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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.
Now that I've decided to model some high poly elements, I need to look at the UV space. I'll select my table and see what I've got. I'll press F3 to go back to the Polygons menu, and choose Edit UVs > UV Texture Editor. There is my UVs, and as I intended, they are all stacked. It's working perfectly for what I wanted to do in terms of just the color map. However, for the normal map, it's a little on the messy side, and especially if I going to sculpt unique boards. I need to pay some attention to this. By turning off the image, and shading the polygons, I can see that a lot of them are very thoroughly stacked.
What I'll need to do is start to take different pieces and break them out. What we can see a lot of times is that there is different materials applied to different objects which share some common maps. When I pick one board as an example, or even two, we can see that they share only some space, there is just an overlap here on the in so those are actually okay. What I may end up with is a normal map that's specific to the top of the table, and a color map that goes over the whole table because I'll stack the UVs for the legs and they won't see as much sculpting.
Once I start to pick more boards, however, we can see that they're stacked up, well, as I had done. What I may end up wanting to do on this is really kind of break it back down a bit, taking a few or one of each element and spacing out the UVs, sculpting them, and then once they're done cloning and copying those high-res elements around. Alternately I can bake on the lo-res and then copy. My thought is I'll take one corner element, one side, and one more side, spread out their UVs, and between all of these I can get enough variety that when I clone it around, the top looks unique.
The top will then have its own normal map, which does not apply to the legs. I need to do this being mindful of where they sit on the original wood, and this is where things get possibly thorny. When I turn on the image, we can see I have allocated three quarters of it for this wood grain and the other two parts are shared by the chairs. I could make a decision to have all of one kind of wood here, and share a little more the UV space, leaving a separate one for the chairs, but since I have already got it laid out. I'm going to see if I can make do. I'll pick my Move UV shelf tool, select this one, and pull it over.
Then I'll pick one of the other pieces, making sure I click and grab just one, and slide it off to the side. Remember, when you are laying out UVs, it's okay to use space around temporarily, it's a scratch or working space. With these pieces selected, I'll pull them in, and size them up a little bit. They're going to share with other objects the same texture. So I'll have a separate material just for the top in unity. Really what that means is I have one diffuse map, and that will be applied to a whole bunch of furniture and just a specific normal map for that top in a different material, which is not too much overhead.
Now I will pick these ends, deselect the other shelves, and pull them off to the side. Then I'll stack them in. Because these are shared by the boards, they need to make sure that they have got adequate UV space. It's okay in this case to start grabbing things and pulling them up and down to make room. I'd like to try and keep them as big as possible. So I'll zoom in and pull this into the corner. Because I'm going to be beveling edges, I may end up wanting to take these and scaling them slightly to fit in or fitting them on the edges as well as I can, trying to get them as big as possible.
As an alternate, I may want to change the grain direction ever so slightly, pressing E for rotate, and pulling them over. I'll make sure, I go back and pick that Move UV Shell tool and pull things around, and it looks like, I need to make just a little more space here by snugging these a little closer together. This should do it, and I should be able to take these, and put them in place, giving them just enough space for a decent normal map and actually leaving me a little bit left over. It's very easy to grab other shells, so what I'll do is select and then hold Ctrl to deselect the ones I don't want. With these pulled in, I've got the elements to model my top in high poly.
Every UV here is unique. Because it's going to have its own normal and get sculpted, dented, and generally crunched edges, I'll also do some work on the top here. I'm going to sub-divide this greatly and bake or project that high poly into this low-poly UV space. If I had overlaps, we would see that grain and those dented, crunched, or beveled corners skip across surfaces. So allowing for a separate UV, just for the normals here, well help immensely.
I'll right-click, choose Object mode, and I'm ready to start in copying. What I do want to make sure I do here is pick the ones that I've laid out and delete the others. Part of this is making sure you've got the right objects separate. So you may see a lot of what looks like half objects or pieces. This is okay as it's part of the baking process. These are the three I going to use as. I'm going to pick and delete the others. I'll plan on taking the existing ones and mirroring them around. I'm also going to select and hide the other pieces.
That way get a clear field when I zoom around and sculpt these. I'll choose Display > Hide > Hide Unselected Objects, and now I'm ready to get sculpting on these three boards.
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