[Student Thread] Velocirascal - Lord Hayden


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Posted (edited)

Hey there! So, to get started, it's best to get all the programs we will need set up for the workflow. Depending on what you have access to and what kind of workflow you have, the texturing process can vary, so I'll cover it when we get to it. 

Your Blender version is 2.77/2.78, so it's compatible with the Blender exporter in my tutorial thread about exporting statics from Blender. Just open up Blender and go File -> User Preferences and select Add-ons from the top bar. You can then click on 'Install From File' at the bottom of the window and browse to the .zip of the .nif exporter. I believe you can also go into your Blender directory and unzip the files there manually, but I find the first method easiest. Now you should have a 'NetImmerse/Gamebryo (.nif)' option in your Import and Export options.

The programs in the tutorial thread cover just about everything you will need to go from Blender to Skyrim, although one extra tool you will find useful (and will most likely need) is BSAOpt, a program that can decompress .bsa files. A .bsa is a Bethesda Softworks Archive, pretty much a compressed file that contains scripts, models, textures, etc. Kind of like a .zip file, except you need a special program to open it. You won't have to worry about creating .bsa files as we just use loose files most of the time for modding. The only times .bsa files are distributed would be for full releases to the public, and even then that would be handled by the team leads. What you will want to do is use BSAOpt to extract some of your vanilla Skyrim files into a working directory (this can be anywhere, My Documents for example) where you can find them. The .bsa files you will want to extract from your Skyrim Data directory (.../Steam/steamapps/common/Skyrim/Data) are Skyrim - Meshes.bsa and Skyrim - Textures.bsa. These are both the meshes (.nif files) and the textures (.dds files) used in Skyrim. These are useful for not only looking at the models and getting ideas on how Bethesda got around the geometry and texture use, but also for opening up in NifSkope and figuring out how the file structure works and what everything means (I will go into detail about this when we finally export our own model)

For texturing, we will most likely be using Adobe Photoshop to save out our textures to a .dds (DirectDraw Surface) file format, although this isn't included in the default Photoshop install. The best .dds plugin around at the moment I believe is the Intel Texture Works plugin, so get that installed and ready.

To sum up the main programs and plugins you will be needing:

  • Blender 2.77+ and the .nif Exporter
  • BSAOpt
  • NifSkope
  • NifUtilSuite
  • Adobe Photoshop and the Intel Texture Works Plugin

It might sound like a bit of work, but all this stuff only needs to be done once, and sets you up perfectly for the rest of your workflow. If you wanted to test out if you installed everything correctly, you can try importing one of the vanilla .nif files you extracted into Blender, and open up a .dds texture file in Photoshop.

Once you've got all this done, let me know and we can move on to your Iliac Bay claim ;) Or, if you're running into any troubles, just either post here or send me a message and I can help you through it. :)

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

Ok!

I've installed all of the applications and plugins you mentioned but there are two caveats:

  1. The link to the newest version of BSAopt didn't work when I tried it, but I was able to click over to the Files tab and download the version that was posted there (1.6.3 released 6/7/12)
  2. I am using Photoshop CS5 which doesn't seem to be compatible with the Intel Texture Works Plugin, but my friend who is dabbling in modding Skyrim provided me with a different .dds plugin that I was able to install instead.

That said, everything I have (including BSAopt and the .dds plugin) appears to be functional so far, so I'm ready for the next step unless you think we should spend more time making sure I have a specific version of BSAopt and/or a specific .dds import/export plugin for Photoshop.

Also, I'll be taking a trip out of town this weekend, so I'll be available to respond to posts and mesages but it'll be Monday before I can continue actual work.

I'm looking forward to my first claim!

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Posted (edited)

I believe the nVidia .dds plugin will also do what you need it to for now (I'm assuming that's the one you're using). The only possible problem that might pop up is the .dds format we save as. The nVidia .dds plugin was the default plugin used for saving out texture files for the old Skyrim engine (using DXT5 compression) until the release of the Special Edition, this is when Skyrim was able to use newer and better .dds compression methods that are only available through the Intel Texture Works plugin (BC7 I think the new compression method is called). You can check out this Reddit thread if you wanted to go into finer details about how and why, as well as see some examples.

