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Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.
So we finished our UV mapping process for a character and now I'm ready to actually mirror the geometry so you make it symmetrical. So I'll go ahead and select my character and I'm going to mirror using Duplicate Special. So I'll click Edit > Duplicate Special, with options. And I want to create a copy of my half that I've already modeled. And I want to set the Scale in the X direction to -1 since all my geometry is in the positive X direction right now. We want to mirror that into negative X. So I'll click Duplicate Special. Okay.
And I'll just Shift+Select so I have both sides of the character selected. I'll use Mesh Combine to combine these into one mesh. Now even though this is all one mesh now, the vertices and the edges along the character's axis of symmetry are still separate. So I need to merge those together. So I'm going to do that with Edit Mesh > Merge, with options. Now one thing I need to watch out for is in places like the face where there's more detail, there's geometry that's closer together, I need to be careful that I don't accidentally merge some of these vertices and edges that aren't actually on the character's axis of symmetry.
So I want to set a very low Threshold here in my Merge Options. So I'm going to set this to 0.0001 and click Merge. Okay, so I'll select my character. I'm just holding down my right mouse button. Click Select. And I'm going to go into the Outliner, so I'll click Window > Outliner. I'm just going to rename this, so we'll double-click and rename this mesh low_poly. And I'll also delete the history on the mesh, so I'll go to Edit > Delete by Type > History.
Sometimes if you don't delete the history on a video game character, Unity can get kind of confused and throw in some bugs when you go to import it. So it's a good habit to get into. So I'll close my Outliner and I'll create a layer for this character by clicking Layers, so I'm in my Channel Box Layer Editor. So I'll click Layers > Create Layer from Selected, and I'll title this layer low_poly_layer. Now I'll make a duplicate of the entire game character, so I'll just select Edit > Duplicate, and I'll create another layer by clicking Layers > Create Layer from Selected.
And in this layer I'll title hi_poly_layer. Also in the Outliner, so Window > Outliner. I'll rename that to hi_poly. So what I'm doing here is I'm actually creating two versions of my character. One, which is in the hi_poly_layer, I'm going to apply a Mesh Smooth too. I want to make it very smooth, very organic.
And if I wanted to, I could do some extra sculpting to add extra detail. And then in the next chapter, we'll use a normal map to capture some of that detail and apply it to the low_poly version without adding any excess geometry. So it's a neat trick that you can use to make a character look like it has more detail than it actually does in its geometry and it's used a lot in video game character modeling. So I've got my hi_poly_layer turned on. I'm going to go ahead and apply a Mesh Smooth operation to this copy of the character. So I'll select Mesh > Smooth, with options.
And I want to add divisions exponentially. I want my Division levels set to 2, my Continuity set to 1. I want to smooth the UVs. I want to smooth all the map borders, and I don't want to preserve any of the stuff down here. So I'll click Smooth, and now we can see we've got very nice smooth version of the model. But you also notice, look how many triangles we have. It's a very, very high poly count, so that's way more than we would ever want in our video game. But that's okay because we're just going to use this to capture normal map and apply it to the low_poly version.
So I'll turn off this hi_poly_ layer and turn on the low_poly_layer. And so with the low_poly version, I've a pretty low_poly count here and that's looking pretty good. I'm actually going to smooth this version a little bit. You don't have to do this. I'm planning to use this character in a desktop platform. So I can afford to add a little bit more geometry. Your character might be running on a different platform like an iPhone or an Android. So you may want to keep your poly count much lower. I'm just going to smooth this version a little bit to add a little bit more detail.
So I'll select my low_poly version. Select Mesh > Smooth, with options. And this time I'm going to add divisions linearly. Set my Division levels to 1, Divisions per face to 1, and the Push strength and Roundness to 0.1. and I'll just click Smooth. Okay, so that did increase my poly count, but it's still within the range that's reasonable for a desktop platform. Again, you might be running on a different platform, so you may have a different goal in mind for your poly count.
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