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Assigning smoothing groups for optimal shading

From: Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

Video: Assigning smoothing groups for optimal shading

Once we have a cornice element modeled, we need to think about smoothing groups and the polygons to get that detail to stand out right, because we aren't dealing with very many polygons. In this model I've modeled the cornice and I've taken out the middle section and incorporated a version of one of my upper floor modules as we can see. What see I've done in this is to take the module, clone it, and reuse the UVs as much as possible. I'll open up the UV Editor and show how those layout briefly. What I've done is I've taken the existing texture sheet, cloned it ,and added a few pieces.

Assigning smoothing groups for optimal shading

Once we have a cornice element modeled, we need to think about smoothing groups and the polygons to get that detail to stand out right, because we aren't dealing with very many polygons. In this model I've modeled the cornice and I've taken out the middle section and incorporated a version of one of my upper floor modules as we can see. What see I've done in this is to take the module, clone it, and reuse the UVs as much as possible. I'll open up the UV Editor and show how those layout briefly. What I've done is I've taken the existing texture sheet, cloned it ,and added a few pieces.

This area up above is where I'll lay out my cornice elements, the squares and relief panels, these are here for size, just these color elements. And then clearly we can see the window element from the previous model as well as the side elements and sills. What I've done then is to stretch out this large polygon and incorporated in a rectangle with a graphic on it that is part of the entablature, the relief that's carved in. Later I'll come back and add cornice detail the tiles cleanly across, from square to relief and so forth.

Now we need to work on smoothing groups and the idea on the smoothing group is that we have limited geometry we need to interpolate as a curve. Right now we can see I've got some curves and some hard shadows and some areas that really can't decide how to react properly, such as down here. When you extrude edges, you may get original smoothing groups propagating or hard or soft looking polygons that may be can't decide what they're doing and simply take on what they were before. To even this out, because I like a nice hard-line right here at this detail, I'll drop down to the Editable Poly in the Modifier List.

3ds Max is going to tell me that the world is going to end and I'm going to say yes that's okay at the moment. I'm not going to change any geometry or move it around which will affect my UVs. I am just going to play with the smoothing groups. I'll right click and pick Polygon and first I'll pick this polygon and the one above it and clear off the smoothing. That should do pretty nicely to bring out that edge and I'll check and see. I'll scroll down to the Smoothing Group rollout and clear these.

In Polygon Smoothing we can see that some but not all of these polygons are in group 11. That's what the blank means. And both of these are in group 23, which is why they are sort of looking curved. I'll clear them and when I release the selection, we can see cleanly I get that hard line back. That's my detail. I'll make sure that the top polygon as well is not in the smoothing group. That way it didn't try to curve over this crisp edge.

I'll repeat the process up on the top. We'll see a drastic change. At the moment once the display resolves, we can see where this should be a round, I have two polygons and I have a crisp edge. We can also see some odd kind of bubbly looking shading where this polygon can't decide to be smooth or flat. I'll fix this by clearing off all the smoothing groups and then show how to assign the smoothing to two polygons. So I cleared off all the smoothing of all of my polygons.

If I pick any one of them, none of the polygon smoothing groups highlight. What I'll do to put a curve in this top cornice is select these two polygons, picking one, holding Ctrl and selecting the next, and then putting them into a smoothing group by clicking on the button. You can see the immediate change in the shading. Now these two polys, which I know have a hard corner, try to look round. They interpolated curve. I'll right click and choose Top-level. Now these look round. This is the roundness I want in that cornice and when I back out far enough, roughly impersonating a street-level view, it looks like a round cornice and I have the detail I need.

The important thing I'm also doing is backing out to check, saying reasonably from eight or nine stories below, does it look close enough in a curve, including right here at the edge in silhouette that it is believable as the cornice I need to make. I'll check it one more time against the reference, and I think I've got the cornice. Smoothing groups are a great way to add extra detail and make sure that things are either crisp or round. The important thing is not to let 3ds Max decide, but rather to go in and put them in yourself.

So the things are either crisp or round and not sort of one way or the other.

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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 · 6370 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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