Shield Normal Map Task
I started by adding supporting edges to this low poly shield using the multi-cut tool so that when it is imported into Mudbox and has its poly count increased it wont change the shape of the shield. To view what it would look like in Mudbox I pressed 3 on the keyboard allowing me to see how many more edges were needed for it to keep its shape.
After importing into Mudbox I used the sculpt tool to bump and dig into the shields at different parts. The overall look I was going for was a shield that had been used in war before and was slightly damaged. Using the knife tool I added the cuts on the bottom right and smoothed them out to make sure they didn’t look to unrealistic. After I was done sculpting I used painting layers to add the colour but also to add specular effects so that certain parts had more shine than other parts or less shine than other parts.
After I was finished modelling my shield I practiced doing normal maps and baking on it. I achieved this by having two duplicated shields, one that was low poly with no sculpting on and one which was high poly with the wood on it. Then I used the extract texture map settings to create the normal map below that I then baked onto my low poly model which is also down below. The reason we use baking is so that we can add realistic high poly designs on to the low poly models so that it can be used in game engines without making the game run slow.
This is another sculpt I did in Mudbox in which I tried to recreate the face of Geralt from the Witcher 3. Overall I think it turned out okay as it was my first time trying to sculpt a face however there are definitely more things I need to learn.
The first thing I did was create a mind map of some possible ideas for the medieval weapon I could do. I made sure to get plenty of reference images that I could use later on when modelling my chosen weapon.
Mood Board & Materials
After I created my mind map I decided I was going to make a sword model. After creating a mood board I went on to investigate the materials that swords back then would have been made from.
Modelling My Sword
After drawing up a rough design on paper I started to model my first attempt at the sword in Maya making sure to keep it low poly.
However, I wasn’t happy with how my model looked so I decided to start again and this time I found a reference online that I used instead. I started by modelling the blade of the sword then moving down in order to the pommel of the sword. After creating the base model of the sword I started to add little detail to it as well as supporting edges to make sure the shape would not change to much when put into Mudbox and increased in polys.
After modelling my sword and checking everything was how I wanted it I started sorting out the UV maps for it making sure that none of the UVs touched each other or overlapped.
After I was done with everything in Maya I imported my model into Mudbox so that I could add detail to it and then bake them into normal maps. When I first put my model in there was no initial errors so I was able to start adding detail straight away. I added detail by duplicating my model so that there was a low and high poly version. After this I started to add dents, cracks and scratches into my sword as I was going for a used in battle look. I then used stencils to make rust and leather textures on my model. The image below ended up being the final outcome.
Baking Normal Maps
When I was happy with how my model had turned out I went and extracted the detail of the high poly model into a normal map using ray casting. However while baking I ran into one problem with the normal map of the blade. The image on the left was the original map in which the edges of the blade were to crushed together so I took it into photoshop and hand painted over the pink bits in the light purple background colour so that the edges wouldn’t be so squashed together. The image on the right is the fixed normal map for the blade.
Apart from the blade I had no other issues with baking as the pommel and handle worked alright first try.
After baking the normal maps and fixing the error I decided to go back into Mudbox to paint my model. For the main colour I used diffuse making sure to use dark colours to fit into my theme of a battle used sword. After getting the base colours how I wanted them I added specular to my model on parts like the pommel and the blade again making sure to not make it to bright for my theme. Overall I think the painting on the model turned out pretty good.
Wire Frame & Poly Count
The image below is the wire frame of my medieval sword model which allows for people to easily see how the polys are placed and shaped. Also I took a screenshot of the poly count which I also managed to keep into the projects poly count limit.
After I was finished with everything in Mudbox I went back into Maya and put my normal maps onto my original low poly model allowing for it to have the detail and look of a high poly version while still being a low poly model meaning game engines would be able to support the model easier.
I took a few render shots one with AO, one of the full model, one close up and one with shadows turned on.
Overall, I think my model turned out alright despite me changing the design of it early on in the project.
I think that my modelling of the sword went alright as I was able to clearly create a sword that was low poly while still looking appealing. However, I could have added more onto the shape for example a engraving or symbol onto the handle or pommel of the sword, this would have also given me more to work with in Mudbox.
I feel that my UV mapping went well as I was able to use all the skills I have learned over the 1st year of my course to properly lay out the UVs with no clashing while making sure they all had the amount of space they needed. Although, there is still a few more skills I could have included into my UV mapping layout such as making sure all the nets were the same scale.
My work in Mudbox went well as I feel I was able to add scratches, cuts, dents and many other marks effectively to make it look like a real life used medieval sword. I think that my painting and texturing of my sword also turned out well although I definitely could have done a better job with parts like specular painting to make certain parts look lighter or darker than they already are. Also with the texturing I could have found some better textures for the steel parts of the swords so that you could see it easier.
My transfer to normal maps went alright apart from the blade of the sword as there was some parts of the normal map that were to pink especially on the edges meaning some of the edges were a bit more sharper than intended. Apart from the blade the other two normal maps turned out successful. I also feel that my rendering skills have slightly improved in the way I now use lighting and shadows. However, I could have tried taking it into Unreal and also taking a few renders there as well.
Overall, I believe that I have successfully created a high poly looking model while keeping it low poly. Although, there are still some skills I could do with practicing more.
I need to carry on practicing my skills in Mudbox so that my work can look as realistic as possible.
I need to work a bit more on making normal maps as well as trying to make some other types of texture maps.