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[TUT] Neener's 3DS Max Unit Creation Guide

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Modding Tutorials & Reference' started by neener, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    170
    Even though I'm still new, I've been asked to write up a tutorial explaining how I make 3D characters in Max, so I've duly obliged. Since I'm working on the Warhammer FB mod, the character I'm making is one from that setting, but obviously it could be anything.

    Woodelf has kindly supplied me with a Word .doc of the tutorial for easier viewing, which you can download here.


    STEP ONE - PREPARATION!

    First things first: If you're modelling anything without reference material, stop it right now! Just about every artist in every medium uses some sort of reference, be it prelimenary sketches, blueprints, even those little wooden mannequins you can move into sex positions. It's very easy to use references with 3D graphics, so if you've got into the habit of just opening up Max and modelling blind, get out of it as soon as possible.

    The first thing you should do is draw up what you want to model, as a template to work over later.



    Since I'm making a humanoid, I drew him in the universal position from the front and the side. Note that I tried to keep the proportions equal in both pictures, so that the body parts line up. Essentially, you want this picture to be a schematic of your character. Also note that it doesn't have to be a GOOD picture, nor does it even have to be complete. There was no point drawing a second arm, when I can just make one in Max and copy it.

    The next step is to get that picture into Max to use as a template.

    In Max, Create a Plane



    and drag it out in the Front viewport. Since we're doing this for Civ, line the Plane up so the bottom touches 0 on the X co-ordinate (the thick black horizontal line on the grid) and the middle of the Plane is at 0 on the Y co-ordinate (the thick black vertical line) like so:

    With the Plane selected, switch over to the Modify tab and click the pull down Modifier List menu. Find the "UVW Map" and select it.



    This allows you to project an image onto your plane, which we'll do in a second, but first we need to tweak it a tiny bit.

    On the right hand side, with the UVW Map modifier still selected, scroll down and click the Bitmap Fit button. This basically tells Max to fit the modifier to a graphic file of your choosing.



    You'll be asked to pick a 'bitmap' (really it's any image file, it doesn't have to be a .bmp file), so go and find the template you drew earlier, and select it. Now we need to actually apply the image to the plane, so open the Material Editor (just press the M key on your keyboard) and click on this little button:



    It'll ask you to pick a Material, so pick Bitmap right at the top, and find the template picture you drew. You'll see the picture appear wrapped around the sphere in the Material Editor. Click and drag that picture onto the plane in your scene and it will apply it. However, you probably won't be able to see it, because the Material isn't set up for it, so we click this little button:



    This changes the Material to make it show up in your scene. You should be able to see it applied to the plane now. If you still can't see it in your Front viewport, you might need to change the viewing options to Smooth & Highlights. Right click on the viewport name in the top left corner, and select Smooth & Highlight.



    The picture should now show in your Front viewport. However, it probably won't be centred, and we need it to be, so there's still more tweaking to do!

    In the Modifier Stack, which is the list on the right side of all the modifiers you've applied, expand the UVW Map modifier and click on Gizmo.



    The Gizmo is a little device which controls the exact placement of the UVW Map. When you click it, you should notice a little yellow box appear on the Plane, with a green line on one edge. Click the Move tool and move your Gizmo over so that the Goblin (or whatever you're modelling) is centred, like so:



    Note that I also moved it down so that his feet actually lie on the 0 co-ordinate.

    That's the end of tweaking the UVW Map, but now we need the side view too. Luckily, we don't have to go through all that hard work again, because we can just copy the existing plane, including all its modifiers.

    Press Control + V on your keyboard and you'll instantly Clone the selected object. We now have two Planes, but we need to turn the cloned one to a right angle. So, in the Top viewport, with the new Plane selected, right click on the Rotate tool. You'll get a little dialogue box with 6 options. In Absolute:World, in the Z box, type -90 and press enter. You'll see the Plane turn, so the two Planes look something like this:



    Note, I moved the new plane over to the side a little, so the two Planes form a T shape instead of a + shape, but that's really just personal preference. If the side-on picture of your character isn't centred in the new Plane, then just go to the Gizmo like we did before and move it to the side. You should get the idea from the above picture.

    And then you're done with the Planes! Theoretically, you could just leave it there and start modelling your character, but you'll probably regret it in the long run as it can be hard to make out details, and the texture can warp slightly as you move around in 3D. It pays to take a few more steps and make life much easier in the end, so on we go.

    Click back to the Create tab, and click the Shapes button to see the below set of objects. Pick Line.



