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How does it all come together?

polycounter lvl 6
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noekk polycounter lvl 6
Hi guys,

I've been using 3ds Max for a while and just got Substance Designer, I've never used ZBrush and would like to avoid it if I can.

I see great tutorials on making stone/brick walls with SD but still don't know how to put it all together. It seems the usual way was/is to build a blocky model in Max/Maya, import it to ZBrush to sculp, export back, decimate, and so on. Do I still need to do that? Can't I use SD for all the little details I
would add in ZBrush?

The whole thing is confusing. Let's say I have a nice brick wall texture I made in SD, I don't want to just apply that 2d texture to a flat quad, I want
geometric depth. Do I make the mesh after so it lines up with the bricks in the texture? Do I have to uv-map the whole thing? Is it one mesh or a bunch of meshes, one for each brick?

I can really use some guidance.

Thanks a lot.


  • Ghogiel
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    Ghogiel polycounter lvl 13
    Have you looked at tesselation or paralax shaders? that can help you get depth or fake geometric depth on a flat plane. You could potentially use a height map you made in SD and displace a tesselated plane with it to get some geo depth and not use a more expensive shader on there at runtime (if that's even your target), or do like you probably imagine and hand line up geo on the texture and tpush/pull in some geometric depth then adjust UVs, just pay attention to still keep the texure tiling properly and the wall section grid snappable(if that's even the idea.)

    That idea of a bunch of meshes , one for each brick, wouldn't be the best way to handle it, trying to map those bricks to a flat texture that's designed as a tiling plane..I don't think you would get a very clean result there tbh.

  • zachagreg
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    zachagreg sublime tool
    For structures or walls like you find in say Dark Souls 3 there is a flat wall with a 2d texture and normal map on it and then there are a couple of bricks floating in the 2d plane that add extra depth. Definitely not one for each brick but it is fairly common to find enough to break up silhouette either in the faces or on corners. Sometimes parallax is used and sometimes tessellation based upon game. I know for instance Rainbow Six Siege uses parallax for a surprising amount of materials as the little drones are quite close to all of the ground planes. 
    Image result for dark souls 3 environments

    In the picture above you can see how there is a combination of static meshes in the ground plane, as well as vertex painting to blend in the dirt material into certain areas of the ground.
  • noekk
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    noekk polycounter lvl 6
    Hi guys, that really helps. I've been examining games like Fallout 4 and Outlast 2 and am starting to understand how it works.

    What I'm after is something like these cave/mine walls and ceiling. Is it basically a low-poly mesh for shape with nice PBR textures applied? I tried getting at the meshes to learn from but I can't with Outlast 2. I'm going to re-install Dark Souls 3 and see what I can learn from that too.

    Thanks again.

  • zachagreg
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    zachagreg sublime tool
    That cave is actually a bit more simple than the dark souls walls and floors to be honest, the cave is most likely 1 or several cave pieces with geometry that matches the silhouette you see there. The pipes and attachment hardware are separate meshes with their own materials. Probably a vertex blended material on the cave walls and then the bottom water plane. I can't see any in that screen but there might also be some lower rock assets on the rock walls to act as a transition between floor and cave wall
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