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The 3D Thread


suzakuseven
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Just thought I'd post this;

testoc3.jpg

My new computer is finally working, so I can get back on track. This is how the fountain currently stands. It isn't quite finished yet - the base texturing needs some tweaks, then I want to use Illustrator to draw some scrollwork which will up the detail in the textures and normal maps. I also want to add some water damage, but I'll do that last.

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Good work Asura. Is the texture completely unique over the whole surface or is it repeating? There looks to be lots of scope to increase texel density by some cunning texture re-usage.

Also a personal aesthetic point, I try to avoid having deep blacks in the texture (assuming the blacks in this image haven't been crushed through post-proc) because it gives more 'room' to maneuver with regards to lighting.

I've been trying to learn Blender recently, basically because legal copies of Maya are a bit out of my price range. My first impressions of Blender, some years ago were 'urgh' and 'no god no!', but it seems to have come along quite a bit in the last year or so. Also I read the next version (2.5) is going to have much more in the way of control customisation.

Anyone here using Blender and got to grips with it?

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Good work Asura. Is the texture completely unique over the whole surface or is it repeating? There looks to be lots of scope to increase texel density by some cunning texture re-usage.

Also a personal aesthetic point, I try to avoid having deep blacks in the texture (assuming the blacks in this image haven't been crushed through post-proc) because it gives more 'room' to maneuver with regards to lighting.

I've been trying to learn Blender recently, basically because legal copies of Maya are a bit out of my price range. My first impressions of Blender, some years ago were 'urgh' and 'no god no!', but it seems to have come along quite a bit in the last year or so. Also I read the next version (2.5) is going to have much more in the way of control customisation.

Anyone here using Blender and got to grips with it?

Yeah, it is a little dark - it's partially due to there only being one point light in the scene; it isn't using any kind of advanced lighting.

Also, it's unique over the whole thing. I plan on dirtying it up a bit more.

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thats real nice Asura. Is it for the Gears of War project you were working on? If so my only slight criticism would be around the blood stains which id expect to not be so vibrantly red. They create a nice contrast but I think (only going from memory here) if it was a Gears asset blood stains would be more worked into the underlying texture, more dry looking if you see what I mean.

Very nice piece though.

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thats real nice Asura. Is it for the Gears of War project you were working on? If so my only slight criticism would be around the blood stains which id expect to not be so vibrantly red. They create a nice contrast but I think (only going from memory here) if it was a Gears asset blood stains would be more worked into the underlying texture, more dry looking if you see what I mean.

Very nice piece though.

Yeah, that can be fixed whilst playing with the saturation. I've refrained from doing it so far though, as if you recall, Gears is quite desaturated, except for blood and the blue lights on the Gears' armour, which are vivid. The game actually applies its own post-processing that you can edit in the map, so some areas can have more saturation than others.

Put simply I'm going to leave it as it is for now, pending a change after I've seen it in Gears.

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im really not keen on the blood (paint) either. i reckon detail would have much better been applied to ageing the fountain, old brown leaf / algae stains of the drained pond, rust around and on the drain covers, tidemarks on the inside walls? a tonal shift of where the standing water once used to be. At the moment the fountain doesn't really tell a story of being a fountain, i think its a great base, but if you could put a little more into it, it'd really shine. maybe a little more work on the top surface of that fountain too (the blueish stonework) remember if its being used as cover, this surface would be an area of focus and on-screen a lot. just looks a little flat at the moment from the way the lights casting onto it.

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Good thread, impressive work here!

I'm completely new to 3D programs. I've tried firing Max up in the past but have always been overwhelmed by the interface and never got very far with it. This year, though, I'm determined to make some groundwork. I've been through the first few modelling and lighting tutorials included with the program, and have started my first 3D project. I'll probably have lots of (really silly) questions as I go, so any help is appreciated.

Right, first one: I'm modelling a spaceship. What is the best (or most realistic) way to light it? I'm thinking it will be partially self-lit (spotlights on the ship itself), but there must be surrounding light too. A single bright lightsource could make it look like it's near the sun, but how would I do more general ambient starlight? Just make lots of little lights surrounding it?

Second: how do I turn an object inside out so I can only see it from the inside (for interiors, corridors, etc.)?

Thirdly, a modelling question: how do you extrude a shape from a surface? I've worked out you can shrink (or grow) a polygon and extrude that, but can you draw a shape (any shape) onto a surface and pull that out? There's so much to take in. I'm using proboolean subtraction at the moment and it's a bit fussy.

