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Very specific question on UV mapping a zipper

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I've started to UV map my 1st character (self taught) and this character has a zipper on the jacket, which I modeled in ZBrush using one of the available brushes. This zipper as you may know already, has actual topology, it isn't a dynamesh.

Should I bring this topology to a UV program (Maya in my case) or should I project it from the high-poly on the texture when baking? Which would be your workflow for in this case?

This zipper has around 37k tris in the low-poly, so I believe it's a bit overkill to have that modeled in, maybe I'm wrong, maybe in the next gen we are going to have that level of detail, and it's mainly the reason why I'm asking :#

Thanks in advance!

Replies

  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    You can model a low poly representation of it that captures the silhouette and bake. You'll be surprised at the detail a normal map can capture with clever use of low poly topology being projected to.
  • JustAfterDark
    @musashidan I could simplify the mesh on the zipper to reduce the poly count at least by half yeah, simply by removing all the faces that aren't going to be seen. I still have quite a lot to understand about the whole UV mapping process.

    Let's asume my poly budget is high, like next gen high. I don't know what numbers are those going to be, for a main character in a triple A game, but let's say we are aiming for that. I think Nathan Drake was like 180k tris? And that's a current gen character. In my case, without hair, I have around 119k.

    My character has several subtools, all of them have been already optimized and have a low poly version, either because I retopologized them or I used Zmodeler to do it. But what I'm learning is that the workflow is to make a unified low poly mesh of the entire character, maybe leaving some pouches and the head as a separate mesh, some armor pieces, etc. but the majority of the body should be a unique low poly mesh.

    Would be there a problem if I keep my subtools as separate low poly meshes for the creation of the UV's? I understand that this would make animation more dificult, would baking be harder too?

    Sorry for the long question, I just really want to get the workflow properly and apply it day one :) Thanks for the help!
  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    Pretty sure in most games, that zipper isn't going to be its own geo.  It's getting baked down.  
  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
     I think Nathan Drake was like 180k tris? 
    The cinematic character was 80K. In-game was half that.

    When I say build simple topology to capture the silhouette I don't mean delet some backfaces. :) I mean a VERY simplified representation just to catch basic silhouette, but really, unless you are going to be using the character for extreme closeups from angles where the silhouette of a zipper will be seen, or high res folio renders, than the normal map should do it, and by zipper I mean just the part that goes up and down, not the whole zip. Thaty would be just a strip of flat polys.

    It really depends. Separate mesh parts is very common on modern characters. For issues like geo collapsing/penetrating in animation there would be a pipeline in place where an early proxy rig is tested as modeling is ongoing. Modeler receives feedback, back and forth.... 
  • JustAfterDark
    @slosh I checked your wonder woman piece in AS. The zipper she has, I believe is from the same ZBrush zipper brush. Is it baked down on the jacket? Because it really looks amazing, like if it was actual geo.

    @musashidan It's for folio yeah, but I don't want to showcase something that wouldn't be used in a pipeline. I want to show that I can do it in a professional setting, so if you say it should be baked, it should :) This way will also make me improve in the whole UV/baking process, I don't want to take shortcuts.

    Thank you very much for the help, it made me understand a few things :)
  • slosh
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    slosh quad damage
    Wonder Woman was personal art so I took liberties. For something in game, I would not use geo. 
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J high dynamic range
    If you don't have it already, get the Unreal desktop app and then you can get access to tons of free high quality models. Like from paragon, Squad, Conan, and others.

    When you review those models, think about the games platform, genre, etc.
  • JustAfterDark
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