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Textures in KeyShot: Creating Bump, Color, Specular and Opacity Maps (Really Fast)

  1. Step 1:


  2. Step 2:

    What are Bump, Color, Specular and Opacity Maps>?

    First, here are a few quick definitions of the different types of maps.

    Bump Map – Uses white and black values to create the appearance of raised and lowered areas.
    Color Maps – Uses an image to replace the color of the material.
    Specular Map – Uses white and black values to create areas of more reflectivity and less reflectivity.
    Opacity Map – Uses black and white values to create transparent areas and opaque areas.
    How to Create Bump, Color, Specular and Opacity Maps (Really Fast)

    There are various ways to do create these types of maps, from taking photos of textures to finding them online, but to create all four map types, the method below is the absolute fastest, easiest route. Before we start, this assumes you have a basic understanding of the Photoshop interface.

    Step 1: Create a texture in Photoshop
    Create an new image at 1200 x 1200 pixels. Add a new layer then select the brush tool (B). Select your preferred brush, the color you would like to use for a texture and paint away. You can download custom brushes from sites like brusheezy.com. You can also modify the Brush settings by going to Window > Brush and adjusting the Brush options. You’ll end up with something like this.

  3. Step 3:

    Create the Color Map
    If you want the unpainted (white) areas to be transparent, hide the Background layer. Then save the image as a .PNG format to preserve the transparency. This will allow the painted areas to show on your model with the diffuse color showing in the transparent areas. You should have something like this.

  4. Step 4:

    Create the Specular Map
    Double-click on the painted layer to bring up the Layer Style options. Select Color Overlay and choose Black as the color. Save the image as a .PNG format to preserve the transparency. The black areas will have 0% relectivity and the white areas will be 100% relflective. The image should look something like this.

  5. Step 5:

    Create the Bump Map
    Show the background layer, then save the image. The black areas will appeared lowered and the white areas will appear raised. If you like, you can add a little blur (Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur) to make the transitions smoother. The image should look something like this.

  6. Step 6:

    Create the opacity map
    Flatten the image (Layers > Flatten Image) then select Image > Adjustments > Invert. You have a few options in KeyShot for Opacity maps, but basically, this will show the black areas as completely transparent and the white areas as completely opaque. This assumes that you want the painted areas to be the opaque areas. You should have an image like this.

  7. Step 7:

    Typically, Opacity maps would be used for something more like a mesh or wire material, but can be handy for rust spots, decay or broken out views as well. With the Color maps you can also add other colors, gradients or use actual images of wood grain, paint splatters or rust.

    The value of creating all of these together like this, allows you to sync all maps together perfectly when adjusting the scaling and position. That’s what we’ll look at next time.

    Here’s one more shot with a different color map and diffuse color.