Hand-painted Wells

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Hey guys! I am going to try hand-painting textures on some low-poly wells here. I've done some hand-painting on a couple props before, but I had really small texture sizes so this time I'm gonna give myself a little more room and make it look nice for port :) I'm going for WoW style proportions, textures, and colors. Also, this will be my first attempt at tileable textures, so here goes haha. Here's a sheet of concepts I came up with, as well as the 3 I've chosen to go with (the two with green dots and that one single image):


wellconceptss.jpg

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3rdwellconcepts.jpg

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Here are my models, created in 3ds Max. They are not exact replicas of my concepts, as I was kindof working on designing as I went haha:

443 tris:

2ndwellcomp.jpg

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866 tris:

3rdwellcomp.jpg

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820 tris:

1stwellcomp.jpg

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So the plan is to do these wells in order from top to bottom (least favorite to favorite design, heh). I'm hoping they get successively better as I learn from each one! :)

Crits and comments on concepts and models appreciated. Next step is the unwrap on the first well.

Thanks!
Jessica

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  • Maph
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    Cool start, although I would have loved seeing nr 5 being worked out. Silhouette on that one is pretty freaking awesome. :)
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Ahaha! Really? I personally think it's just kinda weird, haha I went crzy on that one. But thanks xD
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Alright, so I am unwrapping this piece, and I'm wondering which way is better: should I quick-planar that well top, or break it up into pieces and stack the shells? If I break up the shells, this will create more vertices, so I guess my main question is whether or not it's worth it to create more vertices in order to save texture space. I actually have quite a few instances of this across this well (and the others too!), so I think it would be a good thing to know before I unwrap the whole thing haha. Another big place where this is occurring is the floor beneath the well. To stack, or not to stack, that is the question!!

    stackingquestion.jpg

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    Thanks!
    Jessica
  • Rick_D
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    think about how you will do ambient occlusion, whether you want a butterfly seam etc

    also use more polies, this is 2011
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Ahh! I completely forgot about AO Rick, so thank you for reminding me. This really helps me to decide which pieces should be unique, and which to stack. As for the tricount, I'm really trying to challenge myself to create textures that will speak in place of geometry :) I know it all looks pretty crappily simple right now, but I'm hoping that when I get to texturing, that will be resolved. It's not something I've tried before, so I'd like to give it a shot haha
  • gilesruscoe
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    Lookin' good, textures will be nice to see once you start them :)
  • xXm0RpH3usXx
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    as you are saying youre going for a handpainted look you might want to edit the geometry a little and make it more curvy...
    its only straight lines right now, which doesnt give muhc character (or life) to the model
  • Saman
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    I agree with xxm0rphh3usXx. You should add more polygons to your model, you can always remove unnecessary polygons later on. Nice sketches btw.
  • Bart
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    Those sketches are nice :) I will have to say also that investing a couple of more polys will make a huge difference. Looking forward to seeing some hand painted textures :)
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Ah, thank you guys. Now that I look at the models, they do seem pretty generic so I will take your advice and add some more polies for character!
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Mesh update: added about 200 tris to help out the silhouette! Critique and comments welcome

    2ndwellplustriscomp.jpg

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  • Jessica Dinh
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    Got it packed. Should I go 512 or 1024? I'd like to do 1024, but is that kindof outrageous for something this simple/small, or is it acceptable especially if I'm trying to make some really nice textures for portfolio?
  • linkov
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    Jessica, I think you should probably decide for what kind of game you making these wells. Even if there is no real game, it will help you with your final specs - tri count and texture resolution, and maybe you'll re-think some of your design choices.

    For example: if you making this well for 1st/3rd person game, then your polycount is quite low. If its for some top-down perspective game, RTS or something, then 512 or 256 texture will be fine, but you might want to change your design completely, because player will be seeing only this massive roof, which is not that interesting really.
  • gsokol
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    Don't worry too much about texture size. 1024 would be fine. If you change your mind, you can always shrink it down, but you can't do the opposite.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Thank you Linkov, that really does help. I'm thinking of this being in a 1st person sort of game, with a big emphasis on textures. Now that I think of that, it's not so hard to decide what texture size to go with xD And that is true gsokol, haha. I could always shrink it down! 1024 it is:

    2ndwelluvw.jpg

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    Critique and comments welcome!
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    What might be stronger as a portfolio piece is to in fact figure out what kinds of materials you're going to use, then create tiling textures based on that. Tiles for the roofing, wood, concrete, brick, etc. Make several 256x256 sheets and maybe some 512x256 for some horizontal texture that would be good for repeating horizontally / vertically to act as trim textures.

    You can get a much higher rez looking image with using tiling texture sheets.

    Also, is there a reason why the object is so low poly? Sure, this forum loves low poly stuff, but why not make it a high caliber hand-painted project that will make it stand out amongst the hundreds of other hand-painted projects you see?