    Now you simply start to draw lines around your templates in the Front and Side viewports, sketching out the details with Lines as if you were tracing it on paper. Keep going until you've drawn many lines all over it to form the picture, as shown below. If you find that you've started drawing a line and suddenly you're at the edge of the screen and have no way of scrolling over ot keep drawing, simply press the I key on your keyboard. That will centre the viewport on your cursor, wherever it is. That way you can keep drawing lines without needing to stop,close the line, scroll and then start again. Great timesaver! Also, at any point you can right-click on the viewport name and change back to Wireframe so that it's easier to see which lines you have.



    When you have all the lines for both side and front views completed, you can delete the Planes because we don't need them anymore. But they're still an inconvenient jumble of lines, so let's put them together.

    In the Front viewport, right click on any of the Lines and select Convert To: Editable Spline.



    Once that's done, you can scroll down on the right side to the Attach option. Click that.



    Now click on all the other lines in the Front viewport. You'll slowly attach them all together into one big super Line! Be carefuly not to select any of the Lines that make up the side view, though, as you want the two to be separate.

    When that's done, go to the side viewport and repeat the process, attaching all those Lines together. You should end up with two Lines, one is the front view of your character and the other is the side view:



    Again, I moved them apart because I prefer it that way, but you get the idea.

    And that's the end of this first section of the tutorial. Now that we have those two templates properly adapted into Max, we can use them to make life much easier when we start to create our character, which I'll go into in the next step.
     
  2. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    170
    PART 2 - BASIC MODELLING!

    Okay, so in this section I'm going to try and show some of the basic modelling techniques that I use. Please bear in mind that this is only one of many possible techniques, and is by no means the One True Path To 3D Zen. It's just the one that a lot of people prefer.

    Anyway, so we pick up right after the end of the last tutorial. The next thing to do is start actually modelling. My preferred method of starting out an organic character is with 'splines'. Which are basically just 3D lines, like the ones we traced around the character. So go to Create, and Shapes, just like before, but this time click on Circle. Then, in the Front viewport, create a Circle at your templates waist. Using both the Left and Front viewports, rotate it and scale it so that it fits the template from both views.



    When you're comfortable with the placement, hold down the shift key and move the Circle halfway up the character's body. This will Clone the Circle. Again, scale it and rotate it if you need to, to make it fit both the front and side templates. Once more, hold shift and move the Circle to clone it up around the shoulders of the character. You should end up with something like this:



    Now that we have all three Circles, we're going to attach them together. Just convert one to an Editable Spline like we did before, and use the Attach button to make them into one object. However, make sure you start at one end and attach, in order, to the other end. If you attach them out of order, you'll get very weird results when you do the next step, so make sure you don't!

    After they're connected into one object, we're going to apply the Cross Section modifier. Find it in the list and select it, and use the Linear setting. This lovely little modifier will connect up all three circles into a kind of cage shape. The more eagle-eyed readers will already be able to see the character coming to shape!



    Next, we apply another modifier called Surface. Find that and apply it. This modifier, as the name suggests, creates a surface of polygons all across the cage. However, by default it probably creates way too many polygons, so on the right hand side, lower the Steps to 1. Also, make sure Remove Interior Patches is ticked. As for Flip Normals, that just depends on your scene. Depending on the order you joined the Circles together, you'll either end up with a normal mesh, or you'll have one that's inside out. Just take a look at it and you should be able to work it out. If it's inside out, tick the Flip Normals box, and it'll look right again.



    Now we have a base for our modelling, we're going to convert it to an Editable Mesh. Right click the body and select Convert to Editable Mesh (obviously!). While we're at it, right click it again and select Properties. In the box that pops up, in the Display Properties section, un-tick "Edges Only". This will let you see all the little lines on your model, instead of just some of them. It's almost impossible to model without being able to see all the lines, so get used to doing this.



    Now that we have an Editable Mesh, I'm going to run you through each of the editing 'modes', as we keep working on the model.

    First up, Vertex mode!

    Select Vertex from the right hand menu, and you'll see a blue dot on every vertex. Make sure Ignore Backfacing is turned off here. When Ignore Backfacing is turned on, you will only be able to select parts of the model that are facing you, whereas if you turn it off, you'll find yourself selecting parts of the model on the opposite side of the model. There are times where each come in handy. For now, make sure it's turned off, and select the row of vertices shown in the screenshot below. They don't need any adjusting in the Front viewport, but in the Left viewport, scale them in slightly and rotate the whole row to fit the template.



