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How To Make Decals For Games

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Making Decals


No one likes to see the same brick wall for miles on end, or a plain road with nothing on it while journeying on it. That's why game decals for games are so important. They can break up bland textures without forcing the artist to actually go into and paint on the texture, saving time and energy. Decals consist of only one poly and can be cloned, re-sized, and reused again and again in the scene. So without further a do lets get started.


The first step is to find a good source image. Something that isn't to crazy that it will be spotted every time the player passes by it and something that you can work with.



Next you take the lasso tool and take the basic shape of the figure of the object. This outline does not have to be exact, just close to your object. The closer you get the less work you have to do, if you get to close, you'll have cleanup work that could have been easily avoided.



Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Mask to add a layer mask to your selected layer. At first It may seem like this did not do anything, but this actually helped up out very much in the long run. If we just took off running and started to erase the image, getting a section back and erasing the section we wanted over and over again would have become very annoying. With the layer mask on the layer, we can go back to the layer and paint un-erase anything we might have cut too close.



Now just use the magic wand tool and eraser tool on the mask layer to clean up the border. This is also the time to clean up anything on your object that you may not want.



When making a decal, you have to make sure that your texture can go onto any square surface. Therefore you will always be working in the powers of 2 (256, 512, 1024, 2048, and 4096). These are the correct texture sizes that a game engine will read and understand. Go to Image> Canvas Size, and change the canvas size to 1024px by 1024px or 512px by 512px if you are looking to save memory. Re-size your image so it fits correctly and center it.





Right click your layer mask and apply it to your image. Ctrl + Left-Click your image on the layers tab to select your image.



Lastly go to the Channels and click on "add layer mask" to create an alpha channel. Save out your file as a 32 bit targa file and your decal is finished.



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