I should've asked this earlier, do you have the original Skyrim and/or SSE?

That being said, a lot of teams are still using the original Skyrim to mod and have not jumped over yet to the Special Edition, although I think a lot of them plan to do so at some point. It's not a problem if you're unable to get your hands on the Intel plugin, but just to be safe, I'd keep a backup of all your texture files in the highest resolution you can in a lossless format such as .tga, that way you'll always have the original files in the case someone needs to create SSE versions of your texture maps.

Regarding BSAOpt, it hasn't been updated in quite a long time, so I think that's the correct version. If in doubt, you can always try to extract a Skyrim.bsa to see if it throws up any errors.

Your Claim

Now, regarding your claim, we've got a clutter claim that's only been partially completed that will be used throughout Hammerfell (keep in mind that clutter sets like this can also be used all throughout Beyond Skyrim wherever it might be appropriate, so the chances of your models appearing in other provinces all over Tamriel are quite high!). Here's a link to the Beyond Skyrim: Iliac Bay Trello board post. Most provinces use Trello as their planning and organisational website for a lot of art related stuff. This is where we post concepts and screenshots of some of our claims. 

The board should be public, but in the case that it is not; here is the concept we have for the clutter set:

up1.png

At the moment, everything along the bottom row has not been started or claimed except for the blue plate on the left. I'll have to see if anything is still available along the top row as well, but for now, the bottom row can be our starting point. 

If you like the look of the style and this claim, let me know which one you would like to start with (I'd suggest the vases or bowls just to start). I'll pick a similar object in the claim, that way you can follow along and we can focus on getting the workflow down, and getting the model in-game. If you're not a fan of the style or anything, feel free to have a look over the board and find something that grabs your eye. The left hand side board shows all the current members who have claimed what on the board so you can see what's avaliable, so once we've confirmed your claim I'll add you in there. :)

EDIT:

Also, no rush if you're away for a weekend or a couple days here and there, I've also got studies to attend between as well so it can be a little bit of time between when I can get tutorials out, although I'll always be able to jump in and keep you updated/give you feedback on your work. :D

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

I've got the original Skyrim, but it's no problem to get the SE if necessary. I also have access to CS6, but the license is only good on my Mac which I don't use as often. I'll try the plugin on there so I can use it when I have to.

 

I'll pick a claim when I get back in a few days.

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Posted

No big deal if you can't get the Texture Works plugin working, the nVidia plugin for CS5/CS6 can export .dds files as DXT5 in the old Skyrim format which is also compatible with SSE, there's only a little bit of detail loss.

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Quick update before I head off to work this morning,

I got a new computer this week, so I spent some of my free time grabbing those apps and plugins and transferring them onto it. Also nabbed the latest version of Blender and finally figured out how to work BSAopt. I tracked down some meshes similar to what I'll be working on, extracted them, and imported them into Blender successfully. I'm trying to get a feel for the level of detail Bethesda put into their clutter to give me an idea of what I should be striving for. I'll have to spend some time another day figuring out how to get extracted textures to work with the models so I can get a better sense of how those are handled as well.

We can start with the top Sentinel style bowl as my first claim.

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Posted

Alright excellent! BS has a little bit of wiggle room in terms of polycount so we can go a little bit over what they did for the vanilla meshes. If you're confident in your modelling you can go ahead and start it whenever you like, but if you'd like me to walk you through the modelling process too just let me know and I can post up a tutorial covering it. :)

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Posted (edited)

Ok - so I finally got around to making this bowl! Since you said there is a bit of wiggle room, I went ahead and made it with a bit more polys than the vanilla Skyrim bowls have ... hopefully I didn't go overboard. I still have to work on UV unwrapping it and once I do that, actually creating a texture for it. Making the texture is the thing I'm most concerned about at this point, since I have much less experience working in 2D than in 3D.

Any feedback or advice at this stage?

Edit: I have continued work on the model. I made it thinner and made the geometry around the outside more subtle. I also finished UV unwrapping it and used the concept art to make a place holder texture until the final texture is complete. New image added to show progress.

Edit 2: I went ahead and began work on the second bowl model, picture attached.

sentinelbowl1-wip1.png

sentinelbowl1-wip2.jpg

sentinelbowl2-wip1.png

Edited by Velocirascal
Continued work.

