Ben enjoys discovering new tools and processes, and then sharing them, so that the video game industry as a whole can benefit and move forward with better art.
Looking for some useful tutorials? An experienced 3D freelance artist Ben Mathis has a huge collection of guides for you to check out. The artist specializes in creating characters, animals, weapons, and vehicles, for any generation of system, and has also contributed to level design, lighting, and compositing, so the collection covers a wide range of topics.
For example, he has an 11-part video guide to creating low poly Delilah. Here are the first three parts to get you interested:
Concepting in Photoshop:
Orthographic images in Photoshop:
Orthographic planes in 3DS Max:
Ben enjoys discovering new tools and processes, and then sharing them with the 3D community, so that the video game industry as a whole can benefit and move forward with better art.
What is more, he has tons of written guides. Here is a small glimpse at his written tutorial on next-gen texturing:
My first step is setting up my photoshop file. I open the normal map baked out from max, and ensure it’s the correct size (sometimes baking programs will only spit out square textures, and it’s necessary to resize in one dimension, for example a 1024×2048). I will delete the black in between the normal chunks, and replace it with flat normal color (128,128,255). This prevents any black from showing in mip-maps of the normal.
I will save immediately as a PSD with the filename of my project. I use something descriptive, and with room for alternate versions or body parts. For this asset the PSD is agusturinn_body_01.psd. Asset name first, the body part (as apposed to head or weapon) and the number of the PSD iteration. By the end of the asset I might have four or five versions of the psd.
I have created a folder for each texture map I will have for the final asset. By working in one PSD, it makes it easy to move things between maps to ensure consistency of the placement. The foundation of the process for me is the normal map from the high poly. Everything else works off of that. Now that I have the PSD created and the normal bake layer, I have an action that will save out a flattened targa of the current view of the PSD. I use this to save the normal map as the file name (agusturinn_body_01) with _N appeneded (for normal map). I will now assign this to the model in my real time environment (in this case, 3dsmax).
This is how my low poly with just the normal map applied looks. I can examine the normal map to see if I need to clean up any areas, or fix any seams. Right now you can see that everything is perfectly smooth, as if it was made of perfect plastic. Part of this tutorial will cover how I add texture to the surfaces, and ensure it aligns between the different maps to create convincing details.
Make sure to check out the full list of tutorials here.