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Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max
Illustration by Mark Todd
Watching:

Baking lighting


From:

Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

with Adam Crespi

Video: Baking lighting

In a game, dynamic lighting is difficult. Dynamic lighting is the act of having real geometry cast real shadows, occasionally in motion and on static objects. We try to reserve this for things that are important, like the player or moving cars. In our city there is going to be lots of stuff that needs to look like it's shadowing. That can be fairly static, hence we can bake our shadows. Additionally, we may want to model high detailed stuff, like these windows you can see on screen, and bake complex shadows from them to put into our texture.
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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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Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max
5h 54m Intermediate Sep 07, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the design process and software requirements
  • Analyzing concept art for texture and key shadow detail
  • Planning differently styled buildings
  • Laying out city blocks
  • Organizing construction elements and models using layers
  • Cloning geometry and texture
  • Testing the module for correct floor-to-floor heights
  • Arranging, aligning and cloning modular elements
  • Building a texture library
  • Creating stone, wood, and brick textures
  • Constructing texture sheets
  • Drawing detail
  • Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt
  • Preparing for Unity as a world builder
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Rendering Game Design
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Adam Crespi

Baking lighting

In a game, dynamic lighting is difficult. Dynamic lighting is the act of having real geometry cast real shadows, occasionally in motion and on static objects. We try to reserve this for things that are important, like the player or moving cars. In our city there is going to be lots of stuff that needs to look like it's shadowing. That can be fairly static, hence we can bake our shadows. Additionally, we may want to model high detailed stuff, like these windows you can see on screen, and bake complex shadows from them to put into our texture.

On the left side with the brick wall I have an ambient occlusion bake, plus a diffused map adding what looks like great depth in that window. When I had the shadow detail in, those will really pop. By doing this then I can put one large light in my game that has dynamic shadows only on select objects and impersonates my sun. Everything else will look like it's lit by it, as long as the angle matches. To start, I'll take my high detail windows, which I have already unwrapped, and press 0 to go to the Render to Texture dialog.

Windows are selected up here in the top field. I'll scroll down to the output and add elements. I'll add in a ShadowsMap. We can also add other maps in, depending on what we need. As an example, we could bake about a NormalsMap, differentiating the height in the windows. This could be handy. We can output a LightingMap, where are things bright and dark. We can output SpecularMaps, where are things shiny or dull. And finally, we can output a CompleteMap. A CompleteMap has everything altogether.

Essentially the whole look of the game is baked into one texture. I'll light in the ShadowsMap for now. In this element, I'll run it at 1024. Later I'll size it down to match over my windows, in my diffuse texture in Photoshop. I'll make sure in my source that Rendered to Files Only is checked. When I hit Render, this will take a sec, render out a diffuse map, as well as the shadows. My shadows are baked. I can see on screen in the diffuse map what look like good shadows.

However, this isn't the true map. This is a true shadow. In a shadow map, things that are not shadowed are white. That way when I lay this over an image in Photoshop, switching the blending mode to Multiply, white is invisible, essentially multiplying by 1. I'll bring that image into Photoshop and lay it over my existing diffused map. Here in Photoshop, I've opened up my shadows map, as well as my diffuse texture. I'll select the shadow map. In this case I'll use the Magic Wand to select the black around my actual object, then invert the selection by pressing Ctrl+Shift+I. Finally, I'll copy and paste over to my PSD.

I'll press Ctrl+C and now I can close this image. In this diffuse texture then, I'll paste that into a new layer. I need to downsize this to match my windows. I'll press Ctrl+T to access the Transform tool. Hold Shift and scale from one corner. This will be a combination of moving and scaling, to see if this really works. However, I do have my occlusion render already in to size to. I'll scale it in as well as possible, and then see if I need to widen it just a little bit to match. Looks like it snaps right on.

I'll make sure that this snaps on all the sides. Finally, I'll hit Enter to accept the transformation. The shadows look pretty good. I'll change this layer's blending mode to Multiply. My shadows lay over my windows. I may want to think about the order of the shadows in the occlusion in here. In this case I have my occlusion over my shadows, giving me really nice darkness up here at the top of the window and the window looks like it's lit. I'll zoom in and check and make sure that my shadows are lined up correctly. Looks like I'm in pretty good.

I may use the Nudge tool just a couple of pixels to get that right on. That looks pretty good there. The neat part with crafting that high- detailed geometry is that it shadows onto the windows and the windows self shadow, and they really look like they have some depth. When I combine this with a normal map, I'll get tremendous depth in the windows on a single polygon all done with texture. I'll save this out, bring it back into 3ds Max, and show how it looks. Back here in 3ds Max, I've saved this ShadowMap out as a separate image. I'll press M for my Material Editor and in the Diffuse Color of the material applied to that wall, I'll choose the new one.

Once that updates, I can see my shadows. We can see that my free direct light is casting shadows on my object. Additionally, the windows have shadows. It looks like I forgot to turn these over. That's a quick fix in Photoshop. I'll go back and do this and then import it again. The important thing to remember here as well, as you can see, is that it doesn't work the first time, and that's really okay. It's perfectly fine to try something, say it didn't work, come back, and try it again. Even 3, 4, 5 times, until you get it right.

I need to flip my shadows around, both horizontally and vertically, to get them in the right place. As my window polygon is upside down. I'll choose Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Then I'll choose Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical, and now they are in the right direction. Alternately we can make sure that everything in this UVW map is facing the right way. I'll save this image out, bring back into 3ds Max, and see how it looks. Here in 3ds Max, we can see that fix in action. My shadows are in the right direction and using the realistic shading, really simulates how it will look in game.

I have some minor inconsistency, where the real shadow from the polygon laps over the windows. But in general, the windows look like they have a tremendous amount of detail and depth, all done with texture. It's important to consider the Render to Texture dialog and baking parts of the texture in your arsenal of tools for texturing in games. We shouldn't just have to hand-paint everything. There is a lot we can do with rendering elements and using them, including adding dirt, shadow, and high detail pieces into our renders, getting the best of both worlds, high detail, high resolution renderings, and texture painting, to add realism in our game.

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