‘Infinite Gallery’ – Modelling

Grads in Games Search for a star. Page 4: Modelling in Maya.

Initial Notes

Modelling tip: every angle under 30 degrees gets smoothed. Anything over that doesn’t need subdividing.

High poly Model Checklist: 

  • Add supporting loop. Move SP loops to get smoother or sharper edges.
  • Add bevels.
  • Smooth mesh and check if there is any overlapping geometry.
  • Have good topology – directional flows of shape.

Low Poly Model Checklist:

  • Silhouette stays the same.
  • Smooth it and see if there are any large changes shape.
  • Add supporting loops only where necessary. But not everywhere. Low poly blocks are fine.
  • Try to get rid of unnecessary loops.

Starting to Model

I will be using the SubD modelling technique from high poly to low poly, where applicable.

These following annotations describe the main problems, focal areas and points of deliberation when modelling. I have not included everything, since that would be much too long.

Spindle Model

Modelling the spindle-adding supporting loops. Figuring out where the bevel end should go. Where the square shape ends and the circle shape starts. There need to be supporting loops for the square but not the circle, so I needed to stop it. I found the perfect place, that doesn’t leave any artifacts or deformations.

Figure 1. Spindle close bevel.
Figure 2. Spindle close bevel.
Figure 3. Spindle close bevel.

This topology also created the pinched end that was in the reference image.

Figure 4. Spindle close bevel.

On second thought, the topology in figure 5 produced a better shape.

Figure 5 Spindle close bevel.
Figure 6. Spindle close bevel.

Splintered Wood Model (For broken banister area)

To make the wood splinter ends I used the multi-cut tool and a reference image to create the vertical shapes. Then, used multi-cut and target weld to fix the topology. Since I will be needing to connect the loops all around the mesh, it would be a good idea to separate the meshes. Combine them later, but have a high poly mesh just for the broken part, with all of the loops connecting fully around the mesh circumference. This was the whole spindle wouldn’t need additional edge loops and topology.

I have tried to make splintered wood ends previously with Boolean, though the was a lot of work to fix the topology. Even the way that I am using now may be too much work and time. Perhaps simply extruding a few shapes and moving them about would be better.

With this method, I just have to make sure that the textures match up and the connection between the two shapes is good enough.

This is the extruding simpler method that I will try next:

Figure 7. Extrude
Figure 8. Move vertices
Figure 9. Extrude faces.
Figure 10. Reposition vertices.
Figure 11. Make the cut ins with extruding and retopology.
Figure 12. Preliminary bevel test.
Figure 13. Retopology.

I had a bit of trouble with the bevel, to understand where the proper topology should be with bevels to produce clean subdivides with no artifacts in the corners.

Figure 14. Still some pinching but getting better.
Figure 14. There is this option which gives it more of a bend, I think this would be fine in this situation.
Figure 15. I took the bevel off and added some supporting loops without bevel.
Figure 16. If subdivided this looks quite good in terms of general form support.

Figure 17. Suggestion from secondary research.

I will come back to the splintered wood later. However, sculpting may be a good idea. Then when baked the detail will not be lost.

Blocking the Broken Area

The broken banister area is something I have added after the initial blocking stage was complete, therefore I need to adjust the composition and placement of each piece in this asset.

Figure 18. Blocking and composition.
Figure 19. Repeatable assets.

This arrangement looks like it will work well. The only thing that bothers me is the symmetrical handrails which could be improved. I can either places the one on the right with a straighter one, or have the one on the left detached from the main handrail and attached to the angled spindle.

Figure 20. Rearranging composition.

I preferred it when the handrail was further away, to provide more of a gap for the player to look in or jump down. I should reposition things with that in mind. (Where the collisions would be. So, the same distance as the stairs, the opening should be minimum one meter wide. Hopefully the player icon can get through the collisions. Like figure 21

Figure 21. This much should be enough.
Figure 22. Resuse assets on both ends?

Or I could reuse the asset labelled in figure 22for the end. Actually, that still wouldn’t work. Since, I still have flat ends on a supposedly broken handrail.

The next option is that I can make a chipped wood ‘cap’ as I said. A model that only has the chipped part to it. Only, I would actually attach it onto the geometrical mesh of the main banister, and any other hand rail end that needs it. Therefore, the chipped pattern would be repeated, but it would cover all of the broken ends quickly. I can make one for the handrail and one for the spindle. Although, making this fit with all of the differently shaped banisters would be tricky.