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Posted (edited)

Excellent work so far! In regards to the top image, geometry wise, because these are common, smaller models, a couple of the interior edge loops could be removed, I've marked them in the below image in red:

47McV2f.png

By the looks of it there's also some edge loops around the bottom that could be removed (marked inside the blue loop). A lot of the fine details on models such as these can be in the normal maps, and once you have smooth shading applied to the mesh it'll be harder to notice missing edge loops.

Now, regarding texturing; ideally we're going to be creating the textures ourselves in either a texturing program or Photoshop (do you have a preference? If you wanted to use a 3D texturing program such as Quixel or Substance Painter then our workflow changes quite a bit, depends on what you're up to learning).

For the purpose of hand painting our textures I'd suggest trying to get an unwrap of the entire bowl instead of one part of it and repeating it. Although what you have currently UV'd is more efficient when it comes to texturing, when we add details such as ware and cracks in it, they will be repeating across the entire bowl. This generally comes down to an artists decision as to how much detail they want to compromise for efficiency.

If you wanted to take the manual photoshop route, I'd suggest adding some seams in (Left toolbar in edit mode, in the Shading/UVs tab). Just select the edges you want to be the bounds of your separate UV islands and click 'Mark Seam'. Once that's done, you can jump in the UV editor and mess around a bit. Below is an image of my unwrapped side of the bowl:

JeDvPHD.png

8N3qLZA.png

Now, to make texturing easier, I suggest editing the UVs to make them easier to work with and paint on. You can do this by selecting the edge loops and pressing W in the UV editor and selecting 'Align X' or 'Align Y' (Ignore the highlighted 'Straighten' button in my screenshot). Do this to your UVs until you have simpler shapes that would be easier to play with in Photoshop.

O91xZkm.pnggxFlf9h.png6qYcQD5.png

The above UV layout will be a lot friendlier in Photoshop than before. Once we've done this to the entire bowl, we can export our UV layout. In the UV panel, click on UVs and up the top will be 'Export UV Layout'. You'll then have a menu where you can select your export destination as well as the export size. I'd suggest 2048x2048 so we can scale it down later. We can then take the UV layout into Photoshop for texturing.

ya8uBtE.png

EDIT:

Just to let you know, the above model I have shown is just for example purposes, and does not represent how an actual in-game bowl should look like. Your's is very much spot on.

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

I went ahead and dissolved some of the edges you mentioned and I'll make sure to try to avoid those unnecessary edges in future models. Thanks for giving me that information about how to get the UV maps just right! I didn't know about some of the things you mentioned - that's extremely helpful.

As far as the tools I'll be using to actually make the textures - I have Photoshop CS5 & CS6 already, but I don't know anything about Quixel or Substance Painter. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about those programs. What are the pros and cons of each? Which do you think is best for what we're going to be doing?

sentinelbowl2-wip3.png

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Posted (edited)

Glad to help! Geometry looks great now!

Skyrim doesn't use PBR shading (like newer engines such as Unreal and Unity use). Back then a lot of the texturing was done straight in Photoshop. It was a lot slower, but it got the job done. Newer texturing programs have PBR texturing workflows that are a lot quicker and more efficient, although they output a few different texture maps which we then have to make manual edits for in Photoshop anyway. A little while ago I made a Substance Designer node that converts PBR textures to older Skyrim formats. Below you can see the difference between what is 'PBR' and what is 'Traditional':

PBR_Converter.jpg

Left is non-PBR, right is PBR. If we were to use a program like Quixel or Substance Painter/Designer, we would have the results on the right, which don't look too great in Skyrim unless we took the time to convert them. 

I do suggest doing most of the texturing process in Photostop traditionally as opposed to the PBR methods, at least when you first start. It'll give you a better understanding of Photoshop, as well as most likely give you better results. The program I would highly recommend downloading is the Quixel Suite. The suite is a PBR texturing suite as I mentioned above that plugs into Photoshop, although it does include a 3D Viewer that you can import your models into and see it in 3D as you work. The programs included in the suite do require a purchase (nDo and dDo), although 3Do (the 3D viewer) does not as far as I am aware. So, to start our texturing process, I'd say download the Suite and test out if the 3D viewer works without having to activate a trial or pay for anything. If it does, we're ready to move on into texturing. :)

EDIT:

To clarify, Quixel is a PBR texturing program that plugs into Photoshop, however we won't be using the texturing side of Quixel, we only want to use it for the free 3D viewer that comes with it. All of our texturing will be done in Photoshop itself.

