By Philip Staiger

If you want to follow this tutorial, all you need is a copy of trueSpace and a copy of Project Dogwaffle version 1.2, which is available FREE with no limitations or restrictions in use - you can download it here.


Start Project Dogwaffle

You will be prompted to select the size of  the buffer. This is the drawing area, or canvas. Enter the size (in pixels), or select a preset from the list.

Note that the presets come from a text file which can be edited in Notepad if you wish to make your own presets -for example, a few square sizes such as 512x512 or 1024x1024 would be handy if you plan on making lots of textures. The file is called Def_Res.txt  and can be found in the folder where you installed Project Dogwaffle (typically C:\Program Files\project dogwaffle )

In this case, we are going to create a canvas which is 145 x 145 in size, although you can choose any size that you prefer!


First Texture

We will now create our first texture.

Click the Filter menu, select 'Render', and select the 'Dread Plating...' submenu - the image on the right shows where you will find this particular effect.

This opens the dialogue on the left - check the 'Weathering' box, set the scale at 7, and click 'Go'. The Status bar will show the time remaining for the effect to be generated (some effects take longer than others).

Here is a detail from what the created texture will look like (yours of course will be different, as the result is randomized each time).

Note that in the title bar, Project Dogwaffle shows the zoom factor and which buffer we're looking at - you can see an example below, where we are looking at the Main buffer with 100% zoom. As well as the Main buffer, there is also a Swap buffer, and we will discuss those later!


There are many plug-ins with filter effects which are included with Dogwaffle. Some do more than one thing, and this particular plug-in (Dread Plating) had the weathering FX enabled. This gives a similar result to running the Dread Plating filter without weathering, and then applying the Wet paint FX after that - using the check box lets you do both steps at one time.


Undo and Redo - u)ndo and a)gain

This is a good time to explore Undo and Redo. Undo affects the most recent effect - recall that we said having Weathering checked ran the Wet Paint filter, and so that is just what Undo will affect, removing the Wet Paint filter effect.

Try it for yourself - hit 'u' for undo (or Control-Z), and you will see the weathering FX disappear but the Dread Plating remains. Hit undo again, and the Dread Plating is gone too (see sample on right).

Use Redo to re-apply a step. Dogwaffle uses the shortcut 'a' (for 'again') - try it now, and we are back with the dread plating but without the weathering effect.




Still in the Filters menu, select Filters > Artistic > Tarnish

This is a tool for a different type of weathering effect, more like wear and tear. Select the maximum value for the slider (as seen on the left), and then click OK - apply the same effect two or three times, and this should get the desired level of tarnish.

This will look something like the result on the right.


Color Emboss

It's time to add a hint of 3D embossing to this texture. Select Filter > Convolve > Color emboss...

This is one of the faster filters, and will show the embossing in real-time as you move the slider, making it very easy to try different effects and choose just the right amount of effect.


You can see the setting that I used on the left, and the end result is seen on the right. The Color Emboss effect is similar to having bump mapping added in trueSpace.

Feel free to adjust the Emboss setting to get a result that meets the ideas you have in mind for your texture.


Wet Paint

Back to the Wet Paint effect! Something like this was originally part of the Dread Plating filter when we had the Weathering option checked, but we removed it using the Undo feature. Now we'll play with the filter directly, using Filter > Artistic > Wet paint...

What I have done here is flip the image (using Buffer > Flip > Vertical) to place the lighter areas on top, and then used the Wet Paint filter, with a value of 30 on the slider. Positive values (moving the slider to the right) make the lighter colors run downward, while negative values (moving the slider to the left) make the darker colors run.

This was why I flipped the image before running the Wet Paint filer, to put the lighter colors at the top in order to give the look that I wanted.


The power of the Gradient

At the moment, what we have is essentially a grayscale image. To give it more interest and life, we'll apply a gradient over it, to add some color to it.

There are several ways to show the gradient tool.  You can hit the shortcut ("p") or right-click on the fill tool (paint can near upper-right of Tools panel) and select Fill Settings.

There are four tabs in the gradient which control the 4 channels - Red, Green, Blue and Opacity. You could paint directly inside the colored area to change the progression of the current channel from left to right.

Or you can start by exploring the predefined gradients. There are 8 in the set.

You can also click the 'Gradients' button to choose another set.

Select gradient #4 from the default gradients set. It goes from black through red/orange and yellow to white.

We can now map this gradient, i.e. this progression of colors, to the pixels in the current buffer, using Filter > Color > Map to current gradient

This gives us the result on the right, where our grayscale values have been mapped to the gradient we selected.

The color here is a little strong though, so we need to take some corrective action to get the result we were looking for! Fortunately Project Dogwaffle makes that an easy process, thanks to a very helpful tool.



