Decal

We'll then use the same text/number decal and add some detail by erasing edges and creating peeling away paint and damage.

We'll cover how to use a non-destructive workflow to erase the damage which you can modify and paint back in at any time without starting over.

What You Will Learn From "UE4 How to Create Custom Decals":

Let me outline what you can expect to learn from this tutorial series:

  • How to create simple solid color decal entirely in Unreal Engine 4
  • How to create painting texture image and material decal
  • How to create poster texture image and material decal
  • How to create a sewer drain and material decal
  • How to create stains, leaks, grime and dirt and material decal
  • How to create blood splatter texture and material decal
  • How to create text and number texture and material decal
  • How to disable some Static Meshes from receiving decals but not others
  • How to create a custom texture image decal in Photoshop
  • Image format to save your decals from Photoshop
  • Should you export Decals as 24bit or 32bit
  • How to create a normal map detail texture using NVidida Photoshop filter plug-in to use with decals
  • How to create and use rectangular texture decals
  • How to create a normal map from heightmaps with Photoshop and NVidia Photoshop Normal Map Filter
  • Ways to use Color Range technique to extract detail from a texture image
  • How to use layer masks for non-destructive texture decal workflow
  • How to paint-in damage to decals for withered away look
  • How to import your first texture image decal into Unreal Engine
  • How to create your first texture decal material
  • Setting up Deferred Decal property in the Material Editor
  • How to apply and use decals into your level
  • How to fix "decals not showing" problem or how to make decals work with indirect baked lighting and in unlit mode
  • How to enable DBuffer Decals
  • How to fix, if DBuffer Decals option crashes your editor
  • How to create masked texture decals using Alpha Channel of your texture for opacity
  • How to use Normal Map input inside the Material Editor with your decals
  • How to use Roughness Map input inside the Material Editor with your decals
  • Simple way to adjust Alpha Channel opacity intensity inside the Material Editor
  • Simple way to change color of your decal entirely in Unreal Engine 4 without having to update your textures

Video 07: Dirt, Leaks, Stains Texture Decals

 

Video 06: Sewer Texture Decal

 

Video 08: Blood Splatter Texture Decal

 

Video 07: Dirt, Leaks, Stains Texture Decals

 


UE4: How To Create Custom Texture Decals For Level Designs & Game Environments

SOFTWARE: UE4, PS

SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate/Advanced

DIGITAL DOWNLOAD: 12 videos (90min) - 435MB

UE4 The Corridor Project

Learn how to create custom decals for your level designs and game environments with Unreal Engine 4.

  • Learn how to create  your own custom texture decals
  • Workflow includes Photoshop to Unreal Engine 4
  • Follow along to create 7 different variety of decals
  • 30-Day, Money Back Guarantee
  • Check out securely with PayPal or with a Credit Card (see image)
  • Digital Download Only - Add to Cart and Download

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Bundle: UE4 The Corridor Project and UE4 Decals

Add: "UE4 The Corridor Project" with "UE4 How to Create Custom Decals"

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