Rough Wood Planks
Here I will go through some steps on how you can create a rough wood texture using ZBrush, 3ds Max and Photoshop. This can be interesting if you want to make a totally handpainted texture as well. There are just a couple of layers I made differently to make it a more stylized handpainted texture, all that is included in the .PSD at the end of this tutorial.
This is a very rough type of wood and I would usually not bother going into ZBrush to create a smoother type of wood surface.
As with all material types there are a lot of different types of wood, for instance you could have a painted wood with thick layers of paint where the normal and specular/glossiness is very important, or you can have a very smooth polished type of wood where you almost have a glass like surface. In this tutorial I did not even bother to create a separate glossiness map as it would have been very matte (dark) anyhow I though I would not gain too much on using that. I also used some color in my specular map, only some engines have support for this but it can definitely help making your material more interesting.
So I decided to create two different planks where I go through each side in ZBrush, I will then place them out in 3DS Max one by one and rotate them so I get a unique side for each plank.
It is important to try and have an even tesselation on this to make the details come out as good as possible in the sculpting process. This was really easy on these two planks, I could just split them up in perfectly square faces.
Then I tesselated them a fair bit, around 70000 triangles for each plank. You can of course do this in ZBrush if you prefer.
I exported both planks to the .OBJ format and imported into ZBrush.
I did tesselate them a bit more in ZBrush as I noticed they would need more detail, so here I am working with about 2 million triangles, which is really pretty overkill for the end resolution I am going to use.
There is a great feature in ZBrush that lets you hide selections you make. You can hide whole objects or even just parts you select. Press "shift+ctrl" and drag a selection over whichever part you want to hide, if you release shift you will hide everything BUT your selection. To unhide everything again just hold down "ctrl" and click outside the canvas.
If you have read any of my other ZBrush material tutorials you will be pretty familiar with the "Mallet Fast Brush" probably. I use this brush for almost everything since it is a really quick way to deforme some edges.
So here I start draging a few brush strokes on the edges. Imagine a very old wood beam here, perhaps something used on an old wooden ship or similar. Try to use a pretty high intensity and a low focal shift while sculpting this.
Repeat this step on all sides of your planks.
Next up is to get some actual wood grain cracks in here. I find the easiest way of doing this is to use the "Projection Master". I then use a "Free Hand Brush" and while using a low focal shift I mix using ZAdd and ZSub settings on my brush strokes.
I drag out long brush strokes over the whole plank pretty slowly while trying to go a bit up or down when close to the edges, if you are a bit careful here you will start getting some nice cracks out naturally when draging brush stroke on top on brush stroke and repeating that.