The Art of Art Assets - Building a Simple Bridge : Part 4
At this point you should have a model that has been completely unwrapped and baked. This is where you can hand your model off to your texture artist if you have one. For our purposes we will only show the finished texture since the use of Photoshop is beyond the scope of this tutorial.
The textures were created by our texture artist. After discussing the architectural aspects of the bridge and working together as a team we identified the style, age, weld-points, rust points etc. that we wanted reflected in our model. We decided to add more age to this model than was seen in the original reference photo.
Overall the texturing took about 4 hours to complete. The real power in having your model textures baked to a 2D image is the ability to go back later and make small changes without having to touch the 3D Model.
Applying Textures to Your Model
At this point you are probably wondering what your texture will look like when it’s applied to your model. This is easily accomplished by creating a new material in 3D Studio max, add a Bitmap to the diffuse Map slot, and just dragging the material slot onto the 3D Model. As long as you were careful not to alter the baked 2D image dimensions then the mapping should match exactly.
Our model is complete!
Exporting and Final Remarks
We now have a bridge that is ready to be exported. For our purposes we will be exporting the model into a format that Delta3D can read.
You should have a model that is ready for export! In 3D Studio Max all you need to do is go to file>export and export the file type as a .3DS format. Make sure you keep the texture file in the same directory as your model.
Here's what the bridge looks like in a scene I created in STAGE. That tank makes the bridge look like a pretty good target.
The construction of game assets is a fairly complex procedure that requires quite a bit of planning in advance. This tutorial briefly identified the steps that I have found valuable in my experience in building useable art assets. The tutorial steps were a guide through the multifaceted processes of finding reference materials, drawing your work before you model, understanding rendering limitations with poly and tri counting, modeling with splines and polygons, unwrapping and baking a 2D image of the bridge, simple texturing, and then exporting the finished asset to a game friendly format. It is my hope that the basic material contained in this tutorial will enlighten your path in the development and understanding of art assets.
As an added bonus to the tutorial I'm including a download of the source files for this project. You will be able go through the .max file, .3ds file and texture file to help gain an understanding of what this tutorial was trying to accomplish.
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