I learned the bulk of the techniques I used on this project from the video opposite. It is a Texturing Workshop (from 2012) by Jamin Shoulet (formerly of Blizzard) that was recorded at The School of Game Design in San Francisco.
He describes a texture as having three basic aspects: Base Colour Value, Lighting & Shadows. He says that with these three aspects you can make something pop off your screen, very easily.
Techniques & Inspiration
Tri Count: 612
I was eager to take part in the monthly noob challenge over on Polycount and had wanted to experiment with stylised hand painted texturing techniques for a while. I felt this was the perfect project to take some time to play around with low poly art & practice my 2D painting skills in Photoshop.
I began the texturing process by creating a selection mask to isolate the areas I wanted to paint using the meshes UVs. I made sure to expand my selection mask by 2-4px around the UV islands borders to allow for padding.
I then created a base colour to work from and started blocking in colour as needed. Once I was happy with the general block out of colour and saturation values, I started to add loose lighting information, starting to gradually define the surface edges. To counter this, I then added the opposing shadow information to really help the surfaces pop. Next I painted in any Ambient Occlusion that would occur as a result of composition of the weapon (where the handle meets the blade etc..). Now that I was about 70% finished I had to start tightening up the smaller details such as adding some subtle complimentary colour values, scratches, dents & improving the general quality of the paint blends.