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Newbie with asset creation questions

Hi everyone!
Newbie here with everything regarding game development.
Been lurking the forums for a few weeks, watching a few tutorial vids on youtube and learning a bit of everything (blueprints, modelling, level design) and the applications used.
However I’m missing some key information and haven’t found explicitly what I’m looking for: game assets complete workflow, that is from idea/concept art to in game asset usable for UE.
I’m well aware of modelling, rigging, animating and exporting but the rest are completely alien to me. I’ve been reading about baking, normal maps, diffuse maps, amount of tris and polygons but I don’t understand yet what/why/how.
So, after creating a model (let’s say Blender because that’s most likely what I’ll use), what then and what software do you guys use for each step?
For now I’m interested in creating static and skeletal meshes (weapons, characters, furniture, props, etc) for use in UE4.
Steps:
0-Idea/Concept
1-Modelling in your favorite app (I’ve been learning blender and zbrush)
.
?-UV unwrapping/mapping/texturing (substance painter? gimp/photoshop)
.
?-Retopology (3d coat?)
.
?-Lightmaps
.
?-Export as FBX
?-Import to UE as FBX
.
#-Done!

Thanks for the help.

Edit: Looks like I posted in the wrong forum, could a Mod move this thread to Development Discussion->Content Creation?

That’s actually an interesting question, I’m a complete noob too and would be very interested in an answer

Hey there,
While most modeling software out there can do the same jobs each one has its own strengths and weaknesses and is no perfect software by any means.
Workflow is usually a very open question and depends largely on 3 factors. Cost, Preference and Goal.

Honestly from working in the industry for quite some time now. I have to say sticking to the main software that is used in industry which currently is Maya, Zbrush and Photoshop. That way if you do end up wanting to take this further and get a job. It will be a lot easier to do so than if you learned blender. There is a free version of Maya LT you can download on their site or you can acquire it “other” ways

Regarding learning these software’s and pipeline route (they do vary from artist to artist) and start watching some digital tutor tutorials such as:
http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/457-Creating-Game-Characters-with-Maya-and-ZBrush
http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/579-Unity-Mobile-Game-Development-Character-and-Weapon-Modeling
http://www.digitaltutors.com/tutorial/590-Unity-Mobile-Game-Development-Environment-Modeling

My usual Modeling pipeline is:
Concept > Lowpoly modeling (blocking) > Zbrush (highpoly details) > Retopo in maya to create nice lineflow > Bake using zbrush or xnormal > then over to photoshop to texture > Export all of those out to unreal

If you need any help gives me a poke on skype and can help u out further.
Skype:
Panda_3drt

Cheers
Colin

Thanks Colin, definitely taking into consideration the cost aspect since for now this is a hobby. I’m watching digital tutors vids on Zbrush and then going to watch what they have for blender.

Recently I’ve been reading on zbrush vs 3D coat, I’m leaning more towards Zbrush though. I’ve tried Maya, but I won’t go that route since I’m not looking for a job in the area this is more of a hobby or possibly do an indie game one day.

Out of curiosity, why do you use photshop instead of substance painter or something from quixel?

The things that won me over towards 3D-coat were voxel sculpting, retopo tools and the paint tools. I actually prefer the paint and retopo tools there over anything else I’ve tried and voxel sculpting seems to be a relatively unique thing still. I can’t really say which surface sculpt tools I like better, they both get the job done for me. But it’s also less than half the price of ZBrush, which definitely simplified the decision making for me.

Still can’t beat ZBrush for just pure epic looking sculpts, if that’s what you’re after.

I’ve read how 3D Coat is quite useful for retopo but I don’t have experience with that process yet so I’d need to compare retopo on 3DC vs Blender (I think it does retopology).
I haven’t understood how is voxel sculpting better than non-voxel sculpting will probably need to try it, I saw a video and still didn’t get why it would be better.

Definitely half the price is a plus. Speaking of epic sculpts I assume you’ve seen a Venom speed sculpt on YouTube (in case you haven’t “Venom - Zbrush Speed Sculpt” on YouTube - https://youtu.be/QqbTIIPZbz8 ) that was incredibly impressive and made me wanna learn and master ZB.

It’s not something that would replace regular surface sculpting, but you can make a base sculpt easier with it. You don’t have to worry about topology at all, so making things like spikes that extend out of a flat surface is a lot easier. Generally with surface sculpting, the more you distort the surface from it’s original position, the worse it gets, triangles get stretched and doesn’t end up looking too nice. Kinda like this (although an extreme example):

97e87e6b888dc460f7bb75bfb1b57c83.png

Creating holes into an existing mesh is also a lot easier. Something that is typically impossible with surface sculpting. (ZBrush has workarounds for that though and you can do it there.)

I used Sculptris for a while (which is a free surface sculpting tool from the same company who make ZBrush with very limited tools) to create a ribcage and I had to basically model a blocky version of it in Maya, with all the holes between the ribs, make sure it’s a manifold surface so I don’t get any unwanted holes when sculpting and then just do the detailed work there. With voxel sculpting I could just cut some slots into a tube, move them a bit and have a very rough base for starting the sculpt in a minute. You could also just make a rib and then copy paste that several times and it would automatically seamlessly merge with the rest of the base. Of course getting the left one into a presentable shape would take more time than the middle one, but overall I’m pretty sure it’d be faster.

The left one is the voxel sculpt I did in a minute or so. The middle is the Maya mesh that took me a few hours and the right is the Maya one after surface sculpting.

e1e78edb0cf9a0c7f6db26357f5c172f.png

ZBrush has it’s own solutions for base meshes too, like ZSpheres, so don’t need to create stuff like I did in Maya. (Which seems like a massive waste of time now, but I only had Maya and Sculptris, so I didn’t have a better solution.)

And I hadn’t seen the Venom one, but I’ve seen so many others and it always blows me away how many amazing artists use ZBrush and what they can make with it. The 3d-coat library of works people show off is a lot more modest, even though I personally think that you could do the same level of high quality stuff in there as well. With maybe the exception of things with hair, for which 3d-coat doesn’t have a great solution.

Thanks Bohrium I went to the 3DC main site and saw a vid which showed the holes and how the triangles don’t get stretched that’s pretty neat. I ran into this issue myself while poking around in zbrush.

I guess it will be a trial and error thing to see what things can be done easier, faster in blender vs zbrush, I searched around and doesn’t seem there’s a consensus to this more like depends on the artist.