Some texture painting notes off the top of my head.
1.) Look at natural occuring patterns. See the rhythm and shape of dirt, stains. Leaves. For a painter, you need to see a lot. This is most crucial when painting skin and organics surfaces. A lot of painters face this difficulty because they have not look and study at patterns long enough. See the recurring patterns and commit to memory. When you do that, things will fall into place when u look at shapes and patterns during painting.
When designing fantasy floral and fauna surfaces, the key is believability. Not realism.
2.) Low and high frequency levels. Near and Far. Details needs to oread both from near and far.
3.) Spot the Hardness and Softness in transaction. Both in color and in tone. And how to apply them in painting.
4.) Clearly be able to dissect from a reference image, what can be created as specular, color and displacement maps.
5.) Color maps - Do a quick and dirty maps and set the render up b4 tweaking. Just to see how the lights are interacting with the maps. Balance out your shaders, define you color space Then Paint. Do not go back and forth, render, re-render, paint, etc... very time consuming.
6.) Color grading of references. Before u do this, u need to define the color space. Is it gamma 2.2 or 1.8 or whatever. Then again u can color correct and use curves to a photo to match the lighting in the turntable or shot so this is really a moot point. Just make sure that it stays between around 15%-85% brightness.
7.) Letting Go. Dun go into a detail on a particular area and focus on it. Remember you got to do the same for the rest of the model. UNless that area is in the money shots. Get a overall look 1st. U might get away with more then you know. Different people look at Different shapes, different details. That area that u been busting ur balls over, people might not even care or notice.
8.) Layers, Keep it low, keep it simple. Easy to fix. Too many overlays/softlight confuses you. Once you like a look, flatten it. UNLESS its a decal or something that needs to fix. Dun be too depend on it. You are a texture painter. Paint.
9.) Brushes and Channels are your friend. Learn them well and you will prosper.
10.) Color Picker. USE IT.
11.) Reference. Do not just use a few. For color, preferably ones that are well lit with little or no specular. For specular reference the object in different lighting conditions and with flash/no lfash helps.
12.) Reference. There is such a thing as too much reference. Pick the good ones and stick with it.
13.) See how the light hits the object. How it breaks up the surface. And also if there is any white balance used in the photo.
14.) Specular maps are ur most important weapons.
15.) Paint the full range of values for scalar maps. i.e displacement, bump and specular. no use painting only 60%-40% gray for bump. Use the full amount and then u can adjust in shader. If the shader permits, use low and high freq maps separately for greater control. Else, have them in photoshop layers and combine them as 1 map like the old days. Of a more civilized time.
Thats it for now.
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien