Course info
Feb 20, 2008
5h 11m
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Learn critical modeling techniques and a production workflow for creating clean topology, working within polygon restrictions, and building from reference art. Contains over 5 hours of project-based training for artists learning the creative processes of modeling characters for next-generation games. Popular highlights include: Blocking-in Form; Primitive Modeling; Adding Muscle Definition; Modeling in Symmetry; Working within Polygon Budgets; Checking Silhouettes for Appeal; Critiquing Models with Paint-overs; Creating Efficient Geometry; Reducing Model Resolution Manually; Strategically Adding Detail; Creating the Illusion of Detail; Building to Reference Art; Checking Models at Multiple Scales; Creating Useful Topology; Simplifying Shapes; Working with Multiple Pieces; Extruding Geometry to Add Detail; Building Tubes and Pipes with Curves; Combining Vertices with Merge; Quickly Adding Geometry with Bridge Tool. Software required: Maya 2008 and up.

About the author
About the author

Justin thrives as a lead modeling author at Pluralsight. Growing up, Justin found a deep interest for the computer graphics industry after watching movies like Jurassic Park, Toy Story and The Abyss. His ambition would lead him to work at Sony Imageworks in Los Angeles on movies like Monster House and Surf's Up. Justin has also had numerous articles, tutorials and images published in 3D World and 3D Artist.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
[Autogenerated] Hello and welcome to modeling Next Gen characters in Maya presented by digital tutors. My name is Justin and I'll be your instructor as we go through the process of building and next generation game character in Maya, and we're fortunate that we had the opportunity to collaborate on this title with a few of our friends over. It was soft and blitz games to better ensure that we've covered some of the key topics and techniques that are gonna be needed in production. Now, while building characters for video games does share many of the methods and work flows we might use to build characters for film or TV, there are also many differences, whereas characters meant for other mediums, maybe pre rendered video game characters need to be able to move around in the real time world of a game engine. To do this, those character models must be built under some technical constraints. Models will often be built and a lower resolution, which, with much of the detail coming from texture, maps and normal maps as computing power increases, these limitations do become less of a factor. But even in next generation video games, there are limits to what can be done. Our challenge will be to reproduce the character art we have while standing within our polygon budget. So to begin will examine the reference artwork that will be using and talk about how we can best match those drawings. We'll also talk about the resolution. Constraints will be working under. Once we've got that out of the way, will begin to model our game character, using some traditional polygon techniques with an eye for keeping the resolution low. Where possible throughout the process will continually check our model against the artwork for proportion and shape. Issues will discuss concepts like silhouette and using paint overs to help troubleshoot the model. In the end, we'll have a game character within our public gun budget that will be ready to detail with normal maps. So let's go ahead and get started by taking a look at the reference art that we're gonna be using. And we'll talk also a little bit more specifically about the technical constraints that were going to be working under. So we take a look at the images that we have. This would be located in your project files. We've got a front side and back of this game character that we're gonna be building and this is going to be provided to you, as always. You're also welcome to follow along with your own character if you like. But for the particular steps, we're gonna be using this guy. So if we take a look at him, you can see that we've got a nice variety of geometry in here. We've got a few organic pieces, including the abdomen and the arms and head. Okay. We have also got a lot of hard surface pieces in here, like this armor down here on the bottom, on the legs. We've also got pieces up here like the armor along the torso. And we've also got some pieces that are a little bit more in between. OK? Things like the tubes appear around his head coming off of his back, and also this sort of integrated gun on his arm are gonna be have a little bit more of an organic shape, but still be kind of mechanical. Okay, so we've got a really nice mix here that will be able to utilize a lot of different techniques toe to build these and some of these, they're gonna be challenging in order to get them to be a little bit more low. Rez. And we talked a little bit in the intro about keeping things low. Resolution. Just There's some numbers out at you. Just for example, you've got game characters going anywhere from 2000 up to maybe 14 or 15,000 polygons for a single character, and then you've got on an individual basis, you've got games that air using characters at a much higher resolution. So it really depends on the game, the style of the game, thegame engine. It depends on a lot of things. So you're gonna find that each situation is going to be pretty unique. Okay, so we've got some general numbers there, So let's go ahead and say that our polygon budget on this guy's gonna be around 10,000 polygons and want to talk about pulling guns. I'm gonna talk about triangles. Okay, so maybe you think of a polygon as a traditional quad foresighted face, so that's gonna be two triangles there. So we're gonna work to keep our model are complete model under 10,000 for this particular project, But just keep in mind that it will be unique. Every character is going to be a little bit different every game, studio, Uh, depending on the game to paying on. Like I said, the different technical considerations that we have there, but we're gonna go and and work under 10,000 on this guy. Okay, So it would be a challenge to get some of these pieces. We've got some some curved pieces here that want to maintain the curvature. And sometimes, if you if you stay too low, resolution, you're going to get some fascinating. So we'll get some different ways to avoid that as well. So if we jump into Maya here, we've got this is our artwork. Go and jump into mind. Can see. I've got these guys load up its image planes. We have training on the website for building image planes, setting them up thing. So I'm just gonna go ahead and have those set up. You're welcome to do it yourself. You're also welcome to used this. This is gonna be the 01 scene file. So in your scene files and your project files on CD one, you're gonna find 01 dot m a file And that's gonna include just this blank file here with our image planes loaded. And these were just the three images that we just looked at and I've got him loaded into the side front and I've just created a new camera, just duplicated the front. Cameron rotated it around and added this image plane to that. So if you don't want to set this up yourself, you're welcome to go ahead and start with this scene file so that we can start building our geometry in here. I've also got a shelf up here that you'll see that I'm gonna be putting just commonly used tools up here. It's nothing. I'm not gonna have any use any fancy scripts or anything like that. I'm just gonna put some tools that are gonna be a little bit easier to grab if I had him on my shelf. So I've just got his daily history and freeze transforms, and, uh, we've got some of the selection right here, but polygon tool, some things like that. So as I go through and add these just hit control shift and it'll add whatever it is, you select your shelf, so just be aware that it's nothing special. You can go ahead and create your own shelf of whatever tools you want to go ahead and use. All right, so let's go ahead and start with this file in the next lesson, and we'll start by blocking in the geometry for this big piece of armor, appear on the torso and can see it extends out along the back as well. Okay, so we'll go ahead and start to do that in the next lesson.