Cre­at­ing Props for Games, Vol 1

PROPS DUE En­vi­ron­ment artist Nick Reynolds shares years of knowl­edge as he cre­ates in-game ob­jects that look the part

ImagineFX - - In Depth Rebuild Your 3d Concepts -

En­vi­ron­ment artist Nick Reynolds shares his knowl­edge for cre­at­ing in-game ob­jects.

Cre­at­ing a sim­ple prop for a video game might not sound like the sort of in-depth topic that de­mands over seven hours of video train­ing. But there’s far more to it than you might sus­pect.

When you’re cre­at­ing a 3D scene whose vi­su­als are be­ing up­dated at up to 60 frames per sec­ond, ev­ery el­e­ment in the scene needs to be built for su­per-ef­fi­ciency. At the same time, though, ev­ery­thing has to look great.

In this video, Nick Reynolds drills into the com­plex­ity of mod­ern games de­sign and shows what you need to con­sider as you work to bal­ance de­tail with ef­fi­ciency. In par­tic­u­lar, he ex­plores the core tech­nique of bak­ing, which is es­sen­tially ren­der­ing visual in­for­ma­tion in ad­vance so the com­puter or games console doesn’t have to cal­cu­late it on the fly. You might com­monly bake in an am­bi­ent oc­clu­sion map, for ex­am­ple, so that some light and shade in­for­ma­tion is al­ready worked out.

So while the base soft­ware used here is the fa­mil­iar combo of Maya and ZBrush, Nick spends much of his time in spe­cial­ist apps in­clud­ing Mar­moset Tool­bag and Sub­stance Painter, al­though most of the con­cepts are ap­pli­ca­ble re­gard­less of tools. You’ll dis­cover a lot of ways to use all the tools 3D soft­ware can of­fer to get mod­els look­ing the way you want, with­out pil­ing on the poly­gons.

Nick’s been very gen­er­ous with his knowl­edge here, dis­till­ing years of ex­pe­ri­ence into a few hours and shar­ing tech­niques that go deeper than your typ­i­cal ref­er­ence man­ual. His ex­plo­ration of nor­mal maps in par­tic­u­lar will en­able you to ap­ply his knowl­edge to any model you create in the fu­ture, rather than im­i­tat­ing what he’s done and then get­ting stuck.

In the first vol­ume of Cre­at­ing Props For Games, Nick Reynolds of­fers a deep-level ex­plo­ration of craft­ing great-look­ing video-game scenes. Dis­cover how to make a low-poly­gon model look al­most as rich as the high-poly ver­sion you create for ren­ders. Nick’s demos show some al­ter­na­tive ways to present raised de­tail with­out adding poly­gons. Nick’s prop is a weapon-car­ry­ing ‘pack mule’ that fol­lows the char­ac­ter around the game world.

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