EDIT:

If you are making models for other programs or games that use PBR engines, I'd highly suggest looking into either Quixel or Substance Painter as texturing programs. They cost, but they are very cheap compared to a lot of the stuff in the 3D art industry. 

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

Thanks for the info!

If I understand correctly ... PBR texturing basically involves creating new types of texture maps that generate detail in real time inside of a rendering engine based on certain rules, but since Skyrim doesn't support it, we create as much of that detail as possible manually in Photoshop. PBR diffuse textures look more basic in your examples because the detail is generated on the fly when rendered.

I've had bits of pieces of time to work on this between doing actual school work and working unusually crazy amounts of overtime at work, but I did go ahead and model a couple of other bits of Sentinel clutter from the concept art. Because these models are pretty basic, I wanted to go ahead and knock them out. I did notice some serious "pinching" in the handled pot model when smoothed and I intend to look into how to reduce those artifacts, but I thought I'd mention it here as well just in case you have any advice personally on how to deal with that sort of thing. It appears around the handles and stretches along the z-axis above and below the handles where I had created an extra loop cut to make the handles more circular. I'm thinking there is probably a better way to approach creating the handles on that model, so I may redo the whole thing. Anyhow, I included pictures of the pinching and a wireframe of the geometry causing it for your feedback.

A few questions:

  • Does Skyrim smooth faces in the game?
  • Does the pinching that appears sometimes when smoothing models (that have bad geometry, I guess!) in Blender also appear in Skyrim?
  • Does texturing a model hide the pinching effect?
  • Do you have any advice on how to avoid the pinching effect or can you share with me what exactly causes it to begin with?

Next, I'll be UV unwrapping using the techniques you taught me and checking out Quixel's 3D viewer.

sentinelclutter-wip1.png

sentinelpot1-wip1.png

sentinelpot1-wip2.png

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Posted (edited)

Great work on the rest of the models! They look fantastic!

And you're pretty spot on about the PBR and traditional differences. A lot of the shadow details usually seen in PBR engines are rendered in real-time. They also have access to various other input maps such as metallic, roughness, and ambient occlusion (shadows) which help build on the lack of detail in the color maps.

Because Skyrim relies mainly on diffuse, normal and specular (shinyness) maps, we're required to get as much detail into the diffuse as possible. 

 

The Questions and Answers

All of your questions kind of come down to vertex normals (or face normals) which is a whole topic on itself. There's an incredible amount of information out there about it and I couldn't hope to explain it properly in one post. If you want to do some further reading into what they are and how vertex normals work, I'll add some links explaining it down below.

Skyrim can smooth faces in-game depending on how you've shaded your model in Blender.

Whatever you have in Blender will export into Skyrim in a similar manner, so the pinching will also appear in-game.

Once texturing and normal maps are applied to the model, the pinching will be less visible, although it will still be present.

Advice on why/how the pinching happens will be explained at the bottom of the thread, as it can be fairly technical, so as not to clutter up the rest of this stuff.

 

The Fix

In other programs such as 3DS Max, they have tools such as Smoothing Groups (more on these in my vertex normal explanation), but in Blender, we don't have the Smoothing Group functionality. Instead, we have an alternative method, called Edge Splitting. What this does is it separates the edges, so they're not actually connected to each other.

The easiest way to keep your model organised is through an Edge Split modifier, and marking your Edge Splits. If you go into your modifier panel (little wrench icon), you will find a modifier called Edge Split. Make sure you have the correct object selected before selecting the modifier.

fmDi6dj.png

Once you select it, your model will most likely look pretty weird now. This isn't a problem, because the default settings are causing Blender to edge split and faces that are on angles greater than 30 degrees. While edge angles is a totally valid way to organise your edge splits, a more precise and custom method can be found by unticking the 'Edge Angle' box in your modifier.

