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Analyzing the necessary silhouette and geometry

From: Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

Video: Analyzing the necessary silhouette and geometry

In this chapter, we'll continue the development of our building, looking very closely at major elements of silhouette. In the workflow so far we've looked at the middle section of the building, the modular repetitive elements, and now it's time to look at the top where a lot of times buildings make a statement. This is the top, the hat if you want to think of it that way, where it's most visible, it's probably the highest part of the building and often there is extra ornament or detail up there, especially on an older historic building such as this one. In this example, this building has two -part cornice, with a lower table, or frieze and even pilasters with ionic snails up at the top.

Analyzing the necessary silhouette and geometry

In this chapter, we'll continue the development of our building, looking very closely at major elements of silhouette. In the workflow so far we've looked at the middle section of the building, the modular repetitive elements, and now it's time to look at the top where a lot of times buildings make a statement. This is the top, the hat if you want to think of it that way, where it's most visible, it's probably the highest part of the building and often there is extra ornament or detail up there, especially on an older historic building such as this one. In this example, this building has two -part cornice, with a lower table, or frieze and even pilasters with ionic snails up at the top.

And then finally a more elaborate, engraved or cast cornices with relief panels and at the top several steps in cornice with, I believe, egg and dart moulding or something similar. The question we need to ask for games then is really how much are we going to see? Given that we're going to see it a view something like this at the best, where we're back far enough to see the whole building if we can get there across the street. And hence the detail becomes stuff going on, versus being able to see every scroll and finial and every piece in there.

What we want to look at first then is what is the lighting in the scene and how are we handling detail regarding that light? In this case, this photo was shot fairly early in the morning, about 7:30 or so, and the lighting is fairly general. It's a little bit overcast and while the building shows decently, the sky is definitely kind of a blown-out white gray and the lightings fairly even. In other times of the day these cornice elements may cast stronger shadows and so the first thing is really where are the major mesh lines that are going to cast the major shadows, as differentiated from, where is the detail that's essentially flat as we've seen much detail is, that really needs to show up as stuff going on versus a particular shadow element? On this building, the major mesh lines that cast shadows are easily visible scrolling over to the edge of the building.

Most often buildings are essentially two-sided. This building has two nice faces and on the back here, which we can't see, is fairly raw, common brick or something similar and it's meant to be adjacent to another building, not have windows all the way around. High-rises like we can see in the background maybe four-sided, where they're meant to be viewed all the way around, because they sit back from the street. As we saw in the white box chapter on modern structures, they may sit up on the podium and we are able to see all the sides.

This one, we can tell it's two-sided. Instead of wrapping around, this corner simply cuts off and gives us a great tool as a profile for understanding the mesh lines we need to make. I'll employ the same technique on this building of previous chapters, drawing mesh lines straight on the photo, on a new layer, to get an understanding of the major elements that need to cast shadows. I'm going to change my brush from Multiply back to Normal and up the Opacity to 100%, so that as I draw on this photo I can clearly see the mesh lines.

I'll start up on the top of the cornice or nearly so, looking at the difference between planes and the cornice, the vertical and the horizontal. This is one place for a mesh line. Another major mesh line maybe right underneath it, or right above it, for a change in trim. Finally, I definitely need a mesh line out here, the farthest out part of the cornice, and one along in the corner, probably one of the deepest places. This is only giving me 1, 2, maybe 3 or 4 polygons to make of this whole corner section all the way along the building.

I have another major mesh line at the bottom of the frieze or entablature, this relief or carved area here. Possibly a mesh line on top or the bottom of the small bracket. These windows and their modules here? That's all flat texture. We can tell it is because it's not standing out in silhouette immensely. Right here this edge is basically flat. I definitely need a mesh line at the table, or frieze or whatever we want to call this here and one underneath. This is going to cap the windows at the top of our middle section and probably at least one or two more along it.

Again, I'm really trying to delineate detail that's flatter in texture from major shadow casting elements that if the sun is more direct or straight down, will cast a shadow onto itself. The major cornice elements are an example of it. To continue this, I can also start to block in or mark in areas that will be texture, that will require additional time, and I'll often do this in a separate color. I'll work in a Polygonal Lasso and make my way along the building, blocking out large areas and modules that will need attention to detail in time as part of a texture sheet.

