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    Complex Highpoly to Lowpoly Question

    My name’s Stan, I'm modeling using the highpoly to lowpoly method, using 3ds max to bake out the normal maps. I have made a game model built with complex smaller pieces. The small pieces have gaps and indentions between them. I was wondering what should I do to get this to bake into a normal map. Should I modify the lowpoly model to comfortably fit around the highpoly map or just leave it the way it is and scale it up a little bit bigger? If I scale it bigger, the gaps and indentions in the small pieces will be overlapped.

    Another question I have is if I were to break it down in pieces, how would I go about baking each individual object and putting it all back together as a single object? Would I have to unwrap and bake each individual piece separately then attach them all together and unwrap again as a single object, and could I put together the baked maps of each individual piece in Photoshop and place the maps to the new single object’s unwrap? It's ok if this is confusing for you, it's difficult to explain. I don't think a whole lot of people do highpoly to lowpoly anyways. For those who can understand, finding a solution would be of great help for my team and me.

    #2
    If you must have smaller pieces for your in-game low poly, then I think you will have to break your high poly model into the same pieces for the baking. Each piece will need its own UVW map.

    Unless I completely misunderstood you...

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      #3
      No, your way sounds like it would be great solution, but still the the problem is mostly abou the gaps and indentions. It's hard to project objects like that. I just came up with an idea, is there a way I can modify the projection cage? That would be a great solution.

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        #4
        I have made a game model built with complex smaller pieces. The small pieces have gaps and indentions between them.

        I'm not sure if that's a good idea in general... pics?

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          #5
          Agreed. If the gaps and indentations are important aspects of your model, perhaps it would be easier to add detail to the low poly pieces, going from low to high instead.

          A pic would definitely help.

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            #6
            Full object:
            http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/u...a/Capture4.jpg

            small pieces with gaps:
            http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/u...a/Capture1.jpg

            wheels have indentions:
            http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/u...a/Capture2.jpg

            camera nosle is beveled inward:
            http://i637.photobucket.com/albums/u...a/Capture3.jpg

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              #7
              I don't think normal-map baking is made for what you're doing, or that it would even be useful. You've got some very basic shapes there that look like pieces to a car, so some of that model won't even show up in gameplay right? Are those pictures of the detailed model or the low-poly?

              That said, if you do try it then just place everything so that each high-poly part is in the same spot as the low-poly. The low-poly needs to be UV-unwrapped, but not the high-poly. I've never done it myself, so sorry if I'm not more helpful here.

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                #8
                Another thought: If you want to increase the resolution/detail on some of those pieces without losing hard edges in select areas, try adding an extra edge around the areas you want to keep intact. This will help them to keep their shape as more polygons are added.

                If you have a newer version of Max, the graphite modeling tools can really help here as well (you can select a row of vertices and simply line them up with the X, Y, or Z axis with the click of a button... straight edge restored).

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                  #9
                  It's pretty confusing what your intended workflow is, but this workflow is actually pretty **** easy, I think you're over complicating it. Assuming you're making a car or something similar:

                  1. Your high poly has lots of high poly little bits (wheels, spokes, hood, doors, etc), all separate pieces, that's fine.
                  2. You would then want to retopologize that high poly mesh, and in doing so you've created a low poly mesh that "wraps" around the high poly mesh.
                  3. Since a car is largely a rigid body, most of the retopo'd low poly mesh will simply "wrap" around the high poly and be one continuous mesh. For example, take a car body, even though the hood may be a separate high poly piece, unless you plan on opening the hood, it's fine to include the hood with the rest of the car body as one continuous low poly model.
                  4. The exception to this is that some parts animate in a way that doesn't allow for simply stretching the mesh and will need to be retopologized as a separate, low poly mesh. For example, wheels would have to be retopologized separately from the body of the car, because they need to be "spun" by animation, but if you had a human model, the arms, although animated, can simply "stretch" and can be part of the same low poly mesh as everything else.

                  You also might be thinking of "exploding a mesh" for normal map baking. That's fine, there's plenty of tutorials on the subject, simply google for something like "exploding mesh and normal map" to understand that process better.

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                    #10
                    Maybe these two videos will be of help to you as they explain several of your problems and even show you how to modify the projection cage:

                    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFSXt...eature=related

                    2. http://cg.tutsplus.com/tutorials/aut...ap-in-3ds-max/ (from Racer445)

                    Edit: I found the video mentioned earlier under point 2 of my posting. So now it's edited in and my ramblings deleted.

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                      #11
                      This thread has been extremely usful, I thank you all for your comments and help. I found out I can bake it out into a normal all together, and edit the cage to make it look snug. This makes the process a lot easier. However, I don't know if the lowpoly should look the way it dose, I think I should edit it to be slightly bigger than the highpoly, so the highpoly dosn't show.

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                        #12
                        I'm having a flashback -> http://forums.epicgames.com/showthre...=High+Poly+Low

                        This might help on the normal mapping front: http://udkc.info/index.php?title=Tut...ping_for_Games

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                          #13
                          Sometimes you get stuck or confused and need some reassurance to get back on your feet. The forums is just a tool I use to find other effective ways of getting confidence and help when i'm unsure or completely lost; otherwise, it's just trial and error, until you feel like giving up. XD

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by Kasigawa View Post
                            However, I don't know if the lowpoly should look the way it dose, I think I should edit it to be slightly bigger than the highpoly, so the highpoly dosn't show.
                            I think you're confusing two subjects, the low poly and a cage for normal mapping. They are not the same things. Your low poly should follow your high poly as closely as possible. Your cage, however, is essentially your low poly but modified where needed to "baloon out" to help the rays cast during normal map creation. Make sure you're not confusing the two, low poly matches your high poly. Cage is an expanded low poly, slightly inflated to completely engulf your high poly mesh. Go to google and type in: polycount wiki normal map, it'll give you plenty of background on normal mapping, cages, etc.

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                              #15
                              Thank you for the help, especially from danimal, you're were big help thanx!!!! That answered everything!

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