    While we're in Vertex mode, I'll also show you one of the other major tricks. If you look at the screenshot below, you'll notice that we really don't need the vertex I've selected on the left. So, select the Target button from the Weld section of the right-hand menu, and click and drag that vertex down on top of the one below it. This will weld the two vertices together, which is probably going to be your number one way of reducing detail on your model.



    Note, you might also realise I've moved one of the vertices at the top of the character's back. Feel free to do the same.

    Next, Line mode!

    Switch to Line mode on the menu, then click the Turn button. Unsurprisingly, this will turn any line you click, so do that to the two lines I've selected in the screenshot below, so they run from the front of the model to the back, rather than across it. Note that I've turned Ignore Backfacing on now, because I don't want to accidentally turn lines that are on the other side of the model.



    The reason we're turning these is because we want the model to be symmetrical. You'll see why soon. I'll also show you how to Divide lines later.

    First though, we move onto Face mode!

    Pick Faces on the menu, and with Ignore Backfacing turned off, simply select the entire right hand side of the model and press the delete key. Yep, just delete that whole side. This is why we wanted the model to be symmetrical. It just doesn't make sense to double our workload by making changes to both sides of the character, so instead we'll just copy the side we're working on. This is also why I only drew one arm on the original template. While we're still in Face mode, move your view around so you can see the bottom of the model, select all the faces on the bottom, and delete them. You should end up with an open hole going up inside the body.



    Before we copy the side we're working on, it makes sense to build it up a little bit first. So go back to Create and pick Circle again, and start making another spline cage like we did before (using Cross Section and Surface modifiers), only this time do it for the lower half of the character.



    Just as we did before, convert the objects to Editable Meshes and move/scale/rotate the vertices to fit the template. As you can see in the screenshot below, I've adjusted both the robes and the arm to be somewhat similar to the template. They don't have to be perfect, of course. There's plenty of time for finetuning later. Again, select all the faces on top of the robes and delete them, so there's an open hole going down into the robes. Do the same for both ends of the arm, so that it's kind of like a hollow tube.



    Attach all three sections together to form one object. Don't worry about the seams between the sections just yet. We'll get to those. When you've attached them, click the Mirror button on the toolbar across the top of the screen. A window will pop up, and you want to choose Instance. If you pick No Copy, you'll just flip the object horizontally, and if you pick Copy you'll simply create a second copy of the object. However, if you pick Instance, then you create a copy which is constantly updated. Every change you make to one side will be mirrored on the other side. This means half as much work for you!



    Note, you may find that when you create the copy, it moved way off to the side for no particular reason. If so, either use the Offset option like I did in the screenshot, or simply click OK and then move it yourself. So long as they line back up as close as possible, it's ok.

    Now we need to fix those ugly gaps in our model. Remember how we welded vertices before with the Target weld button? Well, we could do that all the way around, but this is a good opportunity to show you the other type of weld, which is Selected.

    Change to Vertex mode and select two vertices on either side of a seam in the model. I've chosen two at the waist of the character. Make sure they're on opposite sides of the seam, in case that isn't clear in the picture. This process is a lot like sewing up a tear in some fabric.

    With both vertices selected, use the Scale tool to scale them as close together as possible. They might move slowly, so just scale scale scale scale scale. Then, when you think they're very close together, scroll down the menu to the Weld section, and click the Selected button. If the vertices are close enough together, they'll weld into one. If they're not close enough together, you'll get a message saying that "no vertices were within the weld threshold". If so, just scale them closer together, or gradually increase the threshold (the number to the right of the Selected button) until they weld together.



    This is a handy tool in many situations, so use it to go around the whole waist and weld the seam shut. Don't bother doing the arm and shoulder yet, though. They don't match up properly yet and welding them as they are would be disastrous, so just leave it unattached until later.

    I've covered most of the basics now, but I'll just show you a few more tricks that modellers use. I promised I'd show you how to Divide lines, so I'll do that now.

    In Line mode, click the Divide button from the menu and click on the line you want to Divide. It's that simple! Doing so will add a vertex, thereby dividing the line in half and adding two polygons. In the screenshot below you can see the line I chose on the character's waist (on the left). And then at the top right of the picture, you can see what it looks like after I've divided it. Notice that in doing so I've ended up with a line that looks a bit out of place, so I'm going to Turn it (as shown in the bottom right of the screenshot). Doing this keeps the model tidy, which is much more important than you might think, especially when it comes to texturing and animating the character. Any time you add detail to your model like this, check it to see if any new lines need turning.



