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Creating Hand-Made Stencils for Alphas Used in Texturing

Anna Miakisheva shared the process of creating stencils for believable and unique weathering, explaining why it is important to be attentive to the details while texturing.


Hey there, I'm Anna Miakisheva. I am a passionate Vehicle Artist that has worked on titles such as World of Warships by Wargaming, War Thunder, and Enlisted by Gaijin Entertainment.

I started my artistic journey when I was 6 years old. I attended elementary art school for 3 years and completed it with honors. On this occasion, my dad decided to buy me my first personal computer "for studying". I took his meaning loosely and naturally I called it studying, but mostly I was just playing video games.

After I shoot all types of laser guns in Quake, built a family in The Sims, and robbed a couple of banks in GTA, I decided that I wanted to create video games, and so it became my dream. This is what I was dreaming about during all those lectures in high school. I wanted to build something inimitable. Of course, at that time I didn't know that Wargaming would be responsible for making my dreams come true!

After graduating from the university, I searched long and hard for a job in the game development industry and found my luck at Lesta Studio, which develops the World of Warships project.

Angler | World of Warships

Lazarus Centurino | World of Warships

Rover | World of Warships

Lesta Studio gave me the opportunity to create concepts for event skins for ships and build 3D models based on my own concepts. It was indescribable, and I'm extremely grateful for that!

Whenever I was bringing my ideas to life, I always tried to tell a little story...

Creating Stories

I remember when I was playing games, I would always think: "How do these artists manage to accurately portray the atmosphere of the virtual world they created?" And I think I've found the answer: the secret is in details.

When texturing my models, I always try to tell the player how, where, and why every scratch, smudge, or spot of dirt was inflicted. My unique set of brushes helps me to accomplish this, so I wanted to share the creation process of this set, which is pretty simple but extremely fun! Let's go!

I used a simple set of "instruments" like brush, roller, paint, and paper pack and set my workplace outside to avoid excess cleaning.

When I'm creating stencils, I use everything that comes to hand, like crumpled paper, brushes, sponges, and containers of different sizes. This is to achieve different and interesting print effects.

Once I'm done splattering paint back and forth and getting my hands dirty, I lay out my sketches right on the floor and let them dry.

As soon as the paint dries, I scan my prints and start processing them in Photoshop by simply increasing the contrast with levels or by using a threshold (image/adjastments/threshold).

After that, I set the image size to 2048x2048 and invert the colors. Here is it! My alpha is ready. All I need to do is to drop the stencil right into Substance 3D Painter and sign it as an "alpha".

I think that unique alphas can make a model seem alive and realistic. For example, a handprint on the surface of a tank turret tells us that someone may have gotten dirty in fuel oil and left a mark when climbing out of the hatch.

Or rust spots on the tank hull.

Or a windshield wiper mark on that old abandoned car.

Rain drops on the car window.

I also believe that you can find prints on the internet, there is nothing wrong with that, but our brain is a big fan of new things and gets tired of perceiving the same information over and over again, that’s why I like to use unique prints that you wouldn't find someplace else.


Be inspired, create, get dirty, invent, and don't be afraid. Tell your story to the world! I hope this article was useful and I would like to thank you for your time!

Kudos and thanks to the 80 Level team for allowing me to share my story with the world!
If you are not ready to get your hands dirty, you can purchase my ready-made set here. Here is my portfolio on ArtStation.

Anna Miakisheva, Vehicle Artist

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