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[WIP] Freelance Art Test Bus

Hey all. Was recently given an art test in response to a posting in the freelance forum. The prompt was an AEC Regent bus that will eventually become my first seriously Low-Poly project (I was given 1000 Tris and a 1024 diffuse map to work with).
My main reference. Barring any more specific directions, I'm going to keep pushing ahead with the 1940's model, the Regent III because I couldn't find any good orthographic views of the Regent V from the '50's.


Currently in the process of detailing out the Hi-Res model that I'll use to generate my AO. The windows have a little more detail, but it's hidden behind the faces of the body because I haven't gone in and done the paneling details yet. I think I may have to cheat to save tris and actually put doors in the back even though all the reference I've found of this model is a doorway for passengers to enter without any actual doors.

Feedback would be appreciated.

Edit: Frak, I suppose I should have asked before doing this, but it slipped my mind. There was nothing in the actual PM about keeping this private. Is posting looking for crit like this acceptable, vj_box?

Edit 2: Also, I feel like I should mention, I started building this Hi-Res in Maya before being told that the final product was going to be in Max, so I figured I would finish the Hi-Res in Maya and then switch over for the Lo-Res and UVs. Just want to pre-empt any confusion when I switch over to Max in the near future.


  • tonysladky

    Further progress. Added in the side panels and some of the smaller decorative details (fuel cap, vents etc.). Maya, for some reason, won't let me boolean out the shapes of the windows so the frames are still partially obscured by the main shape of the body. Gonna putz with a little bit more Hi-Res detail tomorrow and then start reducing like crazy to hit that 1000 Polygon mark...
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    Hmm, I feel like your details are really shallow. It was hard to tell at first if your bus even had windows, etc. I think it would benefit you to exaggerate your 'strokes', just for the read. Keep it up! Vehicles are difficult!
  • BadKarma
    Hey! Nice opportunity to model something this classic for an art test :) 1000 tris and just a diffuse map sounds like a real challenge as well, and so far I think you're doing a good job!

    I have to agree with Jessica. The details could use a little more attention, especially if you're using it for an AO pass only. To me the first other thing that seemed a bit off are the side mirrors, which seem a tad on the big side. Also the way you modeled the headlights (connected to the grill) isn't accurate I think. They should be part of the front body.

    Here's a quick paintover for a few other areas. Nothing major but perhaps it can aid you:

    Also you mention 1000 tris at the beginning and 1000 polygons at the end, be careful not to mix them up. I'm sure you know, but just a friendly warning :)
  • achillesian
    i've seen good results of organic models where a nice ao bake from a high poly really helps, haven't really seen that so much with hard surface stuff. I almost feel like going oldschool straight up photo refs would be better for this. Or convincing the company to allow 1 1024x512 norm and 1 1024x512 diffuse. The spec given is confusing me a little bit, unless the intention is to downsize the diffuse.
  • BadKarma
    +1 achillesian. Either that or just 4 x a 512x512 texture (diffuse, normal, spec, alpha). Some more info on the requirements would definitely help!
  • tonysladky
    BadKarma wrote: »
    Also you mention 1000 tris at the beginning and 1000 polygons at the end, be careful not to mix them up. I'm sure you know, but just a friendly warning :)

    I mixed that up in the initial post. It's definitely 1000 polys, not 1000 Tris.
    BadKarma wrote:
    Some more info on the requirements would definitely help!

    Here's the prompts I have been given:
    vj_box wrote:
    8.4metres long x 2.44 metres wide x 4.4m high. A Google search for AEC Regent bus will give more images, this colour scheme is from Sheffield (cream and blue)

    Polys- 1000
    Texture- 1024X1024 (Diffuse)
    vj_box wrote:
    The style is going be photoreal and you can use the google search images to the best extent.


    Have the geos floating on top with out having to cut or weld the geos.This will allow to keep the polys lower and also for easy LODs.

    Use the second UV channel for light map and bake a AO for the same.

    For alpha, use solid white and black only. 32 bit tex is required if alpha is used. If not 24 bit will do.
  • Michael Knubben
    Just a heads up, but in game art there's not considered to be any difference between polygons and tris as such. Since polygons can be any number of tris, and tris are the only thing displayed by 3d engines, it should be assumed tris are what are being referred to.

