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Making Of 'Thrull'

By Gavin Goulden
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Date Added: 9th December 2009

Normal Map Generation

This step is fairly short and sweet. Export all of your unwrapped pieces of your character according to the pieces you divided for sculpting. Open up the tool that you saved in ZBrush that contains your final high resolution mesh. Move to it's lowest subdivision model and open up Zmapper (assuming you have this plugin.) Use the 3D Studio Max 7 Tangent Space configuration. Open the projection menu, move the "Raycasting Max Scan Distance" to an appropriate level for your model and then capture the mesh.

Leave ZMapper and delete the higher levels of your mesh. Import the newly unwrapped mesh and enter Zmapper once again. You'll notice that you can see the cage of the high poly mesh ontop of your low poly model. Create the projected normal map and examine your model by navigating in the Zmapper viewer. If everything looks good you can either up the samples and generate another normal map or export the one you just made. If everything doesn't look so hot (for example, you can see holes in your mesh from where the projection wasn't large enough) you can leave Zmapper, reload your ZTL and repeat the process untill your projection captures all of the detail you want.

Once this is all done, you should have a normal map (or series of normal maps) that you can apply to your model in your 3d app and view it in realtime.



This is the stage where your character finally comes together, applying colour to your model so people can finally stop saying "Now texture it!" (of course, it doesn't stop the comment "Now animate it!" :P )

Something to remember about texturing "next gen" assets is that the lighting information will be taken care of by your normal maps. Painting in too many shadows could wash out the detail you have in your normal maps. That being said, different engines seem to handle things different ways and you may need to bake in a little bit of lighting information into your texture to help push the details. Source, for example, seems to have very weak implementation of normal maps and seems to rely more so on the detail in the diffuse textures. Likewise, different engines have different maps that you can and cannot use. For Thrull I used Diffuse, Normal, Spec and Self Illumination textures. These textures are failry common. I painted all of the textures at 2048 x 2048 but reduced them down to 1024 x 1024 for the final.

A lot of my texturing is based around photo sourced images. For Thrull I used a rhino skin type base for his flesh and a combination of rock textures for the scale parts around his limbs and stomach.


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Nathan on Tue, 20 November 2012 8:08pm
Nice work on the model and the textures very good i love that model keep the good work up mate. :)
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