To make things clear: This question is about drawing pixel by pixel of what will be the skin of a game character.

I want to create a skin for the player character of a game (Starmade) but it already features shadowing. The problem then is that I can't draw shadows as I usually would. I need to add "deepness" to the drawing without relying too much on shadows (maybe pillow shading?) or even without shadows, I just need deepness, how can I achieve that?

Here is a picture of the default skin for reference:

enter image description here

Note: Shadows sometimes fill only a part of the affected side.

What are my options?

  • Hi there! I have reopened your question.
    – Yisela
    Feb 4, 2014 at 0:05
  • I'm not sure I follow...shading would typically be used in a 2D drawing to indicate shadows, but it looks like the 3D software would handle that for you. Are you asking how to use shading for something other than shadows?
    – DA01
    Feb 4, 2014 at 2:33
  • I want shading but the type of shading that doesn't look horrible when shadows will be drawn on it in a game. For example, if I drew the shadows as if a light came from the top-right corner, I think it would look stupid once shadows come from the other side. But maybe if I used shadows that aren't that obvious OR anything (anything really!) that can give my drawing deepness so it doesn't look that simple. I understand it's a difficult to explain matter, I hope I explained better now.
    – user10287
    Feb 5, 2014 at 8:47
  • This is a tough one. I don't know if I'd try and compete with the 3D rendering engine that is doing the shadows for you. The forms appear very flat-surfaced, so I'd maybe run with that. Embrace the flatness, keep your own shading limited, and let the game engine handle the rest.
    – DA01
    Feb 5, 2014 at 21:42

1 Answer 1


I don't have a direct answer, since I think you are asking the wrong question. You are correct that "baked-in" lighting effects look good only from specific angles and are a problem when you have no control over the light source and the viewport (aka camera angle).

The main way to cheaply specify "local shading" on a 3d object is through the use of bump maps which are textures fed through a 3d engine's shader interpreter. They sort of act as a 3d mask and are often greyscale.


When googling "Starmade bump map" I see people complaining about errors trying to get bump maps to work, so it looks like it is supported.

  • If bump maps are supported in starmade this is exactly what I was looking for. In the case it isn't what I need is something more like "What shadowing technique can I use that looks the least horrible when extra shadows are drawn over it? (Something tells me that it's pillow shading, but then again, I'm the noob here.)". Thanks for your answer.
    – user10287
    Feb 7, 2014 at 9:40

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