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    Poor man´s Custom Content

    Hi, I was wondering if there are good FREE programs to use with Unreal Ed.

    I know both maya and 3ds max from school and worked with photoshop a bit at a marketing agency. I was wondering how difficult it would be to create custom content using free programs like Bender and Gimp, any thought and/or suggestions?

    Can I create good normal maps with Blender?, I know that Z brush is the Ideal tool but I´d really like to pay Zero bucks to be able to create custom content, I know there is this program called CrazyBump, but how would I create normal maps from complicated meshes with it?

    Can I export .tga from Gimp?

    Thanks

    #2
    For normal, specularity, occlusion maps, I've referred a ton of people here:

    www.CrazyBump.com

    It will make all the maps you want based off of any texture you point it at. Then you can tweak it to your liking. All in all, a great normal, spec, and occlusion can be produced in about 10 seconds.

    And ITS FREE! Woot...

    I've been slowly learning Blender and the learning curve is rediculously steep for people that have done the majority of thier work in other programs. Mostly, because it becomes really unnerving to try an find the tools you are familiar to using.

    I myself learned on Lightwave, which has the easiest UI in the world (IMHO) to follow, even for beginners. But, that user-friendliness came at a really high cost ($650.00 USED!!!)... Anyway, now that I am finding my way around Blender, it has some useful tools, though I still can't find a lot of tools that Lightwave had that seem to be gone in Blender.

    G-Max is free, but you can't do much in the way of materials from there (but materials are applied in the editor anyways, don't really know any other problems with using it). Also, G-Max is made by Discreet (author of 3D Studio Max) and it functions very much the same way, it's just not as up-to-date as Max.

    If you are used to 3DS Max, you could model in G-Max and Import the files into Blender to finalize it, then do the final export to .ase

    I know there's a plugin you have to get to put into Blender's "Scripts" folder to be able to export .ase format, but I don't remember the site name.

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      #3
      Personally, I recommend that people who can't afford the expensive stuff just use software like MayaPLE with ActorX plugin or Blender for 3D, CrazyBump or NVidia Tools or ATI Tools for NormalMaps etc., Gimp or Paint.NET etc. for paint software.
      These tools are usually more than enough for the majority of game work.
      I always purchase all of my software, and for game design I only use about 10% of the features of Max 9/2008 and PhotoPaint/PhotoShop, etc.

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        #4
        also, there are trial versions of 3ds max you can use. granted, you'll have to hurry if you're using it for game content creation because these are 30 days trial versions but it's better than having to import/export several times just to get a working .ase that you might want to change just a slight bit later on and have to go through the process again

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          #5
          The problem isn't really the quality of freeware/opensource software, it's the learning curve as ShadeMistress mentioned.

          I started on Deluxe Paint on an Amiga 500 in high school, found 3D with Imagine 3D, then moved onto Photoshop when I was working in graphic design, played around on an old copy of Lightwave the company had, moved into Maya at college... it's always a fairly big leap to move to new software.

          Now I use The Gimp at home. I actually own a copy of Photoshop 4.0, but the later versions of Gimp are MUCH better. It took a long time to get used to the Gimp workflow and interface, but it's a very capable program, and can't be beat on price!

          Similarly, Wings3D and Blender and other opensource 3D packages are often really **** good at what they do... they just take quite a bit of learning, because they've usually been developed by programmers who don't particularly understand artists

          From what I remember though, Maya PLE was enough for 2K4... wonder if it's the same for UT3?

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            #6
            What are the restrictions of the Maya PLE again? I worked with Maya on an university project and had access to the full package at university computers there, I'd face very little learning curve with that one

            The feature overview just lists the features it has, not those it doesn't have compared to the full edition...

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              #7
              i don't know about later versions of maya ple but the one that came with ut2k4 had these weird watermarks all over the renders. and i heard something about the help being not as extensive in the ple as in the 'full' version but don't quote me on that.

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                #8
                Originally posted by faultymoose View Post
                The problem isn't really the quality of freeware/opensource software, it's the learning curve as ShadeMistress mentioned.

                From what I remember though, Maya PLE was enough for 2K4... wonder if it's the same for UT3?
                In most cases though you only need to learn a few things in the software to be able to do what you need for UT. This is especially true for 3D apps like Maya PLE (or Blender etc.)

                Maya PLE is fine for UT3. Currently there is no plugin for Maya PLE 8.x though, that should be coming soon. So you will have to stick with PLE 7.x until then.


                Originally posted by haslo View Post
                What are the restrictions of the Maya PLE again?
                Non-commercial use only. Otherwise it is full-featured.
                It places a watermark over all rendered output, but that won't affect its use with UT2k4 and UT3.
                As I mentioned, the plugin for PLE 8.x isn't released yet, so you will have to locate a copy of 7.x. There are a few around or you can just ask in the forums.

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                  #9
                  For 3d models, I've been using GameSpace ($300) by Caligari with a set of plugins that work with unreal:

                  GameSpace http://www.caligari.com/gamespace

                  Plugins: http://home.mindspring.com/~clintonr...ce/TSPlug.html

                  With this I've imported both Static Meshes and Skeletal Static Meshes into UT3 with no problems.

                  A new version of Gamespace should be out in the next 4+ months, so if you are going to buy, ask them about the upgrade and if you get it for free.

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