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Explore the world of modeling and texturing 3D game props and assets in Autodesk Maya. Author Adam Crespi provides strong technical modeling techniques, from blocking basic forms and leveraging simple parts and reusable textures, to simulating real-world detail like dirt, wear, and grain with UV maps and ambient occlusion. The course includes workflow and integration considerations such as planning UV space for projection, and also steps into Mudbox and Unity for further refinement.
One of the great things about working in Mudbox in a digital sculpting workflow is not only can we sculpt but we can paint, and we can sculpt and paint and mix, adding some color and then pushing around the geometry under it. I have taken my barrier, and I have sculpted out more detail. Now, I am going to paint it and be able to get a texture map out of here as well. I'll go under the Paint tools, and over into my painting I'm ready for a Paint layer. Either by clicking on a Paint Brush or making a new paint layer, I can decide what I'm painting here.
I'll click on the Paint Brush and click once in the scene. What it does is gives me the option of a paint layer, a name, a size, a format, and what channel it goes in. I'll call this one Concrete. This will be my base concrete layer. I'm going to paint it fairly big. I can always reduce down later. So, I let it run at 2048, saving as a TIFF, and it's going to go in the Diffuse channel. I'll click OK and then click on my colors. It's going to take a minute. I'll click on Color here and pick a Concrete Gray, sort of a yellow desaturated gray will be nice to start with. I will click Done, and I'm ready to paint.
I am going to bring up my Brush Size and generally paint the object first in my diffuse. I will bring up the strength in my paint and flood this over. I'll spin around and paint this in. This is a big reason why overlapping UVs are not necessarily good for this kind of a workflow. As I'm painting one side, that paint would show up on the other if the UVs were stacked. I have painted all the way around, and now I am ready to add in some local wear and tear, as well as crunching.
Within this Diffuse group, I can have multiple layers. I will make a new layer, and I'm going to call this Dirt. I will put it in the Diffuse channel and click OK. I'll go into that color and darken it quite a bit. Here I am into the gray range. I will click Done, and within this I have also got blending modes. These are our standard blending modes available just like we see in Photoshop. I'm going to make this layer a multiply, and I'm going to paint with a low strength. I'll reduce my brush down by pressing my bracket keys.
I'm going to add in a little bit of dirt on the base here. This is a texture. At some point, there is maybe a small fire here, and it's gotten dirty. I will put this in and brush along here. I will also say it's dirty where it's been crumbled. There's some dirt going on there and most of the way around the base. It's very easy to get in here and paint, and while we are painting, we have got Brush controls. I will scroll down, and there's the Falloff for that brush. We can make it harder or softer just by adjusting the graph. I am going to make this just a little bit firmer up at the top, and I will brush in some more dirt.
I'll say it's gotten pretty dirty up here, some good scoring and dirt up on the sides, and all the way around I will try to blend this in. Let's say that this is the freeway side and over here stayed a little bit cleaner. There is just some dirt in that area. I can always go into this layer and back off the Opacity as well, relaxing how much dirt I really see. I want to pick colors and build up that dirt, scrolling up here and choosing new colors. I will go a little bit brighter, and I can work by a ring, a spectrum, if I need to pick an image to paint with or blend them together.
I have also got color palettes available, and I can eyedropper right out of the scene. I will pick a lighter gray and brush a little more dirt over. This will add in to that dirt and blend it in over the object. One of the things we can see here is that this is uniformly shiny because I haven't dealt with the secularity at all. I will add a little more dirt in the crunched area and paint some other channels. I can paint also through a stencil if I need, and I may do this after I deal with the shine. I will make a new paint layer, and in this new paint layer I'm going to choose to paint the Specular channel.
We have got Specular color and Gloss. Specular, what color is it when it shines? Gloss, how much does it shine? I should probably deal with the glossiness actually first and then the Specular. I will pick Gloss, and I'll call this Gloss. In the glossy channel, we are painting as white being shiny and black being dull. We can also solo it if we need. I will start out by changing my color to a medium gray. I will go back to my ring and pull out that saturation, darkening down that color.
As I start to paint this in, we can see that shine disappearing. I'll pull most of the shine out, and leave some of it a little bit duller, some will be shiny, and I will vary that shine across here. I'm going to let most of it be actually fairly dull. We can see here I'm painting in that shine. If you have trouble seeing this, one of the things you can do is to right-click on a layer, and choose Solo Selected. By soloing it, I see my object in a default material, and we can really see the shine vary across that surface where I have painted it.
What I can also do is right-click, and solo it as a diffuse. That's how it looks in just the shine, where it's checkered, I haven't painted anything. What I may want to do here is paint in a base level of shine and then come back and add to it. I am going to bring my Strength up and bring my Brush Size up. I am going to flood this over in a medium dull gray, so this whole object is actually fairly dull. It's got a little shine to it, but in general, it's pretty well a matte surface. Now I will come back and change that color.
I am going to bring up this color a little bit and add some shiny parts back in. I will bring the Brush Strength down and the Size down. And on the top I'll add a little bit more shine here. Maybe it's been buffed a little bit or something similar, or it actually stayed halfway decent looking. I'll add a little more shine right here just along where the crease is, and I'll build this up. I will go a little bit lighter as an example just adding a little more shine in some areas and bringing the brush size down. I will bring the Strength down as well and just add some streaks in the shine.
We don't have to be terribly definite with it unless there is a distinct marking we want. Really, what I want is a shiny area. I'll right-click on it again and unsolo it. When I unsolo it and turn back on that diffuse layer, we can see as I orbit around, there is the shine in the middle, but the rest of the object is fairly matted. It's a great way to paint textures because we are painting right on the object, and we can paint in different channels and see how they all work together. One of the last things I'll do when I'm previewing this is to see what it looks like with some occlusion.
I will go up to Windows and choose Viewport Filters. In the Viewport Filters we have got different things available that help us to see a model clearer. I am going to turn on the Ambient Occlusion, which is a screen space occlusion. If we need to see Depth of Field or a Tone Mapping, we can import an HDR as an example that we are using for our skybox, we can turn that on as well. I am going to just use my Ambient Occlusion. If you need Depth of Field, you can turn that on and actually see what it looks like defocused based on a focus distance, a blur amount, and a Depth of Field.
I will leave that off and just see it with the occlusion here. What I can see, and I may see a lag in my graphics card depending on the poly count is I am getting some good occlusion, a little bit of excessive darkness right here in the crunched area, and I can see some places I need to smooth out a little better. Overall, though, it's a quick paint that helps me get my barrier establish quickly. One of the things I'll do is paint the more organic pieces in Mudbox, and by organic, I don't necessarily mean plants as much as free-flowing paint.
I'll take things like my diffuse maps and bring them back out to Photoshop where it may be easier to lay on things like text or if I have created wood grain as an example. I can right-click on a layer if needed and export a channel out to a PSD. I'll choose that and see what it looks like. I will bring this out as a PSD and put it into my project. In my Source Images folder, I will name this 07_05_end. I will hit Save, and Mudbox brought it up automatically in Photoshop.
What it did for me is it gave me the Mudbox-based mesh which is equivalent to the snapshot we get from Maya. There is the texture painting I have done, and in here, we are seeing both layers, the Dirt Overlay and the original Concrete and then a Mudbox background. What I may want to do is come in and add some text, maybe there's a faded name of a construction company or something else on here. I can save this out and bring it into Maya as a diffuse map. It's a terrific workflow, being able to get the three programs integrated and get your objects sculpted and painted with a tremendous degree of realism for your game.
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