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Explore the world of modeling and texturing game props and assets in Autodesk 3ds Max. Author Adam Crespi demonstrates how to create both small and large props, from tools to shipping containers. The course begins with cloning and instancing objects for ease of modeling and unwrapping, and segues into multiple methods of unwrapping and painting texture by hand in Adobe Photoshop. Adam looks at various plug-ins that assist with normal map generation as well as sculpting in Mudbox, a digital sculpting application that can add realism and detail to your models. Finally, the course shows how to add lights to a scene and preview the objects in-game.
Note: A familiarity of basic modeling and unwrapping techniques in 3ds Max and a working knowledge of Photoshop will help you get the most out of this course.
Things are coming along nicely with the models and the texture. We've got basic textures on the ladder, the sledgehammer, and the shipping containers. I still have a few things to work out; the holes in the shipping container, and I need some dirt. Why dirt? Well right now this is a really clean ladder and a really clean sledgehammer, and actually, the ground is really clean, next to my really rusty containers. A lot of what helps make those tiling textures match nicely in a scene are dirt decals, or overlays that add some local variation that we can move around as we need.
I'm going to zoom in on the sledgehammer and we can really see that it is really clean. I'm going to paint a dirt overlay with an alpha channel in Photoshop, and I'll bring this in and see how it looks and show some ways to apply it both in 3ds Max and in Unity. In Photoshop, I'm starting out with my working PSD of my tools texture atlas. I'm going to start a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N. I'll name this new layer dirt, so I can find it.
What I'll do is use my paintbrush. I'll hit B for brush, and make sure this brush is multiplying at a low Opacity, and really low Hardness. I'll right-click to make sure the brush looks right. Now I'm going to paint in some dirt, and I'm going to let it streak along the wood here a little bit. I'll zoom out, hold Alt to zoom out, and click and drag straight down and making tileable dirt and then occasionally, not tiling. I'm going to show some ways to make this kind of custom. I'll add some dirt along that ladder and a little bit more across the galvanized steel here.
Finally, I'll add some in making the hammer faces dirty. This is also a good way to add wear over time in a game. Things may start out clean and then get dirty from use, explosions, so forth. There's my dirt map and it doesn't look like much initially. I'm going to use one other component in there. I'll click below the dirt on whatever layer happens to be there, and press Ctrl+Shift+N again. I'm going to make a new layer and I'm going to fill this in a dark color. I'll eyedropper the wood color, and click on the foreground color, and take the brightness down, so it's nearly black, but has a hint of the original in it.
I'll press G for the Paint Bucket and fill that in. So really I've got kind of a very dark kind of cloudy map. How is this dirt, you might ask? Here's the trick. I'm going to use the alpha channel. I'll hold Ctrl and click on the thumbnail for my dirt. The selection bounds to whatever I painted, and that includes partial transparency. So it's actually catching all the feathering around this. I'll go into the Channels palette, and down at the bottom, I'll click on Make New Channel.
Now I have an alpha channel. Because alphas are grayscale, my colors default to black and white. I'll press G for the paint bucket and click in that selection. The selection fades off smoothly and now I have an alpha channel for my dirt. I'll press Ctrl+D to deselect. I'll make sure that I click back up on the RGB channels, and turn off the alpha. Now I'll go up to the Layers palette and make sure that the dirt is selected. Sometimes it's gray, and that's an indicator that we're selecting the wrong channel.
I'm going to turn off my other layers and I'm going to save this out as a TIFF. I'll choose File and Save As, and I'll call this dirt overlay. I'll put it over into my sceneassets > images folder. I'll make sure when I'm saving this to turn off Layers. I want a flattened TIFF here as layers get regarded differently when importing. I'll click Save and OK to the TIFF Options. I'll go over to 3ds Max and put this in as part of a composite map.
