Need Help Speeding up Modeling and Baking Workflow!

polycounter lvl 4
Offline / Send Message
Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
I hope this is the right thread in which to post a question like this, and if it's incorrect feel free to simply point me in the right direction and I will move the thread.

Hey everybody I have some questions regarding speeding up my modeling and texture baking workflow today.

I have gotten pretty good at modeling and baking high quality assets, and am now looking for ways to improve my workflow to get faster without sacrificing quality.

My primary programs for modeling and texture baking:
- 3ds Max
- xNormal

My workflow goes as follows:
- Model the high poly of the mesh piece by piece including the use of floaters
- Create the low poly from the high poly
- UV the low poly (sometimes using mirroring where I can)
- Explode and align the low poly and the high poly (manually)
- Then add a push modifier to the low poly. Push appropriate amount and then add an edit poly modifier to the stack. Then I push and pull the polys that are giving me trouble. At that point I have my cage and my low poly.
- At this point I bring everything into xNormal for baking

Is there any way to trim some of the fat off of this workflow. Any shortcuts, time savers, or general tactics for saving time would be exceedingly helpful. I'm okay with moving to different programs, adopting new techniques, or changing my workflow entirely if it means I can shave some of the time that it takes to deliver similar quality assets.

Thanks in advance for the help guys!

Replies

  • Obscura
    Offline / Send Message
    Obscura polycounter
    Setting up shortcuts for every edit poly/editable poly operations (vertex level/polygon level/object level, extrude,connect,inset,etc...) can really speed up the modeling because you don't have search the proper buttons, don't have to move your mouse over the buttons, and then move back to model,etc.

    This is the only thing that I can suggest to this question :D
  • Jack M.
    Offline / Send Message
    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks Obscura for the super fast response!

    I have all of my most used functions keybound, and you're totally right. It saves tons of time just to have those keybindings instead of needing to search for the button each and every time you need to use a function.

    Is there a way to keybind modifier stack operations such as ctl+shift+u to add an unwrap modifier to the selected object in 3ds max? I think that might be able to cut back on time a little, but I'm not 100% sure how to do it.
  • Obscura
    Offline / Send Message
    Obscura polycounter
    Yesss :) Customize user interface->keyboard
    group: main
    category: all commands
    and all of the modifiers are there on the list so you can bind them
  • Jack M.
    Offline / Send Message
    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Amazing! Thanks Obscura!

    Is there a way to align uv islands in the 3ds max uv editor by like 45 or 90 degree increments (relaxing tends to rotate the islands and it's hard to get back to horizontal or vertical orientation)? Or is there a way to align the entire island based on a single row of vertices horizontally or vertically?

    Thanks again for the speedy responses obscura!
  • Bek
    Offline / Send Message
    Bek polycounter lvl 5
    You could try the 'midpoly' (that becomes both high and low, saving you from having to remove all your edge loops to create your low) worflow:

    http://www.polycount.com/forum/showthread.php?t=128414
  • Jack M.
    Offline / Send Message
    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for pointing me in that direction Bek! The quad chamfer looks particularly enticing for saving some time modeling.

    A friend of mine pointed me in the direction of a plugin for 3ds max called tex tools. In this application I can align uv islands by 90 degree increments. Just thought I would post this tidbit of information in case anyone fell into my thread only to find no answer for the uv question.

    How viable is skipping the low-high poly workflow entirely? I've heard artists who worked on Alien Isolation rarely baked from high to low poly. Rather they strategically beveled and chamfered objects to get nice shading. Then they used something like ndo to get some of the panels in.

    Thanks again for the help everybody!
  • huffer
    Offline / Send Message
    huffer polycounter lvl 6
    I think careful planning does the trick, as in thinking ahead, modeling your high poly to fit an imaginary low poly and foreseeing any problems with baking or uvs. If you bake in Max, you can simply use a projection modifier to get your cage and choose what high poly meshes to transfer from (essentially skipping the exploding mesh part).

    Definitely textools, is a standard part of my workflow - set smoothing groups in low poly, use textools to create uv shells from smoothing groups, quick unwraps aaand uv's are done.
  • Jack M.
    Offline / Send Message
    Jack M. polycounter lvl 4
    @huffer - Thanks for the tips. I think I'll try some baking in 3ds max to see if I can get similar quality while speeding things up a bit.

    With some of the improvements to my workflow I spent a couple hours modeling a NES. I still need to model in the front controller ports, but I can feel my workflow is a lot faster with the addition of some hotkeys, and the modifier panel shortcut (right click on the modifier list window and configure modifier sets) is very helpful to get your most used modifiers easier to locate.

    I'm really excited to start working on the low poly and get the uv's going. I feel like the move to tex tools will speed things up immensely.

    Of course any other tips, pointers, or guidance is always welcome. Anything that will speed things up is going to be a huge help.

    Thanks for the tips so far everyone and keep them coming if you have more!

    NES:
    GFRNW4T.jpg
Sign In or Register to comment.