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Mordin
11-02-2009, 08:53 PM
Hi,
I am a maya generalist working in the media industry and am thinking of looking to get into the game industry. I have a few building models that I would like some feedback on. Is my modelling ok? Should i use more polys, if so where? Is the bevelling is used at ground level too over the top?

I plan to to get them into Unreal and take some screen shots. And to sort of the textures and materials. Im not sure where to go from here or what to do next. I feel they are lacking something. Any help welcome!

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/Gatekeepers02.jpg

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/Gatekeepers03wires.jpg

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/Tudorinn01.jpg


http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/Tudorinn02.jpg


http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/warehouse01.jpg

http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/Dannywhitehouse/warehouse03.jpg

motorpsycho
11-02-2009, 10:47 PM
These are great models. :applause: I need to get better at modeling buildings.

GradiusCancer
11-03-2009, 11:44 AM
The textures themselves are muddy. This refers to how cleanliness the frequency level details. The distance presented is far, therefore the lowest frequency details need to be strong. In a game environment where the player can walk up to the building, you'd also need to address mid and close range. Taking a picture, and slapping it on a model instead of painting a texture is easily revealed by textures like yours, and thats part of the reason why. The second dead give away are the levels.

Texture levels is often forgotten by artist, but one of the easiest thing to correct. When you open a texture in Photoshop and go to the Levels (or simply look at the Histogram tab), you'll see where all the color information is sitting. Good textures fill the levels with information. Unmodified photosourcing is always completely dominate to one particular range because of lighting conditions, camera, etc. They are incredibly limiting because lighting the model the material can only light or darken so much based on the textures levels. Example being your first buildings bricks are near white and the foliage next to it is near black so they contrast unnaturally.

All specular is questionable. Specular is only visible in the first image, and it's a uniform shininess that give the building a wet appearance as opposed to enhancing the materials. Of course, given the setting, most of your spec should be limited to metals and glass.

None of your building have a foundation or ground transition. Bricks touching the ground are the same as bricks higher up on the walls. This is where the most destructions or weathering would occur. On the opposite end of the scale, there's not much running down either.

Your modeling detail is heavily inconsistent. In some instances your not only modeling every brick, but have chamfered all their edges, then set them right next to a long brick wall with no bricks modeled out or broken off. The roof is usually a flat polygon edge where you could model out a few shingles for a unique edge. You're modeling in every window frame in the first piece even though these are inset details where the viewer can't even see non-silhouette detail. Which, as a general rule, if can't see a modeled detail in profile it's better left to material. More on that in the next paragraph.

Short of the red-roof on the barn, all of your detail is planar (runs in a straight line). This unnatural, giving it all a synthetic appearance. Again, when you're chamfering brick edges, you've got much more useful places you could be spending polygons such as this. This is where enhancing your silhouettes comes in. No sense in those building edges being a straight polygon edge at the base, knock out some bricks, do something interesting with it.

Another great step to increasing interest is something you've completely forgotten from these pieces; culture. Some artists simply call these props. Signs of what the building is, daily life tools, extra materials for repair or dilapidated pieces that fell off the buildings, and so on. Basic objects that help tell the story of the piece we're looking at.

The “one light casting a shadow” doesn't really cut it for presentation. You have whole sides or areas under awnings that are coming through too dark to read. Some light ambiance, back lights and fill lights really help punch the details on a piece.

Mordin
11-04-2009, 11:31 AM
Thanks for the feedback. So much to do ;)

Ok, so where do I go from here? I'm not used to modelling for next gen (or current gen) games and still seem to make my models quite low poly. I was told to add more detail to them, but obviously I'm adding it in the wrong places. I think I'll start with getting the modelling right, then add some props and setting, then move onto the textures/normal maps and specular, then lighting in unreal.
Starting with the first building. (6300 polys) To be honest I was nt sure about the bricks around the windows. Should I leave this detail to a normal map, or should I model them without the chamfers/bevels?
I wanted the roof to be quite straight and well looked after. Do I have to add anymore divisons to it for the normal map to look better? I like the idea of adding shingles at the edges. Do you have any examples? Do I just add poly cubes to the edge?
I'll get rid of the window frames and use a texture.

I was using multiple tiled texture maps. Should I use one texture map for each building so I can add water damage etc? Or should I use tiled textures and use vertex shading?

GradiusCancer
11-04-2009, 02:13 PM
Polycounts don't really matter. What matter is efficiency and optimization. To ask, “How many polygons?” is the wrong question. The real question is platform and game style. A building for a RTS game on the DS as opposed to a FPS on the PS3 is obviously going to have a huge difference. In your case, this is more of a learning exercise, and should lean towards the highest end to present your work in the best light (unless, of course, your goal is to work on DS games). With that in mind, I'd adjust the buildings presentation to personal view see in a first or third person game (like an action rpg, mmo and so on). This applies most detail at character eye level and degrades towards the roof.

For examples of a few buildings you could look at the Warhammer at in my portfolio. It always helps to have a target game that you're making art for. It will ensure you have more accurate results and more reference to build on.

