Low Polygon Workflow...

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Old 11 November 2003   #1
Low Poly Female: Silent Killer...

(edit: Please check out mesh in progress on Page 2>>>)

Hi folks,

New to Low-Poly modeling, but I want to try and do a good job by taking the time to prepare well.

If I understand correctly, the steps are as follows:

1. Sketch my character: side & front (preferrably in proportional modeling pose?)
2. Load in my sketches as reference into image planes
3. Model from head to toe/fingers (I'll probably use box-style)

modeling approach: start big, get major form in, progressively add detail, only where absolutely necessary to define form, follow edge loops for animation. (Use quads to model, and then triangulate it all at the end? Target: under 4000 triangles?)

4. UV Map the entire character (as one 1024 texture, or as 1024 body, 512 head?)
5. Paint Texture in Photoshop (or other) and apply.
6. Rig character and Roll!

This is my current understanding. I could use some clarification of a few issues:

A: I am modeling a female fighting character. Where can I find good reference mesh images of proven acceptable topology?

For example the sci-fi girlee in this thread http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=105704 is looking nice. Can I trust this mesh as a good reference? What about head close-up meshes?

B: How many polys for the head as opposed to the body?

C: Is one full body texture map better, or more?

D: How long should this workflow take someone mildly experienced, working at a game company? As in what's my target speed (in work days) after doing a few, to achieve reasonably high quality - not including rigging? (As in enough to impress someone and get a job doing this?)

Thanks for taking the time to enlighten me, and bring me up to speed in this new area of 3D for me.

Last edited by Quizboy : 11 November 2003 at 10:19 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2003   #2
Re: Low Polygon Workflow...

Quote: New to Low-Poly modeling, but I want to try and do a good job by taking the time to prepare well.
If I understand correctly, the steps are as follows:

1. Sketch my character: side & front (preferrably in proportional modeling pose?)


Well this is open for many options; side,front or two perspective views drawed from back to front. Or really whatever you find usefull.

Quote: 3. Model from head to toe/fingers (I'll probably use box-style)


Humanoid extremities should be modeled from a circular shape since, as stated in many tutorials, this gives you an easier way to approadh the overall shape. Heads are however best modeled from a box shape.

Quote: modeling approach: start big, get major form in, progressively add detail, only where absolutely necessary to define form, follow edge loops for animation. (Use quads to model, and then triangulate it all at the end? Target: under 4000 triangles?)


Also when you build up the major shape make sure its suitable for the amount of detail you intend to put in it.
And try not to blend tri's with quads too much or you might get trouble with both the UVs and animation.

Quote: 4. UV Map the entire character (as one 1024 texture, or as 1024 body, 512 head?)


Depends on the detail you want to put in the model and what polygon range your aiming for. If you are aiming at 4000 tris as you said then a 512 for the head and a 1024 for the rest would be to prefer

Quote: This is my current understanding. I could use some clarification of a few issues:

A: I am modeling a female fighting character. Where can I find good reference mesh images of proven acceptable topology?


www.fineart.sk

Quote: B: How many polys for the head as opposed to the body?


is usually model the head first then optimize it to the body.
So if you have a 4000 poly model then maybe 500-700 to the head and the rest goes to the body.

Quote: C: Is one full body texture map better, or more?


You should keep the whole body to one map to maintain simplicity.

Quote: D: How long should this workflow take someone mildly experienced, working at a game company? As in what's my target speed (in work days) after doing a few, to achieve reasonably high quality - not including rigging? (As in enough to impress someone and get a job doing this?)


1-2 days for concepting and modelling and maybe 1-2 for mapping it and skinning.

Last edited by GrandCherub : 11 November 2003 at 11:06 AM.
 
Old 11 November 2003   #3
Thanks a bunch Grand Cherub, this sets me on the right track for sure.

The only question that still remains is where to find good references for Low-Poly model topology. i went to fineart.sk but they seem to only have human reference. what i need to see is how a well done low-poly mesh should look. Up close and from various angles, so I can copy, err, learn from it.

Anyone can refer me to some "accredited" low-poly female character meshes?
 
Old 11 November 2003   #4
or are there artists who are well-known as solid low-poly modelers who have their mesh somewhere on display?
 
Old 11 November 2003   #5
anybody have any reference suggestions for looking at good quality low-poly meshes? especially female characters?

i know i'm starting off a bit heavy already with 1200+ and no arms or legs!!!
 
Old 11 November 2003   #6
Just posting to question Grand cherubs timescale per model.

1-2 days concept and modelling and 1-2 mapping and skinning.

I think that he's really generalised You have to work out things like what type of game etc.

I mean a beat em up the characters are highly deformable and are the focus of the screen all the time so have to look excelent. I'd say anyhting up to 20 days for a tekken or DOA esq character would be acceptable. As it really does have to be amazing.

But then something like GTA a character could be done in 2-4 days like he said.

So either a range of models of varying time would look Or if you know what company your trying to get into then guess or email one of their artists about the timescales as they're usually happy to answer questions if you ask nice enough and it wouldnt breach their NDA's.

But the longer they take the better designed and more complex they should be (theoretically)
__________________

 
Old 11 November 2003   #7
baaah, where can i see some good meshes?
 
Old 11 November 2003   #8
Great Tutorial

OK, for game art, you eventually want tris. How you get there is kind of irrelevant. But, of course, good topology is important. Not quite in the same way as in high poly art, though, because much of game art is so low, that you do not have the polys to be so picky.