Fade Last Action

One very powerful feature is 'fade last action,' which is also called interactive undo. It lets you choose a result that is partway between 0% and 100% of the most recent effect you applied.

To use it, just select Filter > Fade last action

Use the slider to change the mix between 'fully applied' and 'not applied'. Using the setting above we can avoid having such a strong orange look, and reduce the effect to give us a look that is more suitable for a stone or wall.

Keep this feature in mind when you apply lens flares or other FX which come too strong and you want to blend them with the image prior to the effect, to make them fainter and make them blend in to the image.

We're going to adjust the image a little more, to reduce the contrast. We can find that option under Filter > Adjust > Value

The options here will let you adjust Contrast, Gamma and more - in this case all we do is reduce the Contrast down to 41, which makes the changes in the image less drastic, and gives the result below:


Optipustics, or Fractal Particles Brushes

This strange sounding word is actually one of the most powerful features in Project Dogwaffle! They are mini-2D particle systems that let you create instant grass and other effects which you can paint onto your image or texture

The shortcut is "i" - does it stand for i)ncredible?

You can learn more about particle brushes here

The control panel for optipustics gives you a wide range of options for modifying the particle system. It can be quite daunting to see the list (you can click on the small image to the left to see a full size version of the panel), but no need to be discouraged!

You can get started using the particle brushes right away without modifying a single parameter. First, click on the 'Enabled' check box at the top. This changes the brush that you are painting with into a Particle Brush (simply uncheck the box again to return to a normal brush).

Then, on the bottom right, click on the 'Settings' button.

This opens a list of presets that you can use. The presets give you a complete range of particle settings for instant effects such as painting branches, trees, grass and more.

Be warned, this feature is a lot of fun! You might want to take the time to save your image before you continue, as you might want to try all the different presets just for the enjoyment of it. Of course, you can always use the undo feature too.

When you are ready, select the Grass.opt as we are going to paint some grass at the bottom of our texture. When it says 'Replace existing gradients with colors from file?' choose Yes (this gives you a set of gradients specifically designed for making grass.

Now paint along the bottom of the image - you will find that a very short click is all that is required to "dab" on a patch of grass. The longer you hold the mouse button down, the more particles are created, and the further they travel.

Try to keep your clumps of grass fairly small. If you want, you can adjust the parameters to modify the style of the grass, or adjust the gradient to give different colors - here I just used the defaults.

And remember, if you paint on a clump that looks bad, just use Undo to remove it!

We can now apply this texture to the wall in our scene:


Bump Map

We are going to turn our image above into a bump map, which we will use in trueSpace to add some roughness to the surface. This will make the wall texture more visually interesting, and complete our work there.

To make the bump map, we'll remove all the color from the image and leave it as a grayscale image only. To do this, use Adjust > Hue / Sat / Value

Then simply move the Saturation slider all the way to the left, which will remove all color from the image.

This gives the result on the right, which we can load into trueSpace as a bump map, given the image on the right below.



Second Texture

We now want to make a texture for the ground, and we will make some paving stones.

To give us a base look, we will start with some noise. We just want grayscale noise rather than color, and you can find this option at Filter > Noise > Value noise

This gives us a basic grey background which is the beginning of our paving slab, as you can see on the right.

Remember as we work through this that there are many other ways to work, and this is just one example to get you started!


Paper Makes Rock

Let us add a little more detail to the texture, as it is currently too random. We want to add some type of pattern.

Using Windows > Paper you can open up the Paper panel, which lets you select from a variety of preset papers as a background to your image. You can see the one I selected in the image on the right, though you can choose any you think works best.

Then use Filter > Artistic > Apply current paper

This opens the blending box and lets you set how much effect the current paper has on the image - you can copy the value I used here, or use your own. My intention here is to get something that looks a little like a concrete slab.



Now let us make use of the buffer. Project Dogwaffle v1.2 has two areas for the one image that you see - the Main Buffer is the one that is visible. Meanwhile, there is a second area that you can't see - use the Swap Buffer and you will switch them. Right now, it looks like your image is cleared, but this is not the case. Our in-progress texture is still safe, stored in the Swap Buffer, and the empty contents of the Swap Buffer are moved into the Main Buffer (you can test this by using Swap buffers again, and again...)


Plasma Noise

Let us give the texture the appearance of some roughness. To do this, use Filter > Render > Plasma noise

In the control panel that pops up, use Iterations of 2 to get an effect similar to that on the right.

Having done that, use Swap buffer again to bring back our original texture.


Getting Clever With Buffers

Buffers do more than let you keep two images in memory at once - their real purpose is to let you mix those two images together in a variety of clever ways.

There is too much to cover in this one tutorial and we will be using only one process, and that is Filter  >  Emboss by swap

I used emboss with a light source from the bottom right, and a fairly low level of emboss. This gave the image on the right, where our Plasma Noise image has been used to roughen the appearance of our earlier texture.

