Lord Hayden

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About Lord Hayden

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  • Birthday 09/25/95

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  1. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    Open a .nif from any of the games and look at the values in the header. Chances are you'll need to change some other things depending on which game you're exporting to.
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  2. Lord Hayden added a topic in Tutorials   

    Substance Painter for Skyrim
    I'll be adding images into the post later. Tutorial is still WIP, has not been proofread yet.
    This is going to be a cross post for the Allegorithmic blog post. This assumes you know the basics of high/low poly modelling and baking, as well as UVing your models.
    Substance Painter
    Stage 1 - Preparing Your Project
    I generally start off my projects off using a Metal/Roughness preset and loading in the mesh. For many of my models, depending on their complexity, I will skip the sculpting stage of the high poly workflow, and instead opt to paint in finer details instead. This is what I did for the Yoku Greatsword below, so I'll be taking you through those processes.

    After creating a project and loading in my model, the primary steps are to get the project prepared for texturing. This includes getting all the baked maps I need for the texture, as well as getting my project prepared and split into different groups. The only bakes I worry about getting at this stage are the Normal and ID maps, as they will be used to create my folder structure, as well as give me a base normal map to paint my height details on to. I bake all of my maps using mesh naming in Substance, as it's my preferred method.

    Here is the ID map I got out of Substance, as well as the layer groups I have prepared for the project. As you can see, I have used the ID map to mask out color selections for each of the groups.

    Stage 2 - Editing the Height Map
    Once I have my normal and IDs baked out, I make sure to create a Height layer within my project that can be added to the Normal Map, then used as a base for further bakes. What I do is I create a fill layer in each layer group (as you can see they are split up into Blade, Iron, Copper and Leather). This fill layer I change to effect only the height map. From here, I add a Paint effect onto my Fill layer and I paint in some height details, such as large scratches, that I want to be apparent in my texture. Keep in mind that this step is only for the larger details, and the smaller microdetails that will be added in the normal map will be added later on.

    Once my height details are painted onto the height layer, we can see their effect by swapping to the Normal + Height + Base Normal layer and seeing how strong all of our painted normals are. I generally have to play around with the height strength and blending properties to get a good look, so be sure to go back and make some changes. Below you can see the end result of my painted height details compared to the original baked normal.

    For the next step, I export out my normal map from Substance Painter, before loading it back into my Shelf. Once it is in my shelf, I swap out my previously baked normal map, and replace it with the one that has the added custom details. Now that I have my new 'base' normal map in, I can go back into the Substance baker and bake out my AO and Curvature maps that will be used for the texturing process. By exporting then reimporting the normal maps, this ensures that the AO and Curvature bakes take into account the large scratches and details I just painted in.

    Stage 3 - Texturing
    Now that we have all the bakes we will need for our textures, we can start by going into each of our groups (which we have previously split up into materials and masked via color selection using our ID) and adding in some base material layers. The base materials I choose for each group usually resemble whatever real life material the object might be made out of, although sometimes it can be useful to look at some other materials that might be useful for providing a base for your textures. Substance Share has a great selection of materials to browse through, and I make use of a lot of them. Once I've applied all my base materials to my model, I swap to the Base Color channel view in Substance Painter using the C key, that way I can get a good look of what the texture will actually look like in-game as opposed to what it looks like in PBR. When texturing for non-PBR engines, I do 95% of my texturing in the Base Color view.

    As you can see, the base color doesn't look too fantastic when it doesn't have the other maps included, which is why we need to do a lot of manual painting over the top to get our desired outcome. The first thing I want to add into my texture is the lighting, which I create by using a combination of the AO and Curvature maps. I create a fill layer on top of each of the base materials, changing the settings to only effect the Base Color layer, and load in the AO map, changing the blend type to Multiply. I usually bump down the opacity to anywhere between 15% - 45%, however some areas require a bit more AO than others (this is also why I blend these textures on in each material group as opposed to the entire model, as it gives me more flexibility).

    Once the AO is added onto the base color, I do the same thing with the curvature, creating a new Fill layer, changing it to apply to only the base color, loading in the curvature map texture, and then changing the blend settings as well. For the curvature layer, I use the Overlay blend type with an opacity of 5% - 50%, once again, these opacities change depending on my needs.
    After the AO and Curvature is blended, we start to get a better idea of what the texture is going to look like. From here you can play around with the texturing a bit more to add those extra details in. What I do is add in fill layers (set to Overlay) between the AO/Curvature and the base material layers. I add a layer mask and apply a Paint effect, as well as other generators to the mask to add in details such as dirt, fine scratches, and other effects. Below you can see the original base color texture as it gets combined with the AO/Curvature and grunge layers. The reason I use a mask to paint on my layers is to have better control over the layers when it comes to the other texture maps such as Roughness and Metal.

