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This month we wanted to give you a bit of an insight into how we construct our weapons, an overview of the process from start to finish. The construction of a 3d model like this is surprisingly complex and the process has many stages. We are going to break it down a bit so you can see what goes into those shiny media shots of the weapons.. Start at the Start The first thing is to work out what weapon it is needs modelling. In this case we are looking at the Raging Bull which has been beautiful

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This month we wanted to give you a bit of an insight into how we
construct our weapons, an overview of the process from start to finish.
The construction of a 3d model like this is surprisingly complex and
the process has many stages. We are going to break it down a bit so you
can see what goes into those shiny media shots of the weapons.

Start at the Start
The first thing is to work out what weapon
it is needs modelling. In this case we are looking at the Raging Bull
which has been beautifully modeled by Sampson. The team decides exactly
what version of the model is needed and then the modeller finds
reference images. Finding references is a vital stage, you can't just
make up the design for these models otherwise they don't come out
looking good. This is the sort of shot that the modellers will use for
reference.

Build from the Base
From these reference images the modeller
then builds up the base of the model, at this stage is it still quite
simple. This stage is about getting the basic shape right from which
all of the details are then added.

High Poly
From the base model a vey detailed high polygon
model is created. This means modelling all of the little screws and
edges. Now ideally we would stick the model straight in the game at
this point as it looks awesome. However the problem is that your
computer can't cope with such a complex model - this is true for all
models, not just guns. When your graphics card tries to draw the gun it
tries to draw all the little details and just slows down. This results
in the game turning into a slideshow and makes it no fun at all. What
we need to do is try and maintain the level of detail but decrease the
complexity of the model. Luckily there are some ways that we can do
this.


UV Mapping
UV mapping is a way of interfacing between the
texture of the model and the model itself. As you can imagine the
textures are 2 dimensional while the model is 3 dimensional. The
problem is that you can't directly project a texture onto the model.
This is where the UV map comes in; it is effectively a picture of the
gun unfolded into 2 dimensions.

Making a Normal Map
A Normal map is a clever technique for
making models look more detailed without making them more geometrically
complex. From the high poly model a Normal Map is taken. This is a 2D
image of the gun where the colours represent the depth and angle of the
faces. The map will then be reapplied later bringing pseudo detail to
the less complex model. Normal mapping is a complex subject and I'm not
the best guy to explain it, if you are interested in learning more
start with Bencloward.com
which is an excellent explanation of the concept. This image is just
part of the Raging Bull normal map showing the profiled lettering.
Notice the map is actually back to front, this just depends which way
up the gun is on the UV map.

Texturing
Now we have a UV map the texture is painted onto
the map. This is very tricky as you have to make the flat texture fit
nicely onto the model. As you can see from the textures it isn't
exactly intuitive. The other reason texturing is difficult is the level
of detail needed. To make the gun look good it needs to be realistic so
the texture has to be done carefully to make it look real. This
includes things like scratches and wear marks where the gun would be
held.


Final Preparation
Just to get it looking as good as possible
we then render it nicely and put it into our media template. There is
your finished product from start to finish.


Comments
TKAzA Staff
TKAzA

Good tut, and nice explanation
note: you may want to remove the chamber rotatie thing or whatever holds the shells and move it out for the aoe bake as i can see some baked shadows that wont work well if its animated to spin.
try putting in a place holder and moving it away from where it will sit so shadowmaps bake evenly.

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pedro0930
pedro0930

Very nice explanation and good model, too.

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starf1sh
starf1sh

Very nice model and great tut, not very fond of that handle tho. :S

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ben72227
ben72227

Interesting - we do the same thing for making our gun models. How many polys does each version have? In CryEngine we have the first person models and they're about 6000 polys and then the third person models we try to get them down to 3000 if we can (and of course they have LODs which help with performance optimization).

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Darknet
Darknet

nice good info.

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RogerRamjet
RogerRamjet

Nice tut...

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AJ_Quick

What the hell?

All this does is vageuly run past the "tasks" in creating *any* sort of normal mapped asset.

The fact that it's a gun is irrelevant. You haven't explained any of the constituant steps , or related them to UE 3.0 .

It's been pretty much common knowledge for years now that to make a "normal map" you can make a high and low poly mesh and bake the two. You fail to mention of course that this method is the most time consuming, and is not necessary at all when you have Photoshop plugins that can turn heightmaps directly into Normals

pointless tutorial

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TWZCatinHat
TWZCatinHat

Get this from wikipedia?

Very little information or data to your "We are going to break it down a bit so you can see what goes into those shiny media shots of the weapons"

Looks like you spent 2 minutes making this post.

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Hupie
Hupie

Please keep in mind that this article was written not for artists, but for gamers who dont have a clue how a game or game assets are put together. Please also note that this is a news post and not a tutorial.

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