    Carry on dividing the lines at the waist, like I've done in the next screenshot, and then turn the lines to the right position. Continue like that around the back of the model and before you know it, you've made room for a belt!



    Using Divide and Turn is the absolute best way of adding detail to your mesh, and you'll use it all the time. You have tons of control over the model that way, and it makes the process much more akin to sculpting, which is how it should be.

    That's it for this lesson! I'll carry on with the model next time. I know it doesn't look like much yet, but hopefully once we get some more detail it'll come together.
     
  3. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    170
    Part 3 - More Modelling!

    Okay, so I mentioned that we'd connect the arm later, and now seems like a good time to do that.

    Move round to the back of the character and grab the two vertices shown in the picture. Use the Move tool to pull them closer to the arm, and bring them up a little too. In real life, your body isn't really cylindrical, as your back is much flatter than your chest, so it makes sense to do the same with your model.



    Using the Divide Line technique I mentioned in the previous tutorial, try to go around the area of the body where the arm will connect up, and add vertices to create a kind of 'socket' for the arm to connect with. You can kind of see what I mean in the screenshot below. Notice how I've moved vertices, and added new ones, to line up with the arm.



    Select the faces I did in the picture and delete them. The arm is going to connect up there so we don't need them. Go ahead and attach the arm, and weld the seam shut like we did before.

    Now to give our little goblin some hands. First of all, take a look at the wrist. There's no way we need all those vertices all the way around, so let's reduce some of the detail. At the moment, we have 8 vertices around the wrist, and we only really need 4. Weld them into 4 vertices like I have done below.



    So now we're going to make the hands. Since there's no reason to animate the opening or closing of hands in Civ, we're just going to model them as clenched fists. It's easier, and saves us a bunch of polygons too.

    Hopefully the image below will make sense as I explain it. First of all, with the open lines of the wrist selected, hold down the Shift key and move them over (in the Front viewport, ideally). This will extend the mesh as you can see in the second part of the picture. Now, because we don't want his hands to look like pegs, we're going to rotate the open line 45 degrees so that it's more of a square shape, as opposed to a 'diamond' shape. Again, you can see this in the third part of the picture. Unfortunately, doing that has given us a bunch of really messy lines which we need to sort out. So move around the wrist area and turn the lines as you can see in the fourth part of the picture. Next, hold down the Shift key again and move the open edges a little further on, before scaling them down slightly, as shown in the final part of the picture. Feel free to tweak the vertices slightly to get them into a shape that looks roughly like a hand.



    And now I show you another little trick! We obviously have an open hole at the end of our hand, which we need to fix. So we're going to just create some faces out of thin air.

    In Face mode, click the Create button. This will show you all the vertices on the model. By clicking on three vertices in succession, you'll create a face between them. So click on the vertices I showed in the picture below. Now, it's important that you do them counter-clockwise, in the order I do them. If you click the vertices clockwise, then the face will end up facing the other direction, towards the inside of the model. Create another face to fill in what's left of the hole.



    Our goblin might have some hands, but he still doesn't have a head, so let's try and fix that now.

    I was tempted to try and model it using spline cages, but I decided it was a little too oddly-shaped for it to work, so instead I'll show you how to use basic shapes to your advantage.

    Go to the Create menu, and click on GeoSphere. Make sure you select the "Octa" geodesic type, and lower the Segments to 3. The reason we're using Octa is because it uses far fewer polygons to achieve roughly the same shape. Using the Icosa type would give us a sphere of about 160 polygons, while the Octa type is only around 70.

    Drag the GeoSphere out to roughly the shape of the head in the template.



    Convert it to an Editable Mesh and, in the side viewport, drag the vertices at the front and back of the sphere to where we want them to be in order to make the face. You can also delete the right hand side of the geosphere if you want, since the face is going to be symmetrical like the rest of the model.



    You can see the face starting to take shape, but he definitely needs a nose. Divide the line at the front of the sphere and drag the vertex out to the tip of the template's nose, like I have done in the first part of the picture below.



    Next, divide and turn the lines I've pointed out above in the side viewport, and then divide the next line/move the vertex in the front viewport, as you can see in the previous picture. I can't think of a better way to explain it than with that picture, so hopefully you can make sense of it. You should end up with a proper-looking nose.