As ever with Project Dogwaffle, you have a lot of options here - you might want to try different images in the two buffers, and also try different ways to combine them, depending on just what sort of look you are going for.


Final Touches

Use Filter  >  Blur  > Gaussian Blur with quite a mild strength to smooth out the image to get something similar to the image immediately on the right.

We are going to add some color to this texture now, since it is all grayscale so far, so select Window  > Fill / Gradient and click on the 'Gradients' button to load some gradient presets - select Reds.grd, and then use the Index slider to select gradient number 5.

Then use Filter  >  Color  >  Map to current gradient

This effect will be too strong, giving a very intense or rich color that isn't suitable, so use Filter  >  Fade last action with a value of around 149 to make the colorizing effect very slight. I then adjusted brightness contrast and saturation to get the image on the right.

There is one last thing to add, and that is grass at the edges of the slab. Open up the Optipustics panel once more, and make sure you have the Grass preset loaded.

This time though we need to adjust some of the parameters - lower the Gravity to 0 (as we don't want the particles to "fall" toward the bottom of the image in this case but to spread out evenly from the brush, as this grass is being viewed from overhead), and lowering the Velocities means that the particles do not travel so far. Lowering the lifespan makes the particles reach the brighter color in the gradient quicker.

Check the Enabled box in the Optipustics panel, and start painting some grass along the edges of our image. Keep it fairly sparse, and maybe place more at the corners than elsewhere.

After adding some grass, I used a regular paintbrush with a low opacity to darken the edges of the image to show the edge of the paving slab, and ended up with the image on the right.



Pot Luck

About the last thing left to do is create a texture for the pot. We are going to make about the simplest texture of all, just a bump map for a terracotta type texture.

Load the Gun Metal gradients, then choose gradient number 4. Use Filter > Render > Bumpy Toy and choose Spikey Perlin. You can copy the settings shown on the left if you like. If you have used trueSpace shaders with noise in them, then you will be familiar with the workings of this filter.

This gives us the result on the right. Notice that I wanted to have definite "islands" in the noise, sudden bright specks in the pattern, which is why I have gone for these settings. Spikey Perlin does not let you adjust some of the parameters though, and it always gives you the same result - Recursive Subdivision will give you a unique result each time you click apply. However I really did want small bright spots in my end result, so I didn't use that one this time.

I adjusted the brightness and contrast once again, using Filter > Adjust > Value. Remember, this is only for a bump map, not for a color texture, so that is why this doesn't look like terracotta!

We can apply it as a bump map in trueSpace now, with just a simple reddish brown color made using the Marble color shader for just a tiny variation between the two colors.

I used a high repeat for the bump map which should give us a nice rough surface (and a little faster than using a procedural Bump shader as none of that complicated math needs to be worked out every time the scene is rendered!). You can see the settings I used below:

Now we can have a look at a final render, with the three textures in place!

Although the lighting looked good when we first created the scene with the default white textures, it all looks a bit dark and shabby now, more like a grey day than a sunny day. We could now change the lighting around to match the darker colors in use in the textures, to brighten it up, and re-render.

Or we could make quick changes using post-processing!

And that is just what I did below with a quick application of Filter > Adjust > Value to experiment with different Value, Brightness, Contrast and Gamma settings, followed by a Filter > Adjust Hue / Sat / Value to increase the color saturation a little to prevent a washed out look from increasing the brightness:

We could even use our post-processing to really start to change the look of the image, something that Project Dogwaffle is good at doing! That is beyond the scope of this tutorial, but here is one quick example made using the Brush Strokes and Apply Current Paper filters from the Artistic section:



One important point to note about the textures on show on this page - they are all VERY small, just 145 x 145 pixels. This leads to quite a pixilated look in the grass especially, and that would be easily solved by using larger sizes for the images, allowing more texturing and detail. The textures here were kept artificially small so that they could be displayed fully on the web page.

Making your own textures need not be difficult, and can be a lot of fun! Of course, it is also useful when you need to create a particular effect and you can't find that exact texture available for free. It also helps to ensure your artwork remains unique, and that people won't spot "that texture from cover disk 21" in your image or animation.

These techniques can be used with any 2D application, if you find the equivalent tools, and you can even go further or work faster in some applications - for example, the latest version of Project Dogwaffle, version 2.1b, offers ways to make images seamless (ideal for making textures), as well as new options in tools like Optipustics, new filters and plug-ins, performance improvements and more!

Whichever application you use, you can soon build up your own library of textures, and perhaps most importantly, your own "library" of texture making techniques that you can use to swiftly and easily create a texture for any occasion.

This tutorial was originally posted on the's 'Tricks-n-Tips' section.
Return to spacekdet's trueSpace tutorials page