cmiVFX just released an incredible new video called High-End Game Assets Workflow by varomix. In this video, we'll be covering modeling and UVs in Modo. We'll also cover sculpting in Zbrush as we go through the workflow of creating a game asset. Game engines are constantly improving and becoming more and more available to everyone. CryEngine and Unreal Engine have placed high-end tools at your fingertips. No matter the size of your studio, getting the technology is not the issue anymore. This video will allow you to make the best of the awesome tools that are available to you. Prepare to make your ideas a reality!
We'll be using Modo for UVs and modeling in this project. Modo has a little bit of a learning curve because it does things a bit differently, but with the right training, it is a very powerful tool. We'll also use ZBrush for the detailed sculpt of our asset. ZBrush is an amazing tool. After you work through the initial phase of the project you'll want to use it for everything. It has high-detail sculpting capabilities unlike any other app I've used. Finally we'll check out our asset in both Unity and the new Unreal Engine 4. Yes, we'll have UE4 training really soon!
This particular asset was inspired by an amazing game called Sine Mora. The game is has been released on multiple consoles and it has really incredible graphics. It has a kind of dieselpunk/steampunk feel to it which looks really great and that's the style we're after.
We'll be modeling the plane from the reference and final concept design, keeping later use in mind. We'll need to be sure that our model is geometrically accurate. Keeping it clean is important. It will help us at the end of the project and it will give us options for different LODs for our game.
Some artists don't do UVs before sculpting because they do retopo after sculpting. Personally, as a small studio developer, I need to be as efficient as I can, so in my workflow, I model once and I make sure that the model is usable for the game geometry. I create the UVs before sculpting so I can immediately paint and export maps.
In this project, the sculpting phase is more like a details phase. Why? Well, we aren't changing anything dramatically since the shape of the asset is already defined in the modeling phase. These details add character, which will really make the model pop.
Using ZBrush's great painting tools, we'll paint the final diffuse maps of our asset. I like ZBrush's paint tools because I can stay in the same app and just export everything from one place. At the end when the maps are done, we'll take them into Photoshop and layer them to give a bit more punch to the final diffuse map.
In my workflow there is no retopo involved. Why? The main reason is for efficiency. The model I sent to sculpting is already done and ready to receive the maps I painted for it, so there is no need for retopo. We can skip this step. :)Testing in Unity and Unreal Engine 4
Finally, we'll test the asset in both Unity 4.3 and the new Unreal Engine 4. This is not a lesson on any of these apps. This is simply a test that will allow us to see the model in the environment that it was intended for. Of course, it can be used in any other engine even if you make your own engine and it supports such features.
As you may have noticed, there are some things we didn't do and that's because the main focus of this tutorial is the workflow. If we wanted to do more we could make different maps for emissive surfaces like metallic, specular, or roughness, etc. depending on the asset.
A great resource for learning more about maps is the Dota 2 workshop page which you can find here: http://www.dota2.com/workshop/
There are great resources there and you can even find game models that you can download and study.
varomix is a VFX Artist and Generalist TD and his love for visual effects began in 1993 when he attended a screening of Jurassic Park. He began working with 3D applications in 1998, starting with 3ds Max, then moving on to Cinema 4D, then Maya 2.0 in 1999, and he has been doing CGI for film, TV, video games, print, and web ever since. Shortly after Side Effects launched the Houdini Apprentice Program in 2002, varomix became an ardent Houdini user. Since then it has become his main tool for creation. varomix has also been an on-set VFX Supervisor and DOP assistant. He has been an excellent mentor for cmiVFX.
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Varomix is a Freelance VFX Artist, Generalist TD, Game Developer, Musician and Founder of MIXStudio. Shortly after Side Effects launched the Houdini Apprentice Program in 2002, Varomix became an ardent Houdini user. Since then it has become his main tool for creation. Varomix is also a father and husband that enjoy doing lots of crazy stuff with his family.