    Keep dragging vertices around to fit your template, like I did below. Also note that I've lined up the bottom of the sphere with the top of the body mesh, and then attached them together.



    So far our entire model is still only about 570 polygons, which is ridiculously low, so let's start adding some detail, starting with the hood.

    In Face mode, select the faces I have in the picture below. Scroll down the menu to the Extrude section, and click and hold on the little up arrow, and drag the mouse up a little bit. If you keep the mouse button held down, and you drag the cursor up a little, you'll have much better control over the extrusion. What this button does is basically push all the faces you selected up away from the model.



    Now, we don't want the whole group of faces to lift up, we just want the edge of the hood to do it. So let's spin round to the back of the model and weld some of those vertices back together again. As you can see in the second part of the picture below, you should end up with just the front rim of the hood lifting up away from the model. Select the vertices along that rim, just like I have, and move them forward and down a little bit, to create a much cooler-looking overhanging hood.



    You can use this same technique all over your model. Just extrude sections of faces, and then weld back one end of the newly extruded surface. Go nuts with it (within reason!) and you'll probably end up with something like this:



    As you can see, I've extruded some ears for him, as well as bracers around his wrists. I extruded the belt that we created way back in an earlier tutorial, and I extruded his robes in several places. Also note that I gave him feet.

    A lot of the detail in that model is probably unnecessary, to be honest, because it'll be lost at the default viewing level of Civ 4. The skin is going to be much, much more important in making the model look good in the game. However, even with such potentially pointless detail added, the whole model still only comes in at less than 700 polygons, so I don't feel too bad.

    One last step I'm going to do, which I totally forgot about earlier, is that I'm going to add a little bit of detail to the elbow of our goblin. I could definitely leave it as it is right now, but because it's one of the most flexible parts of the human body, it's going to animate a little weirdly if I do. The arm will look really odd when it bends unless I add a little detail to the elbow. So, do what I've done in the screenshot below, dividing the lines of the elbow. What this does is mimics the loose skin on your own elbow, as it gives the model some extra stretch when the arm bends.



    Ordinarily you would do this to the knees as well, but since our character doesn't really have any visible knees, it should be okay. I hope it will, anyway, but I guess I'll find out later.

    In case you were wondering, we're going to leave our character as half a person right now. It's easier to unwrap one half of a character instead of two, so we'll wait until that's done before we join the two halves together.

    And then you're done with the modelling!
     
  4. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Messages:
    170
    STEP 4 - UVW MAPPING

    So, now we're done with the modelling, it's time to unwrap our character in preparation for texturing.

    I just want to point out straight away that the method I use for unwrapping is, again, not the only way to do it. Opinion is pretty much divided on which is the best way to unwrap a character, and I just happen to prefer this one. One of the downsides to my method is that it uses a lot of modifiers, resulting in a large stack. In old versions of Max, large stacks tend to be unstable and can crash the program, although I haven't had it happen since Max 5. However, the other major method of unwrapping involves literally breaking your model apart and morphing it back into shape, which is totally counter-intuitive to me. I prefer this method, although others will probably disagree. So anyway, I just thought I'd mention that.

    First of all, in Face mode, with Ignore Backfacing turned OFF, click and drag to select your entire model. You want to make sure you've selected absolutely every single face in your model. Now scroll down the right-hand menu to the Material section, and type the number 99 into the Set ID box.



    To explain what we're doing here, every face or group of faces can be assigned a number ID. What this means is that if you accidentally or deliberately click on another face, you can always go back and use the Select ID button to re-select the group of faces you had before. We'll try it with our one and only group so far. First, deselect those faces, and then type 99 into the Select ID box, and press the Select ID button. If you did it right, it will select all the faces in your model. This will come in handy later.

    The next step is going to be to go around your whole model and assign set IDs to groups of faces all over it. It's difficult to explain exactly which faces should be in which groups, because that requires some knowledge of the next few steps. It'll probably make more sense when you've read this whole tutorial, and then come back and read it again. Essentially, though, we want to group together all the faces that can be mapped together. The most common type of mapping is planar mapping, like we did in the first tutorial. However, if we try to planar map an irregular shape like the goblin's head, it will come out horribly, because the head itself isn't a plane, it's a kind of ball shape. What will happen is called texture warping, which we'll see later. So instead, we're going to split the head into two separate groups; one for the face and one for the hood. That's going to create a 'seam' between the two textures, but it should look natural.

    In Face mode, select the following faces on the character's....face, and then assign them an ID of 1.



