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Follow a practical guide to building 3D cityscapes for games. IAuthor Adam Crespi constructs a city block in 3ds Max utilizing low-polygon modeling and advanced texturing techniques. The course shows how to model common city elements such as buildings, intersections, curbs, and roofs and explains how to expand a city quickly and easily by reusing existing geometry in a modular way. The course also sheds light on simulating real-world detail with baking, lighting, and ambient occlusion techniques and offers a series of best practices for exporting to the Unity gaming engine.
When we were building a roof we don't always have the luxury of eaves all the way around. Sometimes we have a roof that has a gable end where we can see the edge of the roof rise up to the peak and back down. And this wall below will actually come up to a point. We need to add a fascia to this and I'll show a common technique used to transition gracefully between a straight fascia here and a gable fascia. I'll add in an extra end which will allow me to take this soffit up and over correctly. To begin, I'll go into Left view.
Zoom in and go into Wireframe so I can see my roof. I'll use my Line tool to draw in that profile. I'll press Ctrl and right-click and choose Line. Notice under Creation Method my Initial Type and Drag Type are set to Corner. What I'll do to begin this is start at the outside corner of the fascia, come up and over the roof, snapping cleanly on the points. Also, notice that I'm using my 2.5D Snap, so my line doesn't zigzag in Z space forward and away from me, instead appearing on the 0 plane.
When I get over here to come to the wall I'll hold Shift and register the mouse on another point to snap to. Now I can come up and snap on my wall and my fascia. I'll land this next line somewhere up in the middle. Really, as long as it's up here and out of the way that's fine. Now I'll come back down, register the mouse again, even holding Shift and snapping, and bringing it back to a close.
Notice mine was little off there. I can fix this easily in Vertex mode. I'll pick Vertex by pressing 1, grab that error in vertex, and move it down on just the Y axis, pressing Spacebar for Selection Lock and pulling it down to where it needs to be. Now for the middle. What I want to do is take this point that I sort of landed in space. Select it and first align it on the X axis so it's centered on the roof. The next step is to grab the bottom inside points of that fascia and pull them up to match the outside points.
I'd snap them there because there wasn't an outside point initially. As an alternate, we may want to bring these up higher. What I'm looking for in here is that these bottom points plus the top give me a fascia width across that roughly matches the height of my others. So it looks like it's all made from the same material. I'll turn off my snap and pull them up and then grab this middle point and pull it up as well. As long as it's fairly close it will look right. What I'm trying to avoid is a fascia that pinches up at the top.
That's a mistake I see made often when people simply add points in and move them up and we lose width across. My line was created in the middle of the house, because that's where 0 is. I'll snap it using my 3D Snap this time onto the edge of the roof. Now I can convert this to a poly and extrude edges. This would give me the additional geometry to be able to match that miter here of my existing fascias. I'll right-click, Convert to an Editable Poly, and check in a shaded view by pressing F3 to see if it appears. It looks good.
It maybe facing away from me. That's very possible. In which case I need to flip the normals. I'll release my Selection Lock, which is on previously, and select this polygon. The way to check is by pressing F2 for Shaded Faces. If it's a dark red it's facing away. I'll scroll down to the Polygon Normal section and flip the mormals. Alternately, I can right-click and choose Flip Normals from the Quad menu. Notice how the shading is brighter and turning off the shaded faces shows me the right color.
Now the normals are facing the right direction. Now I'll switch over the edge by right- clicking and pressing Edge or the number 2. I'll pick all of the bottom edges of this and extrude them out by two inches. Right-click. I'll choose the dialog next to Extrude. In this case, I'll zero out by right- clicking on the Base Width and put my Height in at -2, noting which way my X axis goes. I'll check OK and I've almost got my fascia complete.
The last step then is to take the existing soffit, square it off into the fascia, and extrude an extra line up and over to match into that gable. I'll pick this soffit and square it off first. I'll pick a vertex and on the X axis using the Spacebar for Selection Lock, snap it up cleanly on to that fascia. I'm going to do this on the other one as well. I've squared off both fascias by vertex. Now I'm ready to fill in the back of this.
The way to handle this, rather than trying to extrude these back edges out and get them into place, is actually to make the soffit first. I'll go back of my Left view or Right view, whichever is easier to see here, and make a new line. For this, I'll press Ctrl and right- click and snap a line over the existing fascia, making sure I make my snap 2.5 instead of 3. Now my line is in place and I'm ready to outline it and extrude it.
The trick here in splines, if I go to the Modifier panel is to choose it by spline and select that spline. It's actually one shape with one spline in it. I'll scroll down into the geometry and offset that by an inch or two. In the outline, the field next to the Outline button allows you to offset that line. I'll offset here by -2. This gives me my line on the inside up above the edge of the fascia.
Now I can delete any segments I don't need such as the ends and with the ends deleted I can extrude this line to form that soffit. I'll throw an Extrude Modifier on and extrude that back. For the Amount, I'm going to start with 24 and see if that works. In a Top view I'll grab this piece, move it into place, and see if I need to adjust it at all. It looks like the Amount can come down to 22 and I'm in good shape.
If I switch over to shaded view I can see that my soffit is almost ready. I need to do some minor tweaks on the line to get it in the right place. I'll do these and come back and show the completed soffit in the interest of time. Really, I'll just be moving vertices and segments to make them match up exactly. I fixed the soffit, done some minor alterations and movements. Now I can take this wall and snap it up cleanly to the soffit, and pull the corners down as needed to finish out the gable end. We'll save that for another lesson, as we've probably want to plan that as part of a texture sheet.
In a roof, it's important to think of all the different parts we're going to see it from, especially given that at person height we may be looking up at even a one-story building. So getting the detail right on the edges is important. Making sure we've what appears to be the right thickness of things and also surfaces aimed in the right direction so if we look up under the roof we don't see the sky.
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