Studio 1 Development Blog 7

On the agenda today: Complex Shaders, Problem Solving and more!

So parallel to working on the Studio 1 projects I have been working on a skeletal hand (to be part of a full skeleton eventually – skull is in the works at present). From earlier blogs you might remember these: Hand Render 1 Hand Render 2

The first is how it looked in 3DS Max with my before research skill set. The second is how it looked in Mudbox. The process I went through (which at the time I thought would work fine) was to create the model in 3DS Max, unwrap it, export it as an OBJ, import it into Mudbox and 3D paint it. I painted a diffuse map and a bump map and in Mudbox it looked pretty good. I then took the textures back into 3DS Max (starting to get too long to type every time so just going to call it “Max” from now on) and it looked crap. I tried inverting the bump map and varying the intensity and it didn’t work. So what was the issue? Well bump maps are a bit out-dated, normal maps are where it’s at… But how do I get a normal map? So I did some research and it turns out Mudbox can convert a bump map into a normal map. Happy days. Converted the bump map to a normal map and took it back to Max. Just for added effect of before and after I took the time to do an Ambient Occlusion pass of my model (some more problems there but we will talk about those soon), baked that into my diffuse texture, used the ambient occlusion map as the specular level map to govern how intense the highlights generated by lights would be and then used the diffuse map as the specular colour to govern the colours of those highlights so that my bone wasn’t too shiny in the wrong way. Along with this I adjusted the glossiness to ensure I had the right level of shine. Some scene lighting because I was informed by one of the Studio 1 facilitators that default lighting is terrible for viewing your shaders and this is the result of all of that as a Max render image:

Hand Render 3

Pretty happy with the result, but back to all the problems, when creating the AO map it kept coming out with very defined differences between all the of surfaces of the hand. A big problem when I baked it into the diffuse map and regardless of smoothing groups it would look angular and blocky…. Not good… I tried playing with smoothing groups and tolerances within the AO pass and nothing worked. And then it hit me, subdividing the model uses the same UV map coordinates, so what would happen if I turbo smoothed the model, did the AO pass and then removed the turbo smooth modifier? So I tried it, got a great (and smooth) result from the AO pass and could get rid of the excess geometry and presto, problem solved.

Below is an image of the shader that is applied to the hand above. Hand_Shader

Anyways I think that is enough for this post, don’t want it to get too heavy in one sitting.

‘Till next time.

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