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Tut: Models for Next-Gen Games by Masakari666 Tut: Models for Next-Gen Games by Masakari666
Tips & Tricks: Modeling Hi / Low Poly Models for Next-Gen Games

I originally started doing this tutorial for a friend on my mod, Project Deus for UT3, and decided to expand it's goal a bit. It concerns the rationale, how's and why's of making models for normal map generation. While there are a few 3DS Max-specific things in there, i classed it miscellaneous because i'm talking about general principle, and don't really delve into the Max application.

I hope this is helpful for all the aspiring 3d artists out there.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-03-01
Tut: Models for Next-Gen Games by *Gridlinked is an amazingly informational tutorial that discusses the principles of 3D modeling for next-gen games. It's a perfect feature for Game Art Week! ( Featured by FantasyStock )
:icondarth-biomech:
darth-biomech Featured By Owner May 20, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Uh, are you sure about parth with smoothgroups? Other tutorials insist that you must separate your model into smoothgroups based on greater than 90° hard edges and UV islands, or else you will get artifacts and gradients on your normals. Everyone saying different things, and they all speak that their way is correct one and the other way is a mistake. I am honestly confused.
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:iconfantasystock:
FantasyStock Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2011
:iconcongratsddplz: Congratulations on your well-earned DD! This deviation has been featured in the following article:
:star: March 2011 Resources DDs
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you :)
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:iconfantasystock:
FantasyStock Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2011
:hug:
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:iconaupre:
aupre Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011   Digital Artist
rad last shot
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:iconparadisefever:
ParadiseFever Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Oh, wow. This is very detailed! Thanks for putting this all together!
I'm thinking of going to 3D modelling real soon.
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:iconfoxy-yazoo:
foxy-yazoo Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
Thank you! I love this even though I'm not a modeler! XD I hope to try making games someday - I'm learning programming, and my boyfriend is working on 3D modeling, and I hope this can help us a little bit in figuring out what we need to do. X3

One of the things I wonder most is what is the coding part, and what is the modeling part? What is it that you do that the coder then picks up on? Or do you program some stuff yourself, like walking motions and all that?
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
It really depends. If it's up to me, I just do models and textures. Most of the time I'm asked to import them in the engine and test it out, see if it works correctly. Then it gets handed to the level design team, QA, or the animators.

I've also done some animation in the past, Reactor sequences, stuff like that. I barely have any contact with the programmers, they're usually off doing their thing, implementing systems, fixing bugs, stuff like that.
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:iconmoo-chi-64:
moo-chi-64 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
O___________O

Well, I think I'm scared of 3d animation now. And I'm majoring in it. T_____T I'm gonna die, none of this make any sense to me.
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Run while you can!! :P
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:iconpoison-stripes:
Poison-Stripes Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh this is really really cool!
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:iconfirefly-reaper:
firefly-reaper Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
Oh this is very helpful indeed. I'll add that to my collection of informative tidbits.
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:iconretkikosmos:
RetkiKosmos Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
this is incredible!
great job :D
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:icondementedsnake:
Dementedsnake Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great work here, but I have one pet peeve. Can we please stop using all the marketing BS and stop calling it "Next Gen"? The Xbox 360 and PS3 have been out for over five years. It's "current gen". "Next Gen" is the "next generation of ______", which right now means the Xbox Whatevercraptheycomeoutwithnext and the PS4.
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You're right, of course. Even though I originally did this 4 years ago, the industry at large is still using the term "next-gen" to describe stuff happening this gen. I actually find it kinda funny. What are they gonna call Xbox 720 or PS4? Next-Next-Gen? Nextest-gen?
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:icondementedsnake:
Dementedsnake Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
NewestGEN Super Xtreme :D
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:icongreedyguts:
greedyguts Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional
...I think my brain just imploded
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:iconbrentogara:
BrentOGara Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I wish I'd read this four years ago! While reading I was "yeah, yup, exactly, that's totally right... etc."

Sadly, all that knowledge came from hard earned experience doing it wrong a million times and having to figure out what I had done wrong on my own.

I did learn 2 new things though, WHY smoothing groups kill normal maps, and the part about computing parts with deep recesses separately... in the past I would try to set the ray search depth high enough to catch all the recesses... which leads to some ugly errors in other places.

