Many moons ago, I had just gotten back into MTM2 editing and was busily working away at trucks. As I started picking it back up, I noticed that my trucks looked rather slabsided.
Meanwhile, I noticed that Slick's trucks looked 3-dimensional, with shading and proper body lines.
So I decided that the best decision was to ask him how he did it. The solution was the "shading" method described in my tutorial
. It took a lot of trial-and-error, but I finally got the effect I wanted. So instead of truck textures looking rather flat...
http://lh3.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9YxCc ... -dtd-1.jpg
...I was able to make them "pop", and look more 3-dimensional.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9Ywic ... -dtd-2.jpg
That's well and good, and the results are impressive in-game
, but there are issues. Namely, with black trucks. If there is a significant amount of black in the paintjob, the shading technique, which works by darkening specific areas of the texture, just flat doesn't work (Cannot get any more black than that...). An early solution was to use less-than-black paint, but that just made trucks look grey, and worse, occassionally brown.
Another early solution was to add color where I had intended initially to be none. Take The Ride 2006. Here, the top texture is what I wanted it to be and the bottom texture is what it ended up as. Notice how the shading works better with the green fade than the flat black, giving the side more detail and dimension:
http://lh4.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9YySc ... r-tr-1.jpg
However, this doesn't work for all trucks. My Boston Bruins truck just had too much black for that, and other than what's visible on account of the stripes at the bottom, it just looks flat.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9Yxic ... r-bb-1.jpg
The ultimate solution I have found to be adding reflections in the paint. Yes, MTM2 has it's own reflections, but with the low-poly count bodies, it just doesn't give enough definition on the trucks. But adding them into the texture, much like the shading, gives the truck more definition. It took some trial and error, but editing the shading texture (on the bottom of this pic) gave me the reflection map at the top of the pic. This pic of the map is at the same settings as it is on the trucks - layer is Hard Light
type, transparency set to 12
http://lh6.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9Yyyc ... refl-1.jpg
You can see that even on the flat black, it's recognizable as an F-150, and it sure pops out of the screen. What does this do for the trucks? Well, check the Bruins rig...
http://lh6.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9Yxyc ... r-bb-2.jpg
The Ride suddenly doesn't need its green fade anymore, either. However, the green fade doesn't look bad either, in fact, it too looks shinier and more realistic.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/caleputnam/SC9Yyic ... r-tr-2.jpg
So far I am still in the process of perfecting the art. I am far from satisfied with the how the hood comes out, since I am having trouble finding good top-down photos to get the lighting right. But, this is something that I think other truck makers can look into to improve the looks of their trucks. I'll be doing it for my Dodges and Chevies in the future, too.
Hopefully, this is a glimpse into my philosophies on truck making and a help to other truck makers.