K89evxY.png

This turns off the auto-edge splitting, however, now your model is back to it's original state. Now we can go back into Edit Mode, and using the edge selection tools, select the edges we want to be a hard edge. I made an example below of where I would cause edge splits:

yiebAY9.png

Going into our left toolbar (still in edit mode) in the UVs/Shading tab, there is an edge options for smooth and sharp.

qENKFdc.png

If we click on 'sharp', the edges we have selected will now be edge split (thanks to the modifier we added earlier). The edges we have marked as sharp appear as a blue/aqua color by default in edit mode. This should also remove all of the shading errors you are experiencing. Below is my final result:

wjiSj9I.png

MR7bIZw.png

This method can be applied all over your models where ever you think a sharp edge would be more appropriate, while still maintaining that smooth shading across the rest of your model. Another example below of a before/after:

eH3P6Sz.png

Now, if you apply this modifier, then go into edit mode, you will find that where you placed your edge splits, you now have two separated edges. This is why I highly suggest keeping a backup of your working files before applying the modifier (or by copying the model to another layer for exporting). Working with an edge split model can be confusing, hence why we keep it confined to a modifier for as much of the process as we can.

The Technical Stuff

I'm not going to go into details about vertex normals, but I'll explain the reason all models look funny at times when set to smooth. I'll leave links for further reading if this interests you further for you to delve into if you like.

The pinching occurs because when you are shading the entire model as 'smooth', the individual vertex normals get averaged over the entire model, trying to make it all appear smooth. If you had more vertices around the poorly shaded areas, the averaged vertex normals would appear smoother and cleaner. Because we are aiming for low poly models however, we tackle this issue with Edge Splitting (or Smoothing Groups) instead of adding in more unnecessary geometry. If you took a generic cube for example, and made it smooth, it looks terrible, as you can see below:

K8ZpKET.png

SNR3mZz.png

But if you were to add more geometry (but not change the shape of it at all), the vertex normals, when they get averaged, would appear a lot better and smooth around the edges instead of the entire face:

YFY0R5v.png

CI1jdai.png

That's my short explanation on is, but there's links below if you want to learn more: 

The Polycount wiki has a pretty good coverage of vertex normals and how they work here. There's also a section dedicated to face weighted normals which are starting to become a more common technique in newer games such as Star Citizen and Alien: Isolation. Keep in mind that although people are only starting to use custom normals to their full potential, the ability to modify vertex normals have been around for a relatively long time, and as such, we can implement custom face weighted normals into our Skyrim models. I have started using this technique lately with an addon, and I know a few members in the Iliac Bay team have also started to look into the technique. If you wish to go into more detail and add these techniques to your models, I'm planning on writing up a tutorial on it at some point as to how they work and how we can use them, although that will have to be once I'm back from my holiday.

Further Learning

I might have some time this weekend to write up a tutorial about texturing in Photoshop, although I am away from my PC for around 11 days after Tuesday. If this is the case, depending on your free time and how you're progressing, just post in this thread when you're ready to move on and I will see if I can organise another Beyond Skyrim member while I'm gone to walk you through any texturing questions you might have, or walk you through how the .nif exporter works and getting stuff in game depending on how you're getting along with it. Once I'm back home I'll be jumping back on and ready to walk you through where ever you are up to, or if you've got some models in-game, we can go into more depth about improving techniques. Once your models are all textured and you can get them in-game with collisions, we can start looking into getting you added to our team repositories so you can merge your models with the project. That way level designers can start playing around with them and get ready to put them in Hammerfell. :)

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

Thank you for all of the info! You've given me a lot to look into here, which is absolutely great. I'll be going back and referencing the information here regularly as I have the time to dedicate to it, so if I don't respond to a certain thing right away, don't take that to mean that it's being ignored ;)

I spent some time tonight working on the UV for the bowl. It was good practice, because it took some experimenting to figure out how to manipulate everything to get it do what I wanted. I am attaching the UV layout for your feedback.

