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Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt

From: Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

Video: Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt

One of the biggest uses for Ambient Occlusion in a game aside from gloom and spreading darkness is as a foundation for dirt. In this video, I'll show how to take a simple wall module and bake out a lower size occlusion, or rather an occlusion that doesn't spread as much. This will be a foundation for dirt in places like window openings. As we can see in this example, the window openings tend to be dark and grungy with occasional grunge below on the sill and on the wall around. I'll paint a diffuse texture and then lay the occlusion over it.

Using occlusion as a foundation for dirt

One of the biggest uses for Ambient Occlusion in a game aside from gloom and spreading darkness is as a foundation for dirt. In this video, I'll show how to take a simple wall module and bake out a lower size occlusion, or rather an occlusion that doesn't spread as much. This will be a foundation for dirt in places like window openings. As we can see in this example, the window openings tend to be dark and grungy with occasional grunge below on the sill and on the wall around. I'll paint a diffuse texture and then lay the occlusion over it.

Here in 3ds Max I have a basic wall section. It's got a large window opening that's recess by 8 inches and at least the start of a diffuse map unwrapped and placed on. The windows will later go in this large gray polygon. Now I'm ready to bake the occlusion. Just to make sure the occlusion goes smoothly, sometimes I'll put just a straight standard gray material on. Now I'm ready to bake. I'll press 0 and pull up the Render To Texture dialog. With my objects selected, it shows up here in the first field. I'll scroll down, making sure to Use the Existing Channel 1 for unwrapping, and in the Output I'll Add an Occlusion element.

So I can find it later I'll name this element wall section001dirt. This will be a temporary working file, so I want to make sure I can find it, grab it, use it, and later delete it. I'll make this occlusion 1024 square to match the size of my texture. When you're baking occlusion for dirt the big deal aside from getting the Samples nice and high, say 128, is to make sure that the Max Distance is lower than you'd use for an overall cinematic mood. I'm going to try an occlusion distance of 16. I'll also pull the Spread back a little bit reducing it down to 0.7 so the darkness clusters more in the corners.

If you'd like you can tune the Dark color to be more reflective of your dirt, or you can leave it black and adjust it later in Photoshop. Finally, in the Baked Material rollout I'll make sure I check Render to Files Only. I don't need this to go into a shell material; I'm going to use it in my diffuse texture after I put in Photoshop. I'll hit Render and pull up that file. With my occlusion baked I'll show the image, so we can see what it's doing clearly. The occlusion with that Max Distance being low leaves my sill and my header as well as the side of the windows dark in the corners but light at the edge where it's on the face of the wall.

Additionally on the window I've got a good spreading dirt in here. This maybe less spread than I might want in a more moody or darker rendering. A higher occlusion setting would gray all the way across the windows. I really want the corner darkest most of all. I'll pull into Photoshop and layer it over my diffuse texture. In Photoshop, I've opened up that dirt image. I'll select all by pressing Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C for Copy. Then I've got my PSD which has my diffuse texture and I'll paste that image in.

I'm going to drop mine in the Color group by dragging it onto it. Then I'll open up the group. I'll make sure that the occlusion or the dirt image is up above the brick diffuse texture. Finally, I'll switch the blending mode of the occlusion to Multiply. I get dirt across my texture, in the windows, on the sill, and generally grunging the wall. As a possibility you can erase pieces of this to make it less uniform. Sometimes I'll use my eraser and set the eraser to a large sponge brush. I'll click on the Eraser button and then right-click to choose a brush.

I'll pick one of the sponges and use the square bracket keys to upsize and downsize the brush. With my Brush Opacity fairly low, 28, I can start to take out pieces, dotting out pieces, making sure I don't leave too many streaks and making it spotted and, well, messy. That's okay. We can even erase parts of it completely. In this case, I'm taking out some of the top, but leaving occlusion and grunge and general wear and tear down in the lower corners, especially here on the bottom by the sill.

I might remove some of the top parts entirely. This may have a chance of staying the cleanest. I'll also do this on the sill and the header, just taking out little bits. I don't mind if these are fairly dirty. I remember that I've put the bottom vertices of the side elements on the left and on the left side of my header and sill, the vertices correspond to the left side of the image. I'll take out some of the dirt there as well. You can have some fun with this and brush as you need it. Maybe trying it a couple of times and experiment. Finally, I'll save this image out and load it back in 3ds Max.

Here in 3ds Max, I've put my new diffuse image with the dirt into a blend material. It's called wall sectionC. This image once I've saved it out has my occlusion and the dirt and the brick together. I haven't added a dirt layer to the brick, it's still fairly clean, but I want to do that later. I'll put this material on my model and we can see in this in no light, or rather just the default lights in the scene, without occlusion on in the Realistic shading, checking under Lighting and Shadows, that my scene is grounded.

I've got dirt and splash stuff around the windows. It's ready for more painting, diffuse texture on the window, dirt on the brick wall, and my wall looks, well, grungy and old. Ambient occlusion is a great foundation for things like dirt and rust. A lot of times I'll model a high-res piece, bake an occlusion on it, and throw it on a low-res. That will help me get detail on the windows, which I'll show in the next video. It's also a great way to gently ground things and add in a realism that would be difficult to paint.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

78 video lessons · 6522 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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