Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Developing a Sci-Fi Game Environment: Materials and Meshes

Hi, my name is Doru and I'm the 3D environment and prop artist. 

This week, while some of the team started concepting the large environment this scene will be a part of, I wanted to setup a fast prop and texture creation pipeline that involves as little creation of high poly assets and baking as possible. To this end I tried the technique I read in this article: http://bit.ly/1WMKweO.

I started by making a quick generic sci-fi prop and rounded all the edges so it looks smooth. The big downside, of course, is an increase in the number of triangles needed. I didn't spend much time on the design as I only wanted to test this technique.

As you can see, in this case the number of triangles has almost quadrupled. But you save a lot of time spent in creating the high poly, cage, baking and refining the low poly.
After the geometry was finished I unwrapped the model. I kept the uv's as straight as possible, but in retrospect I could have done a better job as there were a few issues I noticed when I started the next step.
I brought the mesh to Photoshop and the Quixel suite, where I detailed the flat areas with masks, shapes and selections which the program transforms into a normal map. This was a lot of trial and error, but in the end I tested as many types of shape, textures and techniques in getting them, as I thought necessary.

This is the result.

The last process was the easiest one for me. I created a few masks and brought the whole thing to Substance Painter where I textured it, using a mix of generated masks and hand painted details.
I was pretty happy with the end result and I think this technique has a lot of merit and will certainly find a place in my workflow. I will need to spend a bit more time on the design though.

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