C4D to Unity - Questions

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  05 May 2013
C4D to Unity - Questions

I'm in the early stages of game development for an Ipad adventure/puzzle solving game in the style of Grim Fandango. Basically a static camera/single view world with realistic baked texturing and very little in the way of lights.

I'm not quite ready to start a 30 day trail of Unity yet, so I wonder if those with any C4D - Unity experience can answer a couple of questions for me.

#. Baking textures in C4D, with lighting. Simple enough to do per object, but how does it translate in Unity? Did you have any real issues in this area?

# Ideally I'd like to try a lazier method. Given my static angle in C4D, it would be really convenient to just generate UV maps based on my camera projection view for every static object. I'd end up with a small 2k texture that would wrap everything in a scene. Freeing up a lot more ram for things like geometry and the objects that aren't baked.

While that sounds good in my head. I wonder is it possible to export a C4D camera to Unity and work pixel for pixel from the desired viewport?

# In one scene, I have a bar with 20 or so seated characters. Save rigging them all and running into limitations here, is it possible to export pose morphs to Unity and rely upon unrigged characters? I'm thinking more subtle motions, facial expressions, arm raise/glass to mouth for example.

# One solution I came up with (again only in my head) for character lighting was to transition between different baked maps as the character moves around. So if he's in a position near a door with an overhead orange lamp, this is then highlighted in the texture, and as he moves away it blends with a more neutral texture map.

Does this sound feasible? It works quite well in my C4D tests. Even when its only a cheated effect.

# Last, can you speak of any technical obsticles that needed to be overcome in order to get your assets from C4D into Unity. Be they related to polycount, uv maps, normal maps, rigging, morphing, whatever it was that hindered your progress or tormented you as you worked.

Thank you.

Stay tuned if the topic interests you, I'd love to share some early concept work for the project in this thread and will need more help down the road.
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  05 May 2013
Howdy,
Originally Posted by ThePriest: ...Baking textures in C4D, with lighting. Simple enough to do per object, but how does it translate in Unity? Did you have any real issues in this area?...

Any reason why you wouldn't want to use the lighting in Unity?

Adios,
Cactus Dan
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  05 May 2013
In addition to standard lights, Unity offers light probes ( http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentati...ightProbes.html ) and beast light-mapping ( http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentati...ghtmapping.html ) so you can do it all inside of unity itself, although the quality of beast can leave a lot to be desired, but it's quick and under a texture you'll probably not notice too much.
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  05 May 2013
Do the characters have to actually be 3D in Unity? If it's a static angle, what keeps you from rendering the results into small movies that you project onto Sprites in Unity? Way less polys, and you are rendering in C4D with the renderer of your choosing. And in Unity you can still do some DOF and subtle camera shifting for some parallax.
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  05 May 2013
Originally Posted by Cactus Dan: Any reason why you wouldn't want to use the lighting in Unity?


I'm certain it'll be impossible to do without some lighting from the software, but the look I hope to accomplish involves a lot of realism, w/baking. With a static camera, I hope to show a ton of nice environments.

Originally Posted by C.Smith: Do the characters have to actually be 3D in Unity? If it's a static angle, what keeps you from rendering the results into small movies that you project onto Sprites in Unity? Way less polys, and you are rendering in C4D with the renderer of your choosing. And in Unity you can still do some DOF and subtle camera shifting for some parallax.


I'm not through with all the reading material I have, but I was led to believe that apple won't let you stream video footage in a game. There's probably a png sequence workaround that will agree with their platform, but haven't tried yet so I don't know. It definitely sounds like the way to go though.

Originally Posted by Per-Anders: In addition to standard lights, Unity offers light probes ( http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentati...ightProbes.html ) and beast light-mapping ( http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentati...ghtmapping.html ) so you can do it all inside of unity itself, although the quality of beast can leave a lot to be desired, but it's quick and under a texture you'll probably not notice too much.


