Recently I was asked by my 3D design tutor to go and produce a brick, a strange request I thought, this is my final year, surely I will be making spaceships and monsters and…grizzly bears! But no, he wanted a brick. It all made sense really, he wanted to see who had gained a grasp of the basics, who could produce a brick (within strict poly and texture size constraint) fit for purpose in a modern video game.
So I set about work, firstly doing the basic model of the brick (a wire-frame of which can be seen below), the constraint here was that the model had to be less than 200 triangles in complexity (100 polys), this wasn’t difficult to manage as it was not a complex shape I was trying to replicate.
Next came the tricky part, making the texture. Normally this would be a piece of cake, as I would expect to use a texture sheet of 512×512 in size, but in this instance we were told we were on a data budget, and that 256×256 was the maximum. Tricky.
So getting the normal map right becomes doubly important, because if I got it wrong, the surface detail would appear blurry and a bit of a mess – using good normal maps allows us to get away with lower res diffuse maps and maintain a realist look when we render our work out. I took a couple of photos of a ‘fletton’ brick, seperated the bits I wanted in photoshop, and applied it to a standard texture sheet. As you can see, due to size constraints, I am reusing the same surface for the sides and ends of the brick. I then used NVidia normal map plug-in for photoshop to paint in the bump detail that I wanted. The texture sheet used for the final brick can be seen below.
And that was that, all that remained for me to do was add some lights to my max scene and do a couple of sample renders, given the poly budget and texture size constraints, I think the brick turned out well. Ideally in the future I’ll be working with slightly larger data budgets, but this example shows what can be achieved with small texture sizes.
Low poly brick, texture size 256x256
Now I’m just getting started on my four project for my final year at Uni. My team project, for which a team of ten will be making a (as yet undecided) game, for my Advanced 3D module I have decided to create all the assets needed to form a medieval street that I will put together in the unreal engine. For my dissertation module (very important!) I will be focusing on game level design, but I am yet to finalise a project title (when I have I’ll stick it on here).
So, lots to be getting on with, and I’ll update this feed regularly with pictures of what I’ve been making. So check back often.