    Given that a mostly quaded model can be up to twice the polycount in tris, that's not a mistake you want to make. Mind you, it's still possible your client doesn't know much about realtime 3d and means quads, but if there's any reason to suspect that I'd ask just to be certain.
  • tonysladky
    Tweaked the grille as BadKarma suggested. Added the ridge around the upper windows, began re-working the lower windows to try and get them to show up since Maya remains unwilling to boolean them out like I want her to.


    After my dinner break, I'm going to fix up the upper windows and try to figure out how I can add a little more interest to the rear end, and then I'm going to call the Hi-Res finished so I can get started on the massive poly-reduction task I've got ahead of me.
  • tonysladky

    Added a bit more detail, tweaked the size and position of that lower step. I know the Hi-Res could probably use a bit more polish, but, barring any glaring fixes anyone (including a well-rested me who hasn't been staring at it all day) notices, I still think I ought to start cranking out the Lo-Res tomorrow. I've got a lot of tris to cut out...
  • tonysladky
    Been reducing for the past couple hours. I'm down to 1,745, which means I've still gotta get rid of another 745 tris to hit my mark. As of right now, I don't know where else to cut them from The undercarriage is a big gaping hole, and I've cut out more of the bevels on top than I would have liked. Hopefully a good night's sleep will help me see where I can lose the other 745 tris, but I'd sure appreciate suggestions from any other pairs of eyes:

  • Zipfinator
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    Zipfinator polycounter lvl 9
    Headlights could use less sides and be flat on the front.

    Get rid of one or both of the chamfers on the wheels and maybe even a few sides of the cylinder it's made of.

    Get rid of chamfers and edge loops on the bumper gaurds.

    Get rid of the top and bottom sections of the poles.

    Not sure how low that will take you, but it should get you close to being at budget. Most of those chamfers I told you to remove could be done through the normal map and things like the top/bottom of the pole and the headlights can be done through the texture. Removing sides on the cylinders and bumper guards is just a sacrifice you need to make with such a low budget.
  • tonysladky
    Heyman, I can see where you're coming from. I've definitely gotta fix up some artifacting and could probably stand to add/rework some of my details (especially the front windows which I hate more and more each time I look at them), but is smoothing and beveling (and more importantly, restarting?!) really something that's going to be all that evident in a 1,000 tri model with only a 1024 diffuse map?

    994 Tris.
  • cw
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    cw polycounter lvl 16
    IMO you have some small overspend in tiny details which could be used better on the curved roof to knock out the lumpy silhouette (radiator cap, or whatever it is, and the tiny nubbin thing.) Mirrors and lights, probably necessary, but can you prune then at all? Also the rear wheelarch could be slightly pruned I think.

    For a real model, there should be more padding on your UVs if you will be seeing mipmaps in game. Everything is super tight so any filtering might overlap to other shells, just keep an eye on that.

    Good luck!
  • tonysladky
    Over the past couple way-less-productive-than-they-should-have-been days, I've been polishing up the Hi-Res. I added the ridges on top and a couple extra bevels in the other ridges as well as reworked the front windows and the wheels. I realized when I screengrabbed the front view that it could stand to be a bit rounder at the top, so I'll fix that before moving on.

    I finally got a response from my contact that the polycount is actually 1000 Quads, not 1000 Tris, so I'll be rebuilding the Low-Res tomorrow with that in mind rather than trying to salvage the 1000 Tri version with the severely reduced bevels.


    Edit: Thanks for the UVing tip, cw. I'll keep that in mind when I re-UV the new Low-Res.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    It seems like you are not turbosmoothing some things? The wheel and wheel guard especially are visibly jagged. Also, it seems as if you are triangulating things when you don't need to do that for a high poly. It would save you some time not to.
  • tonysladky
    I get that the triangulation isn't necessary, or at least isn't helping with the artifacting that I hoped it would deal with, but is smoothing really necessary to accomplish anything that I couldn't do with finer control using bevels? I tried smoothing certain areas, like the ridges, and the smooth completely wrecked the silhouette by rounding them off around the corners so much that they got sucked inside the rest of the body.

