Home Technical Talk

Best Workflow for Upscaling All Detail in a Complex Scene

Offline / Send Message
Hello and thanks for checking this out!

My situation is this; I was given a very dense scene that was decimated and turned low poly before being handed off to me. It also came untextured. Since then I have put some basic procedural textures onto everything and it looks alright.

I want to go ahead and brush the whole thing up a little bit. Ideally I'd like to do these things:
  1. Fix some of the terrible decimated topology
  2. Add some more polygons to some of the larger elements, then detail them a little in zbrush and substance
  3. Fix the UV's on all of them so that textures can be applied better and more accurately.
  4. Whatever else I may be able to do to take it to the next level
The tools I have available to me are Blender, Zbrush, And the substance suite (as well as adobe suite if that helps)
The main issues I have been running into are:
  1. There are a ton of parts. For instance there are literally thousands of pipes, pieces of scaffolding, support beams etc. When selecting these parts, many of the pipelines are actually separated into Individual sub-segments where it might turn or move. Most of these objects are then grouped into one larger object, that pertains to a specific part of the facility. For example, a staircase, each singular step, and each supporting guard rail + support beam being it's own selectable item, is combined into the same model as a ton of pipeline and scaffolding, all being a part of a concrete silo. They can be separated, by selecting and changing to it's own model, but there are so many things interconnected that I wonder if there is a better way.
  2. Because of the sheer number of things on this project, I wonder how best to start UV-Ing the whole thing. Is it just a matter of separating every individual part? The pipes bend and move every direction so even selecting them I'm not positive how best to go about fixing them efficiently.
  3.  Is there an efficient way to add some more topology to get a few more levels of detail, at least on some of the more important elements. Sometimes the polycount is so low that a cylindrical pipe is instead displayed as only four hard edges.

I'm sorry if this long and a little messy! I've been trying to wrap my head around how I might go about this for a few days now and I wanted to be somewhat detailed. I wish I could share examples of what I'm talking about but for job purposes I am not allowed to, so I hope my details explained it well enough. Any general tips if anyone has them would be very helpful!
Thanks for the read-through and I hope you are doing well!


  • Eric Chadwick
    What's the end goal, how are you planning to use the finished model? Is the viewer doing a first-person walkthrough in VR on a powerful desktop device? Or is the viewer going to tumble parts of it on their mobile device? Etc.

    I would seek the source assets, sounds like CAD models, and extract the specific high-res parts you need.
  • Maii64
    Thanks for the response!
    So in the end our main use is really just to create videos for internal company use, which is why I can't share images or examples unfortunately. As of right now there is no plans for interactivity or mobile use. The end product that I deliver to the company is simply a video file made from animation of the scene (mainly just camera pan arounds, sometimes some pop up graphics detailing elements of the facility). 

    It's not so much a very fun thing as it is more a technical project. However I have been doing work for this company for a while and it's likely we will come back to revisit this specific asset a lot for different projects so I want to try and make it look as good as possible for the future.

    I agree though I'm pretty sure they are CAD. The issue is I am a contractor for the company and the ones that made the original files were a separate company contracted for a different project a while ago. I fought for a while to try and get more of the assets when we originally started this project to save time and make it look better. I just couldn't get anywhere with that and I was just told to work with what we had. It's a little rough too because the files originally came with textures from the site as well and I had to create my own procedural textures to approximate the real thing. I know if we got all the files that could have been avoided.

    As I think about it I think really my only options are to try and make sure I get those assets as you said or go through the very long process of properly UV-ing and adding details to the few thousand models myself. Probably better to just see if I can access those higher end models haha.

    Thanks again for the response! It's been a time trying to get this thing updated.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Put the onus on your employer.

    If they don't send the original assets, it will cost them X amount of extra cost (your paid time) to recreate the same quality level. 

    Or they might just be happy with the lower quality as-is, and you're the one who might need to lower your expectations to fit the work.
  • Maii64
    Yeah that is very true. It will cost a lot time and money to get it up there. To be honest they are fine with it as is, I just have an interest in working in more creative and higher end 3D at some point in the future and so looking at the current quality bothers me because I know it can be better. But honestly maybe my effort here would be much better spent working on my own personal projects instead and just asking for the better files.

    Thank you for the help!
  • Eric Chadwick
    Yes, that's the way I would recommend approaching this. Put that effort into your own personal work.

    Another downside to adding the extra quality to the paid work... they will expect that quality bar for all other work you do, and they'll want the same low price for it. They didn't ask for (nor frankly need) the extra effort you put into it. Put that into your own work.
Sign In or Register to comment.