I'll fill this in blue, again on a new layer, and just pull back the Opacity. This is the start of a plan to be able to get the cornice looking right. Recognizing that this is obviously an area in the building where the developer or builder has spent a lot of money and time in design, but tempering that with the lens that we're going to stand back and see it from the street level. And so we can reduce it to major shadows and stuff going on, versus every picture pronounced in exacting detail.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max
Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

78 video lessons · 6279 viewers

Adam Crespi
Author

 
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  1. 4m 47s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Understanding the design process
      47s
    3. What you should know before watching this course
      14s
    4. Software requirements
      47s
    5. Using the exercise files
      2m 4s
  2. 14m 36s
    1. Identifying key contours and shadows in concept art
      1m 59s
    2. Analyzing concept art for texture
      2m 28s
    3. Choosing between modeling and texturing
      1m 43s
    4. Understanding the limitations of normal maps
      2m 26s
    5. Analyzing concept art for key shadow details
      3m 10s
    6. Identifying shadow details as generated or painted
      2m 50s
  3. 44m 57s
    1. Planning the visible overlaid history in a city
      3m 6s
    2. Planning a "wedding cake" building: Base, middle, and top
      2m 50s
    3. Planning a modern building: Base and shaft
      3m 1s
    4. Designing the zoning: Planning the visible uses of buildings
      6m 43s
    5. Laying out city blocks
      2m 36s
    6. Planning modular textures and geometry: Streets and sidewalks
      4m 1s
    7. Texturing intersections
      3m 13s
    8. Modeling modular curbs, gutters, and ramps
      5m 7s
    9. Modeling modular street elements
      3m 14s
    10. Modeling corners with ramps
      5m 56s
    11. Unwrapping sidewalk elements
      5m 10s
  4. 38m 9s
    1. Laying out rectangles and planning how to clone geometry and texture
      4m 59s
    2. Using layers to organize construction elements and actual models
      3m 51s
    3. Extruding edges to form major shadow lines
      5m 17s
    4. Testing the module for correct floor-to-floor heights
      1m 41s
    5. Trimming down the module and cloning
      4m 10s
    6. Stretching the vertical elements to minimize geometry
      7m 10s
    7. Unwrapping the elements for correct proportion
      7m 48s
    8. Laying out a texture sheet for a façade
      3m 13s
  5. 39m 50s
    1. Making brick texture
      6m 23s
    2. Adding detail to the diffuse texture: Sills and arches
      4m 24s
    3. Adding stone accents
      7m 47s
    4. Layering color in window frames and doorways
      8m 39s
    5. Copying diffuse layers for normal map foundations
      2m 7s
    6. Desaturating the diffuse map copies and prepping for normal maps
      3m 42s
    7. Converting bump maps to normal maps using nDO
      6m 48s
  6. 1h 2m
    1. Analyzing the necessary silhouette and geometry
      5m 24s
    2. Examining existing buildings in different lighting conditions
      3m 8s
    3. Planning cornice elements
      3m 32s
    4. Extruding cornice elements from polygon edges
      9m 12s
    5. Assigning smoothing groups for optimal shading
      4m 31s
    6. Unwrapping cornices for lighting
      8m 43s
    7. Modeling sloped roofs
      7m 16s
    8. Adding fascias and soffits
      5m 21s
    9. Adding fascias and soffits for gable ends
      7m 31s
    10. Texture sheets for roofs
      8m 1s
  7. 13m 55s
    1. Arranging, aligning, and cloning modular elements
      3m 26s
    2. Setting pivot points for buildings
      5m 48s
    3. Reusing elements: Exploring possibilities in modular building design
      4m 41s
  8. 40m 3s
    1. Creating a texture library
      36s
    2. Creating rusty corrugated metal texture
      7m 53s
    3. Creating stone texture
      4m 42s
    4. Creating wood texture
      9m 50s
    5. Creating rough brick texture
      7m 44s
    6. Creating roads
      9m 18s
  9. 38m 44s
    1. Using the Walkthrough Assistant to assess texture needs
      4m 46s
    2. Drawing detail at the right size
      3m 30s
    3. Understanding tiling and non-tiling textures
      2m 57s
    4. Deciding when to use tiling and non-tiling textures
      3m 2s
    5. Using multiple mapping coordinates
      4m 3s
    6. Using multiple unwrap modifiers
      6m 47s
    7. Unwrapping objects a second time: Planning an unwrap for a light map
      7m 46s
    8. Unwrapping a building façade using overlapping texture elements
      5m 53s
  10. 30m 25s
    1. Understanding ambient occlusion
      1m 50s
    2. Assessing the quality of occlusion as a cinematic mood
      2m 48s
    3. Overview of the Ambient Occlusion shader
      5m 9s
    4. Baking maps using the Render To Texture dialog
      3m 15s
    5. Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt
      5m 28s
    6. Using occlusion from detailed models for texture
      5m 54s
    7. Baking lighting
      6m 1s
  11. 25m 18s
    1. Preparing for Unity as a world builder
      2m 26s
    2. Importing into Unity and recognizing limitations
      4m 12s
    3. Importing elements with detailed materials
      5m 59s
    4. Setting optimal texture sizes and resizing in Unity
      3m 12s
    5. Setting up a naming convention and scene management
      7m 40s
    6. Renaming tools in 3ds Max
      1m 49s
  12. 1m 21s
    1. What's next
      1m 21s

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