Might just be what I was looking for. Thanks for the links.
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  05 May 2013
Not video per-se like a Quicktime. But like 2D games are made with a Sprite atlas. Where you take simple animations and render out your characters as a series of animated positions and have them all on one texture. Then these are animated in place of each other over a simple piece of geometry. So, my general thought is do your piece like the way a 2.5D game is made using sprites and a Sprite Atlas, the difference is instead of the common "Angry Birds" style cell animation look, it's photo-real renders from C4D.
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  05 May 2013
Originally Posted by ThePriest: #. Baking textures in C4D, with lighting. Simple enough to do per object, but how does it translate in Unity? Did you have any real issues in this area?

The process of creating lightmaps in C4D and exporting to Unity is quite tedious with setting up the 2 x UV channels. It becomes more painful if you then have to edit your scene once in Unity by going back to C4D then go through the process again with the potential of breaking your shaders originally setup up in Unity on your first import. If you intend to lightmap save yourself a big headache and lots of time by using the BEAST lightmapping in Unity. It has GI so you can achieve good results, plus it is super quick to rebake especially if you make changes. Alternatively you could bake the lighting into the texture itself in C4D then use unlit shader in Unity to illuminate it without need for lights in your Unity scene or lightmaps. This would also be a simple export/import process from C4D to Unity. You wouldn't be able to use tiled textures with this method however.

Originally Posted by ThePriest:
# Ideally I'd like to try a lazier method. Given my static angle in C4D, it would be really convenient to just generate UV maps based on my camera projection view for every static object. I'd end up with a small 2k texture that would wrap everything in a scene. Freeing up a lot more ram for things like geometry and the objects that aren't baked.

While that sounds good in my head. I wonder is it possible to export a C4D camera to Unity and work pixel for pixel from the desired viewport?

Yes this should work. You can import your C4D camera to Unity to provide the exact positioning, however from memory I don't believe the camera settings remain intact. I haven't done this for a while, however I think I have manually done this previously.

Originally Posted by ThePriest:
# In one scene, I have a bar with 20 or so seated characters. Save rigging them all and running into limitations here, is it possible to export pose morphs to Unity and rely upon unrigged characters? I'm thinking more subtle motions, facial expressions, arm raise/glass to mouth for example.

If you use video as an animated texture for this, you would need Unity Pro given Unity Free does not include video support. 20 characters on a Tablet or Mobile device would be a stretch and would need to be very low 15 bone rigs. An Alternative would be to use a Unity add-on like Smooth Moves http://u3d.as/content/echo17/smooth-moves/2Fn . The timeline works a little like Flash and you map your textures to flat 3D planes. Smooth Moves creates a atlas of your textures to reduce your drawcalls.

Originally Posted by ThePriest:
# One solution I came up with (again only in my head) for character lighting was to transition between different baked maps as the character moves around. So if he's in a position near a door with an overhead orange lamp, this is then highlighted in the texture, and as he moves away it blends with a more neutral texture map.

Does this sound feasible? It works quite well in my C4D tests. Even when its only a cheated effect.

As mentioned previously, Unity has Light Probes that perform this function. Using Light Probes on Smooth Moves characters might also be possible. Just check with the dev.

Originally Posted by ThePriest:
# Last, can you speak of any technical obsticles that needed to be overcome in order to get your assets from C4D into Unity. Be they related to polycount, uv maps, normal maps, rigging, morphing, whatever it was that hindered your progress or tormented you as you worked.

Unity handles polys quite well. There is a max of 65,000 polys per mesh however for Tablet/Mobile devices you obviously wouldn't go there. Batching smaller meshes will help limit your drawcalls for tablet/mobile devices. This article provides some info on optimising your scenes for such devices http://www.paladinstudios.com/2012/...our-unity-game/

Last edited by artzfx : 05 May 2013 at 11:20 PM.
 
  05 May 2013
I intend to buy Unity pro when the timing is right, I'd like to get familiar with the trial first though.

Looking at a few tutorials on lighting in Unity, I get the sense that I can bake out my C4D textures as 32bit exr's and would then have the flexibility to blend unity lights with those existing textures. Does that sound right? If so, that's freakin' awesome. But doesn't this hugely increase memory allocation?