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Right, first one: I'm modelling a spaceship. What is the best (or most realistic) way to light it? I'm thinking it will be partially self-lit (spotlights on the ship itself), but there must be surrounding light too. A single bright lightsource could make it look like it's near the sun, but how would I do more general ambient starlight? Just make lots of little lights surrounding it?

Well, I used an HDR image for lighting, and found it gave a much nicer shadows and reflections than anything else I had tried.

I've not dabbled with it in Max yet, but this should do the trick - http://www.xedium3d.com/tutorials/hdri/

You basically whack an image on an inverted sphere and check a box or two in the render settings. Hopefully you can find a suitable HDRI map...

Second: how do I turn an object inside out so I can only see it from the inside (for interiors, corridors, etc.)?

Switch your object to an editable poly if you haven't already (right click, Convert ---> Convert to Editable Poly) Then you want to select all the polys, and in the modify section of the command panel, find the 'Flip' button and hit it. That should invert the polys so they face inwards.

Thirdly, a modelling question: how do you extrude a shape from a surface? I've worked out you can shrink (or grow) a polygon and extrude that, but can you draw a shape (any shape) onto a surface and pull that out? There's so much to take in. I'm using proboolean subtraction at the moment and it's a bit fussy.

Um, don't think so. You can use the cut tool (click 'Cut' in the command panel) to draw edges between other edges, and then extrude the resulting shape.

You can draw any shape as a spline (Create panel, and click Shapes, then use 'Line') If you close the spline, and convert it to an editable poly, it will fill the shape with polys.

Edit: Actually, scrub the talk of HDRI shennanigans. For a n00b you're better off with the old light tracer trick - quick and easy.

Add a sky light to the scene (position/rotation/scale doesn't matter), go to your render settings (F10) and go to 'Advanced Lighting' tab. In the drop down menu, select 'Light Tracer'. Try rendering, and you should get a nice fake global illumination effect.

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barcelonachair.jpg

Possibly the most exciting model posted here thus far...

HOLY SHIT WILL YOU CHECK OUT THIS CHAIR?!? IT'S FUCKING AWESOME! LOOK AT THAT OTTOMAN! YOU PROBABLY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT SHIT MEANS BUT IT'S A FOOTSTOOL AND IT FUCKING ROCKS!

Etc.

Seriously though it's a very clean model, nice work.

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Ta. I'm trying to add some creases in Zbrush, but my PC fails.

I still haven't used ZBrush; I do all my normals with MAX's render-to-texture dialogue, and the nVidia Normal Map filter. I need to get into it, but I'm that busy actually making portfolio work with what I currently know that I haven't had much time to look into it.

Also, I'm getting rid of the bloodstain (well, I'm making it very subliminal) but I liked the vivid hue so much that I thought it a shame to not keep something of it, so I made this:

spatter1yo8.jpg

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Thanks for the tips so far. I'm still feeling my way through this program, but I'm learning.

I have a large inverted sphere as my 'skybox' which surrounds the spaceship. The idea is to make it look like a starfield. I made a texture with some white bits sprinkled onto a black background and then applied that as a bitmap to the material of the sphere. Now, it doesn't show up in the render presumably because it isn't lit properly, but is there a way to make the sphere self-lit, but only the white bits, without the black bits washing out?

Or am I just going about this in completely the wrong way?

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Thanks for the tips so far. I'm still feeling my way through this program, but I'm learning.

I have a large inverted sphere as my 'skybox' which surrounds the spaceship. The idea is to make it look like a starfield. I made a texture with some white bits sprinkled onto a black background and then applied that as a bitmap to the material of the sphere. Now, it doesn't show up in the render presumably because it isn't lit properly, but is there a way to make the sphere self-lit, but only the white bits, without the black bits washing out?

Or am I just going about this in completely the wrong way?

If its 3D max youre talking about you can self illuminate a texture in the Materials Panel. So bring it up (M is the shortcut) and select your star material, Then just whack the badboy ive highlighted to 100! :)

3234104142_3f9e01763e_o.jpg

Ahhh Sorry just read your mail properly! to only self illuminate the stars you'll need to use an alpha map. Create a black and white version (You want the white bits to be what you want lit)

Then on the Materials panel Extend out the maps section. Click on 'none' next to the Self Illumination part of the list. Select Bitmap at the top (it doesnt have to be a BMP just select bitmap and you can use just about any picture format). Select your alpha map from wherever its saved. and that should do the job.

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Its worth noting that if the you're using pure black for space that probably wont be affected by self illumination anyway.. Alpha maps are handy to know about anyway though.

