Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Base Character - WIP

Very brief update, tight deadlines!

(Click to see detail)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WIP - Campus House #3

Quick update this time - only difference is the new front door. I spent way more time than I should have trying to get the metal handle material to look decent. I'm still not happy with it, but fixing it would involve making a new high-res handle and baking normals, and I don't want to waste more time on such a small detail when there's so many large assets to still model.

The decorative door inlays are normal mapped to save polys - First, as with the door frame, a high-poly model was made, and then those normals were baked and brought into Photoshop to be applied to the final door normal map.

Next update might not be for several days - phase 1 of character modeling is wrapping up in 3d.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

WIP - Campus House #2

(Click to see detail)

The first thing I created today was the rug. The material was created from heavily photoshopped pictures from my phone's camera. Just a simple diffuse this time - it didn't need anything extra.

Then I created a "dirty clutter" decal for the carpet, which took a bit longer than it should have due to troubles making the mask in photoshop. Finally got it working... I'll make more of these later so it's not all the same leaf.

The door/window frame was really fast - I created a plane in Maya, quickly modeled the indents/curvature of a piece of the doorframe and baked out the normals and occlusion. I created a material off of those and applied that material to flat BSP cubes. The normal map gives enough depth that I think I can get away without an extra mesh.

Finally, the leather... table thing? I created an RGB texture in which each color contains a different mask (so I could stop the detail normal map from covering the legs, for example). Then the black color itself comes from a constant. Pretty much all the "leathery" detail comes from the normal map, which contains a combination of the normals from the high-poly smoothed version of the mesh, smaller leather "cracks" as a detail normal, and a "grunge" map (also used in both the walls and carpet) to add a bit of variation and the illusion of wrinkles. Finally, the same grunge map was tiled differently and put into the specular to give the specular itself some variation. Having a nice grunge diffuse and normal texture on hand is absurdly useful - when used right it can be applied to pretty much any texture to add slight variation.

(Click to see detail)

I'm not sure what to tackle next... I'm probably going to end up finishing the door and windows. I'm really getting sick of looking at that black void.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost Forgot...

Never got around to uploaded a finished picture of my last commission...

Better late than never.

(Click to see detail)

WIP - Campus House

I want to document my level creation process, not so much for others to see, but so I can track my own pitfalls when it comes to putting a complete package together, and hopefully make myself more efficient in the future.

So, here we are, day 1 of Gorgoroth (me and my roommates' name for our on-campus house), modeled to scale, textured and lit in Unreal. It seemed an obvious choice for a side-project because I don't have to travel far for reference ;)

(Click to see detail)

Today I primarily grayboxed the scene I wanted to work on (the living room) and then began work on the base materials.

I knew from the start that the carpet material would take the most time. I've never really been happy with the carpet materials I see in games - they all suffer from terrible repetition, flatness, or some other issue. In fact, carpets are probably the 2nd most butchered texture in games, the 1st being brick walls (imo).

With that in mind, I designed the carpet with multiple layers of Lerps, Adds and Multiplies in order to create natural-looking variation, and Rotation and Texture Coordinate nodes to ensure that the texture will never repeat.

I then moved onto the walls, which I used a similar process for. They're still a work in progress, and the ceiling is placeholder. However, I felt like I was spending a bit too much time on them, so I decided to move on and get back to them later.

I wanted to start modeling... And it made sense to me that the first model I make should be the light fixture - get the light motivated as soon as possible, right? (Plus I wanted an excuse to try out UDK's new transmissive mask feature.)

The lamp itself was just an extruded cylinder with, I believe, 15 sides. Fairly low-poly, just enough to get the silhouette right. I didn't bother fixing UV's for the black metal stand, since I'm planning on just using constants for diffuse and specular there. The one part I did make sure to UV was the top translucent plastic... I need a gradient there for the transmissive mask. And after playing with the values of the transmissive mask and transmissive color a bit, I'm extremely happy with the result - fairly accurate to how the light actually does spread through and illuminate the plastic.

So, next I'm going to start modeling from big to small, starting with either the couch, tv stand, or coffee table. I'm also planning on getting those doors and windows in so that we aren't constantly looking into the black void of Unreal space.

Next update tomorrow...