For texturing, tiling all your main materials (anything covering a large surface), and props-style page for custom shapes and smaller objects (windows, doors, etc). In cases where tiling a material conflicts with weathering, use decals, details and texture blending to break things up. Keep your pixel ratio the same all around so from one surface to the next, nothing is greatly more detailed.

ikomnen
11-08-2009, 07:17 PM
What do you men - Polycounts don't really matter ?
I have been working with some friends on frp browser game which will have towns and houses in 3d which you can rotate,and zoom to some extensions,but our programmers were specific about poly count - it is 1000 to 1500 polys for house !!!
And surfing through net and watching tutorials i have seen that number of polys is often bigger,but i am not sure about this work of Mordin how it can be classified,as a low poly not for sure???
Are you deleting polys which want be visible by player,that is one of the rules.
And how big are your textures Mordin?
I am having trouble with 1024x1024,so small,ha ha.

GradiusCancer
11-08-2009, 11:47 PM
Even though my first paragraph adequately explained what I meant, I'll gladly describe further. First, the initial "how many polygons" question was directed to portfolio art, and not game ready assets. Had they been for an actual game, a budget would be assigned by his superiors the same as your programmers have requests polygon limitations.

Secondly, total tricount has far too many factors (system platform, genre, technology and so on). Again, this limitation does not apply as it's portfolio work. His goal would be general efficiency and optimization. When presented with a poor use of polygons, developers know it's "too many polygons". This is not due to an arbitrary budget, but the knowledge that less triangles could have been used while still achieving the same goal.

While your project suits assets around 1000, someone else could just as easily post that their project has assets topping 100,000. You'd both be right concerning your respective projects, but since these are for neither, polycounts don't really matter.

Btw, 1024 is a monster. Take a stab at a hand full of 32s.

ikomnen
11-09-2009, 01:24 AM
Yeah i get the point and agree with yours comments totally Cancer,i`ve seen that Mordin is thinking of looking to get into the game industry,so i just wanted to tell him to try using as low polys as possible,it would be very hard form him to model something really low if gets used to throw polygons like that,ha ha,no hard words,that is my opinion.
Yeah i know how textures can be small,but it is that i want more and more details,never enough as Roisin Murphy said in some song,ha ha.
Look at this building i am modeling,it is about 650 polys,just for example,not fully textured.
http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/7803/uvwf.jpg

GradiusCancer
11-09-2009, 02:38 AM
ikomnen
That's not the best presentation since the lighting is dark, and it has a black background. Basically default lighting and render is always bad news. It's better to screen grab from editor viewport of game screen shot.

More importantly, slapping pictures on a model doesn't really count as texturing. You should learn to paint textures. Since these pictures are unmodified, they have different contrast, levels, saturation and make your building look like crap.

Your also wasting a lot of polygons by putting a lot into small details that don't enhance silhouette while leaving large surfaces planar. This is something I covered earlier in this thread.

Texture resolution has nothing to do with detail. It's the quality of the texture. A larger material size allows for clearer small frequency details, but none of this matter unless the artist has full command of their pixels. The measure of a game artist is in what they can do under limitations.

ikomnen
11-09-2009, 10:55 AM
All true what you said,it is WIP,no normal maps,nothing,only pasting pictures on a model,and i posted it only as a reference of polygon numbers,650,for Mordin to roughly compare and see what can be done with less than 1000 polys,and maybe to try something low for a change and practice,it is not finished model,i said that.

What did you mean by
... while leaving large surfaces planar
- did you mean like roof or walls are too flat and empty?
i can model couple of tiles to break monotony and this laser cut look,but the guys dont like it,it will be seen from sky,something like diablo,only with rotation,not FPS.

Thanks for comments.

ikomnen
11-09-2009, 11:16 AM
All true what you said,it is WIP,no normal maps,nothing,only pasting pictures on a model,and i posted it only as a reference of polygon numbers,650,for Mordin to roughly compare and see what can be done with less than 1000 polys,and maybe to try something low for a change and practice,it is not finished model,i said that.

What did you mean by
... while leaving large surfaces planar
- did you mean like roof or walls are too flat and empty?
i can model couple of tiles to break monotony and this laser cut look,but the guys dont like it,it will be seen from sky,something like diablo,only with rotation,not FPS.

Thanks for comments.

ikomnen
11-09-2009, 11:24 AM
I have been on your site,great work,i didnt know you are pro !!!
How long are you working on texture for one house of yours (for example),and give me some reccomendations for some books or tutorials which helped you most with texturing,thanks for your time.

GradiusCancer
11-09-2009, 10:26 PM
Again, much of this has already been covered. If you'd just take the time to read my previous feedback I wouldn't have to be repeating myself.

Spending edges on small details while leaving the main silhouette a box is a waste. Man made structures settle, sag and dilapidate over time. The eye pics up these things, and this is why the building on the right's profile is more quickly recognized as a house.

Considering you're in an above style camera, a large chunk of detail should be in the roof.

http://chrisholden.net/tutor/building_profile01.jpg

ikomnen
11-09-2009, 11:10 PM
I know all that stuff about modeling,but the guys who decide about the game dont like the weared out look,i like it,but no use,they want the flat look.
Sorry for misunderstanding,i thought you were talking about flatnes of the textures when you said
"putting a lot into small details that don't enhance silhouette while leaving large surfaces planar"
because i suck with textures,modeling isnt the problem,my error,again.

kromano
11-10-2009, 07:53 PM
Though I sometimes find you to be abrupt in your comments, I find your critiques and suggestions to be valuable and right on the mark, Gradius. You've taught me a fair bit in your comments here that should hopefully improve a lot of my texturework. I understood levels in terms of black and white photography, but I'd never really understood them in colour images. Thanks for the useful information here.

Jibijib
11-12-2009, 06:53 PM
They're ace, no crits!!

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