Model UGLY's Vines

Discussion in 'Models & Textures' started by UGLYdumpling, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    [​IMG]

    pc_madness has requested some vines. over here

    As a warmup exercise I thought this would dovetail nicely into the deciduous trees that Boylee and I are gonna collaborate on this month.

    I gathered up most of the vegetation from TF2 into a single scene file to inspect. I was kinda shocked about a couple things. a) there is hardly any vegetation for TF2 b) the stuff it does have looks like it was whipped off as an afterthought, the UVs and textures are quite half-assed. A shame, really.

    Anyhoo, i'm a couple hours into this model and thought I'd create a thread since it's taking shape into something half-recognizable as ivy.

    Looking for critiques plz. Same brutal eye is appreciated! :cool:

    Cheers,
    UGLYdumpling
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  2. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Green needs to me much darker. Try matching it with the pine tree's green
     
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  3. Rexy

    aa Rexy The Kwisatz Haderach

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    Agreed. Or desaturate the green by at least half. And smoothing groups.
     
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  4. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    ok, i've tamed my proxy textures a wee bit ... better?

    How about big picture tho - the model ?

    I noticed that valve cheats smaller details on their trees by simply doodling a branch in on a 4-sided poly and crashing it right in there with the modeled branches and foliage. More or less the same approach as their grass geometries.

    Their main tree structures are also just crashed together with little to no time spent on fancy edge looping or any of that nonsense. I figure i could just stick to that formula with mine.

    I'm a little concerned at the polycount as I haven't really set a budget for a piece like this.
    Is 2000tris too generous? Maybe 1000 is more friendly for a detail mesh?

    I want it to look interesting, but not at the expense of ballooning up a bsp unnecessarily.

    I suppose I could always take screencaps of the detailed leaves and paste them onto big flat polys to get my tri-count down by half. <shrugs>

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2010
  5. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Definately smoothing groups on the stems and maybe desaturate them too.
     
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  6. Boylee

    aa Boylee pew pew pew

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    Interesting quandary, obviously they'll look much nicer at a higher polycount but I don't know how many polys are acceptable for a prop like this. Would be interested to hear some of the more experienced tf2 modeller's opinions.

    It just occurred to me that this would probably be a whole lot more useful if it wasn't one model at all. If you split it up into 4 smaller models then it would be much more versatile.

    I was thinking split it something like this:
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    I like that idea Boylee! Acumen is developing a bushy vine that works modularized! It's smart.

    Got a little busy with RL, but I'm back to fleshing out my vine design.
    I really should be working this out completely on paper first. I have done some supportive sketches, but no where near what I really should.

    I've been away from 3D for so long I'm enjoying the process in Maya.
    Albeit a little slower considering I don't have pages of reference sketches and/or a solid plan ... just wingin it.

    Anyhoo - i like the direction this latest iteration is taking ... it's a bit too straight up and down vertical?. Once I finish blocking it out I'll slap a lattice deformer on her and see what funky shapes I can get.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    hit on something here i think ... the one on the right?
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    here are the vines repeating ... took a screenshot of the above vines and then offset in photoshop and drew in the rest.
    testing on a 3D plane to make sure it repeats without too obvious a pattern.
    Once I'm pleased with things I'll carry this back on through into my geometry.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  9. Acumen

    aa Acumen Annoyer

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    i think that works superfine. i mean, to be honest, whoever uses that much ivy in a row without a visual interruption shall be taken to hospital. i'd say go on and finish these beasts !
     
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  10. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    [​IMG]

    ok, here's the first in-game screenshot with my proxy textures and semi-final model. I've also put my breakdown in there. The mapper would have a choice of thick or thin foliage as there are three models that make what you see in the screenshots.

    I've spent so much time making static meshes that I hardly have any time in hammer.
    My lighting is absolutely horrible and as a result the shadows cast by the ivy suck.

