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Texel Density for game art

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Date Added: 5th December 2013

Learn the process of using Texel Density to make your assets look great in game engines with 3D environment artist, Tim Diaz



What is Texel Density? Texel Density is the procedure of making sure your meshes and textures are the proper height, width and depth. Now once you apply your working textures and materials, your model's textures will look crisp and clean and not blurry. For this tutorial, we will be using 3ds Max and UDK to create modular pieces with appropriate Texel Density.

Understanding Texel Density and why it's important

Before we jump into this tutorial, we need an understanding of why we are doing this. Textures make the asset, area, level, characters and so on look a certain way and more believable to the player. Many games, however, break this suspension of disbelief by having certain assets break Texel Density.

So how can you find it? It's easy: load up any game and just run around your favorite interior or exterior. If you're outside, look at the terrain, and then look at a rock or a wall. You may see that one, two or even all these pieces look vastly different. One piece may be very crisp and clean, but right next to it is a rock or a wall that looks a little burry, or maybe stretched, or both.

This issue, while it may be minor to most, can distract a player, making them realize they are just playing a game. You don't want that. You are selling an experience ? that is always the goal. Something like this leads to bad screenshots, negative feedback, and in some cases shows a lack of pride in your work. While there are always situations where you don't have a choice, or it wouldn't make much sense to follow these guidelines, this is to help you know what to look for and to avoid this issue as much as possible.

You will be able to spot the difference between good and bad Texel Density

Setting up 3ds Max

First off we need to set up our 3ds Max software to work with UDK, so we can build with as few issues as possible. First, go to the top of your Menu and go to Customize, then click on Units Setup.

Setting up 3ds Max to work with UDK

Setting up 3ds Max II

Once in this new window, make sure that your unit setup is set to Generic Units. These are the standard units within 3ds Max.

Setting up 3ds Max to work with UDK

Setting up 3ds Max III

Once in this menu, under System Unit Scale, set the units to 1.0 and Inches. Once you have done this, you will now see that our grid settings in every orthographic view all equal 1 foot.

Make sure you are set to Generic Units

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Mori on Tue, 22 April 2014 9:16am
Hi: You have very good site
Alec on Fri, 06 December 2013 3:30pm
Great article, thanks for writing it. I have one question though, is it similar in Maya when setting up the units? I think you just change the units to inches by the looks of it, but I want to check that this is all that needs doing? Preferences>Working Units>Linear:Inches
Josh Taylor on Fri, 06 December 2013 1:25am
Great article. Thanks!
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