In this post, I am going to show you an example for how to create a high quality game texture with Adobe Photoshop without using any photographic-textures.  This is not a step-by-step “copy-cat” style of tutorial, but rather snapshots of an achievable digital workflow. You don’t need to “steal” or “source” other people’s photographic works as texture. This would save yourself from unnecessary ethical risk for infringing many good people’s works.  Nobody enjoy seeing his/her works being “superimposed” and featured in one’s kickstarter project.
Be genuine, and I know you can.  


The Process

Personally, painting a Fantasy Art texture is one of the most fun and enjoyable artistic experience. This is largely because you have all the creative licenses to depict your vision, and need not constraining yourself to academic realism. In fact, Fantasy video game art is all about creating an illusory visual that has sensibility and believability. To achieve that, the creator him/herself must do his visual research through the lens of an impressionist. The trick is not to copy everything, but learn how to selectively forgo & abstract the visual elements. It is all about mimicking!

The Snapshots

For instance, to recreate the pewter art piece of the above into a stony-medieval pendant, you can start by layering two different sizes of eclipse on top of each other.  Give these two eclipse separate value of grey while adding shadows to illustrate a sense of depth.  To add shadows, do make use of the layering effects such as “Drop Shadow”, “Inner Shadow” and “Outer Glow” etc in Photoshop, as illustrated in below.

photoshop drop shadow

Next, do glaze some color over the outer-eclipse.  In this step, you should set the opacity of the brush low and experimenting with different color for getting the desirable mood.  As a start, you can choose to overlay or multiply a warm color layer to the eclipse.   Alternately, you can mix it with some cool color.


After that, we are going to emulate the relief effects of wear and tear.  To do so, you might consider opening a new Photoshop document with the size of 512 pixels and flood the background color to a shade of grey.  Apply the procedural filter of Craquelure for generating a simple relief effects.  The filter of Craquelure can be found in the menu of Filter > Texture > Craquelure.  Then, go to the menu of Filter > Noise, add some monochromatic noise on the craquelure-texture as shown in the following figure.

photoshop filter effect craquelure

After that, simply copy this newly generated craquelure-texture back to the previous canvas. Then, do try to experiment with the layer-blending effect, such as multiply for achieving a subtle-looking effect of wear and tear.

photoshop layer blending

Next, it is the time to do some type setting work for laying down the abstract runes for the pendant.  To have better believability, you can emulate the writing of Elderly Futhark or Anglo Saxon.  However, as demonstration, I am going to use the typeface of Wingdings for creating some gibberish.  Once you have done with the typesetting, you can immediately experimenting with the layer effects such as “Drop Shadow” for imitating the engraving effect.  In addition, you can also begin to adjust the level of contrast of your eclipse.


Texturing Wear and Tear Fantasy Rune Filter Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Wear & Tear Effect for Fantasy Rune with Adobe Photoshop

Next, you can enhance the overall look-and-feel of this stony pendant with some brushed effects.  To achieve that, simply create a new Photoshop document with 512 pixels.  Then, flood the canvas with some gray scale color and follow by adding some monochromatic noise.  Next, apply the filter of Radial Blur and tune the setting to zoom.  The Radial Blur filter can be found in the menu of Filter > Blur > Radial Blur.  Once done creating the texture of zoom-streak, just copy and overlay it with the pendant.  Adjust the layer blending to achieve the desirable effect.  Feel free to glaze an additional color over it as you please.  For instance, I have overlay a slight purple tint over it.

Texturing Wear and Tear Fantasy Rune Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Before we begin the process for drawing the pentagram with a polygonal lasso tool, we need to simulate the coarse relief surface that commonly found in most pewter art pieces.


image source:

To create this relief effect, first open up a whole new PSD document with the resolution of 1024 pixels2.  As usual, simply flood some grey color onto the canvas with little monochromatic noise.  Then, go to Filter > Artistic, apply the Sponge filter for creating the random staining pattern.  Next, apply another Artistic filter of Watercolor, for increasing the contrast of the Sponge effect.  For a final touch up, apply the Texturizer Filter effect with the setting of Sandstone.

dtcwps_steps08   dtcwps_steps10

For the final step, it is about creating the shape of the pentagram with a polygonal lasso tool.  Then, follow by applying some layering and blending effects to it as demonstrated in below.  You can consider drawing the shape in half, and then mirroring to its counterpart for better time saving and accuracy.

Fantasy Art Rune Pentagram Design

Summary Here marked the end of this workflow snapshot. As you can see, the entire demonstration did not use any form of photographic texture. Everything is being digitally created with the default Photoshop filters. Hopefully, this article would open up your mind about creating your own textures. With this method, you can free yourself from the copyright issue and any unnecessary accusation of plagiarism.

Do checkout the final working sample via the sketchfab viewer below; It would take a while to be loaded. (Just hit F5 to refresh the page if the html5 canvas isn’t loading!)

runePentagram from lccheng on Sketchfab.