Friday, December 2, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Texturing

Now we have the ruins all put together. The next step is to make it look less like chunks of foam you stacked up and more like old stonework. How do you do that? Texturing. I use several different techniques but these are the basics.

First off you want to fill any large gaps that shouldn't belong. I like using wood filler for this but spackle or any other putty will work as long as it doesn't eat away at the foam. Mostly on these pieces I filled the gaps between the flagstones and the wall blocks so that base was solid. I also filled any large gaps in the walls that I didn't like the look of. You don't have to go crazy as the next step fills a lot of the smaller gaps. I usually do this step once the glue has dried from assembly and then let the filler dry before moving onto the next step.

You can clearly see the putty work here.

If you look closely at your foam pieces you'll see that they look kinda porous especially where you've sanded them. Since its unlikely the wall was made out of lava rock or something similar we need to fill them in.  That is where the sealant coat comes in. Mix up a batch of glue, putty, and water. I used about 1 part carpenter's glue, 1 part wood putty, and 2 parts water. I also threw in some fine sand but that's optional. You want the mixture to about the consistency of melted ice cream. Runny but not watery. If you are using carpenter's glue don't mix spackle into it. I'm not sure why but the whole thing just turns into a big ball of gooey mess. Mix white glue with spackle instead.

When you have your sealant mix all set just paint it over the whole piece. You can skip the bottom if you wish but make sure you get it into all of cracks. Wash your brush out really well as once this stuff dries into it that's pretty much it for that brush. Then you just need to wait for it to dry. I generally wait overnight but if your in a rush use your best judgement.

After the sealing coat has dried.
Now that the foam is looking like stonework we can turn to making the ruins look old and lived in. The best way to do this is adding stones and dirt. I do this by adding several different grades of materials.

Texturing materials left to right: fine gravel, ballast, sand, mix.
The materials I use are fine gravel, which I just get from the road side and then sift through a couple of different size screens to grade it, ballast which can be easily bought at a hobby shop that carries model train products or you can use some really fine gravel from above, playground or beach sand, and finally a mix that has a little bit of everything in it.

The gravel is mostly in the corners.

Applying these requires a little experience to get looking natural but if you follow these guidelines it should come out alright.
  •  The larger the material the less you use. So put more sand on it than gravel.
  • Apply the materials from larger to smaller. Start with the gravel, move on to the ballast, and end with the sand.
  • Place the material where dirt and debris is most likely to collect.
Make sure to get the crevices between the flagstones but don't cover them completely.

The last one is the hardest but think about which parts of the model will trap dirt when it rains or the wind blows. So you generally want to put it into the corners and crevices but also on horizontal surfaces. Avoid putting it on vertical surfaces as it will just look unnatural.

Sand on the tops of the blocks will look like dirt once painted.

Once you've figured out where it is going thin some glue down with a little water take a brush and start putting the glue in the spots where you want it to go. Do a whole piece at a time the glue will stay wet as long as you don't dawdle. Then get your materials out and start dropping them on. Shake loose pieces off onto a piece of newspaper and keeping putting more material on till you've basically covered it with sand. Then shake everything off and put it aside and do the next piece.
Don't worry to much if you mess up as you can fix it later.

The resulting mix of everything that is on the newspaper can just be poured into your mix container for later use. I sometimes skip the sand altogether and just use the mix as the final material. Touch up anything that looks like it could use a little more then wait for everything to dry.

Next up: Painting

1 comment:

  1. I have only just come across this tutorial. Great work.

    Thank you for posting it.



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