    Then, select these faces on the hood, and assign them an ID of 2.



    Keep going like that, assigning new IDs to each group of faces that can be easily planar mapped.

    You will of course come up against some shapes that can't be planar mapped, like the arm. However, because it's cylindrical, it CAN be mapped fairly easily, so go ahead and assign it just one ID.



    When you've gone round your whole model and assigned all the groups their own ID, we need to do one last check before we can move on. Use the Select ID button to select group 99 again. If you missed any faces on your way round the model, they'll still be part of group 99 and will show up. Sometimes, for example, it's easy to forget the faces underneath the character's feet. If you don't get any faces when you select group 99, then you're done and we can move on.

    Select group 1, and apply a UVW Map modifier, just like we did in the first tutorial. However, this time, instead of clicking on Bitmap Fit, we're going to switch to the side viewport and click the View Align button. This, obviously, aligns the Gizmo with the currently selected view. Also make sure you change the Length and Width to 100 each.



    Now open up the Material Editor (press the M key) and click on the second material slot. Again, click the little grey box next to Diffuse but this time, instead of clicking Bitmap, click on Checker. This will automatically give the material a checker pattern. Increase the U and V Tiling to to 25, and click on the little blue checker box button to make the material show in the viewport. Click and drag the material onto your character, and you should now be able to see it covered in checkers, although they'll be very messy.

    To fix that, apply an Unwrap UVW modifier and click on the Edit button.



    This will bring up the Edit UVWs window. Before we start fixing things, let's get rid of the horrible background by clicking on the blue checker box button I highlighted. Then, click Display and turn on Show Hidden Edges.



    Now we're ready to start moving UVs around.

    Take a look at the first part of the screenshot below. Notice how the checkers around the neck are stretched? That's the texture warping I was telling you about. If I was to try and paint something on there, like a necklace, it would look horrible as all the pixels stretch and warp. So we need to fix that by moving the UVs in the Edit window. Grab the two vertices at the bottom of the neck in the Edit UVWs window and move them down like I have in the picture. You'll see the checker pattern move on your model and start to look better instantly. As you can see, the eyes and mouth still need some work, so fix those in the same way, and then you can move on.



    When you're done with the UVWs for the face, scroll out a little bit in the Edit window and move the whole group upwards slightly, out of the dark blue square. You'll see why this is important later on, but for now just trust me and move them. We're going to do the same with each other group of UVs too, moving the second one up and right, the third one over to the right, the fourth one down and right, etc etc. Always make sure they're away from the blue square, and also try to remember where you moved previous groups. You don't want to move any two groups to the same place.



    Now close the Edit window and apply an Edit Mesh modifier. This basically does the exact same thing as Converting to an Editable Mesh, but because it's a modifier it can be removed or turned off. It looks identical, though, so go back to Face mode and scroll down to select group 2. Again, apply a UVW Map modifier and use a planar projection. Also, again make sure you set the Length and Width to 100. When you've done that, apply another Unwrap UVW modifier. As you can see, we've just applied the same three modifiers as before, and we're going to keep doing that every time we finish a group. Your modifier stack should start looking like this:



    With the same three modifiers repeating over and over. Keep going round the model, unwrapping the UVs and moving them to make the checker pattern look uniform.

    Occassionally you'll come across a fairly irregular shape. I'll use the ear as an example.

    The best way to map the ear, in my opinion, is with a planar map from the Front viewport. However, that will give significant warping to the back of the ear, so we need to create a seam and move the back of the ear into the right position.

    In the screenshot below you can see the ear after I've done a simple planar UVW map. I've selected the vertex in the middle, which is actually around the back of the ear. I press Ctrl+B on the keyboard and it Breaks the vertex. Breaking a vertex is the opposite of welding it, and it creates multiple vertices from that one. After the vertex is broken, there are 7 vertices in its place, which I then move away from the rest of the ear. Think of it like I'm peeling the ear, by first creating a cut at the back of the ear, and then peeling the skin away to make it flat. Gross, I know, but it's a fairly accurate analogy!



    Note: You can also Break vertices in the normal Editable Mesh stuff. We never had an opportunity to use it with this character, but it's a pretty useful tool sometimes.