    I'll definitely go back and smooth out easily extracted chunks like the wheel wells, but at this point, it seems like smoothing everything will create a lot more problems than it will fix. I don't doubt that I'm doing a lot wrong, but I have a hard time believing that going back and redoing everything "right" is the best fix.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    Turbomooth/some kind of smooth modifier is necessary when making a high-poly model. Either that, or you can start off your primitive by cranking up the divisions super high, then going from there (but sometimes, that does not give you all the control you might want). If you are getting 'artifacting, it is not because you aren't triangulating things. I don't think you actually know how to use a smoothing modifier because you say that using it 'wrecks your silhouette' and 'rounds off corners too much'. Smoothing does not do this if you use it correctly - you are supposed to place control edges around each silhouette-defining edge before applying the modifier. Beveling everything is a bad idea and a waste of time. I honestly feel like if you start over and do this correctly you will save a lot of time, but if you want you can try to fix what you have - it will just take a lot longer cuz you will have to go in and delete all your bevels and whatnot.

    Please watch this tutorial! You will thank me later ;) Best of luck on the test.

    High Poly Modeling 101! (an awesome tutorial by Don Ott)
  • tonysladky

    I think I'm starting to get it; still feels extremely awkward, but I can already see an improvement in the lack of jaggedness.

    Thanks for the tutorial, Jessica. Between that and Racer255's, this is definitely making a lot more sense.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    Hey! There you go! Already looking way better. Making high poly is a little awkward at first and takes getting used to, but you can do it x] Post your progress as you go and there are lots of people here who can help you out!
  • tonysladky
    Starting to figure out the basic body shape. Obviously a lot of my control edges aren't in place yet (for example, the one on the bottom step or around the back door cutout).

  • tonysladky
    Still trying to wrap my head around the new workflow. Continued blocking it out. Now, though, I'm a bit confused. I've got an area where I need more loops to hold the edge hardness (in this case, along the cutout in the front), but those loops wind up terminating up along what I want to be a really smooth, round corner on top, so it becomes really, really sharp. I've tried to spread out the loops as evenly as possible, but I'm still getting a very sharp corner. What's the right way to deal with this sort of situation? Do I go in and (partially) manually redraw those loops so they can be more evenly distributed? Do I break the no triangles rule and terminate the loops early (which, I suppose would make diamond quads or n-gons before it made triangles)?

    Other progress, the model's in pieces right now because it made more sense to me to deal with small chunks while trying to wrap my head around subdivisions rather than also worrying about what all the new loops I was adding and editing were doing to the overall mesh. Hence the gaping holes where a couple of the chunks don't quite line up with Smooth Mesh Preview on:
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    I'm not exactly sure where your problem is - if you could label your images to let us know which edges/corners you are talking about that, would be helpful. However, I can say that yes, sometimes I need to go in and manually adjust edge control to suit my purposes. It is also perfectly ok to have ngons in your high poly because this high poly is not going in game, it's only going to be used as something for your low poly object to project onto and create a pretty normal map haha.
  • tonysladky
    Oh, yeah. Label would've made sense. Guess spaciness is my punishment for deciding to work tired instead of grabbing a second late-night cup of coffee...


    That's the worst offender in terms of sharp corners where round ones are the intent. I guess I can probably figure it out now that I know no tri's or n-gons is more of a guideline than a rule.
  • tonysladky
    Been finessing the shape some more and recombining the main body. Started trying to figure out the best way to start off the windows. By no means are those windows anywhere close to finished. Eventually they'll be pressed in much closer to the body, but I wanted them to still be fully visible in these screenshots until I figure out how I want to go about getting them recessed into the body.

  • IsparticusI
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    IsparticusI polycounter lvl 8
    you still need to turbo or mesh smooth your tires and rims, still very blocky. and as for the windows, you dont necessary need them to be attached to the body of the bus, it would actually be easier to keep as is and have them be floating geo. extrude the body of the bus inward where the windows will be and set the windows right inside :)
  • tonysladky
    As I was reaching the unfortunate conclusion that coffee isn't doing it for me tonight for some reason, I was actually in the process of experimenting on how best to get the windows in the right position. In one of my reference images, there's a panel line right above and below the bottom row of windows, which seems to me like a perfect spot to cut off the window mesh.

    Wheels are still the ones from the old mesh because I was happy with them even if they were still a little blocky, but I'll go back and smooth them out eventually.

