Tuesday, February 19, 2013

d4i- Low poly stuff and using vectors to texture again

There is really no point in doing sculpting and retopology when the characters are really really low poly.

There is quite a lot I could get away with topology-wise, given that the shader is  to be shadeless and wouldnt have any normal maps - the only thing that has to work is the silhouette and the deformations.
The game engine triangulates the mesh, so I am allowed to use as many tris as I want to.
in order to preserve verts.
Instead of making uniform meshes, I would split a mesh into shells - to save on faces.

It took a few hours to get them from scratch to UV unwrapped stage. A nice thing about the mirror modifier in Blender is that it folds all symetric UV islands that its mirroring automatically when you apply it - one half over the other whilst putting the left side islands on top of their right side counterparts. This is not good if your model will use normal maps (as noted in a previous post in this blog), but its incredibly useful when you want to save UV space for obvious reasons. If you unwrap(again) after applying the mirror modifier, blender unfolds them in completely symetrical islands that are normal map friendlier. It's still very easy to later flip one half over the other if need be.

The shells are all uniform and no stretching for as long as you mark the seams right. Doing this is Maya is a hassle (without $$plugins??). Autodesk, please be more competitive and improve your uv unwrapper. :P

For the UV seams, I like placing those where I know a different colour/material of the character will begin. For example the snail's shell and skin would be on sepparate islands. This makes texturing easier later. I like cutting seams on the side of the character where I know the camera won't be looking.

Priority was given to UV islands that are going to have transparent sprites (bee wings, hedgehog spikes).
Islands that are on areas nobody will ever see (the mouth interior of the hedgehog or the bottom of the snail) I scaled down as much as possible - gave them very little uv space.
On top of that I used the snapping options to overlap identical uv islands (the bee's knees, legs,etc).

Next step , I exported the UV layouts and got them in inkscape, to be vectorised.

This splits the island shapes that were bleeding into each other. From there its a matter of Path>difference. 

This then gave me a nice and easy base colour for each island (picked it straight from the concept art).

Using vectors allows me to export it to any resolution, while having it small. Just as I did with the concept art, I decided to keep all of the enemy textures in one file, so it's easy to track if they are consistent in style, polish and execution. I used masking, clipping and other tools. New feature in inkscape 4.9 called "select same" allows you to select all objects with same fill colour, line colour, style, etc automagically. Useful when used with "union" to merge shapes, saves loads of time when colouring.

The three models can share the same material and therefore UV space. In total they are 685 faces (as you can see in the pic). I might have to add a few extra edgeloops on the snail's neck, might take out some geometry...

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