Wall High poly Topology

I will use the blocking model I made as the low poly. For the high poly, not that it is very necessary, I will add small bevels, supporting loops and subdivide the mesh down/.

Figure 23. Unsmoothed with supporting loops.
Figure 24. Smoothed preview.

Figure 25, with one subdivision to make the smooth preview permanent. However, one revision I have to this is the topology on the corners due to the bevel. I want to adjust this first.

Figure 25. Fixed corner topology.

I questioned when I wouldn’t need the backside of models. Though, since my walls are glass, anything around the edge does not qualify. I guess anything that has a back face hidden would qualify but at that point I am making things much more complicated. I could certainly do this for the under-stair model, since it is not important or visible.

Supporting beams

I debated on how many segments the bevels should have for low poly to hold the shape. Considering I might bake some models, I chose with that in mind. Adding more detail to accommodate the baked areas.

For the supporting beams, I will decide after I make the high poly:

The model in figure 26 has bevels around all edges with 2 segments. Clearly it is too angled for the highpoly. Though this may be enough for low poly.

Figure 26. Supporting beam bevel.
Figure 27. Same image as figure 26, only with wireframe.

Figure 28. This is my ideal bevel look: Bevel: Fraction=0.35, Segments=4.
Figure 29. Same image as figure 28, only with wireframe.
Figure 30a. How they look from afar.
Figure 30b. High poly.
Figure 30c. Low poly.

Banister Handrail Model

Figure 31. Banister handrail.

See figure 31, the initial shape was made with a silhouette reference image, from front view. I ensured that the topology was good by having three edges for each curve directions. That way, I did not add unnecessary edges before smoothing.

Figure 32. Banister handrail- extruding into shape.

See figure 32, then I extruded the model to match the curve of the blocking model. I did this by hand and moved each edge loop into the correct position and rotation.

I felt that this amount of curvature is not enough, there are clear sharp edges which make it look too jagged. Though I am trying to keep the silhouette shape as maintained as possible I believe that the high poly should have more divisions for smoother curvature. It will be harder to maintain this shape in the low poly, though I will try. If I add one more edge loop in-between these edges, this should be enough for the low poly. Though the high poly can have more detail.

Figure 33. This is how the handrail looks in smooth preview.

With the geometry there is now, there are enough supporting loops to maintain the pinch at this level. I will subdivide further to see the results and reanalyse. I moved the edge loops to produce difference sized pinched ends.

Figure 34. Banister needs more supporting loops to prevent collapse.
Figure 35. Like this.

Due to the complexity of the banister’s shape, the low poly count will still be quite high. I have optimised the poly cont by downsizing the horizontal loops.

Figure 36. Low poly with optimised topology.
Figure 37, Low poly wireframe model with optimised topology.
Figure 38. High poly model after optoisaihon.
Figure 39. High poly wireframe model after optoisaihon.

Landing platform Model

Figure 40. Low poly selected in green, high poly wireframe is also visible.

Stair light Model

Figure 41. From this.
Figure 42. To this.

The topology in figure 41 is clearly wrong. See the corrected outcome in figure 42.

I followed this method for the rest of the assets. Since, I did not have too much time, I couldn’t add a lot of details. Though, I tried to make high poly models for most of my assets. That way at least the shape will be in better detailed. I can add sculpting to the wooden assets only if I have time. Since they are not essential pieces to sculpt Though at the moment, I will focus on completing the basic high poly and low poly models.

Skirting Board Model

For the skirting board I didn’t have much room to be creative, but when I added a high poly a bevel I made sure to continue the topology loops around the object.

Figure 43. Skirting board model.
Figure 44. Skirting board model.

Door Model

For the high poly door I added pannels with extrudes and offsets. Since, I aded them in segments of time, so it was harder to add the bevels to support the shape after wards. I depated on the fraction and segments of the extrude, as well as how to connect the new bevels to the topology.

I had trouble with some extra extrudes, after the main door panel bevels were made.

Figure 45. Before.
Figure 46. After.

Using the multi cut tool. This got rig of the engons, and I created a better flowing topology. The method I used appropriately held the door panel corners.

Figure 46. Smoothed previeww view.
Figure 47. End result.
Figure 48. End result wireframe.
Figure 49. End result.
Figure 50. End result wireframe.

Stair Model

When modelling the stair steps, I modelled them individually and used duplicate special on the asset again I bevelled the lip of the step to curve the shape and produce a neat finish.

Figure 51 Stair step model.
Figure 52. Stair step model.

