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Environment Art - Multiple Props in a scene

Hi guys, sorry to bother you again with silly questions, but as I said in a previous topic, I've started 2 months ago, so there are a few concepts that I still struggle. Every course that I've taken so far, people talk about how saving texture space is vital. So let me give you an example of my doubt. I'm making a scene, and there are 4 props in this scene, say I've defined a texel density of 5.12px/cm. What would be the most efficient way to texture them, putting all these objects in a single UV sheet , and use a 2048x2048 texture (assuming they all would fit in with the defined texel density) , or unwrapping each prop in a single UV sheet and using lower res textures (assuming that the prop would have the same texel density in this low res unique texture than it would in the texture with all the props together.
Also, if I decide to use a single 2048x2048 texture and texture all of the props together in Substance Painter, should they all be in a single texture set for the process to be efficient? Because than I could use the same maps (albedo, normal, roughness, etc) for all of the props, on the other hand if they are in multiple texture sets, substance would generate maps for each one of them, even if they all fit in the 0 to 1 space together. I guess that my main doubt is: When we are talking about optimization for a game, what is more relevant, the number of uv sheets that you will be using, or the number of maps that you would have to use on a scene?
Sorry for the long text, and if my question sounds confusing. Thanks in advance

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  • poopipe
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    poopipe hero character
    So..
    If you have to ask this question, you're better off not worrying about it.
    Simply split stuff up in a way that makes sense for authoring unless a tech artist or render programmer tells you otherwise - if what you make is good quality and sensibly built you will not suffer when your work is being reviewed by a potential employer.

    I don't mean to be dismissive - it genuinely warms my heart to see people care enough to ask these questions but what's optimal is so dependant on context that nobody can answer the question without profiling the end result against its alternatives.

  • sprunghunt
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    sprunghunt greentooth
    kapgowild said:
    Hi guys, sorry to bother you again with silly questions, but as I said in a previous topic, I've started 2 months ago, so there are a few concepts that I still struggle. Every course that I've taken so far, people talk about how saving texture space is vital. So let me give you an example of my doubt. I'm making a scene, and there are 4 props in this scene, say I've defined a texel density of 5.12px/cm. What would be the most efficient way to texture them, putting all these objects in a single UV sheet , and use a 2048x2048 texture (assuming they all would fit in with the defined texel density) , or unwrapping each prop in a single UV sheet and using lower res textures (assuming that the prop would have the same texel density in this low res unique texture than it would in the texture with all the props together.
    Also, if I decide to use a single 2048x2048 texture and texture all of the props together in Substance Painter, should they all be in a single texture set for the process to be efficient? Because than I could use the same maps (albedo, normal, roughness, etc) for all of the props, on the other hand if they are in multiple texture sets, substance would generate maps for each one of them, even if they all fit in the 0 to 1 space together. I guess that my main doubt is: When we are talking about optimization for a game, what is more relevant, the number of uv sheets that you will be using, or the number of maps that you would have to use on a scene?
    Sorry for the long text, and if my question sounds confusing. Thanks in advance
    This is very dependant on what your scene looks like, what sort of scene it is (outdoors? indoors? ), what engine you're using, and what type of game you're making. 

    It's perfectly normal to have a mix of all these techniques depending on things like the size of your asset or if they're supposed to be joined together in some way. 

    Epic artist Kevin Johnstone has this neat presentation that explains some techniques you might want to use to be more efficient:
    http://www.kevinjohnstone.com/Help/Modular Environment Design.rar

    Another thing I suggest doing is to look at as many assets from professionals you can find. 
    A great opportunity for learning is to have a look at the assets from Paragon that Epic released on their store. For example here's a free pack of environment assets you can download and examine in Unreal:

    https://www.unrealengine.com/marketplace/en-US/product/paragon-agora-and-monolith-environment


  • kapgowild
    Thanks for the answers, it will be an outdoor environment in UE4. Will definetely check the assets!
  • icegodofhungary
    I usually merge small stuff together that share the same material/texture. Like If I have 3-4 little rocks, I will lay them on the grid in Maya  in rows as a lowpoly row, highpoly row, and a cage row. Merge the rocks in each row together as one object. Then make sure all the rows have the same transform point. Make sure they all have the same default material applied. Export each row as rocks_low, rocks_high, rocks_cage. Then import into Substance and bake. If I baked each rock seperately, into it's own 256x256 map, it would take longer. Merging them into one mesh is faster. Then reimport into maya and separate the lowpoly meshes from one another.

    But If I had 3 small object that required different materials, I might not do that. The guy who does the Mad Bomber Basement over in the 3D forum, he merges his objects by likeness before moving to painter for baking. He posted a video where he merged 3 different light fixtures and did all 3 at once in painter. You can always separate them again. Sometimes it just makes work faster even if you're not doing it because it's more efficient in the game engine.


  • poopipe
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    poopipe hero character
    Most render tech is geared towards the idea  that artists should be able to just do some art - second guessing what it wants without understanding how it works is futile and probably unhelpful.

    If you have related assets that will generally be used together as a set, put them on the same texture page - otherwise don't bother..

    Lots of small textures stream a lot better than a few large ones 
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