How to Hand-Paint a model!

Hi guys! I had a few requests for this, so I decided that I would upload a brief mini-tutorial on how to hand-paint models in Blender. I wrote this up for my 3D Modelling Class that I teach at work, so there’s likely to be a few spelling mistakes because we haven’t actually covered it yet.

’Hand painting’; using the brush tools to draw our own textures on

Using a Microsoft-paint-like interface, Blender has its own in-built texture editing software inside the UV editor. Today we are going to experiment doing this with the basic cube.

Open up the image editor, and use seams to unwrap our cube in a reasonable pattern (I would advise a traditional cube construction shape.)

To mark a seam, use the edge selector, select any number of seams, and press Spacebar. Now type “Mark”, and select “Mark seam”. Repeat this until you have the following shape!

Open the UV/Image editor.

Now, in edit mode in the 3D view window, select all (by pressing A twice), press the U key, and select “Unwrap”. If you did it correctly, you will see the shape below.

Now that we have our shape, we can start painting the cube. In the UV/Image editor, hit the +new button. Name it something obvious, like “paint” or whatever you like. Now we have a black image behind our unwrapped geometry. In order to be able to edit this, we need to change from View mode to Paint mode.

Now, just like we do in the 3D view, press T to get the tool panel. We can paint the object inside here, now, and by setting that as the texture, whatever we draw in here will show up on the model, provided we did it correctly.

Second of all, after unwrapping, we can use the texture painter to paint directly on the model rather than needing to use the UV/Image editor. Click the edit mode/object mode button, and select “Texture paint”

Up the top left on the new tool panel, press the button to create a new brush. After selecting a colour, we can paint directly on the model.

You can even open this directly on the UV/Image editor by selecting the drop down as shown below. The image below was painted by drawing directly over the cube, not using the UV/Image editor. But the way we have set it up in both windows, you can use either; or both!

As you can see, the image button has a star next to it (Image*). This is Blender trying to remind you to save your image. Please remember that if you ever try to handpaint something, you will need to save your work by clicking the image button before you quit Blender, otherwise you will lose the changes. Just saving the Blender file naturally will not save the changes made to the image!


I hope you guys learned something from my tutorial. Please feel free to ask any questions or discuss techniques. For reference, to show you what hand-painted textures can look like, here is my sword model again.

EDIT: I have got the UV image now, and I’m going to upload that here. That way you get kind of an idea as to how it works! And what you need to do in order to get that style working.

For more information on the actual flow and method of the painting process, please enjoy this amazing video!

Upload what you create here in this thread! We’re all learning this, so let’s progress together!

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Really nice tutorial!

Quick question - I’ve not even started with Blender yet, but, having added the seems and unwrapped it, when you paint it - how do you know if you are painting the inside or the outside? Or will it only ever enable you to paint the outside? By inside and outside refer to the cube when it’s wrapped back up into a cube etc.

Well, as an example: Imagine you’re painting or texturing a plane. Anything you do on one side will be the same to the other. The inside of an object in Blender does not count as geometry unless you use the solidify modifier. So, by that logic, the outer normals count as what’s being drawn on, whether you import a texture, use the image editor, or draw on the model directly.

Maybe a better way to sum it up is: The reversed side of the Normals doesn’t unwrap as well, when unfolding our cube; just the outer faces.

So basically, my sword looks the same inside as it does on the outside. Zoom in yourself and take a look! Objects in Blender do not have a filled inside; it’s why you need to activate the solidify modifier in order to 3D print.

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Gotcha… that makes sense… so, next question! :wink:

If whatever I do on one side will look the same on the other side, does that mean the image would be reversed (like holding up writing on paper to a mirror etc) ?

Ah! Ok… ignore the other question then :slight_smile:

Get a plane and draw an arrow on it. Then you’ll see!

(Answer: If you draw an arrow pointing to the right on the plane, it’d be pointing to the left, cuuuuz that’s how images work! :smiley: It’s basically just like viewing something from the other side, like a window or a piece of glass)

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lol… ok… I’ve not started with Blender yet, I was just interested to know… so a lot of the terminology “Normals” and so on are a little lost on me… looking forwards to starting it though (when I get a few minutes!), people taking it are creating some fantastic things… :slight_smile:

@ Rob…We need to get you to set aside 20-30 minutes 2-3 times a week to watch some lectures. You will be amazed what you can learn in small increments of time from Micheal’s Lectures!

@ McFuzz–Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

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Very useful tutorial, many thanks !

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Hey @Morgaine_Christensen,

Despite not feeling as if I have the time, I probably do to be fair, but there are a few other things going on in my RealWorldTM life at the moment which are keeping me from doing some thing I would like to.

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