I'll press M in Max to pull up my Material Editor, and I'm going to rename this from wood to tools, so the material name is more reflective of what I'm doing with it. I've already got an image in here. I'm going to click on the M for Map next to the Diffuse channel, and I'll change this over from a Bitmap at the top to a Composite. I'll keep the old map as a sub-map, and now it's there as a composite map of one. In the composite map, I'll add a new layer in, and this new layer will be my dirt overlay. I'll click on the None box here for the Texture and choose Bitmap.
In the bitmap, I'm going to select my dirt overlay and click Open. I'll go up to the parent and make sure I show my composite map. There is my dirt laying over, although it's giving it more kind of spots, not working correctly. I'll click on that map and in the Bitmap Parameters; I'm going to unpremultiply the alpha, making it a straight alpha so it reads a little better. I've scrolled up to the top of the Bitmap Parameters and I'm going to change the Tiling of this map to see how it looks.
It starts out as a 1x1; as 1x1 we can see it here. When I switch over to 2x2, it appears to disappear. This will actually show up in a rendering, but we sort of max out what a graphics card can do sometimes. One way to look at it is to do a quick render. I'll click on Render, and I can see the spots along here. Looks like I need to go the other direction. I'm going to change the Tiling on this to less than 1x1. Instead of saying have multiple instances of this texture within that 0 to 1 space; I'm going to spread it out.
I'll make my Tiling 0.3 by 0.3. Again, I'm maxing out the graphics card, and so I can't see much here. But when I hit Render, I can see along this I've got some tonal variation going on. I can see where that dirt is wrapping along the ladder. This is a good way to add in additional detail. I'm going to do this in Unity as well and show what it looks like as a decal there. Here in Unity, I have a material assigned to my objects. I can see my hammer in the view here. And the material, if I scroll down in the Inspector, is the Diffuse Shader.
I'm going to make this instead of a Diffuse, a Decal. We can get more exotic with materials with some additional work, but for things like this where it's not really needing a bump map as much as multiple overlays of color, a Decal will work nicely. I'll choose Decal, and in those materials, now I have a second slot. The second slot allows me to bring in a decal. I've copied and pasted my dirt overlay file into my Unity assets folder in my Unity project. Unity imports it in automatically, which it did here, and there is that dirt ready to use.
Now with that material selected on my hammer, I've got my tools, and there's that Decal. I'll drag the dirt overlay onto the Decal and it regards the alpha channel correctly. We can tell it's going to use the alpha to tell where it goes by it saying RGBA. It's also here on the ladder. I'll pan over and see how it looks. We can see that dirt tiling and it's not nearly as hard-looking as it was in 3ds Max. That's because in Max, it wasn't rendering correctly. We were just displaying it in the view.
Here in Unity, it's doing a better job rendering, in engine, live. Now I'll change the Tiling. Again, doing a positive tiling on the Decal increases the amount of dirt, thereby giving me spots. Doing a fractional tiling such as 0.2 or 0.3, even going uneven, takes that dirt and spreads it out. So now along the ladder, I've got dirt in various places. It's along the sides and adding color in places and making it look a little dirty. It's also adding some color along the hammer, giving it a gentle patina.
If you want to get more advanced with this, you can actually put that dirt in a specular channel, such as the glossiness, bring it across from Max, and tell Unity to use that in a second set of UVs. That's outside the scope of this video, but for further exploration, we can look at using multiple UVs with multiple textures overlaying. The big deal in all of this is looking for the most bang for the buck out of the texture, that out of a 512 map, I can use it on several different objects. In this case, it's just 2.
But reasonably, I could use the same texture on other ladders of different sizes and other tools; things with wooden handles like long sledgehammers or maybe reuse the hammered-finish metal on crowbars or pry bars. I can use this wood again and again on pallets and crates and anything else in here. We can get a lot of mileage out of the texture if it's constructed well and implemented well. And if we're thoughtful about how we stack our UVs, we can make a lot of props for our game reusing the same texture.
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