    Now, you remember I said we could map the arm even though it's cylindrical? Well, this is how. When you apply a UVW Map, instead of using the default Planar mode, click on Cylindrical. You'll see the Gizmo become, you guessed it, a cylinder! Select the Gizmo in the same way we did in the first tutorial, and you'll notice that it has a green line down one edge. This is where the seam will be when you apply the Unwrap UVW modifier, so we need to move it. Right now it's on the top of the arm, which is the most noticeable place. It's totally inevitable that there'll be a seam on the arm, so we may as well leave it on the underside of the arm where it's less visible. So in the side viewport, click View Align, and then switch to the Front viewport to rotate the Gizmo around like I have done. You want the green line to be on the bottom of the arm.



    Apply the Unwrap modifier and let's see what we have. I always find cylindrical mapping to be horribly inaccurate, but maybe we'll be lucky.



    Hey, that's not bad! With a little bit of tweaking I think we've ended up with some decent mapping.

    Okay, so when you're completely done with all of your unwrapping, it's time to consolidate everything. First of all, save your model. Then, right click in your modifier stack and select Collapse All. This collapses your model to a single Editable Mesh, with all the modifiers you had in the stack. Apply one last Unwrap UVW modifier (you don't need the UVW Map modifier this time) and hit the Edit button. You should see all of the groups of UVs you created. Now you understand why we moved them all out of the way. If they'd all been on top of each other now, it would be a nightmare to try and untangle them all. However, now we need to move them all back into that blue square. When you export your UVs, only the ones inside the blue square will be exported. Furthermore, because you want your texture to be as detailed as possible, you want as little empty space between your UVs as possible. Your UVs can't overlap, and they can't extend beyond the blue square, but they definitely want to fit as snugly together as possible. Scale them, rotate them, move them into every position you can think of to try make them fit perfectly. I'm not kidding when I say that some professional modellers will spend hours just trying to arrange these UVs as efficiently as possible. Sadly, I'm not all that good at it, and so my example isn't the best. However, hopefully you can see what I mean, and realise that I've tried to fit them as closely together as possible while taking up the full blue square.



    Finally, when you're ready to finish, you need to use the Texporter plug-in. If you don't already have it, you can download it at this website. When it's installed, you can activate it by clicking on the Tools menu (the little hammer icon) and then clicking More, and then finding Texporter in the list.

    When you click it, it will show you a list of options regarding how you want to export the UVs. Set the Width and Height to 512. In reality, Civ 4 uses textures around 128, but it's usually better to draw the texture at a higher resolution and then shrink it to fit, instead of struggling with every single pixel at a lower resolution. Whichever number you pick, make sure that you set both Width and Height to the same number, and that it's a power of 2 (128x128, 256x256, 512x512, 1024x1024, etc). Next, turn off "Ploygon Fill". Yes, it's supposed to say Polygon. Yes, people have told the guy who makes it that. It's been like that for years and years now, so I guess it's become a running joke. Anyway, turn it off, and change Edges to All Lines. Turn off Backface Cull and Mark Overlaps. Change "Colorize by" to Constant and click on the colour box to change the colour to pure white. Then, when you're done, click the Pick Object button and select your character. A window should pop up showing your neatly arranged UVs as a picture! Click the disk icon to save that picture in whatever format you choose, and you're all done!



    Now, all you have to do is paint whatever you like on that picture, and when you apply it to your model in Max, it will appear on it. So load that picture into Photoshop and start painting your textures!
     
  5. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

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    Okay, super super mini tutorial this time, just to show the last couple of things I did.

    STEP 5 - Oh No Not More Skinning

    Okay, the last thing we did was use texporter to export the UVW co-ordinates into a picture. The picture, just to remind you, looked like this:



    (That's it on the right)

    So, obviously, a plain black picture with white lines on it isn't going to look terribly good in Civ, so we have to digitally paint it.

    Just to make sure it's all working, let's paint it in hideously bright colours!



    And then simply apply that picture to our model. Literally, just drag it from the Material Editor onto our model, like we did with the checker pattern.



    Yay! It's ghastly!

    Now, we still only have half a character, so let's make him whole. To do that, just grab the half we've got and click on the Mirror tool that we used earlier. However, this time, instead of clicking on Instance, click on Copy. That will, as you might expect, copy the half-a-character. Then, simply line them up and attach them together, and then weld shut the seam between them.



    Note that not only has the geometry been copied, but the UV co-ordinates have been mirrored too! This is why we didn't copy him before doing the UV mapping, because we can just do one half and copy all the co-ordinates over. Do be aware that it's a mirror image, though. Notice the swirls and arrows and zig-zags I drew have been mirrored across, so any change we make to the texture is going to be symmetrical. You can obviously make asymmetrical unwraps if you want to, it just means you have a little more work to do.

