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In this video I'll look at some key contours and concept art, things that we need when we're modeling a building. I'll start by opening up some reference imagery, pressing Ctrl+O in Photoshop. In my Reference Images folder I've got some gas station images. I'll click on one, scroll down, hold Shift, and click on the last one in the series. I'll click Open and they'll open up. I'll press Ctrl+0 to maximize the view. In each of these we can see, well, a decrepit gas station, in various states of repair and in different architectural styles.
The big deal with the game is silhouette. We can do a lot in texture, but having the right silhouette really matters. But I'll start out with a lot of times is simply drawing the major silhouette or contours on a model. I'll make a new layer by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N and hitting OK. I don't really care what this layer is called at the moment. I'll press B for Brush, and I've changed my foreground color to a bright blue. What I'll look at are the major lines. I'm going to click on the bottom corner of the building, hold Shift, and click up on the top, and I'll start to line out the major contours here.
This is a useful exercise in getting a feel for the building, identifying the biggest things that are really necessary in geometry. Things like the detail in the garage doors can be handled in texture. Things like the dirt also show up in texture, but this contour, where the door opens into the building or the major corner here on the building, needs to be in geometry. Now since this building appears to be falling apart somewhat, I'm going to add in some additional lines. What we'll also see, possibly, are things like this.
This line here going from the top of the door to the window will let me take this corner and wiggle it slightly, so it's not absolutely perfect. We can see that this building is aged and so the ability to have some of the lines just out of parallel is pretty helpful. We'll see lines like this also on the ground. The occasional extra polygon or extra vertex lets us really make that ground wiggle, so it's not a perfectly flat ground plane. I'll finish this out by drawing out any of the other major contours, noting where I might need something in the game, such as a doorway to duck into or something that might be operable such as the door here which has been boarded up.
I'll add in things that give the major shadow lines, such as the overhang here, drawing in the polygon lines and making special notes where there's a curve. I can see in the reference imagery that right here on the edge it's a little bit of an Art Deco style and we need a bit of a curve. What I'll typically do in a place like this is to add in just a few more lines, and these don't have to be perfect; they just have to note that there are extra polygons there to make this curve. What I'll also look at our edge tests.
What this means is if I'm going to see this object against a contrasting material, as an example--I'll zoom in by pressing Z and zooming in on the island-- we can see that the island here is in concrete and is up next to either asphalt or stained concrete. We need to make sure that any curves here read, because is a good chance of seeing some facets if we don't do enough geometry. I'll press Ctrl+0 to zoom out and finish lining this. After I've got this lined in on the major geometry, I'll start to look at texture possibilities in the next video.
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