Jan 9, 2012

Film Prop to Game Prop Conversion

This prop was originally designed for Garth Laidlaw's upcoming thesis film that I've been helping on.  From the original high-polygon model that I made for Garth (which was around 13,000 polygons), I created a low-poly model suitable for use in a real-time environment like a videogame (the final model ended up being 604 triangles), and then baked the high-poly info into the low-poly's normal map, making the two models nearly indistinguishable.  Fortunately for me, 3DS Max's modelling tools made the retopology a fairly painless process; even though I was removing a substantial amount of the original model's polygonal detail, the UV maps remained in place, so then I could reuse the same texture files for the low poly model without having to unwrap it again or make a brand new texture.

For this project I hopped between 3DS Max and Blender, using the OBJ filetype to move the model between programs.  In general, all modelling (both high and low) was handled in 3DS Max 2012, whereas the UV unwrapping and texture baking were handled in Blender 2.61.  I tried using Max's unwrapping tools to do the job, but I'm not a fan of how the program displays texture seams (from certain angles and distances, seams that should be visible disappear from view).  All texture painting was completed in Photoshop.