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Wow, the YouTube video was released in November. How have I never seen it before? I've probably watched it three times in the past hour. It's an absolutely amazing production. What was the budget for this?
Total War: Rome 2 & Star Wars: Battlefront modeller Andreas Strømberg talks about the best tools to build high quality 3d models for games. He also recommends some of the best tools for artists and modellers.
About Andreas Strømberg
Hi, I am Andreas Strømberg, I am a 3D Artist from Norway, working in the game industry. When I started doing 3D, I didn’t really think of making models for games, so I was mostly doing architecture modeling and rendering. But then I researched more about modding games and making models for them and got hooked on that.
I have worked on some of the ships for Total War: Rome 2, at Creative Assembly. Props and weapons for Contagion at Monochrome LLC. Currently I am working as a 3D Artist at EA Dice for Battlefront, where I work on both big and small props or environments.
I do mostly hard surface work, which is also my expertise. Can do most things except characters I would say, although I am best with pure hard surface. Doing the highpoly modeling is what I enjoy the most, cause that’s when I am more creative, also seeing it all come together in an engine is great.
Building Models for Games
I try and get most things represented so that I can see how it looks from certain views and if the proportions and silhouette looks good, then I usually set up a FPS camera angle inside my 3D program, so that I can switch back and fourth when modeling to get a quick look.
Then I gather a lot of reference, so that I can make most shapes without too much guessing or making up stuff.
As for optimizing, I try and keep round shapes round and spend most of the triangles on what is closest to the players view.
Usually if I am making something more organic I use sculpting, for example bricks, sand, rocks. It’s often easier to get a good result for such materials in a sculpting app. I try and keep my sculpts soft enough so that they will show up in the normal maps, exaggerating the depth goes a long way.
I try and keep my polycount relative to the object size and importance in the world.
I do iterate a lot when doing materials, where I start with getting the base colour and roughness right, then I go in and add colour variation, wear, dirt and details specific to the roughness, like fingerprints, scratches and brush marks.
The time it takes depends on what material and how complex it would be for me to replicate it.
Opinion on Modern Engines
I use Unreal Engine 4 for my personal art projects, it’s art workflow are so streamlined and the material editor is amazingly powerful.
For anything related to making games myself I use Unity, because of the C# scripting.
Cryengine I have not completed any projects in, I do like the way lighting inside Cryengine works. But I couldn’t stand the art workflow, missing fbx import until recently, Photoshop plugin for saving out textures. I will give Cryengine another go after the recent updates.
If you’re builsing a scene with any tool get stuff in the engine as early as possible, play around with composition and lighting. Spend time on shaders and particle effects to get a good looking atmosphere in the scene.
Here is what I would get if I lost all my software today.
Also a sculpting app wouldn’t hurt. Maya LT and Blender includes pretty good sculpting, but there is also 3D Coat, Zbrush and Mudbox.
I do like the new pricing models, more affordable for me personally at least.