    Anyone feel like donating a big empty room with a good lighting setup so I have at least ONE scene file suitable for screenshots?
    If not, please be patient with meh.
     
  11. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    [​IMG]

    hmm. ran into a roadblock with these models. Shadows are giving me issues. I was reading YM's post on removing ugly shadows.
    Which explains those big ugly black shadows behind my foliage ... the vines are even worse.
    TF2 calculates the shadows, by default, on the collision mesh, or in this case since they don't have one, the default bounding box applied during compile.

    If I try to use the object itself as a collision mesh, the mdl compiler goes NUTS!
    So it looks like I have to make a comprise on my model.

    I'm not fond of the idea of following YM's tutorial to force these objects to cast compilicated shadows cuz then it's not community friendly.

    I think this is my first insight into why Valve's existing plantlife is so simple to the point of seeming half-assed.
    They can't make thin, tapering geometry cast nice shadows so why bother building it?

    ugh.

    I'll try cheating it. Turn off the static mesh shadowcasting in hammer.
    And bake off my own shadows into a texture I stick behind everything.
    Could get messy, but it might work nicely.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  12. Draco18s

    Draco18s L9: Fashionable Member

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    As long as those shadows are a separate entity from the prop, it should be usable.
     
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  13. Pc_Madness

    Pc_Madness L4: Comfortable Member

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    Use YM's method, its the best way. :)
     
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  14. Tapp

    Tapp L10: Glamorous Member

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    I'm pretty sure you that vrad has an option for creating shadows based on the alpha in textures...
     
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  15. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    Yes, I understand that hammer can be tweaked so that the compiler renders a better shadow.
    But every mapper who considers using these vines will have to make that adjustment to their copy of hammer and the render times will go up.
    Not very friendly is it?
     
  16. DaBeatzProject

    aa DaBeatzProject

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    It's not that big of a problem. Look at payload cart tracks. They have this too. And people can just disable shadows on those props too.
     
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  17. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Yeah, you can simply let mappers disable shadows for that.

    OR... I have a generic_collision_phys.smd I use when I make models that aren't intended to have collision. It's basically a tiny little block (<1u square) right at the origin. You could compile it with one of those so the collision mesh doesn't create any noticeable shadows. Saves people from having to set the prop non-solid and shadows off.

    Kep
     
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  18. UGLYdumpling

    UGLYdumpling L3: Member

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    [​IMG]

    I've learned an important insight this week into the phenomenon of transparency sorting for realtime engines.
    In short? It has a looooong way to go.

    I was having tremendous difficulty in getting my proxy textures to display correctly outside of Maya.
    Maya has a pretty nifty transparency sorting option in it's viewport.
    So I was getting really nice sorting while i was in Maya.
    But as soon as I moved the asset OUT of Maya and into Source. crap.

    I thought it might be my surface normals. nope.
    I thought it might be my VMT's, so I scoured the interwebs. nope.
    Finally, when I was on the brink of completely losing my mind on this matter I chatted Acumen up and he confirmed that transparency sorting is a problem.

    So armed with this new knowledge, I've rebuilt the leafy part of this model.
    Looks better now.

    I will be passing this onto Boylee now for texturing.

    There are FOUR more iterations of this ivy too.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  19. Acumen

    aa Acumen Annoyer

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    I think that huuuge alpha plane doesn't really do the thing a favor. Makes it look really wishywashy in the end. i'd say either go for seperate planes/leaves all over like n30n did. Or instead create some chunks of 5-6 leaves rendered onto a plane and copy/paste these around to give it some volume.
    But these 2 extremes combined kinda smallen the quality of the modeling side of works - it hides all the cool stuff :/

    edit: you'd need a very big texture to cover that space in a sharp texture....just my thoughts :)
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  20. DaBeatzProject

    aa DaBeatzProject

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    I am really liking that! Some more variation in height and/or thickness would've been nice though.

    Edit: Acumen: if the huge plane is textured less wishywashy, it might look better. :)
     
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