    Hopefully I'll have more to show after a long walk and the inevitable purchase of even more insane sources of caffeine...
  • tonysladky

    Started adding in more details. Windows are mostly roughed in, but since I haven’t finalized the geometry behind them (i.e.extruded it in). Started to place some of the other details like the grille, the vents, the headlights and the doors.
  • Jessica Dinh
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    Jessica Dinh polycounter lvl 10
    Looks pretty clean so far! Btw, you don't need to show those shots of the bus with the turbosmooth isoline showing - just the plain high poly shots. That way you can post those shots bigger so we can view the details better, right now those shots are kindof small, low-res, jaggedy. Keep it up!
  • tonysladky

    Modeled out the lower panels, started adding little details like the mirrors, fuel tank, license plate. Finally bit the bullet and carved out the hollows for the main lower windows so they can actually sit correctly.
    Wheels still need work. Upper half still needs a lot of love (placing the windows properly, figuring out panels etc.) The main body still needs to be recombined (or at least have everything line up properly to get rid of gaps). Little details like the lights need polish, and the headlights aren’t really attached yet.
  • tonysladky

    Painstakingly cut out the geometry behind the windows and little gaps in the panels like the fuel cap, license plate and… thing that looks sorta like a foostep… I don’t know, but it’s in all the reference. Hopefully this’ll get easier as I get more used to subdivision work. I’ve been at this way, way too long, so I think I’m probably going to need to start the low-res, if not because the hi-res is “done”, then at least because I’ll probably go insane/procrastinate even more if I have to putz anymore with the little details of the hi-res.
  • butt_sahib
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    butt_sahib polycounter lvl 11
    Im happy you learned so much from this thread! :)

    Highres modeling in old school modelling apps like max maya softimage modo silo etc all require you to have knowledge of subdivisional modelling, the concepts of edges, control edges etc. No body can say they're perfect at subD modelling, but it comes with practice.
    You should check out different tutorials on this topic to understand how to control your model with control edges. Theres a great tutorial by Grant i believe. Theres also the MEGAAAAAA awesome thread here at PC in the technical subforum "How to model dem shapes" headede by the crazy Earthquake, a PC veteran. You should definitely check them out.

    Good luck!
  • tonysladky
    butt_sahuib, thanks for the links. I'd seen the "How u model dem shapes" thread. My laptop was having some trouble displaying Grant's videos on the website, so I haven't watched it yet, but I downloaded it without issue onto my desktop; I'll check them out after work.


    Went back in and remodeled the wheel wells and tires. Hopefully they’re less bubbly now. I don’t know why, but for some reason I had started with a cube on those wheel wells instead of the infinitely more straightforward option of a cylinder. Started re-tweaking some of the smaller details like the curved bit in front of the left-side windows. It needed more detail and the curve was all wonky.
  • tonysladky

    Added the ridges. Troubleshooting the “bubbliness” around the upper windows. Tweaked some of the other curves that weren’t curvy enough for my tastes.Attempted to work around some scaling issues (specifically, the top is too wide because of the position of the windows and the ridges).

    And now, it's time to take a break and use my birthday as an excuse to sink an unforgivable number of hours into Skyrim...
  • Neox
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    Neox insane polycounter
    Looking really nice and clean so far. But what i don't get is, (maybe i didn't read it and it was said earlier) is that still made for your test of a freelancegig? You're in for about a month now, how much time are you planning to invest for an asset which from its specs never really needed a highpoly in the first place. How do you expect to make a living from your freelancing at this pacing?
  • tonysladky
    I never really said anything, but I sort of decided right around the time I started over on my Hi-poly, that I was probably not finishing this in reasonable time to turn in the test. Now it's just become my big "Learn subD" project.

    And as for not needing a hi-poly, I haven't really done anything really, really Lo-res like this, and baking is just the only way I know to generate that sort of detail, even if it was only going to be on a low-res AO map with no normals. I suppose the smart option would've been to look for some low-poly tutorials, but then it might've been even longer before I got the "Learn subdivision" crit. I've got a lot of stuff to go back and fix now that I'm somewhat familiar with these techniques, and I wouldn't know if I hadn't started out doing this test wrong.

    I'm not even really trying to make a living freelancing. I submitted a couple applications hoping to build my portfolio and resume, and maybe get a little extra spending money, with some outsource work while I work a crappy part-time job, live with my parents, and make some dents in my student loans.
  • Alberto Rdrgz
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    Alberto Rdrgz polycounter lvl 9
    I think those lumpy areas you have are from you wanting to model too much. For some of those shapes just use primitives and model with them. instead of having to box model everything. like for example 1/4 of a cylinder could help with the angle of the back, top part of the bus. Also, some your edges are looking tight around the windows.
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