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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.
In this video I'll look at exporting from Maya across to Mudbox, and I'll look at a couple of ways to do this. It depends on the object that we are dealing with and the qualities we want to come across. I've modeled in a Concrete, or Jersey Barrier, like we see alongside the freeways. These are very common and exist by the thousands in the landscape. It's a great object to have in a game as we can use these as a fence. If we're dealing in vehicles we can redirect the player, herding them along the path we want them to go. This one is low poly, as we can see in the Heads-Up Display I've got 14 faces or 28 tris, it's about as low as we can get, and I've left the bottom in case we need to tip these over. I've unwrapped this.
I'll checkout what the UV Editor looks like, and as you can see I've got one large shell, this is the top right here and the sides splay out around it. There is the bottom, so when I paint I've got one seam down here at a logical corner where the side and the bottom meet. The ends are off to the side, and I've scaled things as big as I can. I've left a little space in the texture right here, presumably there is going to be some steel fittings, or maybe there is some fence on top that can go there. I'm sure I can find a way to use up this texture space somehow.
I'm ready to get this across to Mudbox and in my UI on my hotbox here I've turned on my Command Line and Help Line. It's important because I'll see a live link to Mudbox there in a minute. What I'll do, to start, is choose File and Send to Mudbox--this is new as in 2012 and they've revised in 2013 to add in Send to 3ds Max as well. I'll send this over as a new scene, and what Maya is going to do is connect to Mudbox, we can see Mudbox launching, and it'll pull my object in.
It's pretty straightforward, it receives the updates automatically and brings in the object, it's called pCube1 in this case. What we can see in the bottom right of our Mudbox screen in the Green Bar it says connected to Maya, and there is an Update button. If we look back here in Maya we can see the same thing connected to Mudbox, what this means we have a live link we can sculpt in one and see the change in the other. If we paint in Mudbox and update we're going to see that texture come across here into Maya. It's great because it lets you work on an object and bring it across and see it in your environment, even in your lights if you have those set up.
I'm back here in Mudbox, and the first thing I'll try to do is subdivide. I'll press Shift+D and what happens is that I get a blobject. You may ask what is a blobject? In this case what happened--and I'll zoom around to see it--is that it did not respect the hard edges. So as I subdivided this object it smoothed everything over dividing every one polygon into four, for every subdivision iteration. What this means, and I'll step down so we can see it, is it goes from 224 up to 896.
I'll add in a subdivision level as 3 is the highest I can go. Really quickly we can get a 14,000 face barrier, but it's not quite what we're after. This is fine for organic objects, and there is a lot of work I do where I simply send it over. I'll do this on things that are already round, flowerpots, plants, characters, and so forth, where the subdivided mesh is going to stick closely to the original. I have a couple of options here. I'm going to go back to Maya and show one of them, adding some subdivisions into the mesh and then sending it over again.
Then I'll do an export out as an FBX file and bring across those hard edges. What I'd like to do is insert some additional edge loops and these will help me keep that mesh in place. I'm going to take this and duplicate the mesh pressing Ctrl+D. I'll hide this duplicate as they share UVs, as long as I'm propagating the UVs by subdividing I can take my extremely low poly duplicate and apply the high res normal map later. I'll hide this one, and that way I've also got a working copy if I need to get back to it.
Now I'll take this mesh, and I'll double-click on the Move tool and make sure I preserve UVs. I'll hold Shift and right-click and Insert an Edge Loop. I'll check in the dialog and make sure I'm set at a relative distance. I'm going to land an Edge Loop right here to hold this corner. I'll put one over here and maybe one along the bottom as well. I'll land one more along the top, and then I'll hit the Update and see what I get. This is one option where we're forcibly holding those corners out by adding in additional mesh lines.
I'll click on the Update button and see what it does. Here in Mudbox it brings in that mesh, and I can import it using a Search Distance. I'll hit Cancel, and there is my mesh as it comes across. What we're seeing here is it's got a bit of a dent in there. I'll step down that subdivision and those go away. There is my original mesh, and it's decent, but it may not be an optimal solution as I'm still seeing rounded corners and smoothing artifacts. We need to make a choice in here on our workflow, and it really depends on what we're modeling.
This is a hard surface model, and I want to keep those edges hard. So I'm actually going to bring over that extremely low poly version in a different way preserving the edges and then sculpting it here in Mudbox. Again, it depends on what we're modeling, if it's an organic model or we're dealing in a hard surface we want to preserve hard edges. Back here in Maya, thankfully I've kept my original model. I'm going to take this piece and delete it. I'll wipe out this higher poly I've created and show that low poly. There is my original, and I'm going to send this over in a different way.
Instead of sending to Mudbox I'll choose File and Export. I'll export this out as an FBX file calling it 07_02_start. In my FBX Presets I've chosen the Media and Entertainment Preset to start with and then under Including and Geometry checks Smoothing Groups, which brings across my hard and soft edges. I'll export this out, it's exported, and I'll go into Mudbox and bring it in. Here in Mudbox I'll choose File > Open, there is my FBX, we can work in different formats here in Mudbox.
The native is a .mud file, we can take in and out OBJs a common transfer format or FBXs the preferred one as it brings across rigs if needed. We can also work in Ptex. If you're dealing in something like RenderMan, you can bring these in and take them out if you need where you have essentially a huge or almost resolution Texture. I'll bring in an FBX, and there is that 07_02_start. I'll click Open and not going to save my new unnamed scene.
Now I don't see that connected to Maya button in the lower right, but my object has come across nicely. I'm going to turn off my Grid by choosing Display and unchecking Grid. The important part is that the hard edges have come across, and if I press Shift+D to subdivide, we can see the subdivisions occurring while preserving those hard edges. This is key for this barrier as I want to be able to sculpt this and keep most of the hard edges. I'm going to crunch it on the bottom here, and I can take out some of the hardness.
But some places I still want to show the original creasing from the manufacturing. When I'm done I'm going to bring it out the same way, taking out a low poly FBX, and then baking out textures using under Maps the Extract Texture Maps Operation. I'm ready to start in on my sculpting. And I'll go back and look at the reference in the next video and see what I need to do to crunch this barrier.
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