Medieval Inn WIP

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  02 February 2012
Originally Posted by Artbot: So jealous! I used to know what a vacation felt like.

But yeah, I've been at it for a few years. One thing I see a lot of in these WIP threads (and elsewhere) is people looking for absolute numbers when there really aren't any. Asking "How much texture memory should I use?" or "How many polys should a building be?" are impossible to answer since the context of the useage is so important. It's like asking "What kind of car should I buy?" There are hundreds to choose from and many of them have very different uses for different tasks. As an env. artist, it's your task to fit great looking assets into sometimes difficult parameters.

If this is for a pre-rendered demo reel, and you're seeking a job as an environment artist, I'd recommend looking at game assets and others' reels to see what's considered "standard" or at least close enough. Of course, if you're asked to build a "hero" building the main character will enter, it's obviously going to be built with differing polygon and texel densities than some far off background building. Important thing in a reel is to set appropriate limits, then document everything, like all the types of maps, etc., as well as poly counts.

If you don't remember what a vacation feels like, it's a good bet you need one! ;P

I've made some research on Youtube already and looked at some nice demos. If you have any demos to recommend as a good reference, feel free to provide a link.

I actually want to make two demos: one for environment and props, and another for character. The ultimate goal is to actually start getting contracts in 3D design because I'm a web and print freelance graphic designer but I would really like to gradually get 3D contracts because I believe I have lots of potential for it.

Believe it or not, I actually opened a private 3D animation school with a partner a few years ago (obviously with the help of teachers that worked in the field). Long story short, I got betrayed by my partner and ended up out on my butt with nothing (the school is still running today). I then started my business as a freelance graphic designer, but honestly, my heart is still in 3D.

I've always had a great reputation and great relationships with my past clients, so that helped me with my freelance business and today it is booming (I actually hire more than 5 subcontractors on a regular basis because I have too much work). Unfortunately, that means I have very little time for 3D, but every free minute I get is spent on learning 3D stuff, and comments from people like you help alot! I've also kept contact with some of the teachers!

Thanks again and stay tuned for the next renderings (hopefully in not too long!).
  02 February 2012
Glad I could be of some help. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "contracts in 3D design". Do you mean building assets for game companies, or more generalized 3D work like marketing and technical illustration images or animations?

  02 February 2012
Originally Posted by Artbot: Glad I could be of some help. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "contracts in 3D design". Do you mean building assets for game companies, or more generalized 3D work like marketing and technical illustration images or animations?

Well pretty much all of the above I guess. I'm focusing a bit more on game companies for now but I have no objections on eventually doing some work for television or film companies, 3D stills for any product, etc.

I'm going step by step, starting with the easier stuff (at least I think lol) and moving on more complex stuff eventually. But like I said, I have so little time for 3D learning and reel production that my goal to get 3D contracts will most likely arrive later than sooner lol.
  02 February 2012
Originally Posted by Artbot: Yes, it's too perfectly square and true for what's likely a very old, perhaps poorly constructed building. I think a lot of that can be solved in the texture. When brick walls or foundations get old, they sink and all the lines tend to bend and sag a bit. Best thing is to look at some images on the web for examples, pick the look that works for your structure and incorporate it. But be careful - if you over-do it, or do it in an unnatural way, it could look bad. You might be able to just tweak a few of the bricks in your texture so they aren't so straightly aligned.

Yes, vary the texture a little more. Sometimes I use the trick of creating a "trashed" version of the same texture map (the bricks), then apply it to various faces with another map channel. This helps add to the varied, natural look and gives you a lot of control over where the damaged or worn areas appear. Since it's the same texture in size and placement, you simply add it to another channel, no re-UVing necessary. (Note that the "trashed" version has only patches of damage or weathering that are intended to show where there will be no abrupt texture changes.)

Again, refer to the Fable building example.

Yes, sorry, dirty them up. Not just with dirt, though, I mean with natural wear & tear. Cracks, dirt, water stains, peeling plaster, old paint, etc. Again, the Fable building nails this perfectly IMHO.

I'd also do something about the regularity of the wood texture you are using. Try adding a variation, maybe one with some knots in it, to break up those big, flat expanses of the horizontal beams. You can also use the same method described above with the alternate map/channel.

Be sure to put a little bend or sag in the sign bars, too.

As for the deforming or warping, that really depends on the final setting of the building. Is it alone or in a row? Is it shown close up or far away? Is the profile shape of the building important to the setting? So much of what goes into environmental models has to do with context: How will it be used? How will it be lighted? Do I have a texture limit? Will I be able to use texture channels if I'm exporting to an engine?

I'm not sure what you're building this for (a game engine, demo reel, etc.), but all of this has to be considered when building your model. You really need to clarify these boundaries when building sets or props for games. When you have a hard list of limits or requirements, then you can tweak your model to address each one as needed.

I'm trying to sort out the list of things I have to do for the next render. Sorry for the language issue (again), but could you clarify this phrase:

"Be sure to put a little bend or sag in the sign bars, too."

  09 September 2012
Update... finally!

So... after 8-9 months, I finally had time to make some upates to my inn.

I've added much definition to the mesh and finalized the textures (all created from scratch using Photoshop and my pen tablet) - something tells me I still have work to do. I've also generated normal maps with Crazybump, but I'm not sure about the results (see texture close-up).

Remember that the art style should be a mix between Fable and WoW. Please feel free to share CC.

  09 September 2012
Very cool cartoonish inn
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  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Scote: Very cool cartoonish inn

Thanks for your comment.

I find that there's something wrong with the normal maps... they don't look quite right. I might have to redo them through the Photoshop Normal Filter...

I don't have much experience with normal maps so if any1 has advice...
  09 September 2012
There are other normal map generators out there, like this one. Give them a try.

  09 September 2012
Originally Posted by Artbot: There are other normal map generators out there, like this one. Give them a try.

Very interesting. I will check it out for sure!
  11 November 2012

Small technical question:

My inn uses IDs for a total of 4 x 1024x1024 textures for all its elements. Would it be better to assemble all the textures in a 2048x2048 texture instead and use that ONE texture for the entire inn?

How would it effect the loading speed? The way I see it, instead of loading 4 x 1024x1024 textures, the graphics card will load ONE 2048x2048 texture (wich is 4x bigger than a 1024x1024) so it comes to the same in terms of graphics performance.

Am I wrong?
  11 November 2012
how 4x 1024 = 2048?
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  11 November 2012
It is.

There's 4 x 1024x1024 in a 2048x2048 texture (try it with squares in Photoshop you'll see). Double the width + double the height = 4x.

That's why a 2048x2048 is 4 times heavier (Mb) than a 1024x1024 (and a 1024x1024 is 4 times heavier than a 512x512, etc.).

Last edited by phil7777 : 11 November 2012 at 07:46 PM.
  11 November 2012
oh!! tiled 1024 give 2048x2048 lol I a visual guy but I did the math on that lol your right my bad
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  11 November 2012
Originally Posted by Scote: oh!! tiled 1024 give 2048x2048 lol I a visual guy but I did the math on that lol your right my bad

Lol don't worry everyone did that same error at least once lol.
  11 November 2012
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