Final Low-Poly Model and Unwrap
When the high-poly model is completed, I create a low-poly model again but with the resemblance to the high-poly model by means of the program TopoGun. This program operates with high-poly objects and has an easy-to-use toolset to create low-poly models from the high-poly ones.
Each detail is created separately. Each high-poly element is opened in TopoGun and replaced by a low-poly one (Fig.09). Then all the parts are put together in 3ds Max where the low-poly model is being improved considering the limitations on the polygons number.
When unwrapping I use Unfold3D. In 3ds Max the model is divided into parts as it is before exporting to ZBrush, each part is separately imported to Unfold. Here I indicated the edges which will have the borders of UVW layouts, (orange lines on Fig.10) the program will then automatically unwrap the model. Then all the parts are put together in 3ds Max into one mesh and a general unwrap of the model is created.
In order to place all the layouts tightly one should start with the grouping of larger parts and then proceed to gradually cover the free zones with small parts. To save space the symmetrical parts are combined. (Fig.11)
A normal-map is the first texture I create. I like to render textures in 3ds Max. It allows manual correcting of the cage and after rendering I get a normal-map of high quality which almost does not need improving.
Like the previous stages we work with parts of model. We open the high-poly element and its low-poly version in the scene. Sometimes I apply the modifier push with a small value to a low-poly model to increase a low-poly in size when rendering the normal-maps.
When all the parts of the normal map are rendered the final general texture is created for the character and the normal-maps are tested. It would be better to test the character in the scene with the final lighting. To test the normal-maps quickly I use DirectX shader: Xoliulshader which can be found on the Internet.
Diffuse Map and Specular Map
When the normal-map is ready I proceed to create the textures for the ambient occlusion. It is necessary to supplement the shadows of the normal maps. This is the basis of the diffuse textures. For my character the ambient occlusion textures were created by means of baking the lighting from the high-poly model to low-poly, using the program xNormal. The lighting was baked for each part separately with the following settings: (Fig.12)