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Creating hand painted models (Help!)

Hey there,

i hope some of you know how to create something like this:

http://www.ulrick.be/img/perso/ulrick_3D_polycount_theescape_06.jpg

http://www.ulrick.be/img/perso/ulrick_3D_well_cartoon_01.jpg

(Source: http://www.ulrick.be/3d.html)

I know that these things are handpainted and i really love the art style. My problem is the workflow for this.

Looking at the pillar, this seems to be a high poly model used for the Normal Map and later handpainted on a low poly retopo.
The ‘well’ though doesn’t have a normal map, so i guess it was made directly lowpoly.

I want to know if creating a high poly model -> retopo -> normal map etc. -> hand paint it | is the correctly way or if
some of you know a better and easier way.

Since i want to have normalmaps for better lighting effects, i would need to create a high poly version of such a ‘well’. But this
would be a lot of additional work for a single indie dev person >.<

Would i get a decent result if i would try to convert the texture diffuse into a normal map instead of baking it from a high poly?

This is also important for me because i am creating a character that should be handpainted later and the model by now is really
high poly and i can’t seem to imagine how it would look like later in a handpainted low poly version. The Smoothing and subdivions
are adding so much details that i don’t really need. >.<

Sorry if these are easy questions. I am so lost when it comes to 2D and 3D art but it is such a cool thing to create its own models etc.

You don’t necessarily need to model something in high detail to get normal maps. There are tools that allow you to draw and it’ll automatically create normal maps for it, or to take a texture and analyze it to create a normal map (programs like CrazyBump and Substance Bitmap2Material can do that).

The pillar would be difficult to do without the high-poly mesh, but the other one you could probably run the textures through that program to get normal maps, and while they wouldn’t be as accurate they would add that little bit of extra detail that would look good.

A lot of environment artists do things that way, since it’s much faster than modeling everything, much easier to draw a line for a panel seam and convert it to a normal map than it is to model a seam in a mesh.

Thanks for the answer. It gives me a bit more hope. I guess i need to tweak these kinds of normal maps to get a decent one.

If we leave this inner man on that pillar as a flat surface (let’s say i want it to be a simple painting). Then the rest would be possible
with a texture to normalmap ?

I don’t mean these areas:

http://puu.sh/eMSkj/50150cc2c9.jpg

http://puu.sh/eMSlJ/3221ce8009.jpg

I’m more concerned about the upper and lower stone part and the cracks on the middle right part :X

I think the cracked stone parts in the middle section would be difficult to do without modeling it. The main issue is the rounded edges of the stone, which you can’t really paint into a normal map.

Hmmm :smiley: ok, maybe i get a faster workflow in my 3D Program ist self. This pillar looked like it was sculpted.

I guess creating a character would be haven a low poly character (more or less) and only add details instead
of using subdivision or? He did this with sculpting some folds into it.

http://www.ulrick.be/img/perso/ulrick_3D_polycount_theescape_09.jpg

It still looks cartoonish and low poly, but
with details >.< hard to imagine. I guess i need to restart my character from the concept.

Thanks so far kind sir (:

I don’t think that mesh really needs normal maps, but if you wanted it you’d have to sculpt it in.

I think this one sculpted and he baked to normals map to a low poly version (the one from middle), first columns is different that middle and right one. Or is geometry from middle column, and he is using a special paralax shader for normal map, and he painted the normal map.