I considered how far to stretch my low poly. Figure 53 is likely the lowest that I can force the low poly curve to be. I predict that the shape needs more supporting loops to maintain the curvature.

Figure 53. low poly stair step model.
Figure 54. Low poly stair step model.

I altered the topology a little to fit better with the high poly shape and used the multi-cut tool to close some loops around the bend of the stair tread width.

Figure 55. Low poly stair step model.
Figure 56. Low poly stair step model.

In doing this, I achieved a better curved shape and lowered the optimised the poly count from the previous.

Figure 57. High poly step model.

This is the high poly finished with subdivisions. I kept it at 1 level of subdivisions because I will have to duplicate this model many times. If the poly count for the high poly is too big then I may overload my computer. This should be enough anyway. I used duplicate special to arrange the steps and the blocking shapes to ensure that the position is maintained. After finishing the high poly, I made sure to optimise the low poly, by closing loops into corners to reduce topology.

When sculpting the wood, I will consider the time restrictions and leave the task until the end. These are some thoughts about how I will sculpt:

  • Smoothing corners
  • Large dents
  • Bend and squash shape.

In substance painter  I can add:

  • Scratches
  • Small height detail.

lighting setup for asset renders

I will be taking renders in Maya to show off the final textured assets in Maya. I have made a quick scene to be used later. Although, it may be more efficient to produce the renders in Substance Painter itself. Since, that way I will not have to import and input textures into Maya just for this step. Like so:

Figure 58. Set up for render in viewport.
Figure 59. Rendered result.

Bench Model

Starting with the Low Poly Model

To make the chair I used a front and side view from a reference image. I have every intention to make the shape my own, though I will be using the refereeing images to start the modelling shape quickly. After importing the reference image I reshaped it to fit my small environment space, therefore the dimensions are different from the original reference. I will also play around with how I can minimally shape the shape to be more organic. (and original). When resizing/reshaping them I had to think about the space on the stair landings (where I wish for them to be placed). And how a person would sit in that sort of small space. Obviously a full sized couch was not an option unless I put the chair in more open areas. So, I settled with a design that is a ‘high chair bench’, as I call it. Simliar height to a high chair, though not tall enough to each doorknobs, and enough for about two people to rest on. The chair will be placed next to the wall, so I should make it curved with a lattice deformer. It will also be very shallow (not deep) and with no high back. Simple, small but functional. There should be enough room for two people to rest, but not fully sit comfortably on. Lean on to rest

Figure 60. Starting bench model with reference.

First, I made panels of the same size and shape (see image), then reshaped them manually from the bottom vertices to make an arch shape. To make it more original, I could rotate each of the panel meshes when they are not grouped, then they will rotate on their own axis.

Figure 61. Making half of model to symmetrise.
Figure 62. arranging the bottom vertices.

Next, when I have any other shape details done, I will use symmetry to copy the shape onto the other side. I found using the soft select tool created some interesting shapes, see figure 63.

Figure 63. Changing the shape of the middle.
Figure 64. Mirroring the other half.

Next, the High Poly Model

Figure 65. Adding bevels.
Figure 66. Larger fractions.

While adding bevels, I debated on amount. In image above the settings are: Fraction=0.1, segments=2. Or in figure 65 is a more curved option, with larger fraction settings.

Figure 67. Bevels – somewhere in-between figures 65 and 66.
Figure 68. Sharper edges.

Figure 67 settings: Fraction= 0.8, segments= 3. Now it really does look even more like a radiator. I will go with the settings that produce sharper edges, like in figure 68. I had to add more edges to close the curved top and bottoms, see figure 69.

Figure 69. Sharper edges.

By making triangles or quads out of the curved top and bottom, and merging the vertices along the centre to reduce the number to non-essential polygons there. Since, I have closed off the path topology there.

Branch Model

Next is the branch exhibition piece: I thought about how I can optimise the mesh to lower the necessary poly count. Though this mesh will be seen from outside of the room (glass walls) it is not essential to build that part of the mesh. I can use tricks like the double-sided plane material option in Unreal to show both sides. I thought about a few options on how the mesh can be minimised. For example, by deleting the back faces:

Figure 70. optimisation of asset – deleting back faces.

Though I thought about taking this a step further. By only having two faces that makes up the mesh. The middle line will be pulled out to give it depth and volume very simply. See the image below. The selected edges are ones that I have added onto the mesh to show how I would change it.

Figure 71. optimisation of asset minimising shape.
Figure 72. The result of figure 71.

With this method, there may be some issues with these areas, see figure 73. But I will see later on, I want to use this method.

