this thread useful if your part of a small dev team.
Art Critic = Someone with the Eye of an Artist, Words of a Bard, and the Talent of a Rock.
Please take my critiques as someone who Wishes he had the Talent
this thread useful if your part of a small dev team.
Yeh, Jam's a name that kinda stuck at uni after someone said i was very jammy actually lol.
Dunno why Autodesk pulled the PLE version for some reason a while back. You can get a 30 day trial now, but doesn't give you long to get the hang of it really. I've not had much exposure to scripting other than the basics of Mel, but my animation workload is quite high so rarely get the chance to dedicate much time to it.
Had a read of that thread, some interesting stuff on there, that scanner is very cool. However, from a practical viewpoint i've never heard of a development team using something like this, because they create all their models within the software. With software like Mudbox and Zbrush you can digitally 'sculpt' models to very high levels of detail (we're talking millions of polys), where you manipulate the mesh in a similar way to how you might work with clay. So you start by creating a basic model in maya or max, import it into mudbox or zbrush, subdivide the model up to millions of polygons, then sculpt it so you have an awesomely detailed mesh. Then you create displacement maps (or more likely for in-game assets you'd use normal or parallax maps) in mudbox/zbrush, apply these ontop of you basic mesh in maya/max, and you've get a very high detail 'looking' character that's actually low poly. By creating all the high detail sculpting digitally, they bypass any need to scan actual sculptures/objects.
Nevertheless, that scanner is awesome!
Yeah I guess thats the way its done now. I see some unbeliveable models said to be done with Z-brush. Someone posted a new app which is like zbrush but it dynamically was subdividing the polygons as it was transforming. I was quite impressed with that. I think that app was low cost too. I showed by scanner to some animators a long while back and they said it was interesting but because it generated a poly mesh instead of nurbs then they would have had trouble animating it. I guess that cant be the issue now unless Z Brush can output a nurbs model. I havent used the scanner for a while - years in fact on anything commercial.
I know about the normal maps thing and I was one of the devs which wrote a hardware accellerator for Maya to do that sort of thing in the card shaders but that was many years back too and I have forgotten most of what I did now. I remember tho that we got the old nVidia chameleon sped up somewhat on it. What several of us focus here tho is terrain modeling in 3D which is not too difficult to display but hideous to calculate realistic form with erosion and all the geological processes competing. But at least the end result you can generate a normal map.
Heres another use we have been playing with which a thread I started for auto thatching buildings because the texture has to be aligned with the gradient. In there you will get a normal map of the dummy. But you would be well able to run this stuff as its all based on 3D models and interesting lighting and masking.
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We have also got some good method of generating the 3D object from a 2D black and white mask of the buildings what were missing is some method of placing buildings in a believable pattern based on roads and minimizing the number of walls and keeping access to them all etc. I think we need something more intelligent than a random process. So if you have come across that sort of stuff in your travels then that would be golden info.
While I am mailing and since your doing a tolkien map - I am a member of the me-dem.org group which is making middle earth as a 3D DEM. Tho the site there is not very active it is still limping along. Theres more pics on here if you rummage around a bit than you can get on there I think.
It sounds like alot of the stuff you're doing is very procedural and script based, which unfortunately i couldn't really help (or even advise) with, as my education is more animation/art oriented. Also, the scale at which you're working, where you require generated buildings is abit beyong me. I'd be further back in the pipeline if anything, modelling/texturing individual buildings, creating character anims and stuff.
The 3D DEM project sounds like a pretty massive undertaking, and after having a browse of the site i don't fully understand how it's being done. I think it's probably because i'm more used to interactive game type environments, i'd be more suited to creating a 3d city, like Gondor or something, with a big team of artists all modelling bits (that would be a HUGE undertaking in itself). The idea of the whole of ME is abit mind boggling. But then i may be imagining a different level of detail, and be waaaaay off the mark lol. Are we talking MMORPG level of detail, or top-down strategy type game detail, or lower?
The people I saw about the polys to nurbs thing was a long time ago- - about 10yrs. Maybe they did things that way maybe its moved on. I know at the time it was all toy story type stuff with no facial features on people or any detail. They were doing a lot of adverts and it was all toothpaste men and stuff like that. I'm no animator - i'm definitely on the tech side and I just took their word for it.
The me-dem thing is where were making just the terrain. We could put cities on the top but we were going to leave that to others. There was the Minas Tirith project which has a youtube vid to look at but thats now defunct.
Monks models the base terrain in vector format trying to match up with a raft of reference docs and maps he has collected. He exports that as a height map at 10K square and so far I have procedurally taken that up to 20K square and coloured it with a scripted / procedural shader. So we have the map at 20K and its about 4000mi across so thats still about 1/5th mi per pixel. The plan and I stress that this is now getting increasingly dubious was to use a program I write to upsample that terrain with some natural geological effects and maintaining water flow correctly so that we got higher res. We were aiming for 100K square but maybe if we get to 40 that would be more realistic which is about 500ft per pixel. As a base to start putting cities on that would be ok. You could go higher from there around the particular city. Anyway its all a bit pie in the sky.
Oooo 10 years ago, yeh probably would've been nurbs i guess, bit before my 3d time (i'm 25).
The me-dem sounds like quite a cool project, will definately keep an eye on your progress. That Minas Tirith project looks more along the lines of my skillset, took a look on youtube and is very impressive how far they got with it. Thing is with something like that the time required would always stop me, after 8 hours 3d animating at work everyday i find it very hard to sit down and open up maya when i get home lol.
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