Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Blocking out the overall form, part of Maya: Game Prop Creation.
In this video, I'll block out the basic form of my gas pump, laying down a bounding box so I can model inside it and avoid model creep. What I've done so far is to redraw some of the lines on my reference imagery here, showing major mesh lines and areas I know are going to need special attention, such as the curves on the top, the subtle curves of the side, and the mesh lines across to get the numbers and dials in the right place. What I'll do is try to estimate the height and width of this and make a box in Maya that defines the overall volume.
Gas pumps are designed to be readable so you can see how much gas you're getting. So reasonably, we could say that this gas pump is probably four and a half to maybe five feet tall, as we need to be able to stand here next to our car and read these numbers. Also, we need to be able to reach up and put the pump nozzle back in without reaching too far up or down. I'm going to estimate this at 5 feet tall, and I'm going to look at any other markers in the scene that let me know the height. We actually have a built-in ruler here, and it's called the board siding of the building next to it.
Typically, clapboards like this are 4, 6, 8, or maybe 12 inches tall. We can tell the width and height by gauging next to the window. A lot of times this is a one-and-a- half inch piece for the windowsill. And if I estimate this at one and a half and allow for some slight overlap in the clapboards, we're probably seeing 5 to 6 inches exposed. The other gauge is the corner board here. Roughly, this is probably 4 or 6 inches across. Give or take at 6 inches, we're looking at roughly 5 feet tall, eyeballing the measurement across.
We can put it in and see if it works. Remember, in Unity, the default controller is 2 meters tall, so we should be just tall enough to look over the top of the gas pump. If this is 5 feet tall, it's probably 18 inches across and 16 or 18 deep. I'll go into Maya and start making a bounding box for my reference. Here in Maya, I've minimized some of my display components, as I've explained in the workflow video. I want to have as much working real estate as possible. I'll press Shift+Right-click, choose Poly Cube, and make a poly cube, right around 0, 0.
What I'll do is press Ctrl+A to go to the Channel Box; select Translate X, Y, and Z by clicking and dragging down; and put 0 in. Then I'll go into the INPUTS in the polyCube and put in the size I want. I'll go into my preferences and make sure my units are set correctly first. On my Hotbox, pressing the spacebar, I'll go to Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences. Under Settings, there is my Linear units, and I was estimating in inches, so I'm going to make my units Inches here.
We can work in any units we want. When we export out, we'll convert to Meters, but if working in inches or centimeters or feet works, then work that way. We can re-measure the object upon export. Now I'll put in the width and height and depth. I'm going to say that the Width is 18 inches; the Height is 60, or 5 feet; and the Depth is 16. It's a little narrower than it is wide. I'll press F to focus, and there is my object. It's at 0, 0, and goes below the 0 plane.
What I'll typically do is put the Translate Y up at half the height of the object, in this case at 30. The center of an object is always in the center, and I'll press W to move to show this. In this way, I'll keep this object down at 0. Then if it comes in on a ground plane at 0, it stuck to the ground instead of floating in midair. I typically model things starting at 0, so upon import, they're automatically in the right place on the Y axis. Now with this bounding box in place, I'll go into the INPUTS and add in a couple of mesh lines for height markers.
I'll put my Subdivisions Height at 3. This gives me two edge loops across, and I'll go back to my reference and estimate some heights. Back here in Photoshop I'm going to estimate some key height marks on my gas pump. I'll turn on my layer 1, and there is my mesh lines. I've got a mesh line near the top, right where this curve of the top starts, and I'll show it by pressing V. And I'm going to estimate that this is probably 6 inches tall or so, so I'm going to put a mesh line up there. It's going to held bound where this display is and also the curved top.
I'll also put another mesh line maybe right here, just a little above the halfway point, as I may end up wanting to indent this part. I'm going to estimate, if this is 60 inches tall, that this mesh line is probably a 36. Here in Maya then, with the object selected, I'll press F10 for Edge, double-click on an edge to select the edge loop, and go up to my menu line input. In the menu line, we can choose Absolute or Relative transform. Being that I'm starting at 0, I'm going to put my Absolute Transform on and put the Y of that mesh loop at 54.
This now shows where the curved top needs to start. I'll double-click on this other edge loop and put the Y at 36, and there's the height mark for that middle area. I'll right-click and choose Object mode. Now, what I'll do then is take this object and add it to a new display layer, clicking on the Create New Layer and Assign Selected Objects button. With it on and added in, I'll double-click on the layer and rename it. I usually call mine Bbox for short, or Bounding Box. I'm going to make the Display type a reference and click Save.
Now, it's there as a reference for height. If I need, I can always make it a fully editable object and snap to it, or I can make it a template and see through it, even in a shaded view. But more importantly, I've boxed out the major height marks on my prop. It's important to do this to avoid what's called model creep. When you start out modeling something and it seems to grow in dimensions--you thought you were modeling a six-foot person who ends up around eight and is rather oddly shaped-- I make a practice of adding a bounding box in, and I'll even use this in a white box model which I need to hand off for game development, and then fleshing out the final props.
This way, I've got the actual heights of things in place and key height marks in, so when I model details, they go in the right place and the world stays consistent.
- Planning for modular textures and models
- Blocking out the overall form of a prop
- Moving and sewing UVs
- Laying out UV coordinates
- Texturing with bump maps
- Converting bump maps to normal maps
- Unwrapping and cloning objects
- Breaking up a model for texturing
- Painting textures from scratch
- Adding detail with beveling and extruding
- Baking high poly model onto a low poly model
- Painting in Mudbox
- Importing and assigning objects and maps in Unity
- Adding lights in Unity