    The nice thing about using tiling textures if you can have a total shit UV sheet so long as the final product looks good.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Hi Halasi, I really appreciate your critique. I am going to try tiling in this project - it was my plan from the beginning. However, I must say that the whole topic of tileable textures confuses me immensely even after having done much research on it. So if I am going about uv layout incorrectly or anything it is because I am diving into tileable textures without much sense of where I'm going. Still, I feel at this point, that it is the only way I'm gonna learn how to do it.

    What I do understand is how to make the tileable texture itself, but then my question is - what to do with it? Do I still layout my uv's like I regularly would if I were going to be painting everything uniquely? Or do I stack as many shells as I can? (which is what I did) Why do you say to make it 256 x 256? I was just going to make some tileable sheets that were square-shaped and duplicate them around in my uvw sheet up there. I didn't know the dimensions of the tileable texture mattered.

    Or do you mean that I should have several different uvw sheets, each filled with their own tileable texture, on top of which I stack the pieces that belong to that material?

    Or do you mean that I should create several tileable textures, each 256 x 256 (or rectangular as you said I might have to in some cases), then arrange them all into one final uvw sheet? And then unwrap and stack my uv's into the textures? In that case, would I just eyeball where to stack my shells? Like, 'oh, that looks like about 256 x 256 pixels right here, where my cobblestone texture is going to be'. Am I making sense?
  • linkov
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    Jessica, there is a well inside Stormwind city, in trade district. And, perhaps, some other places too. Its quite lowpoly, and probably shares textures with nearby buildings, but it looks and fits naturally with surrounding area because this well is part of the composition. A filler piece noone cares about. Taken out, it will not be a piece of Art for someone to be proud of.

    Consider this. You're making a portfolio piece. You need to make it look good on its own. Noone will be imagining your well within some larger environment. So, if you doing it for some 1st person game, spend time to polish you mesh. Add more triangles, play with forms. Right now its still blocky and not so interesting really. Textures might fix it, but there is no reason for not trying to support it with silhouette.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Thank you linkov, I see what you mean. I actually do plan on building a little town scene around this soon; regardless, I want everything in the scene to be interesting and able to stand on its own as a portfolio piece. I will take this concept back to pen and paper for awhile, until I come up with something more interesting haha. Perhaps I was trying to take this too fast, trying to understand textures and uv's and whatnot, when my concept still needs work. First things first! I hope to post soon with some better silhouettes.
  • Wells
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    re: texture size.

    ask yourself, do you need that many pixels for the amount of detail you're putting into it?

    generally, when people put 'hand painted' in the title of the thread, they mean WoW style. Which does not need that much space. by all means, use whatever size you want for a portfolio piece, but keep in mind that if you're not using the full potential of those 1024x1024 pixels [which is a lot of pixels to paint!] it can ruin the piece in an employers eye.

    at the end of this, try reducing the size and see what is lost. keep reducing until there's a significant loss in quality. this will help you when next you have to decide what size the DIF should be.
  • Lazerus Reborn
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    Well, Well, Well. What do we have here then.

    It's nice to see the variation in the designs, seems your bridging two cultures?

    Pretty clean and efficient model with a good uv to boot. Cant wait to see your texture.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Thanks Sectaurs, that makes sense. I will use a 1024 but keep that in mind if my textures aren't doing the size justice. Thanks Lazerus :)
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    The way I work with tiling textures I actually have a library of texture to choose from before I even start unwrapping.

    Hopefully this helps you some. This is how we made 99% of all the environment art in Infamous 2! Hell, pretty much any environment in any game uses this. It lets you get assets looking really high res with some basic 256 or 512 maps. Of course, in-house shaders with some more features like strong vertex color support with height maps does a lot of the work.

    tilingTextureTutorial.jpg
  • Dan!
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    to piggyback on what Haiasi said-knowing the technique he suggests you could paint the textures of the materials you need first and then UV the obect to fit those tiling textures.

    edit: this is a redundant statement.
  • xXm0RpH3usXx
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    although you took the advice of adding polies, which i really appreciate, somehow i didnt get my point across.
    look, what i meant is that you should give it more polies so you could diverse the silhouettes.
    with those newly added verts you could pull some of the edges of the roof down, making it look less mirrored and more generic.
  • Bunglo
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    What I do understand is how to make the tileable texture itself, but then my question is - what to do with it? Do I still layout my uv's like I regularly would if I were going to be painting everything uniquely? Or do I stack as many shells as I can?

    If you're going to treat your UVs that will use a tileable texture the same way you treat a unique asset, there's really no point in using a tileable texture.

    When you create a tileable brick wall texture, for example, that will repeat indefinitely within you UV editor. If you unwrap the wall model that will use said texture, regardless of where your UV islands are, you're always going to get nice, tiling bricks.

    Because of this fact, UV location is largely irrelevant. If you're using a very small texture sheet (like 256), to get that nice, crisp look, you scale those UVs up until both the proportions of the objects on the sheet (such as the bricks) and the texture quality look correct.

    Keep in mind that the more you scale, the more your tiling the texture, which means the more obvious the tiling becomes. Using decals and/or vertex colors is a good way of making the tiling less obvious.