Thanks! This should come with any normal-mapping program as required reading.
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks Brent!

I hear ya, I'm mostly self-taught and it was trial and error for years.

The "problem" with Normal Maps is that sometimes it should render correctly, but it doesn't, and then to find what's wrong... sometimes it's stuff that shouldn't happen. Even though generating Normals can be a time consuming process, sometimes the only thing we can do is take even more time and do test renders. You don't always have to render deep recesses separately, or use separate objects, it depends on the cage setup, on the model, sometimes on the actual topology of the mesh. It can be a pain!
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:iconbrentogara:
BrentOGara Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Pain is right... but it's too fun not to do it.

Not to mention you can make some money doing it if you're lucky (and by lucky I mean talented, hard working, and know the right people).
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
And it's a great feeling when you get your hands on the game you helped make. Having that box on the shelf, and you know your name is on the credits and you helped make it!
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:iconcannible-peach:
cannible-peach Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
Also while I'm here is there perhaps a place were I can find more tutorials?
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
GameArtist.net, GameArtisans.org, 3DTotal, and Eat3D are good sites with tons of tutorials and very active forum communities. Check them out!
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:iconcannible-peach:
cannible-peach Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011
Thankyou very much :)
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:iconcannible-peach:
cannible-peach Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011
Thankyou so much. I really need this!
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:iconpaintevil:
paintevil Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
All I need is a better computer for this nao :D D
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:iconfenix-aurion:
Fenix-Aurion Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
What program?
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
3ds Max and Photoshop.
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:iconfenix-aurion:
Fenix-Aurion Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Sick. It's like sculpting, but not really. lol
I enjoy the way things can be presented in a full dimensional image rather than one angle/image.
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:iconaven17:
Aven17 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Student General Artist
Awesome tutorial! Being entirely self-taught in the field of 3D art at this point, this is a great help!
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:iconsergbel:
sergbel Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional General Artist
awesome
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:iconmew2010:
mew2010 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow this is interesting!
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:iconpast-chaser:
Past-Chaser Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Nice to see this get a DD, my teacher acctually showed this is class last week haha
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Ha! That's funny. I have been contacted before about having this tut in classes, so it's no surprise. World domination, here I come! (not really)
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:iconpast-chaser:
Past-Chaser Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
world domination starts with canada, apparently XD
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Heh I've been harassing my wife to go life and work in Canada. Would love to work at Bioware or Eidos Montreal!
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:iconpast-chaser:
Past-Chaser Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
there have been a lot of places setting up in Toronto too. Though my portfolio needs quite a bit of work before I'm getting anywhere XD
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Anything in Vancouver?
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:iconpast-chaser:
Past-Chaser Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I've heard there are a lot of jobs out there, but im not too sure since its on the other side of the country and im not looking to move quite that far away XD
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:icontsumugi-chan:
Tsumugi-Chan Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
o-o
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:iconeldarzakirov:
EldarZakirov Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!! FANTASTIC
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:iconeldarzakirov:
EldarZakirov Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you!! FANTASTIC
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:iconechomrg:
echomrg Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
impressive. really!
very useful read :nod:

thanks for sharing!
M
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:icondw33n:
Dw33n Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
nice :D
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:iconmyfantasiworld:
MyFantasiWorld Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Very nice! However, I'm not so experienced with creating 3D models, but I hope to soon when I have the time. =)
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:iconaffet-kak:
Affet-kak Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2011
wow wow wow!

this is fantastic!
:+fav:

is there any places you could send me to learn to model better? your modeling is fantastic!
and out of interest, how do you turn hi-poly into normal&bump maps?
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:iconmasakari666:
Masakari666 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Well, I recommend becoming active in the major 3d forums, like Game Artist or Game Artisans, there's a lot of industry professionals and helpful articles in there.

As for your second question, in terms of 3ds Max, you use the Render to Texture tool, this bakes the lighting and look of a high detail mesh onto a low detail mesh.
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:iconaffet-kak:
Affet-kak Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2011
thanks! :D
i will have to look into both of those :)
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:iconarlrex:
arlrex Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing this awesome tutorial!!! :+fav:
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:icontairow:
tairow Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
great tutorial, will be of great use to me!! XD
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