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One of the structures that I decided to model in my spurt of modelling was the Red Alert 1 Radar.
As is always the case I chose the item to model due to the perceived simplicity in actually making the model.
And the Radar is one of the simplest models I've ever chosen to do.
The above model weighs in at 229 polygons\377 Triangles.
My next step was to decide how I was going to simplify the unwrapping process. The only note here is that I decided to unwrap the entire dome into a single triangle, which should make avoiding obvious repetition during texturing interesting.
After completing the unwrap, it was time to open up photoshop and start doing a basic colour block.
This helps to divide the materials and colours of texture space and allows me to visualise what colours and materials work at a basic level before committing to adding detail, better to find out something doesn't work here then after doing a ton of detail texturing.
You might be able to make out the beginning of a railing that I decided to add to create a little extra interest.
The next step involves adding detail. Chipping the paint on metal, adding colour contrast, adding dirt & grime. Building height maps and normal maps are done at the same time as well, plus basic specular work (the fact that the Max shader view ignores the specular map, in addition to the default light being nothing like a C&C3 light means that I find doing detailed work on the specular pointless until I get the model into C&C3).
Here's the 'finished' diffuse, inverted comma's because a texture that has not been checked in C&C3 is not finished. I'd go has far has saying it does not really matter what it looks like in Max.
The first thing I notice about the above diffuse, is the very obvious repetitive pattern on the dome... oops!
The blue 'lights' is a detail that you can sort of pick out of an in game (RA1) image of the radar. The Red Alert mod used this and it is a very 'RTS' kind of detail so I decided to go with it.
The diffuse is of course 1/3 of the maps in terms of C&C3 texturing. And in my discipline the diffuse, normal and specular maps are equally important.
So here finally is a screen grab of a more 'complete' set of texture maps.
If you believe Max's nonsense then you could fool yourself into thinking that you were ready to go, you're not!
The way Max (even with it's version of the C&C3 shaders) handles large sections of very light or very dark shades of colour is completely different to how the C&C3 sage engine handles it.
Along with specular issues Max is literally no help at all.
Once I got the model in game (I always start on Barstow badlands, why not, eh?), imediately I could see that both the dome and outer walls were far too bright. I had not made the 'white' dome and outer walls actual full white (that would be stupid) but even the 200 even shade of grey that I had chosen along with all the dirt & grime on top of it was too much.
I lowered the grey by a further 10 down to 190 on both the dome and walls.
I also added a more even dirt layer on the dome so that there would not be such an obvious repeating pattern on it.
My 'go-to' stages for checking a texture in a 'neutral' light is Tournament arena & Tournament Tower.
I find that these stages are best, but it is also important to check the texture in other stages.
I find the dusk lighting stages useless for reading how good the texture is though, way too much orange. And the full-on Red Zone stages with their 'atmospheric' lighting aren't so good for me either.
I also added some non destructive adjustment layers so I could mess around with contrast, brightness, hue, saturation and colour balance.
I often (always) find that I end up bumping the contrast and brightness up, one because contrast works well in C&C3 (be it colour, material types, reflective and non-reflective metal) and helps to bring details out in the texture in C&C3.
Lets end with some in game screens of the revised texture.
Interestingly enough, the dome might still be too bright. The question is whether I want a kind-of white dome like the in game RA1 radar, or the much more grey dome of the render at the start.
After all a near white dome would be reflecting huge amounts of light on a sunny day so the above screen is hardly inaccurate.
Overall I am pleased with this model and texture, the Radar dome is something that is difficult even for an average amateur texture artist like me to mess up.
It is real world recognisable, it has the prominent dome to sell what it is to the player and it require no complicated texture details, I mean the door is probably the most difficult thing on the texture.
This is the only 'proper' structure that I will have modelled and textured for this structure fest.
This is the second of the Westwood concept Soviet Bunkers.
A slightly different style was used for the final YR Soviet bunker.
The first in my Bunker series was done a long time ago.
I had some strange ideas back then, but experimentation was the name of the game. In truth, I prefer the design of this bunker in comparison to the others and I was reasonably happy with the end result.
On to the present bunker.
This time I decided to try increasing the resolution on the brickwork by maximising my UV space.
In the first bunker each brick face had its own space on the UV! (don't ask). This time they were all condensed into the same space.
I wanted a slightly less worn feel in comparison to the first bunker, so the lighter metal work is less obviously rusted. In an attempt to lessen the impact of the obvious seeming I added some rivets to draw the attention.
The holdings for the spikes are supposed to be wrought iron style, but this is lost in translation.
The barbed wire is mediocre. First time I ever attempted anything like this, I drew a spline in the area where I intended the wire to go, then I extruded the spline. Finally I added a shell modifier with a very low setting ( just high enough to prevent crossed vertices!).
I then converted it into a polygon, selected the polygons I wanted and deleted the rest ( I'm not sure this was a good idea).
The barbed-wire is a single 'ring' which is repeated. The idea was that by moving vertices in various directions (along with Max's 'soft selection') I could add a random element to prevent the look from being to uniform ( Needless to say I forgot about this!).
I have struggled to add visual interest to this bunker ( I feel I done a far better job with the previous bunker ), I have big ideas for the final bunker in the series though.
I am mildly pleased with the in game look, although I fell in to the noob trap of detailing the texture for the Max view, instead of thinking of how it would look in-game. Once again I cut back on the grunge because I thought I was over doing it in Max, in-game it would've passed for clean!
The normal and texture detail to portray a 'wrought iron' effect, looked good in Max, invisible in-game.
This is an adjustment I'll learn to make.