    Looking back at Haiasi's example, you can see he has overlapping UVs and UVs that go off the texture. Why? Because as he pointed out, he wanted specific details from the texture on those areas of his mesh. Sometimes you'll need to really plan out how your tileable texture will function and what areas you can re-use to give your asset a unique look.

    Tileable textures give you a lot of freedom with what you can do. You can get creative and rotate,scale, and manipulate your UVs to give the appearance of a uniquely textured asset, when you're really using the same textures that's all over the rest of the model.

    My advice would be to simply grab a tileable photo source from cgtextures, etc and mess around with the UVs. From there you can plan a bit better how you want your textures for this project. Or just dive in with the project and ask about any problems you have. Either way, you'll eventually realize how simple it is.
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    Also, there is something very important about using non-square tiling textures. When you first do your UV projections, Maya / Max will do its best to project the face with a 1:1 ratio of the face to its UVs.... meaning a square face on a cube = square UV shell.

    With textures that have a 2:1 or 4:1 or 1:2 1:4 ratio (like the concrete I showed, pretty close to a 1:2 ratio), you're going to have to select your UV shells and scale it by 50% horizontally. This is because the texture try to fill the 0 to 1 space in the UV editor, so to counter-act that, you need to squish your UVs.

    It's kind of hard to explain in text, if you follow my little tutorial it should scream out as obvious to you that the texture is stretching one way or another. Just squish the UV shell horizontally by 50%
  • Baddcog
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    Cool concepts and cool to see you still at it.

    One thing you were concerned about and that no one seemed to mention is extra verts due to splitting faces apart for uv mapping/tiling. It's a legitimate concern, something you should keep in mind. (try not to split in the middle of smoothing groups)

    But in this case it doesn't matter. From the renders it looks like each face of the well base and top have different smoothing groups (hence the sharp edges). So even though your verts are welded (in 3d program) in most games they will be split anyway, to keep the smoothing groups. Some games (like Doom3) require meshes actually be split (Doom3 only uses 1 smoothing group, so the modeler has to force splits for sharp edges - Hammer uses smoothing groups successfully, and the exporter doesn't split faces, but in game it's the same thing)

    But I like the concepts a lot, I also like the 'weird' one. Just has a lot of personality, could be an old tree hanging over the well or something, which would probably work well in that game you were making props for awhile back.

    I'm sure if you search the forums for tiling, hand painted, etc.. you will find some good examples. I do remember one guy working on a Wow house, and i think he was using a tiled texture to the rooftiles and whatnot.

    The one thing to really consider whether or not you tile can be engine and/or draw calls. Very basically a draw call is the engine rendering a texture once. More is more expensive.

    So if you have the well all on one texture it will be one draw call in game. Great optimizing.
    If you use 4 different materials (rooftiles, stone, metal, wood) it will be 4 drawcalls. Not so good.

    BUT, it depends on the engine too. Some engines will combine similar textures in an area (so a house roof and a well roof get combined into one draw call instead of 2). Things like this make it hard to fully optimize models for many engines, but most of the time you are doing something for a specific engine so that's all that counts.

    Probably the biggest thing for a portfolio is maybe show at least one model of each style.
    A specific model texture, and a model using base assets. Showing that you understand and are capable of both options is probably a plus, then the dev would know you are ready for whatever style they are using.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    xXm0RpH3usXx, I did try to change the silhouette with the extra tris, but apparently I didn't do it right xD Guess I gotta be more bold with my moves!

    Halasi, I deeply appreciate the tutorial. Some of what you have explained I don't fully understand yet, but I think I will get it if I take it step by step.

    Thanks for the explanation about the uv's Bunglo! In conjunction with what Halasi showed, I think I'm starting to get a better idea of how it's all supposed to be laid out.

    I understand what you're saying about the vert count Baddcog - thanks for answering that. I will be sure to continue looking up examples of tiling and hand-painting here. As for what you are saying about the draw-calls, if I do the tiling method, do you mean I will be using a couple different material id's/texture sheets? They are not all arranged into one big texture sheet? In any case, I like your advice about trying both methods - I think I will try tiling 2 of these wells just so I can learn how to do that, and perhaps one of the wells I will texture uniquely. And yeah, I did stop 3d for a couple months to work on some 2d stuff and a character concept for a competition that never happened :/ I might try taking it into 3d though. Also, you remember the game I was working on! :D It shipped, so I'm gonna ask our art director where it is available for download and I will post it here hehe.

    Anyway, I reworked the concept. Third time's the charm?? :

    2ndwellpushedsilcomp.jpg

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    And the model - 1012 tris

    2ndwellpushed3dcomp.jpg

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    From what I have deduced, I ought to start working on making some tileable texture sheets now - uv's for later. Photoshop, here I come! Critique and comments welcome.

    p.s. If enough people like that weird well I drew I might just have to make it sometime ahaha
  • Isaiah Sherman
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    I think the best way I can describe using a tiling texture for environment art is... the UV layout means absolutely nothing. There is no such thing as "packing UVs" into your 0 to 1 space. Just unwrap the object and move the UV shell to a location on the texture so that it looks like it makes sense.

    The final product is what matters. If it looks good in the view port, that's what the player sees!
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