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Game Character Creation in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Optimizing geometry


From:

Game Character Creation in Maya

with Chris Reilly

Video: Optimizing geometry

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.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      39s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 9s
    3. Understanding game asset creation
      1m 21s
    4. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 35s
    1. Setting up scene folders (Maya and Unity)
      3m 58s
    2. Optimizing geometry
      3m 14s
    3. Using symmetry
      4m 8s
    4. Extruding geometry
      4m 19s
    5. Sculpting geometry
      4m 1s
    6. Importing reference sketches
      5m 55s
  3. 37m 14s
    1. Modeling the head and nose
      5m 34s
    2. Creating the mouth
      4m 28s
    3. Crafting the eyes
      5m 11s
    4. Building the body and a wing
      10m 11s
    5. Forming the limbs
      8m 5s
    6. Adding finishing touches
      3m 45s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. UV mapping overview
      2m 43s
    2. UV mapping the body parts
      9m 18s
    3. UV mapping the face
      7m 40s
    4. UV mapping wrap-up
      3m 44s
    5. Mirroring
      4m 57s
    6. Texturing
      2m 46s
    7. Normal mapping
      5m 3s
  5. 46m 21s
    1. Setting up the skeleton
      5m 19s
    2. Building the spine
      3m 39s
    3. Finishing the skeleton
      4m 32s
    4. Rigging the legs and feet
      8m 35s
    5. Rigging the torso
      3m 49s
    6. Rigging the arms and hands
      3m 35s
    7. Rigging the face and head
      5m 9s
    8. Rigging wrap-up
      2m 27s
    9. Skin binding and weight painting
      5m 26s
    10. Animating in Maya
      3m 50s
  6. 29m 9s
    1. Exploring the Unity interface
      3m 3s
    2. Importing character and animations into Unity
      5m 50s
    3. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person character controller
      7m 14s
    4. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person camera controller
      4m 4s
    5. Making read/write animations using UnityScript Editor
      4m 8s
    6. Controlling scripts with animation events
      4m 50s
  7. 19s
    1. Additional resources
      19s

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Game Character Creation in Maya
2h 58m Intermediate Sep 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing, extruding, and sculpting geometry
  • Modeling a character's head and body
  • UV-mapping the head and body
  • Mirroring and texturing
  • Setting up the skeleton
  • Rigging the head and body
  • Skin binding & weight painting
  • Controlling animation with scripts in Unity
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation Game Design
Software:
Maya
Author:
Chris Reilly

Optimizing geometry

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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