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Advanced modeling techniques --- "Next-gen" modeling

Discussion in 'Modeling & Animation' started by SuPa-, May 25, 2012.

  1. SuPa-

    SuPa-

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    Hey guys, just thought I'd start up this thread as a tutorial/discussion/help thread. I'll be putting stuff in here piece by piece as I go. What I'll mainly be doing is explaining the process of making a game model, and probably won't delve too deep into explaining how to use individual programs. There are plenty of tutorials online for that (well, as well for what I'm talking about but oh well) and I'll try to link them. I'll just start off with a basic introduction.

    Modeling 3d assets for current games, like SC2, is definitely a much bigger challenge than making models and textures for WC3. A lot of skill sets are required. Some of the programs that I will be talking about are:
    3ds Max - modeling
    Zbrush - sculpting/texturing
    Photoshop - texturing
    CrazyBump - normal map generation

    There are many other programs that can be used, but these are the ones that I prefer. Others include:
    Maya - modeling
    Mudbox - sculpting/texturing
    Sculptris - sculpting/texturing (and free!)
    nDo2 - similar to CrazyBump, used for normal map generation
    XNormal - used for baking normal maps and generating other map types; it's a handy tool to use

    Keep in mind that I'll just be talking about modeling here, not animation.

    As a side note, because of the fortunate RTS perspective of SC2, things can be made much simpler due to the distance of the model being viewed.

    Unlike WC3, which just uses a diffuse (texture) map, many more maps are now used to form the material as a whole. These maps include:
    Diffuse map - the texture of a model; the colors
    Alpha map - used for transparency (I'm sure that most are familiar with this, I hope)
    Specular map - helps define material definition of a model through the intensity and color of highlights
    Normal map - simply put, fakes lighting to simulate higher detail on a low poly model
    Emissive/glow map - creates glow/light on a texture of a designated brightness and color

    These maps are made by a variety of methods:
    -Painting
    -Sculpting and baking
    -Generating in a program
    -A mixture of these methods

    There are also more map types than these, but these are the ones that you'll primarily need to know for now. I'll further explain the ones listed as I go.

    I'll talk about my first (and probably the most important) phase of making a model next:
    Concepting/Blocking Out
     
  2. SuPa-

    SuPa-

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    So I've decided that I'm going to make a new type of SC2 marine. First, before starting, let's look at the regular SC2 space marine in the game.

    [​IMG]

    I'm going to base my marine off of the style of this one. Some things to note are:
    -the bulky shapes and details, made that way to be seen from the far away in-game camera
    -the simplicity of the actual model (up close it kind've looks like poo). But that's okay! The in-game camera works to our advantage as modelers
    -the proportions (Blizzard just loves giving their RTS models weird proportions)

    I, personally, like to make a 3D concept of my model in a sculpting program. This will generally be very rough and will be there to help me form the actual model. I've made my concept in ZBrush and painted on a basic color scheme. I'll go into more detail on ZBrush later. Just a note- ZBrush, unfortunately, has a pretty difficult learning curve to get over and many people find its interface confusing.

    [​IMG]

    Also, I've decided that I'm going to approach this in two methods.

    Method 1- making a high poly model, based off of this 3d concept, and baking it down to a low poly model (I'll explain what baking is later)
    Method 2- making the low poly model, texturing it, and using CrazyBump to make the normal map.

    *Method 2 will probably be much easier for most of you to understand and do
     
  3. SexyZwonne

    SexyZwonne

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    Why'd ya stop? o_O There are many tutorials on the web, and in the Hive, but that doesn't mean you can't teach us something new - that we didn't know, or what the other tutorial makers didn't show...
     
  4. SuPa-

    SuPa-

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    Oh I haven't stopped! I've just had other things to do as well, so progress has been slow.
     
  5. Chizume

    Chizume

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    Looks good. I primarily use ZBrush, which is basically the only 3D software I've had more than a short glance at. Looking forward to your take on baking because of this.