This course should be the starting point for any Games Development student who's course uses Autodesk Maya software. We are using Autodesk Maya 2017 but we will aim to keep the content non version specific where possible.
I will take you through all the points in many of the qualifications that have creative units or specific 3D Modelling units and help you to create a portfolio of work that will be ready for your showreel.
More importantly you will improve the quality of your final models and the speed at which you can create them. I break the course up in to the process sections you will find yourselves in on your course. I would stress this course is not designed to replace your course tutors and will not guarantee a pass, merit or distinction at the end of it that will come from your own hard work.
This course will help you to improve your modelling and give you a more realistic expectation of results to work ratio. The more hours you practice the better you will get.
In this course we look at starting what is possibly your first game or animation asset. Short lectures will guide you through the process of creating a MacBook. Starting with your first research and moving through to the test in the games engine. If your serious about making games you need to know how to build assets.
A short introduction to what you will learn in the course.
Introduction to the course section.
One of the hardest things students have found when you first start modelling your game objects is coming to terms with the quality you are able to produce. This is in part down to a couple of simple factors that get missed at the beginning of your projects. (Dont blame the software)
Setting up your project is key to making sure you are ready to start building but more importantly the reference of the objects you want to build is equally as important.
A quick look on the internet allows us to gather a lot of information about our object that we are going to build.
This lecture discusses what we aim to achieve in this course. Looks at several awarding bodies specs and discusses the approach we will take to meeting criteria while we learn how to model our assets.
The basic models will look at developing skills and getting to grips with process. A quick look over the specifications from Pearson, UAL and Aim shows the variety of hoops students must jump through to successfully complete the course.
As part of your courses you will be tasked with researching and designing ideas to inform your 3D models. In a nutshell this means endless hours lost on the internet searching for the perfect image. STOP ..
You have a lot of resource at your fingertips especially for modelling everyday objects. This lecture talks through what could be considered Image capture with a little bit of why.
Creating vector curves in Adobe illustrator to use in your 3D packages
You will need to have access to a vector creation package like adobe illustrator for this step, but it is not necessary as you can still model just with image planes.
In this lecture we will look setting up your view ports in Autodesk Maya 2017. Where to put you reference images, how to bring them into the package and set them up in the view ports so they are aligned and ready to use. We also look at changing the image planes opacity and adding them to viewing layers so we will not be able to select them when we are modelling.
An alternative to only using image planes as reference for modelling is to use curves you have created in a Vector package like adobe illustrator. You could of course create the curves in the modelling package but with Illustrator you have far more control and accuracy. Here we go through importing the curves, regrouping them and transforming them until they are into position.
Overview of section aims. Discussion on the points and lectures to be covered.
To start off we will use the Image reference file covered in Section 1 (Setting up your viewports). As I go through the early blocking out I discover the reference is not as good as I thought, a common occurrence for many modellers just starting out.
We fix the viewports and put in the first Geometric shapes (Polygon Cubes)
I use the shape input node to get the correct dimensions against my image reference.
Now we have some base shapes to work with you will learn how to modify them with the bevel tool and the insert edge-loop tool. Through the lecture you will see how the decisions you make start to shape the 3D asset you are creating.
I have split up the adding of details into several videos to help you understand the considerations you will have to make when ever modelling an asset for a CGI production. These include how close the player or viewer will get to the object, how many Polygons your budget allows and how large the texture files attached to the asset will be.
For reference I am trying to keep the polygon count under 10,000 triangles (that's 5,000 Poly quads)
In this lecture I will show you how to combine two meshes together. I discuss the Normal angles of the mesh and add a little bit about how Normal angles work with Graphics cards. The aim of this lecture is to get you using multiple basic primitive shapes, combine them together and create more complex shapes with good model topology.
Now you have the well you can create the keys needed for the keyboard. In some instances we could simply use a texture map but we should have enough polygon faces in our budget so we will make some keys.
I will make one key and put place holders in for the others. As we will need to apply a UV and texture map to the key we should avoid duplicating the keys without first doing the UV mapping. (Although I choose to do exactly that so I can show later a way of copying the UV maps from one object to another [so long as they share the same topology])
Now we have several pieces of geometry we should start to look at the different materials we can use on them.
UV mapping can often be the hardest part of any modelling task. In this lecture Ill walk you through using Maya's UV planar mapping.
One of the things you will start to realise is that the resources you start with often define the quality of the model you'll en up with. Remember we are looking for a model that is acceptable for the production not a model that is the best ever model created. For you an I we just need a model with a reasonable amount of detail in the polygons and textures that hold up in a game environment.
I show at the end how to export the UV map as a JPG file so you can use this as a guide to laying out your textures in your image editing package.
For the Keys I decided I wanted to make a separate texture for all the Keys. I go through the planar mapping of the keys on the keyboard in this separate lecture just so you get the idea of using didifferent materials and textures for different parts of the models.
For the screen I show how you can flip the UV's that have been projected on from "the wrong side" and show the shaded polygon tool.
Creating a texture map inside Adobe Photoshop (any image editing package will do). I go through the logical steps of organising the layers in the image editing package.
This lecture takes you through using the UV image reference to create a texture file from your original research imagery.
When the image is applied to the base mesh you can see the lower resolution on the sides might need some work but its ok for now to get away with.
I will apply the same methods to the keys and the screen outside of the video as I use the same methods.
In this final lecture I look at the packaging up of the asset, export/import options and test the asset inside a game engine (Stingray).
If you are using Unity or Unreal the process will be similar if you are not using the direct plugin to connect the packages. As this is my first time in Stingray I found that my knowledge of Unity 3D helped to get me through the process of re-assigning the materials and textures to the model.
At the end of this lecture you should be able to see your model in the engine and be able to package up a test for the art team to review. (could just be a screen grab)
I have served the VFX and Games industry for 20+ years, the later part as an educator at FE level in the UK. I want to prepare the next generation for work in the Games and VFX industry by sharing my thoughts and processes I have successfully used as well as introducing new and efficient workflows from other artists.