The same principal applies to using black/white maps on

opacity (black will be transparent, white opaque)

bump (black will be a groove, white will appear raised)

And obviously it doesnt have to be pure Black/White. You can use a grayscale image to create degrees of each effect within your texture maps.

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Well here's my first contribution in this thread. Thought it's about time I posted something.

I'm now 5 months into my uni course and this is the model I've designed for my 3rd assignment. We had to create a cartoon character using sketches, create a virtual studio, model the character then rig and skin it before creating a short 30 second animation.

3254942599_016717a811_o.jpg

This is the final model. I realise the model and textures aren't great but we've not had a lot of time to do this. The part I've had the most trouble with is skinning it as I've found it incredibly difficult to get my head around it. Really worried about doing the animation as it has to be in by Monday and I've only just finished the skinning part.

Here are the X-Ray views and Wireframe views of my rigging.

3255811560_5cae64a279_o.jpg

3254980771_3b5a92f18d_o.jpg

I've found Max very hard to pick up. Not coming from any design background and not having any experience before we've had to learn an extraordinary amount in such a short time. We've already started on spline modeling a car in class for the next assignment.

I'm just hoping I'll get through the first year ok!

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I wouldn't worry about it mate, Max (and any 3d package) can be an overwhelming prospect when youre new to it. Skinning in particular is a tricky thing to do, to be honest I still havent mastered it properly myself and ive been using Max for over 8 years now at least!

You're piece looks fine given how much experience you have. Keep at it and you'll find as long as youre interested in progressing your work will come on leaps and bounds. Your course sounds pretty demanding.. 30 seconds is quite a lot of animation to generate - especially if youve never done that sort of thing before. Youre certainly way more advanced than I was after a couple of months on the software!

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You'd probably be better off adding the bg in Photoshop, or After Effects if you're animating. Just render off the ship as a TGA, and the alpha channel will be sorted for you.

I think I will end up doing this with AE, yeah. How do you render a video with an alpha channel? I tried a TGA and it came out as a sequence of stills.

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I think I will end up doing this with AE, yeah. How do you render a video with an alpha channel? I tried a TGA and it came out as a sequence of stills.

Choose either animation or uncompressed as your QT codec and make sure in output module you've selected RGB + alpha which should set your depth to millions+.

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I would render out as frames (sequence of stills), rather than going straight to a movie, and then rendering that out again from AE. You can import the series of stills into AE with a couple clicks you see, and tick 'premultiply alpha', which will make all but what you want invisible.

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Hey guys, long time not posting in here.

Got results back from last semesters work and I got A's for all my 3D work, came second in the year for one of the modules too out of 70 odd people.

Now started my main project for this semester. It's called 'Vacant'. Was originally supposed to be one fairly small room in a near-future style a la Gears/Doom 3/etc focussing a lot on things being broken,smashed, old, rusted, etc as so often your taught how to model and texture things that look perfect with no imperfections so I'm wanting to show I'm able to take it a bit further than that. I then changed the plan slightly to make a full multiplayer map that I'm planning to implement in Unreal Editor eventually so it's playable as a multiplayer map as that would obviously help as a portfolio piece since thats exactly what I want to get into when I leave uni. I'm not going for such a future-esque feel to it anymore though, keeping it fairly standard modern affair. Lots to do before the fun with UE3 starts though including a massive texture job!

I need to find out from lecturers and general opinion what my options are for textures. I know UnrealEd has a ton of pre-made materials that look fantastic so should I be using them to make my environment look as best as possible or should I go about sourcing and making my own textures?

Anyway, here's some in progress shots of the modelling phase so far after 2 days work on it.

98040746cx9.jpg

19466777od3.jpg

81516407in0.jpg

Any opinions/constructive criticism welcome! :)

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God this thread is quiet! :(

Another work in progress for the modelling. Starting to add in all the objects and deforming the scenery now. It's coming along well. Total poly count for the full level so far is at 15,000.

63069250up4.jpg

29440062jr0.jpg

Bottom image there just a quick render with low radiosity to see what it was looking like, hence the grain.

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God this thread is quiet! :)

Another work in progress for the modelling. Starting to add in all the objects and deforming the scenery now. It's coming along well. Total poly count for the full level so far is at 15,000.

63069250up4.jpg

29440062jr0.jpg

Bottom image there just a quick render with low radiosity to see what it was looking like, hence the grain.

Looks nice but the render/plaster looks a bit thick. And have you used real life sizes for your bricks/blocks?

And that bit of wall that's fallen off is too clean around the edges.

Hope that's OK to say, thought it's worth mentioning ^_^ .

