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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.
During a modeling process in Maya it's important to be aware of the number of triangular faces on your character model's mesh. This number is generally referred to as the polygon count or poly count for short. You want to make sure your poly count isn't too high. If it is too high, your game may render sluggishly or not at all. It could actually even crash due to that extra memory it's going to take to render out a high poly character. So in Maya we can get some feedback about the poly count of your geometry by accessing the heads-up display. So in Maya I am just going to click Display > Heads Up Display > Poly Count and I can see here in the upper left of my viewport I will get some rows and columns with information about the poly count and geometry in my scene.
So I have Verts, which is short for Vertices, and Edges, Faces, Tris, which is short for Triangles, and U and V coordinates. So really Triangles is the number that you want to be paying the most attention to. So this column is going to show us the totals for the scene. The middle column will show us totals for what we have selected. So let's go down and select this sphere here. So I can see I have 760 triangles in this sphere and 80 in the cylinder. Then the far right column will show me counts for individual components that I have selected.
So if I hold down right-mouse button and select Face component mode, I can see as I go to Shift+Select these faces I will get counts for just those components that I have selected. So how do I know if my character's poly count is too high? Well, the answer is, it depends. It depends on two major factors. The first is the platform on which your game will be running. So a platform could be something like an iPhone or an Android smart phone. Another platform could be a desktop computer. Now the poly count requirements are going to be much lower for an iPhone or smart phone since the processor and the memory is much more restrictive than something a desktop computer.
So there's definitely a range that depends on what platform your game will be running on. Another factor that's going to affect your target poly count is going to be sort of the structure of your gameplay. So for example if your character will be appearing on screen with lots of other characters at the same time, your poly count restrictions will be tighter versus a game where your character is the only thing on screen. So it depends both on the platform and on the structure of your gameplay. Generally speaking, for something like a smart phone platform your poly count might be somewhere between 300 to 1500 polygons.
On the other hand, a poly count for a desktop platform might be something more like 1,000 maybe even up to 10,000 polygons. So the important thing to note is to just have a good idea of the range that you want to end up in. 10 or 20 polygons more or less isn't really going to make or break your game, but if you're shooting for 1,500 polygons and you end up having 10,000, that's probably going to be problem. Another thing to be aware of is that poly count isn't the only thing that can affect the rendering resources that a character will use.
Other things like UV map scenes and hard edges can also effectively increase the poly count that actually gets rendered by the game engine. But keeping track of the number of triangles is going to give you a pretty good baseline for what your actual poly count will be.
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