    Stage 4 - Roughness/Metallic = Specular/Cubemaps
    Once my base color texture is done, I swap over to the roughness channel and start building that up using the same layers I used for painting on the grunge. The Roughness map is what I use as a Specular map for non-PBR engines. Once again, I start at the bottom of my layer group, at the base material, and adjust the roughness properties in the material itself to get a good base to work off. What I do then is I work my way up the layer stack I have from the base color, simply by enabling the roughness channel on the layers and adjusting the values of the fill layer (I make sure not to add any extra generators or effects as this will also effect my base color channel). This ensures my Roughness (or in this case Specular) adheres to the base color layer, while at the same time allows me to create specular variation that is dependent on my base color.

    Stage 5 - More Height
    Using the very same process I just used to create my Roughness (Specular) texture, I go back through my layer stack and enable the height channel on a select few layers and adjust the height value of that particular layer. This is what is used to create those finer normal details on the weapon that aren't created from your fill layers. I generally swap to the Normal + Height + Base Normal channel for this step to see what my normal map will look like at the end and adjust the settings accordingly. 

    Depending on the part of the asset, I sometimes also create a new layer in the group specifically for painting on small height details that I might not have gotten from the base material normals. 
    Step 6 - Export
    Once I am happy with all my layers, I export out my maps and check to see how they look in the game engine I'm creating for. I then jump back in to Substance and make any subtle changes I might like. Due to the ease of texturing within Substance Painter, it is no problem to go in and change a height value for some grunge, which would take much longer if you were texturing the object traditionally in Photoshop. I continue to make changes until I'm satisfied with the end result.

    Substance Designer
    For converting textures in Substance Designer, a very similar process can be used, by blending the AO, curvature as well as using some other nodes, to create something more like that we need. For this process, I have created a rather simple node which I use for converting the PBR texture to a more traditional style. The node itself required 3 inputs, a Height, Normal, and Base Color. From there, it is simply a process of blending the AO, Curvature and Shadows into the Base Color to attain the result.
    To create the Curvature, the Normal Input from the PBR texture is plugged into a Curvature Smooth node, and then blended on top of the Base Color.
    For the AO, the Height is plugged into an Ambient Occlusion node, and is also blended on top of the Base Color.
    A few extra touches which I like to add for variety include also plugging the Height into a Shadows node and blending that over the top too. I also sometimes like to add a bit of the heightmap to the Base color, so the Height input goes into an Auto Levels node before being blended over the Base color ever so slightly.
    Below is an example of the basic node setup. I expose some parameters and adjust them as I need per texture, as all of them usually require some tweaking to get the required look, particularly the blend opacity and the Shadows parameters. 
    I've also attached examples of the default PBR Base Color texture compared to the converted Base Color after passing through the node. (The original Substances are packaged with Substance Designer)

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  3. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    This tutorial only works for static meshes. Anything with bones, skinning, etc. is not covered in this tutorial.
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  4. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    Exporter won't work in Cycles, you'll have to set all your materials etc. up in the normal Blender Renderer for it to work properly.
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  5. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Application: 3D/2D Artist   

    Hi there! 3D work looks good so far, more than happy to have you on board. I'll send you a link to the AF Discord, which is what we use to communicate.
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  6. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Application: 2D Artist/ Conceptual Artist   

    Hi SHIR0AI! If you're interested in multiple provinces we can certainly help you out. Hannes has already expressed interest in having you on board, so Atmora is all yours if you like. I'm sure Iliac Bay and Cyrodiil would be very interested also! If you intend on working between them all, I can add you to the Atronach Forge that'll help you get in touch with all the provinces.
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  7. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Application: 2D Artist   

    Hi Johnathan!
    Love your concept work, it's fantastic. If you had a preferred province we can definitely see if we can get them in contact with you. If you're more open to where you wish to work, there's always the Atronach Forge, which is the cross-province team that does work for all the teams and freely move around between them. Seeing as though Elsweyr has already gotten back to you, feel free to choose whichever you would feel you would be the most comfortable.  
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  8. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Application: 3D Whateverer   