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Total poly count for the full level so far is at 15,000.

Just to clear something up that I know was always a bit of a mystery when I was on my course. Make sure the limits you work to and the counts you provide on portfolio work are in number of triangles, not polys. Don't know what Blender gives by default, so I'm not suggesting that number is wrong or anything.

Your enthusiasm is great by the sounds of it, but honestly if I were you, I would have stuck to the one room idea and really gone to town on it, making all of your own textures. Something which you can happily show off as completely your own work. The lessons learnt doing that will help you avoid lots more issues in future, and that's the time to go full on and make a map if that's your aim.

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Yeah I've used real life sizes for everything as much as I could, but done what I think looks best for alot of it too! I'm not going too detailed as it's supposed to be for a game level and using Call of Duty as reference, I'm trying to keep in line with it's amount of detail for modelling. That's why alot of the broken pieces etc won't be extremely high detailed. But I'll keep that in mind obviously and try to do the best I can.

Asura, about the 3/4 sided polys, I know this is an issue but it's something we've never been told about in uni which I think is ridiculous to be honest since it's such a big deal obviously so I'm not focusing 100% on that since I can't see them taking it into account too much. Some some things I've made the effort but others, I've not been too sure how to go about it. Can you explain why this is the case anyway? I've always heard that 3/4 sided polys is best but I don't know why exactly. Can they be rendered faster or something with as little sides as possible?

And FozZ, I forgot about that, I was quoting polys and not tri's so yeah I'll need to remember that, it's actually Lightwave I use and not Blender so not sure what Blender quotes by default.

To be honest, when I was doing the single small room, I was a bit underwhelmed and lost at how I would make it look amazing. And I thought it would be better to just go for a much bigger project and I think it's going well so far anyway so maybe come May I'll regret it and wish I'd stuck to the smaller project but so far so good anyway. Almost finished with modelling and will be starting the texturing by this time next week anyway.

I've also started considering using Source engine instead of Unreal but can't find as much literature on it on the internet though so may just have to stick with Unreal. But won't need to think about that for another 3-4 weeks until texturing is complete.

Thanks for the help so far anyway guys! :D

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Asura, about the 3/4 sided polys, I know this is an issue but it's something we've never been told about in uni which I think is ridiculous to be honest since it's such a big deal obviously so I'm not focusing 100% on that since I can't see them taking it into account too much. Some some things I've made the effort but others, I've not been too sure how to go about it. Can you explain why this is the case anyway? I've always heard that 3/4 sided polys is best but I don't know why exactly. Can they be rendered faster or something with as little sides as possible?

From a few weeks ago:

"The traditional wisdom" would state that you should stay away from using triangles, yes, but sadly real life is more complicated.

First off, everything onscreen is composed of texels (textured triangles) anyway. Even if you have four-sided face, your renderer will split this into two triangles at render-time. If you had a six-sided face, or eight-sided one, your renderer would likewise split that too into triangles.

The problem comes because you can't predict necessarily how a renderer handles that splitting. Different renderers do it differently, and the same renderer might split the same poly differently depending on the angle.

Four-sided polys are ok, because how they split is predictable (the order in which the points are given to the renderer dictates it, and most modelling packages allow you to change this manually, "turning edges" or similar).

Whether or not triangles are ok depends on certain factors. On a flat surface, if they're coplanar with something else, you can get away with some triangles. Also, modelling is a visual medium; provided you're not working with simulation or architecture, if it looks right then it's right; subsequently if it saves you a lot of polys, you can stick some triangles in here and there.

Remember though triangles cause some problems too. Sometimes they don't illuminate correctly, which can cause problems with specular highlights (it causes problems with diffuse lighting too, just the effects aren't as acute). Also, if you're using a skeleton to deform a character for animation, triangles can deform in weird ways. Lastly, if you subdivide/tessalate your polys to make things smoother (usually when you're making a high poly model for normal mapping) triangles will make nicks, scrapes and uneven bits.

Conversely, if you're modelling something like my Advance Wars models, you can use a lot of triangles because they're extremely low-poly and they're not going to be deformed, subdivided or even lit.

Generally speaking, modellers list their triangle counts as opposed to polycounts. You should try to specify this too. For example, my GM Custom model is ~4000 triangles. If I said 4000 polys, I could potentially mean as much as 8000 triangles, or as little as 4001. Using triangles is a lot more informative. Often if I look at someone's portfolio and I read "3000 polys" I unfortunately always wonder if that means "6000 triangles". A difference like that in polycount can make an impressive piece of work into a very poor one.

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