Now that I have a cottage, I decided to make a well for the yard. I went with a simple model and for the first time I made ambient occlusion and normal map by myself. I had a ton of trouble creating this model and the textures I mentioned, because I screwed up a few times and I had to redo about three hours worth of work. It took me about 10 hours + screw up recovery to finish this model. I found a few new techniques and hopefully my workflow will be better in the future. Spending 10 hours with a model as simple as this, is too much in my opinion.
Step 1: Well
For starters I made a simple cylinder that represent the well ring. Once I was satisfied with dimensions I started sculpting some brick/stone shape onto it. You can see the first steps in the images below.
Step 2: Roof
I had this idea to make a small roof or cover on top of the well. So the second step was to model it. I made two vertical legs for the roof, which both have two supporting parts on the sides.
You might notice that the well is quite tall. My idea was to make it so that almost half of it will go underground. In the end I actually scrapped this idea and only left the half that stays on top of ground surface.
Next up was the structure that carries the actual roof panels.
The roof panels in the image below didn’t actually end up the finished model. I screwed up after taking this screenshot and remade the whole well cover. Damn I was pissed at that time 😀
After I was finished with the modeling, I sculpted the roof panel to make it look like it’s made from some worn out boards. The detail of the sculpting is quite rough, but the finished product satisfied my exercise needs. In the next image you can see the difference with and without the sculpting. I had a copy of the model which I made before touching roof panels and I just imported it into the same scene after I was done.
Step 3: Retopologizing
When you’re creating a model, you usually want to get as much detail as possible. After you’re done with editing magic, you need to make a simpler model which will be used in the game. You need to do this, because using high detail models is very expensive for your graphics card to process and calculate. Even the high detail model of my well had 45,000 faces (rectangles), but the low detail model only had a few hundred.
The idea with this is that you make a high detail model from which you “take off the skin” and you create a 2D image from it. In this case, I made a normal map, which represents all the dents, crack and bumps on the surface. Other one I made is the ambient occlusion, which represents shadows and dark areas of your model. This image is then applied on your low detail model make it look like it has details that don’t actually exist on the model itself.
The next image has the actual high and low detail models that I used. You might think that the low detail is too simple for any game or so, but you’ll see a big difference when the textures are applied.
Step 4: UV unwrapping, normal map and ambient occlusion map
As I said before, the low detail model needs images on itself to look better. It’s time to make them.
The first phase is to UV unwrap the model. Basically creating a 2D image of it’s skin.
Next step was to bake the normal map. The idea is that you create a color map in which different shades mean different height. This image is then laid on the UV image, so that the bumps and dents find their right place. Same technique goes for ambient occlusion.
The slideshow below contains both textures for well ring and it’s roof.
Step 5: Combine and compare
I wanted for you to see the real difference with the models with and without these textures. I placed the models in Unreal Engine, copied it and applied simple colors for them. Then I applied these textures for model on the right.
To do: Most likely I will create a diffuse texture for the well. Diffuse is a texture that represents the actual colors of the surface. I just took some image from google to show you the idea.
When this kind of image is done well and it’s fitted to the UV map, it changes the games looks completely. In my case the models still look like their made from wax, but I don’t mind 🙂
I learned a crap ton of new stuff this week + a few mistakes I’m hopefully able to avoid in the future. I was expecting for his whole process to take 5-6 hours and for it to be quite straight forward, but the schedule ended up doubling, the project ruined a few days and basically I spent whole week thinking about how to solve my problems in the projects. But now it’s finally finished!
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed!