Pirate’s Gold: Texturing

Although I do have a little more experience with digital art programs, they’re mainly limited to drawing human characters rather than texturing materials and surfaces. So, even with a degree of prior practice, I can’t say with confidence that this texture is going to be anything more than a little average!

In terms of the program itself, I typically use Paint Tool Sai – and although very similar in terms of function, has a very different layout to Photoshop. In most iterations of the chest I’ve seen thus far, artists have made use of gradients to further accentuate lighting and shadows. Immediately I ran into a problem: Sai doesn’t exactly have a gradient tool. I basically had to choose between badly blurred gradients, staying in my comfort zone or learning the ropes of a new program and achieving a better result…and I picked the harder option.
Although it was difficult to adjust (mainly confusing shortcuts and tools) the gradient tool was a godsend! The highlights on the metal looked clean and would have likely turned out a bit dodgy had I gone with the second option.


When covering the seams for the wooden panels, it was advised to add a “border line” to both deepen the shadows and mimic real-life wooden texture. In this case, I modified the default brush to be more textured.


The straight mesh lines were quite easy to do – using either the stroke tool or by simply using the Shift + Click straight line method. In terms of the wooden strokes, which are most effectively done so with a tablet and pen pressure, I ended up having to switch back over to Sai. This was due to the fact that, even though I installed the latest driver, the laptop I was using (with Photoshop installed) wasn’t registering my tablet in the slightest. Rather than trying to troubleshoot the problem (at this point time started becoming a constraint I needed to consider) which might have eaten up my time, I chose to just go back to the laptop where my tablet was working and add all the details there, since most of my gradients were applied anyways.

Sai’s default file format is .sai, it does have the option to open .psd files, although at the cost of several of Photoshop’s functions – mainly certain tools and layer types. There is a possibility that the absence of functions will change the appearance of the file itself, so I made an additional copy in the case that it does happen.


Now with the addition of pen pressure, I was able to add some of the recommended details, namely cracks in the wood, varying light textures (to create the illusion of a textured surface), highlights on the wood and nails along some of the chest edges. I finished the texture with a keyhole on the lock.

Here’s the finished product:


chest final texture.png


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