Smooth moves also looks beneficial for such a simple looking app. With this I guess the best workflow would be to build out my entire scene in C4D w/characters as intended to be seen in the game, and then to render passes as I need them, feeding them slowly into Unity.

Without programming experience, how much can I expect to do by myself in terms of character movement and demoing scenes?

If you know of any good developers in this department who also have a understanding of 3D elements, I'd like to reach out to them. Realistically I'm looking for a team of at least 6.
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Last edited by ThePriest : 05 May 2013 at 06:35 PM.
 
  05 May 2013
There are various options where lighting and lightmaps are considered. This is the official doco information explaining each http://docs.unity3d.com/Documentati...ering-Tech.html.

You wouldn't be using lights in scene for iPad publishing, especially with shadows. Bigger hit on performance.

To get up to speed quickly with scene setup, material, shaders, lighting and baking with BEAST get this tute set http://www.i3dtutorials.com/tutoria...nity3d-volume-i

If you have no coding knowledge, you would be best to get a coder. I can recommend some via PM that I have used extensively. For animations, chat to Horganovski on this forum. He headed up my rigging and animation team on a Unity project for 18 months. His work ethic is impeccable and brilliant to work with. He also uses C4D + Maya.

If you wish to have the ability to program yourself then Playmaker is a great Visual programming tool http://www.hutonggames.com/. You could have your programmer use it to set up the core for your scenes so that you could to the level setup etc. Using Playmaker yourself from scratch would require some knowledge of programming logic and the Unity API.
 
  05 May 2013
Thanks again. From what I can see Unity looks like a well rounded app and I'd assumed it was primitive. It seems to have matured quite quickly from its initial release.

Can you speak of rigging in C4D and transferring to Unity?
I want to start searching for character animators, but also want to ensure I'm hiring the right kind of people.
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  05 May 2013
You would be best to chat with Brian (Horganovski). He created a rig specific for my team in Maya since we had too many issues at the time with the r11.5 fbx exporter when importing animations to Unity. The C4D fbx exporter has had its up and downs since then. The latest seems to work okay, but you may be best to make use of Cactus Dan's fbx exporter http://www.cactus3d.com/CDFBX.html as last we used it, it worked well and was always kept up to date.

For Unity animations, when exporting from your 3D app, you export the mesh as one fbx file, the rig as another and then each animation as a separate fbx file. This saves on file size by not importing the rig and mesh multiple times to Unity. You can of course have all your animations in one fbx file then split them inside of Unity but this can get messy if you need to edit your animations back in C4D so I recommend the former method.

If you had say 3 characters that used the same rig, you could import 1 rig, 3 meshes to Unity then use the same animation files on any of the characters.

When exporting skinned mesh animations to Unity you must bake out the animations. Unity doesn't understand C4D (controls/constraints etc) but can ignore any unused baked keyframes on import to make it more efficient. Keep your animations short and use Unity to blend between them. ie, Idle, Walk, Run. These would be animated separately and transition between as your character is moved. Unity 4 introduced Mecanim a new animation system to make these transitions smoother and more powerful with a built in State Machine http://unity3d.com/unity/animation/.

If you are only plan on using stock Mocap style animations Idle, run, Jump, Walk etc, then you could purchase characters and/or animations from the likes of:

http://www.rocketbox-libraries.com/
I purchased these guys entire set of characters and animations for a project a couple of year back. They have been setup already to work in Unity and have four LOD levels including reduction in bone counts. Great company to deal with also and quality product.

http://www.mixamo.com/
or You can upload your own character and use their auto rig (takes max 2 minutes) to rig your character then purchase individual animations that are created for Unity use. You test all this free online. The auto rig isn't as perfect as custom rigging but does a pretty decent job considering.

http://www.reallusion.com/
or You could purchase iClone Pipeline edition + Kinect for Windows camera and mocap your own animations, else purchase mocap animations from their store and rig with iClone which also has Unity animation export.

Hope that explains a bit more.

Last edited by artzfx : 05 May 2013 at 10:33 PM.
 
  05 May 2013
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