    Anyway, so all you do then is bring your texported picture back into Photoshop or GIMP or whatever program you use, and start painting details onto it. This is a shot in progress of my goblin texture:



    Which looks like this when I apply it to the model:



    You can see how much difference the texture makes simply by comparing the head to the rest of the body. So I keep going and paint the rest, and here's the finished model:



    I really should stress how important the texture is. Not only is it probably the most important part of your model in showing detail, but if you plan your texture right you can re-skin your model into dozens of different units, not to mention allow other modders to do the same. I haven't been on the Civ modding scene long but I've already seen lots of people WAY over-do the polycount on their models. On literally half the models I've seen, by simply painting the detail onto your texture you could half the polycount.

    To give a very quick example of how much a texture can help, take a look at this screenshot from World of Warcraft:



    I'm by no means a Blizzard or WoW fanboy (it's hard to be after what they did to that game) but their early art direction was fantastic. Just look at how much detail they added with textures alone. That whole wall is flat, but even from relatively close it pops out at you. Obviously not everyone can paint that (I know I can't), but you can give it your best shot :)


    And that's it for this whole tutorial. I hope you found it useful and that I could help in some way. Please feel free to give feedback on it and I'll make any changes that people think would help.
     
  6. asioasioasio

    asioasioasio Fallout Scrubber

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    WOW :goodjob: GOOD JOB
    Thi will help people with 3ds max drawing a lot.
    I must look on it much longer cause i see the things and methods that i didn't know about it

    thx for this tut. I think it'll interest more people with modelling :goodjob:
     
  7. Red Door

    Red Door Man of Mayhem

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    Wow! This should help me out, a lot.
     
  8. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    This tutorial continues to amaze me neener. I haven't had a lot of time to try out much of it, but simply seeing some of these modifiers in action has taught me a ton. :thumbsup:

    I really need to learn to draw or find a starving artist who will work for peanuts. :D
     
  9. Ploeperpengel

    Ploeperpengel academic precarity

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    I thought C. Roland already took that job:D
    You better learn animating:whipped:

    Excellent tutorial neener! I'll certainly use this myself if I ever get released again from xml-slavery:thumbsup:
     
  10. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    Roland does excellent texturing, but I need to be able to draw concept art which is the first step! ;)
     
  11. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

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    There's a lot of reference stuff out there. You don't need to be a Renaissance artist to just draw the basic outlines of where you want your arms and legs to go on the model. It can be really, really basic, so long as it's good enough for you to model from.
     
  12. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    This may seem silly, since I'm not familiar really with modelling or Warhammer, if you have a figurine that looks slightly like a "base" unit (with it's arms outstretched) could someone not take a quick close-up photo-shoot with a digital camera to use as your concept art?
     
  13. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    Not silly at all Gerikes. I might have to try that actually. :)
     
  14. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

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    Well I already gave you a basic human drawing, which should be enough for anything similar to that. I assumed the problem you were having was that you wanted to model things that are significantly different from a human, such as ogres or dragons or whatever?
     
  15. woodelf

    woodelf Bard

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    I definitely want to do an Ogre. I forgot about the basic human drawing to be honest. My main problem has been a lack of time to try anything lately.
     
  16. Psychic_Llamas

    Psychic_Llamas Wizard in the Making

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    Hey neener! just to add some more praise for this, but i have followed this tutorial almost religeously while i have been modeling my buildings, and it never ceases to amaze me.
    it is very handy for making buildings too by the way:)
     
  17. neener

    neener 3DS Max worker bee

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    Thanks, P_L :)

    I told you it would work for buildigns! Essentially they're just a 3D mesh no different to a unit, or even the trees in Civ. You model, unwrap and paint them just the same. I think I might even try a building soon just to get across how outlandish you can get with them :p
     
  18. Civkid1991

    Civkid1991 in shade of poison trees

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    wow this is great... is there going to be one for blender any time soon?

    If now then were could i download 3d studio max?
     
  19. Gerikes

    Gerikes User of Run-on Sentences.

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    I can't speak for neener, but somehow I doubt it :p

    You can download a free trial (30 days) off their website. There's a link here:

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=159481

    It also includes what you'll need to work with the nifs (search for the "Other files" link for the actual trial.
     
  20. Civkid1991

    Civkid1991 in shade of poison trees

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    :( its a free trial...

    @Geriks... k thanks ill try downloading it later
     

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