Figure 73. Areas with possible issues.

As I said, I had to properly work out how to maintain the topology for this area.

Figure 74. Areas to target weld.
Figure 75. Areas to target weld with wireframe view.
Figure 76. I had to keep certain geometry in place so that the ‘branch’ exhibition piece is angled along the wall correctly.

I added supporting loops on the back edge of mesh and applied smooth preview. The result was interesting although I still have supporting loops to add. Perhaps I will use this form as inspiration for the new curved form.

Figure 76. Smoothed preview view.
Figure 77. Adding bevels to the centre edge to define the edge.

With the bevel tool I make this crease which makes an interesting shape. I believe that I will be able to bake this, and it shouldn’t require more geometry. I may have to add more geometry to make the curved branch edges though.

Figure 78. Bevelling added to all areas.

Now that I think about it, since I made the initial geometry so low, I have some liberty to add geometry to the low poly so that I can make these curved shapes. I will keep it minimal but but I want to make this shape. If I have time, I can’t spend too much time on details such as this. So, I will try do it quickly. This is how it looks so far:

Figure 79. As you can see, the low poly model is lacking supporting loops.
Figure 80. Finished adding all supporting loops.
Figure 81. High poly model.

High poly twist exhbition Model

Figure 82.Twist bevel style options.

Here I am trying out different amounts of bevels. I most preferred number 4. It has soft edges but firm flat faces.

Figure 83. Final appearance of the twist forms.

I originally thought about adding mesh lights to the twist forms, and I still want to do so. Though I am running out of time and will have to simpify. I do not have time to figure out any complex forms of realistic structural fixings. Therefore, I will simply add cubes on to the structure like this:

Figure 84. Cubes for twist mesh lights.

Continuing the broken Banister Model

Figure 85. Broken short spindle.

I also plan to make custom smart materials so that I can add the same wood textures (and others) quickly when texturing. Then, I will add custom additions such as for these wood chip areas.

Here I decided to quickly sculpt the wooden broken ends in Maya. I can add more detail in Substance Painter, but this is enough for now. I do not have time to go into depth with the sculpting in Zbrush, unfortunately. But I can add some height into the bake and the material. This should be enough, considering that the asset does not need to be seen from up close.

Figure 86. Banister sculpt end.
Figure 87. Wireframe view.

All I need to model onto the low poly is some rerrangement of the vertices in the place I have sculpted. If that is necessary at all.

Figure 86. How the banister looks from far away.

From this distance, it should be no problem at all. With the addition of the texture, it should look great. It is not completely realistic, without large splinters or with the broken handrail parts matching up, but it should be enough to produce the correct impression.

tape Model

Figure 87. Tape blocking/low poly.
Figure 88. Tape blocking/low poly.

I wanted to add loops and curling into the shape of the tape, but then thought against it. I am focussing on small details again, when I have tight time restrictions. I will move on quickly but only modelling this, see figure 88.

For the place where the tape is held onto the banister, I have added this simple loop. It is not perfect, but good enough to be quick. It wont be too visible either. I will just focus on the general shape and feeling of the tape. E.g. the ‘pulling’ effect. So that looks stretched. And the curvature.

Figure 89. Tape loop.

I added this scaled detail as though the tape is being pinched together after being tied to the handrail. Though I am going to keep the Uvs the same width, perfectly rectangular. That way, with the addition of the sculpting details I can make the correct look. As though the tape is squashed together, realistically. I am sculpting the tape a little to add realistic detail. Like so:

Figure 90. Tape sculpting
Figure 91. Tape sculpting

This worked with subdivision level 5 in Maya. And then I used the sculpt and smooth geometry sculpting tools. Next I sculpted using the inverted brush. Moving geometry inwards to exaggerate the protruding curves, see figure 91. All of these sculpted details will be baked onto the mesh.

I sculpted the curved area as well, though I went a bit too far. I have to flatten it now. Like so:

Figure 92. Tape sculpting
Figure 93. Tape sculpting low poly versus high poly.
Figure 94. Adding edge loops to match the high poly.

See figure 93, low poly vs high poly. To fit with this shape, I added a couple more edge loops. Otherwise I am not sure if the silhouette will be too angular. See figure 94 for the result.

Figure 95. Sculpting done.
Figure 96. Sculpting done.

Retrospective Personal Feedback

My main area for improvement is definitely the optimisation of my low poly models. I want to lean how to better close topology edge loops so that the poly count lowers.

Also in retrospective, the caution tape is sculpted more light fabric than tape.

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