View Full Version : "Character" Giant Sea Monster

03 March 2010, 05:00 AM
I'm in an OpenGL programming course and for my final project I'm to do a visualization or just render a 3d scene with OpenGL. We're only required to use hand-coded OpenGL cubes and such with simple texturing but that's boring so I decided to reuse some assets I built for a TF2 map I scrapped and add in a few extra things while maintaining a similar aesthetic, scale and budget as regular TF2 props.

I'm mad out of practice modeling organic objects and feel I'm not using my polygons or texture very well at all. I also decided to try zbrush for the first time to push simple geometry much further but I have a lot to learn about that program. It also isn't playing nice and is abandoning my UV maps so I'm going through extra steps to do a projection bake normals in 3ds Max.

The scene will have a sea monster (some kind of pentapus you might say) wrestling with an airship. Enough chat, some screenshots with a quick first pass texture and projected normal map (which has many problems and is far from final):

Scale comparison of Pentapus vs Player size in TF2 (

Wireframes ( (

Normal Map ( (

Polycount is about 7700, and I don't feel it's being spent very well. Given the size I wanted to model the suckers on the arms, I don't know if a normal map will work well enough given the scale and possible proximity to the player. Am I being a little too hard on myself here or what can you suggest?

03 March 2010, 05:57 AM
I would suggest making it more octopus shaped:)
I wouldn't model the suckers or maybe just a few of the big ones near the body. You will save a lot of polys and he's probably going to be sitting so you won't see them most of the time anyway.
I made this guy a number of years ago for a very low poly game, so its only 1506 tris. so you cuold have more detail in yours. I would suggest focusing on the shape of the head and making things like indentations on the breathing holes, since you will want to animate them opening and closing. You can really skimp on the tentacles, just have enough divisions to animate it, but you can get away with a lot by just suggesting it. Finally we couldn't use normals on the game this guy is for, so there are none, but you can really make up for it with a good texture.
Also I did this in Maya. Yes you heard me, Maya.

03 March 2010, 06:15 AM
Some changes as per Brain suggestions: ( (

More octopus-like, less sucker on the tentacles. I wish ZBrush wouldn't lose my UVW mapping because I'm getting sub-par normal maps from ZBrush sculpts through baking in Max.

More detail in the head and eyes with 2000 less total polys used.

03 March 2010, 01:29 PM
Don't bake in max use xnormal or zbrush to make the normal maps. Also remember you CAN edit your maps in photoshop you could even bring them into zbrush as a texture, slap them on your low poly model and edit them that way.

03 March 2010, 06:51 PM
Don't bake in max use xnormal or zbrush to make the normal maps.Until last night that wasn't possible. ZBrush was ignoring my UV maps but I finally solved the problems I was having so now I can export my normals directly from ZBrush finally. Only 18 days left in my trial ):

Also remember you CAN edit your maps in photoshop you could even bring them into zbrush as a texture, slap them on your low poly model and edit them that way.I knew about photoshop, I usually hand-paint my normals and use the nVidia normal map plugin to generate them but I wanted to push this character further than hand-painted normals could get me. I didn't realize I could paint them as a texture in ZBrush though, that's interesting.

03 March 2010, 07:28 PM
If you can scrape up some money I think it's around $300 and you're in either college or high school you can get the auto desk educations suit. It comes with everything mud box, motionbuilder, maya, max. This way you can use mudbox which is very similar to zbrush. I have used them both for a few months now and the differences aren't that great for normal sculpting/texture baking. You could easily get by with mudbox until you can purchase zbrush.

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03 March 2010, 07:28 PM
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