Some of the hurdles I experienced while working on this that I'll share with you here in case you have any advice on how to streamline the process:

  1. I think because my bowl has more faces than in your example, using a single seam and then unwrapping still creates almost a complete circle in the UV editor. This meant that when I began to align vertices, there was a bit of overlapping. I tried using two seams and actually completed my first UV layout that way, but I wasn't satisfied with having the bowl's side separated into two UV islands, so I started again from scratch and with a little persistence, I managed to complete the bowl's side as a single island the way I envisioned :D
  2. Because of the almost circular nature of the initial island, I had to manually move all of the edges to be equidistant from each other and to not overlap. As I did this, I couldn't help but think that there had to be an automatic way to at least make the edges/vertices equidistant, but a quick Google search only showed me how to do that when editing a mesh, but not when editing a UV.

Going to call it a night. While you're away, I'll have plenty to keep me busy - I still have three other models that I can practice making UV layouts for, and I can give the two more complicated models in the concept art that I haven't already made a shot. That said, if you had the time to do any kind of texturing tutorial that might help to get started on that before you go, that would be awesome. And of course I'm open to working with someone else while your away.

Thanks again for taking the time to write out these very personalized and detailed responses to my questions! I really appreciate the effort you put in and look forward to the next challenge and any advice you have on how to improve what I've done so far.

 

sentinelbowl1_uvlayout.png

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Posted (edited)

I'm glad you're enjoying the tutorials and walkthroughs so far. :) There's a great selection of tools when it comes to UV editing, and when it comes to 3D work, there's no real 'right or wrong' way to unwrap your model, in a sense. There are more efficient and less efficient methods, although when we're working with such unique models, there will always be multiple ways to do things. Because we're going to be texturing in Photoshop, it's always best to keep in mind what will be easier for texturing, and what UV layouts look best to result in less texture stretching. In the UV editor in Blender, you can press the 'N' key to bring up the properties panel (while your mouse is in the UV Editor window), this is where you will find several tickboxes. One of them is 'Stretch', and if you tick it, it will color the UVs to show how the texture would get stretched across the model.

jxCF4qb.png

Blue means there is minimal stretch, while green through to red means there is a lot of texture stretching. Another useful tool in the IV editor is pinning UVs, which is set to the default hotkey 'P'. If you select a vertex or edge in the UV editor and press 'P', it will be pinned to that area. The next time you unwrap the model, anything you have pinned will stay in the same location. You can unpin things by using the hotkey 'Alt + P'. Examples can be seen below:

Nb8VeRp.png

Above is how I would unwrap my mesh to make it easiest when moving into the Photoshop phase.The large circle is the inside of the bowl, the smaller circle is the flat bottom, and the long strip is the sides of the bowl.

2D6iEEs.png

Because you're making such great progress with the set, we may as well combine everything you're doing into a texture atlas as we go, which is kind of a single large texture sheet that contains all your mesh's UVs. While we're not texturing it yet, we can start thinking about what pieces could share UVs and textures. For example, both the Sentinel bowls look like they would use a white porcelain-like texture for the insides of the bowls, while the outsides have unique painted textures. The same applies to the Sentinel goblet and chalice, the flower shaped parts could both share a UV and texture space. 

Here are a few examples of the clutter from Skyrim and how they have made use of a texture atlas:

iLt8p1pl.png2VFM5uFl.pngqs6P3fKl.png3tTI1TMl.pngrRhAZOrl.pngXvk70iKl.png

As you can see, a lot of the clutter from Skyrim's sets use that one single texture atlas, allowing the developers to furnish a room with just about one texture. The downside here is that it can take a bit of playing around to get the textures to fit on your models, and you lose the ability to have truly unique textures for each model (but, nobody really picks up on this when they play).

When it comes to planning this out, there's no 'best way' to do it. You could model everything first, UV everything, and export that UV layout to use as the base for your atlas. Another way would to be to make your atlas first and then UV your models to the atlas. Because you've already got most of the models done, I'd suggest finishing off the set, and then we can UV everything to use as an atlas base. 

What I like to do in Blender is move all the meshes onto one layer and make sure they're a fair distance apart. I then select which models I want to add to the atlas and press the hotkey 'Ctrl + J' to join the meshes into one. From there I move the UVs around the UV square, resizing and shaping them as I see fit. Once they are where I want them I pin the UVs so they won't move, and then join in my next mesh to add to the atlas.