As a former teacher (now a game artist), I can give you the following advice:

Always count in triangles, not polygons.

See this thread for ways to ensure you're getting the right triangle count for your program.

Start small. Start with modeling characters with 500 tris. This will give you a better idea of form, and you will really have to push to get anything out of the model. I've seen characters with 500 tris that look like they have at least 2000!

Work your way up in size slowly, practicing a lot.

An idea is to create a small army for a RTS game. Decide upon some characters, and some poly count targets. Start with making the lowest targeted ones, and move your way up to the highest ones.

A 500 tri model you should be able to model and texture in less than a day.

Move from there up to 800, then 1000, then 1500, 2000, 3000, then 4000.

Texture sizes? For the PS2, the highest single texture size you could get is a 256X256, but as a general rule, it prefers 64X64.

With your 1st few models, start with low texture sizes like this. It will take you less time, and it will help you learn the techniques to pushing every pixel, that will become that extra push that you'll need to make fantastically detailed 1024 textures, instead of (what I've seen so many do) wasteful 1024 textures that could of been done just as well with a 512.

Good luck!
 
Old 11 November 2003   #9
ooh, this is good. I dare say, ideal even...that tutorial is exactly what i needed. thanks dargon!

have you ever thought of using low poly models as a way to illustrate a comic book? have you seen anyone do this?
 
Old 11 November 2003   #10
Quote: Originally posted by baaah888
Just posting to question Grand cherubs timescale per model.

1-2 days concept and modelling and 1-2 mapping and skinning.

I think that he's really generalised You have to work out things like what type of game etc.

I mean a beat em up the characters are highly deformable and are the focus of the screen all the time so have to look excelent. I'd say anyhting up to 20 days for a tekken or DOA esq character would be acceptable. As it really does have to be amazing.

But then something like GTA a character could be done in 2-4 days like he said.

So either a range of models of varying time would look Or if you know what company your trying to get into then guess or email one of their artists about the timescales as they're usually happy to answer questions if you ask nice enough and it wouldnt breach their NDA's.

But the longer they take the better designed and more complex they should be (theoretically)



Very true. I was just lazy sorry :P


EDIT: and Dargon, sure the ps2/xbox generation consoles can handle mostly up to 256x256 sized texture maps, however if your enter education now i think you should keep in mind that the next generation is right at the doorstep (Xenon,ps3). The next generation of consoles will be alot better at handling less compromised textures so id say 512 atleast. I didnt pay attention to that Quizboys workflow was for console games so thats why i said 1024+ (i must really be tired).

Last edited by GrandCherub : 11 November 2003 at 02:12 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2003   #11
Quote: Originally posted by Quizboy
ooh, this is good. I dare say, ideal even...that tutorial is exactly what i needed. thanks dargon!

have you ever thought of using low poly models as a way to illustrate a comic book? have you seen anyone do this?


No prob, Quizboy!

And actually, yes I have thought of that, and I'm (slowly) working on one, I'm calling it Cudgel, and it's going to be a pisstake on fantasy games! There are some concepts on my website...


Quote: EDIT: and Dargon, sure the ps2/xbox generation consoles can handle mostly up to 256x256 sized texture maps, however if your enter education now i think you should keep in mind that the next generation is right at the doorstep (Xenon,ps3). The next generation of consoles will be alot better at handling less compromised textures so id say 512 atleast.


Actually, the Xbox handles 512, my bad for not mentioning it, but the point is not how much the hardware can handle, it's what is an appropriate amount to use. In the game we are working on, a typical level will have about 35-40 textures at 64X64, and about 5-8 alpha'd textures, ranging from 32X32, to 64X64. The main characters have 1 or 2 256X256's, but most of our AI have 64X64's, or at most 128X128. With all of that, plus special effects, we are pretty much at the limit for the PS2's texture memory.

I think you even find, on the PC, similar numbers for say, RPGs - or perhaps even lower. If a character or vehicle is never going to be bigger than 32 pixels, there's not a lot of reason to have a 1024 X1024 on it!

The PS2 has 32mb of texture memory, the Xbox 64mb, and the PS2 is rumoured to have 128mb. Even at that, it doesn't leave a lot of room for tonnes of large-scale textures!
 
Old 11 November 2003   #12
Wait a minute. I know what an RPG is, and an NDA...but what's a GTA and an RTS? ...and do i have to worry about modeling that onto my girl, 'cause she's already up over 2500 tris and I still have to give her a hairstyle and detail her gloves and shoes.

(sorry dargon that I overshot the 500 tri goal...)
 
Old 11 November 2003   #13
GTA is Grand Theft Auto, the game. RTS is Real-Time Strategy. An example of an RTS game would be StarCraft. 3d RTS games include WarCraft III and Age of Mythology.

I just want to address your question on time constraints. For me, it takes two to three days to model, unwrap, and texture a character (this does not include concept work or rigging). The polycount doesn't really affect the time taken. With a high poly budget, you spend your time using the polys, and with a low poly budget you spend your time saving polys. It's as hard to create a good 300-poly model as it is to create a 3000-poly model.

Just always remember the prime rule of low-poly models - the silhouette is king.
__________________
-Tim
 
Old 11 November 2003   #14
hey!

thanks for showing that tutorial!

It was really ideal for my needs to

thanks again!
 
Old 11 November 2003   #15
oh, thanks. RTS's are cool.

so, dargon. what does a game company like yours look for in portfolio of an artist who applies? let's say they make GTAs and RTSs and all that...and i want to be a modeler/texturer there? Can I show them just one good character and get the job?
 
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