    Hi there! Awesome work, looks fantastic. If you're happy to not be tied to a particular province, the Atronach Forge might be a good place to start. We're basically the group that moves around and pick up work that takes our eye, so no need to dedicate yourself to a particular province. We also have the Arcane University that can teach you the basics of the CE and the CK to a standard that you will need as a 3D Artist on the team/s. By the looks of it you've got a real handle on 3D work already, so my first question would be; what do you prefer? Do you enjoy architectural modelling, clothing, hard surface/weapons, organics? I'm also interested in finding out which programs you use and what your preferred pipeline is. 
    Most of the teams now use Discord for communication. We have specific AF (Atronach Forge) and AU (Arcane University) Discords which you can join up to for starters. After that we can get you introduced to some open 3d art claims that you might be interested in, as well as pass you on to the specific province teams to better brief you on what they require/get you added to their repositories to download the mod files.
    The AF Discord can be found here, and the AU Discord is over here. Hope to see you there soon!
    Oh, and once you've joined up, pop a message in to introduce yourself and I'll give you your appropriate roles.
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  9. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    So you're trying to export it as a Skyrim .nif for Fallout 3 or export it as a Fallout 3 .nif with this tutorial? You'll need to change all the version numbers to whatever Fallout 3 uses and use all the shader properties FO3 would have. Similar process but all the values are different. Make sure to select Fallout 3 when exporting.
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  10. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    Updated the links. Just search the new NifTools forums for anything that's still broken.
    You shouldn't need a powerful PC, however it is very unstable. Chances are there is a problem in the .nif file that's causing the CK to crash, most likely somewhere in the BSLightingShaderProperty. Upload your .nif and we can have a look over it for errors. 
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  11. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic Blender 2.7+ Nif Exporter Tutorial   

    All the warnings you are getting should be covered on the first page. For example, 'Offset' usually refers to not having a texture applied to your material. If you're getting an error that isn't covered on the first page please post a screenshot of it so I know exactly what it's saying.
    What exactly is NUS that you're referring to? Collisions depend on a lot of things, what kind of model are you trying to add collision to? If it's a static model then ChunkMerge can cover that for you, and I can go through it a bit more in depth in this thread if you like. If you're looking into adding collision to things like weapons or physics objects then that's a little more complex.
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  12. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic 3D Environment Artist looking to contribute to Beyond Skyrim Mod   

    Hi there, love your work! Do you have any particular interest in any of our province teams? We have an interactive map on the Beyond Skyrim website that will show you all the active provinces when you hover your mouse over them. Alternatively, if you have no specific interest in a single team, you can join up with the Atronach Forge, which is kind of our cross-province team that works between the teams themselves to create assets that will be shared across all the releases. 
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  13. Lord Hayden added a post in a topic [Student Thread] Jan1ssary - Lord Hayden   

    Hey, nope there's no need to download Blender at all, everything I have done above can be done in 3DS Max, and there's a .nif exporter for 3DS Max as well that will get your models into the game.  We can both do the exact same things in each program, it's just the buttons are in different places.
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  14. Lord Hayden added a topic in 3D and 2D Art   

    [Student Thread] Jan1ssary - Lord Hayden
    Alright, so today's focus is going to be getting your model and getting it ready to go into a game engine. This will require us optimizing the mesh so it's as efficient as possible in-game, as well as adding in some geometry for vertex painting and improving the shading.
    Because this tutorial is mainly covering the technicalities of getting your model/s in-game, I won't be going into detail about how to do certain things, they're going to be assumed knowledge. I will tell you what we will want to achieve and the reasoning behind it. Because you already know your way around a 3D modelling program, I'll be showing you examples from the program I am most comfortable in (Blender), but the steps will be very similar.
    For the tutorial I will be showing you how to optimize one part of your model. You can go in to 3DS Max and follow along with the tutorial, and then go through the rest of the model and do the rest yourself. I'm going to be walking you through the top part of the temple, circled here:

    First of all, we need to look at how much geometry we have at the moment, and how we are going to cut it down before adding in our loops and bevels. One of the first things we will want to do is clean up the geometry and remove a lot of the faces that the player will never be able to see (things like the inside walls and bottoms of the boxes) We also want to make sure we're using as little faces as possible. What I did in the below image was I duplicated the mesh and optimized the geometry in a way so that it's more efficient for the game. I also removed all the inside faces that the player will never be able to see, also reducing the geometry.

    The next step we will want to do is go in and start beveling the hard edges. In the Creation Engine (Skyrim), hard edges can stand out quite a bit when they're on an outside edge (like the corners of the walls) so we bevel them so give them a smoother edge. You can see below an image of the geometry before I beveled it. 

    These were the edges I decided to bevel to make them smoother:

    And this is what the mesh looked like after beveling:

    Even in the modelling program, you can see that beveling those sharp edges can really improve the model without adding in too many extra faces. I also edited some more geometry to optimize it for the game, particularly the two tetrahedrons you had on the top of the temple:

    Above is the before photo and below is the after cleanup photo. What I did was I deleted the inside vertices and faces (that the player cannot see) and then merged the outside ones so it's all a part of the same mesh and connected:

    And then I beveled this to improve the way it will look in-game, and then added a smoothing group to it, to achieve this result:

    I think this is a good place to end the first lesson. If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I'm happy to help out. There's going to be a bit of cleaning up required over the rest of the model, particularly removing the inside faces of the model (the ones the player can't see). Posting some WIP images as you go along would be great to see how you're cleaning up the geometry, and it'll also mean we can pick up on any other errors that might pop up.
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