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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.
One of the things we do when planning elements in a texture sheet is to gauge the relative size of the element versus the viewing distance and lighting condition. In this example, zoomed in on one of the modules we've created earlier, we have clear shadow elements around the windows from those deep recessed window openings and also a shadow line next to the vertical brick we put in. On the windows we have a different texture and if we reference our photos, we can see that these windows are largely white or off-white paint.
We can see in the window elements that largely they are solid colored, with something going on in the reflection of the glass and some sort of solid color up here on the top of the sill, which means we can get away with a texture element size that's actually fairly small. The same goes for the bottom of the sill and the sides as well as really the top of the sill adjacent to the window. It's up several stories. So really we don't need to see a lot of it as long as it has the right color. In 3ds Max then when I lay out this texture sheet in my UV Editor, the biggest piece I care about is getting the window itself, this opening where the window resides, getting the window itself the right size and being able to draw the steps and the window on it and the glass.
In the UV Editor I've already placed window elements inside their openings and scaled them down. I'll highlight these here by selecting them. Notice that I'm using down at the bottom of the Edit UVWs dialog the Select By Element toggle, allowing me to select one vertex edge or face of an element and grab the whole thing. This is very handy when you're moving elements around and want them to stay coherent and proportion and if they have other parts associated. I'll move this to make sure it's not overlapping any of my wall and make sure that it's scaled as large as possible in that opening so I can paint the most detail on it.
Over on the side I've stacked my top and bottom elements. By selecting the elements in the UV Editor here I can see their selected vertices in the main viewport, the red at the top and bottom. Alternately, if I switch to Face and select those faces in the viewport, pressing F2 to shade selected faces shows me where those elements are. We can see the top of the sill highlighted in red. I can take these elements, which will be a solid color, and scale them down almost so they become aligned.
Then I'll rotate them in the Quick Transform 90 degrees and move them in just under the windows with a-- They'd just get a solid color. So really they can be as small as I can stand and still be able find them, freeing up texture space in the side here for other pieces, such as cornice elements which may need more linear space in the texture sheet. As always, I'm looking at continuity in color and adjacent surfaces and where I can break it when I lay out texture.
That's part of planning a very elegant use of the texture sheet, reserving space for high detail or items that really need to show correct matching, like the brick on the major face of the wall.
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