I always map out my basic design pattern first. Bricks have nice regular grids to work from, but even more abstract designs like water paths are easiest with you start with a grid or mesh over your base color. This way you can check all your alignments laid down in repeat before you've spent a few hours doing all those details and shading etc (the worst time for to find out lines aren't matching).
Setting up the design:
When doing an off set pattern like a standard brick, you'll want to work with rows of even numbers, that way you won't have 2 rows of bricks in the same stagger on top of each other (unless that's an effect you're going for)
Here we want our bricks nice and even, so we'll have 4 rows of 2 bricks, this will make a nice even rectangular cobble.
- Put down the first line along the bottom, then count up 8 spaces for the next line. a
- Then 8 spaces more for the next, and again for the 3rd.
- For the verticals we have a line at the far left edge, and another just to the right of the center (the heavy line down the middle of the grid) for rows 1 and 3.
- For the 2nd and 4th row count 8 spaces in from the left and make the first line, then 8 in from the right and make a line.
The design grid on the game is 32 x 32 squares, which is good to know, especially when making regular shaped patterns like our offset brick. This way if you want to do bigger bricks or smaller bricks, you can figure out your sizes by dividing the number 32 by however many bricks you want. We are going to be doing a 2 X 4 brick design, so our bricks will be16 squares long and 8 squares wide, but if you did for e.g. 6 rows of 4 bricks, 32 ÷ 6= 5.3 and 32 ÷ 4= 8 so those bricks would be 5x8 squares (the 0.3 means one row will be slightly taller)
So that's a basic brick pattern! Next up we need to shade the bricks to give them depth...
Shading the Bricks:
I'm sticking with one color square for simplicity. The buff square on the top right of the color picker (found by clicking on the paint tube icon)
Adding a line of a lighter color to the top and left edge of each square for highlights, and a darker shade to the bottom and right edge for shadows gives the bricks more dimension.
It is important now to mention the way some bricks here are split. The 2 small square looking bricks are where a single brick has been split in the design screen, but will appear as a single whole brick when the tiles are laid down in repeat. This means the shading on the left hand side of these spilt bricks will be done along the dividing line over on the right hand side of the design area as seen above.
You can do all kinds of things to these basic bricks to make the same pattern have a much different feel...
To give the bricks a more rustic weathered appearance try speckling the highlights and shadows to make the surface appear less even. You can add some shade to the grid area too to make it look more natural (here I sprinkled in some darker #9 brown into the mix).
If you prefer something a but less rustic and a bit more chic, you can make the original highlight brighter (here colored with #1) and add a little shine by making a second highlight at the sides and towards to bottom. I also made the vertical lines in these bricks a darker #9 shade, to give crisp clean depth.
You can add different colored stones for accent, or even round of the corners for a more old fashioned cobble stone!
These are just the basics. You can even more character, and even deeper textures with extra colors. I hope this 1st tutorial can inspire a few more mayors to create their dream paths, and personalize their Animal Crossing towns!
Stay tuned for Part 2!