Once everything has been UV'd into the one UV square, in Edit Mode you can click on a vertex, edge or face, and use the hotkey 'Ctrl + L', this will select all adjoining vertices, edges and faces. You can then use the hotkey 'P' to separate the selection from the current mesh. This will once again split up your objects into separate pieces, while maintaining the UV layouts.

I've also looked into getting someone to jump in on the Photoshop stage while I'm away on holiday incase you get those meshes finished really quickly. :)

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted (edited)

Hey LH,

Hope things are going well during your time away. Here is a quick update on some progress I made today.

You suggestions on how to resolve artifacts that resulted from smooth shading around certain edges worked even better than I expected! I thought for sure the problem was bad modelling. Whether or not the modelling was bad, the smoothing looks much better now. :D

sentinelpot1-wip3.png

I have also been working on the texture atlas and have finished getting both bowls unwrapped and onto the same UV space. Top and bottoms overlap where textures would be similar and the sides of each bowl are stretched and evenly spaced.

sentinelclutterset-uvatlas-wip1.png

More to come soon.

Edit 1: Finished goblet model, image below. I also finally figured out how to put pictures in between text rather than at the bottom of my posts :lol:sentinelgoblet1-wip1.thumb.png.ad6ec0701

Edit 2: Also made progress with the texture atlas. Right now it includes mapping for the two bowls and for the handled pot. I'll be rearranging some things shortly to make room for the other models as I complete them.

sentinelclutterset-uvatlas-wip2.thumb.pn

Edit 3: I actually completed modelling the entire set! I was worried about the goblet & chalice, which I saved for last ... but I surprised myself when I finally sat down and got to work. I used proportional edit mode functionally for the first time on this one and it helped to streamline the process. I shouldn't have any problems completing the uv atlas layout, so I'm very much looking forward to making some textures.

sentinelclutterset-wip1.thumb.png.7ae952

Edit 4: So after spending a good chunk of time working on the texture atlas, I was nearly complete when I decided that I was ready to start working on some actual textures ... so I fired up Photoshop and began working on textures for the initial claim (the simple bowl). Turns out, the UV unwrap I did for the bowl needed a bit of improvement - something I didn't notice until I actually started applying textures to it; which means the UV unwrap for most of models will likely need additional tweaking once I actually start applying materials and seeing how it appears. The correct proportions were lost in the process of X & Y aligning.

Anyway, I starting making a texture for the bowl from scratch. First, I took a picture of a dish from my own kitchen. Then, I messed around in Photoshop until I found a way to change its color to match what is needed for the model and used it for the inside and bottom. Then, I began recreating the colors and patterns over a tiled piece of the picture I took, taking care to reduce the appearance of tiling, for the side of the bowl. I applied a blue hue to simulate the paint where blue paint was needed. Then, I cut out pieces of the original pattern from the concept art and traced over them with my own brush, using eyedropped colors from the concept art when appropriate. After recreating and duplicating the patterns and finishing the colors of the side, I wound up with something that still looked pretty cartoonish, like the concept art. I used "texturize" in blender over the painted parts to add a little more detail, but I think it could still use some more attention to get it to where it looks like it belongs in Skyrim (or Sentinel, in this case).

sentinelbowl1-wip4.thumb.png.ffd0bdf734a

Edited by Velocirascal
Progress Report
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Posted

Meliodas,

I thought your plate looked good, but I can certainly give it a go. The more practice I get, the better.

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Posted (edited)

Glad to see you're progressing well! It's all looking great so far. Seeing the entire set all modelled looks amazing! I've found that in most cases I do go back and tweak my model UVs to better fit the texture atlas also. The main thing is just having a good idea of how much texture space you want to give each model, and make sure any parts of the texture that tile can do so appropriately. 

Just curious, did you manage to be able to get 3DO working in Photoshop? If so, I'll try and make good use of it in the further tutorials. If not, it's no problem, we can run through some traditional texturing methods to get the texturing all done. :)

Edited by Lord Hayden
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Posted

Regarding our discussion about normals and smooth shading, this might be of help to visualize how normals work and what's happening to your model:

ikZjE2B.png

It shows the vertex normals as well as what happens when they're shaded or flat.

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