Today I attempted to solve the issue I had been having for the last few days.
I wanted to try and reuse the material I had created as much as possible, but because the textures were baked from a high poly mesh, when I destructed them in different ways I was unable to get the detail of where the seems meet to look convincing.
I finally decided that the best way to do this was to export the high resolution mesh and bake a texture from it, but also to export a high resolution mesh of the top elements of each wall, so that I would also have the baked detail of the tops of these bricks. To do this, I assembled the full wall and tops of the walls in Maya:
I then baked the high poly mesh onto them in Substance Painter.
And then I just filled in the texture below each wall top with the texture from the full-wall mesh. The repetition is slightly visible, but when the walls are assembled properly I hope it will be unnoticeable.
The seams still aren’t perfect by any means, but the reuse of the texture is pretty good. I will either tidy up these seams, or else hide them under other geometry.
I also feel that the lighter highlights are a little too strong so I will change them when I get the chance.
After a weekend as a mentor at Escape’s first game jam, I started back at work again today. We had a brief meeting with Simon to discuss how we were getting on, and after reassigning a few jobs we’re back on track.
I finished sculpting the first piece of the gate wall over the weekend, and spent today retopologising it. Retopology for this mesh was a bit different to the last few. I decided to try and re-use of of the texture, and create a sort of tiling texture, but it probably ended up being more trouble than it was worth. I ended up mirroring the retopo mesh on the other side, as well as overlapping my UVs in an attempt to save resolution.
I then baked the texture, and textured the mesh.
Finally, I brought the new retop with overlapping UVs into UE4 to see how the tiling works, and while not perfect, it is not bad, and saves a lot on texture resolution.
Trying to reuse this material for the other walls is going to be tricky. I tried using the multicut tool to slice the wall, and place the decimated stones around to cover it a bit, but I ended up with some really poor texturing, so I’m going to have to figure something else out. Maybe I will sculpt some more high resolution bricks and expolode them, and use them to mask any errors.
Today I continued the texturing process. I tested out a few techniques, but it was very difficult to create a texture that was both PBR and stylised with a really nice painterly quality.
After a lot of deliberating, I eventually decided to stick with the top texture for now, and if I have time later I will test out some other alternatives.
I then brought this texture into UE to test out how it looked in the blockout scene.
I then tried to break down the side walls into tileable elements. It is becoming increasingly difficult to create tiling textures when the destructed edge of each brick is so different. I have decided to make some of the internal pieces tile, while making the destructed edges very individual Another issue I have faced here is that it is very difficult to create a texture that will meet another texture convincingly.
I decided to sculpt one half of the gate wall in zbrush first as this is the wall with the most bricks. I will then attempt to demolish the wall in various ways, and then tile where possible.
I know a tiling texture would probably be easier than sculpting all of these bricks individually, but I genuinely feel that the variation will look great in the end result, and will be worth all this trouble!
For the past two days, as well as some of the weekend, I focused on creating the tops of the towers. From the concept sketches it is clear that the tops of the towers house windows, and so I had to alter the original mesh I had created in Maya to allow for the window.
I then brought this back into ZBrush, and decided to sculpt each brick individually again.
By sculpting the whole top it meant I could demolish it in various ways without having to resculpt every brick again.
I then took some of the bricks away and exported the high poly mesh. Like with the lower portions of the tower, I pulled out some bricks and decimated them to have them protruding from the surface of the cylinder.
I then decimated the entire mesh for retopology in Maya.
And I then baked the high resolution sculpt from ZBrush onto the Retopo mesh.
I then brought this into UE4 and added it to the top of the existing tower pieces.
The next step was repeating the process for a different top, to add variation to the scene.
Finally I started testing some textures. After looking at the new Sea of Thieves gameplay released yesterday, it became clear that all of the textures have a really soft and smooth deal to them, with very little granular detail, so I tried to mimic a similar effect, without losing all of the detail of the model I have already put in. This is just the first test of many:
Over the past few days I finished sculpting the base of the round tower.
I then sculpted the inner cylinder to emphasise the mortar in certain places. I did this in a similar way to the sculpting of the stones, where I subdivided the cylinder, and used the clay buildup brush to pull it out.
It looks funny on its own, sure…
… But with the bricks covering the majority, it looks much better.
Close up of the mortar.
I then pulled out some of the rocks, to add some variation to the surface.
I then went back to Maya, where I created a low poly cylinder to fit the majority of the bricks, and then exported the extracted bricks (decimated) from ZBrush into Maya. I did this to break up some of the repetition in the cylindrical surface, although I may go back and extract some more to heighten the effect.
I then brought these into Substance Painter, where I baked the high poly from ZBrush down onto this Low Poly that I created in Maya. The result is pretty convincing, particularly for a relatively low poly (912 Triangles) mesh.
I am now going to try decimating the entire mesh in ZBrush to see if the result looks better, even if it needs more geometry to do this.
I also brought the tower into Unreal Engine, with the blockout scene that rare gave us. I had to scale the entire scene up by 25% to match the 3rd person template to the scale they gave us.
Today I decided to change my approach a little. Originally I was going to sculpt a tiling texture in ZBrush, and use that to create the walls and the towers of my scene, but I inevitably decided that because the walls are quite small, and rather important, it made more sense for me to sculpt each asset individually, so each asset could be drastically different.
So I headed back into Maya, and modelled the base of a round tower out or stones.
After bringing this into ZBrush I decided that the stones were too different, and looked strange, so I decided to simplify the mesh in Maya, to use regular brick/stone shapes.
I then brought this back into ZBrush and started sculpting each asset individually. While the result looks ok, it is taking far more time than I expected to get the soft and painterly feel to the surface of each stone. Luckily, I modelled the base as 10 stones high (roughly), and I will just duplicate and rotate the entire mesh above it. This will not only save on time, but it will also benefit the resolution of the texture.
Today I completed the rock/stone formation that I started yesterday.
As it stands, I think the overall look isn’t too bad, but a lot of the reference images I am using have much sharper and crisper edges, whereas mine seems a bit softer and more like clay. So then I started resculping the same mesh, but trying to keep the edges a bit sharper.
Still not exactly what I was going for. But I think the end result will be somewhere in the middle.