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Using occlusion from detailed models for texture

From: Creating Urban Game Environments in 3ds Max

Video: Using occlusion from detailed models for texture

In addition to baking ambient occlusion on our basic polygons, we can also model higher res objects, bake occlusion from them, and then use that as part of the texture on the lower res or low polygon pieces. This'll help add additional detail and proper shading. In this example, I've modeled these windows to fit in this opening, making sure that I've deleted the back faces. I've also mapped them straight on. If we open their UV Editor, we can see that they're basically straight on in the windows. That is I've used a planar projection.

Using occlusion from detailed models for texture

In addition to baking ambient occlusion on our basic polygons, we can also model higher res objects, bake occlusion from them, and then use that as part of the texture on the lower res or low polygon pieces. This'll help add additional detail and proper shading. In this example, I've modeled these windows to fit in this opening, making sure that I've deleted the back faces. I've also mapped them straight on. If we open their UV Editor, we can see that they're basically straight on in the windows. That is I've used a planar projection.

I've made sure that these are scaled as close as possible to the original, that they are at the correct proportion. What we will do in here is add in the natural dirt we see in all the corners and crevices in the windows. Here is some reference in Photoshop as an example. In this reference of the building we modeled in previous chapters, we can see that there is lots of detail in the windows and that in the corner of the window, we tend to get, well, a lot of dirt. It also shows up as darkness underneath the top window. This is from years of sitting out here in the city and also being touched by people opening and closing it.

We want this realism in our model for a game, but we don't want to model every window. That would blow our polygon count. Back here in 3ds Max, I am set up to bake an occlusion. I will bake these high-res windows and then use that in the low res. I will press 0 for Render to Texture. For an object like this, making sure it's selected in the Name field, I'll add in an Ambient Occlusion element, clicking on Add and then choosing Ambient Occlusion. In the Ambient Occlusion, I'll make this size 1024. I would rather render bigger and then scale down.

I will put the Samples up at 128 so my gradients are nice and smooth. Finally, I'll reduce the Max distance. Remember, 0 is a special case, meaning everybody participates no matter how far apart. I'll make my Max distance 5. That way the darkness really clusters in the corners nicely and doesn't spread across the whole window. I can adjust the Spread and Dark color if needed. For this example, I will leave them alone. I will make sure that Render to Files Only is checked and I also make sure I name this file so I can find it when I go hunting in Photoshop.

I am ready to hit Render. This will take a minute, return the diffuse color and bake an occlusion. My occlusion is rendered. I don't care really about the diffuse render. What I want is the occlusion image. I'll click on the three dots for browse to file and view this. I will select the file and check View here in the Finder.

There is the occlusion for the windows. It's got good darkness around the corners and the outside and also really highlights the detail, giving depth to the window. I can do some cleanup in Photoshop and also I will make it less consistent. I'll open up that image in Photoshop and bring it onto my diffuse map. Here in Photoshop I've opened up my window ambient occlusion bake. I will Select All by pressing Ctrl+A and Ctrl+C for Copy. Then I can close this image. Here is the PSD with my color and bump ready for windows.

I'll paste it into the color group. Then I will scale it down, but first I'll change the blending mode to Multiply. That way I can see how I'm scaling. You have got some options for scaling. You can use the Scale tool or the Transform. I will press Ctrl+T for Transform. I will scale this down from the corner, holding Shift to maintain proportion. This will let me move and scale this image to fit into those windows. I will get this fitted as well as possible. Occasionally, due to the irregularities or the eyeballing of unwrapping, we need to stretch it a little bit.

I will stretch mine horizontally, just so it fits over that window polygon. That looks pretty good. I'll hit Enter to accept the transformation. I'll zoom in and check. Now I haven't added a diffuse color to the windows, but this'll really add some punch to them anyway. I can nudge this back-and-forth if needed and also I may stretch it out again. Now I have got two parts to the occlusion. I have the original dirt from the bake of the low res, plus the high res model forming an occlusion texture, giving me what looks like extra depth. When I combine this with a diffused map and a bump, these windows will really pop.

I'll save this map out and put it back on in 3ds Max to see how it looks. I'll just update the map in the diffuse channel of the material on this wall. I will press M for the Material Editor and there is my material, wall and windows. Here's a large sample. I will click on the diffuse map I have in already and just swap it for the new one. Alternately, I could've just saved over this and 3ds Max would load it up automatically. I'll pick wall section windows and hit Open.

As we can see, I have got what looks like great depth in the windows. I did make one minor goof. My polygon was upside down. This is an easy fix in Photoshop. I'll do this, fix it, and reload. We want to make sure that the darkness is in the right direction. Here in Photoshop, I can mirror this over, because it's on its own layer. Remember when you're working in textures, always use another layer. It's a better practice to do that than to have a fix that is difficult because you're trying to paint out little parts. I'll choose Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical.

Now my occlusion is laid over correctly. I can save this out again and if needed, I can erode this occlusion so it's not quite as consistent. I may also want to erode it especially along the glass so the glass doesn't read as dark. I will save this and see how it looks. Back here in 3ds Max, I've reloaded the occlusion simply by refreshing the screen once I have saved over the file. My windows look like they have a lot of extra depth. Maybe not as much as the true geometry, but definitely good for game.

After all, it's the illusion of being where we are and we need the details and the dirt in the details to make that really pop.

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 · 6284 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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