Building a bridge

This turned out to be much more time consuming than expected.

Modeling and sculpting are very near in my workflow. I create a base model and sculpt the details, which will be applied back to the model using normal maps. From the scultping process I also derive an AO map for direct inclusion into the model’s shader.

As I have already mentioned in my last post, I evaluated some tools to ease the process. I tried another attempt at using scultpris, but it just doesn’t fit into the workflow and it still has a lot of issues, crashes and quirks which in the end will cost me more time.

Using the bridge from the entry scene I tried several approaches on how exactly to implement this modeling/sculpting and texturing workflow.

Right now I have arrived at the following:

  • I create the base model in blender 2.49 with all the basic rough geometry in place
  • an uv map is created in blender 2.49. I create uv patches where those areas which occupy the most screen space also occupy the most area in the uv map ( sort of a cheap handmade ptex :).
  • the model is then imported into blender 2.5 and a multiresolution modifier is applied up to the resolution I need for the specific purpose. In case of the bridge I used up to 2 million vertices for the scultping
  • Then starts the scultping, which is way better in 2.5 then in 2.49 but still no real match to zbrush, 3dcoat or the adaptive mesh tesselation in sculptris.
  • From the sculpted mesh an ao map and normal map is baked into separate images
  • The generated maps are then used back in 2.49 for the texture slots in the shaders

See here for an example of the bridge and how the individual maps apply:

Basic Modeling
AO map applied to base model
AO and normal map applied

I would love to have the depth painting features of zbrush, 3dcoat or even sculptris. As you can see I use the scultping only to generate my normal maps, so to be able to directly paint in depth would be a real blessing.

I already did some further investigation into texturing. What I will do is the follwing:

  • Again texture painting is done in 2.5 because the tools are superior to 2.49
  • I create a color texture slot for the material with an empty grey image map loaded
  • I use the GLSL feature to display the full material including ao and normal maps. This gives me a good guidance where to put the texture.
  • Well and than he painting starts, with heavy use of the clone feature
  • Once finished and if the targeted material allows it, I temporarily use the created color map to act as bump map too.
  • With the previous normal map active and the color map acting as bump map I bake a new combined normal map, which now include the high frequency details from the color map as well.

In my next post I will show you the result for the bridge.

Here are another two examples of the bridge in two other shots.

Author: loramel

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