vrchat

Watercolor Assets

So, lately I’ve been getting really into VRChat as a creative platform, because of how quickly and (relatively) easy it is to get worlds and models into a game space that is shared by and used by a lot of other people. I used to fool with Unity a lot, but making game prototypes didn’t quite have the same immediate feedback dopamine loop that furry art does (and, it turns out, that my pre-diagnosis ADHD brain needs), but VRChat’s creator tools do a great job of closing that gap: you can build a level, get it into labs, and invite friends to try it out with the same speed and ease of posting an image to an online gallery.

While I’m working on my first world, though, I wanted to dust off some of my older projects to show what I’ve already done with Unity.

I used to do a lot of watercolor painting and worked out a technique where I’d do the preliminary sketch digitally, usually in Clip Studio Paint, and then print it in pale cyan directly onto watercolor paper, then ink over the pale blue with a waterproof india ink. Then I’d stretch the paper as normal for watercolor: soak the paper til it’s saturated, then staple it to a piece of MDF to let it dry. This prevents the paper from warping too much when you get it wet, making the watercolor easier to control.

Once that was done, I’d finish the piece in watercolor and send it off to the client. Most of the watercolor work on this site was done this way. I have a pretty nice fine art scanner that does a decent job of capturing color fidelity.

This is my pal Archai, by the way. He was having a bad day.

I used this technique to do a webcomic for several years, and when I started playing with Unity, I got it into my head to try to paint textures for 3d objects in watercolor using the same method: printing the unwrapped UV layouts of objects onto watercolor paper, painting them by hand, and then scanning them back in, compositing the scans into a texture map and applying them to the models. I also painted several quick tufts of grass to apply to grass cards, modeled after the fact.

So far so good! Then I got them into Unity:

This was about as far as I got before I needed to put the project aside for paying work, but I’m looking forward to building out this idea further in a VRChat world as soon as I clear my plate of my current work. The idea of having friends walk around in a watercolor illustration is very exciting to me.

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