Archive for the ‘News’ Category

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: T-Vertices

Thursday, September 5th, 2013 by

Part of creating good topology for CheckMate Pro v2 subdividable models is to avoid T-vertices, the convergence of edges in a T formation, unless they are absolutely necessary for the flow of the model’s shape. T-vertices, or T-verts for short, when used incorrectly, will halt edge flow and cause poor subdivision.

Acceptable T-vertex

Acceptable T-vertex

T-vertex-Detail

Unacceptable T-vertex

Any vertex with only three edges could be consider a T-vertex; the crossbar of the T doesn’t have to be straight across. You can use them when there’s no better solution, but it is best to avoid them as much as possible. Here, we’ll look at at few T-vert situations, both acceptable and unacceptable.

Flowing Around Corners – Acceptable

When a model’s shape changes direction, T-vertices are necessary where the quad flow from one direction meets the flow from the other direction.

On this rabbit model, an acceptable T-vertex forms where the edge flow up the side of the ear meets the edge flow across the top of the ear.

On cell phones and other electronics, an acceptable T-vertex forms when the quad flow from the side of the phone form a corner with the flow from the bottom of the phone.

On cell phones and other electronics, an acceptable T-vertex forms when the quad flow from the side of the phone forms a corner with the flow across the bottom of the phone.

 

Insets – Acceptable

The method of creating extra detail described in the Oblong Cutouts video creates T-vertices. These vertices are acceptable because this method is the best way to increase detail within a specific area while still maintaining easily selectable edge loops.

The recommended method for increasing detail creates acceptable T-vertices.

The recommended method for increasing detail creates acceptable T-vertices.

Such a construction results in easily selectable edge loops.

Such a construction is easy to edit. It results in easily selectable edge loops.

You (or the customer) can easily select rings of edges...

You (or the customer) can easily select rings of edges…

...and create a new set of edges by connecting the ring selection.

…and create a new set of edges by connecting the ring selection.

 

Transitioning with Other Methods – Usually unacceptable

Artists sometimes use T-verts as a solution for going from an area of high detail to lower detail. This is acceptable as long as the transition uses insets as described above. If insets are not used, the topology is probably not the best it can be, which means it fails CheckMate Pro v2. A straight T crossbar is often an indication of poorly planned topology.

T-vertex-Detail

A T-vertex with a straight crossbar is usually not the best solution.

Original 2_option

It’s better to extend the edges…

Original 2_element_new

…or make the sleeve and arm separate objects…

Tverts-Inset-arm

…or rearrange the edges so the inset method can be used.

Unnecessary Use of Inset Method – Unacceptable

Just because all your T-vertices are a result of insets, does not mean the model will pass CheckMate Pro v2. In order for insets to be acceptable, they must be necessary. The model below fails CheckMate Pro v2 not on T-vertices, but on unnecessary and excessive edges. When the edges were removed, the model kept exactly the same shape.

Although the T-vertices (yellow) are created with an inset structure, the red edges are unnecessary for this object and should be removed altogether.

Although the T-vertices (yellow) are created with an inset structure, the red edges are unnecessary for this object and should be removed altogether.

Bent Polygon – Unacceptable

A bent polygon can result from the use of T-vertices, with the polygon bending along a hidden edge following from the supporting bar of the T. This is poor topology that will cause undesirable effects in renderings.

Poorly planned T-vertices can result in a bent polygon.

In this case, an edge should be added in place of the hidden edge, and the resulting topology should be adjusted for good edge flow.

These are just guidelines for T-vertices. As with all your topology, you should be constantly asking yourself, “Is there any way this could be better?” The existence of T-vertices in any situation other than the first two listed here is usually a sign that your topology could be (and should be) better.

If your model suffers from T-vertices and you don’t know how to fix them, you can submit your model for CheckMate Pro inspection and ask the inspector for assistance.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Realtime 3D Models

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by

Part of the CheckMate Pro v2 specification allows for realtime models. A realtime model has the minimum number of polygons possible to create the shape of the object, and excellent textures to make up the difference in detail. Such a model is also not expected to be subdividable. In fact, if holding edges are added to the model, it adds unnecessary detail that causes the model to not be ideal for realtime.

2.2.3.4.3      Exception for realtime models: Models intended for game engines, realtime display, or background elements must have the lowest number of polygons possible while still retaining the model’s shape… For such models, a high percentage of triangles is allowable, provided they are necessary to make the model shape with the lowest number of polygons possible.

 

Here are some examples of CheckMate Pro v2 realtime models.

T-55A Medium Tank by ES3DStudios

751844-Tank-Render 751844-Tank-Wire-Detail

 This tank model has just the right amount of detail on round areas that realtime users or game players will be likely to notice, such as the treads and turret. The gun has just enough segments to keep it round at a medium distance, and the flat plates on the tank body have a single bevel to catch light detail and add an extra touch of realism. There are no holding edges on the treads, or anywhere else. The textures and UVs are also superb. It’s clear that this model was carefully thought out and modeled with realtime use in mind.

 

Rubble Debris Complete Scene by 3D_Multimedia

758887-Debris-Render 758887-Debris-Wire

758887-Debris-Render-Car 758887-Debris-Render-Lights

Is there anything better than a big pile of debris? This busy scene consists of several low-poly objects for a game or realtime environment. Great time and care was taken to make each object as low-poly as possible, while providing great textures to make a rich scene.

Triangles and Realtime Models

If necessary, a realtime 3D model can have a large percentage of triangles. Appropriate realtime topology is all about making a model that customers can readily use for realtime or background purposes, especially in situations where poly count is an issue. When preparing a realtime model, ask yourself if there’s any way to reduce the poly count even further and still retain the shape of the model.

Realtime Submissions for CheckMate Pro v2

When submitting a realtime 3D model for CheckMate Pro v2 certification, be sure to indicate in the Description that the model is intended for realtime and not subdivision. This tells the inspector what to look for when inspecting your model.

CheckMate Pro v2: Updating Your Pro v1 Catalog

Friday, August 23rd, 2013 by

CheckMate Pro Certified Logo Many artists have commented to me that their 3D models in CheckMate Pro v1 already meet the CheckMate Pro v2 standard. That’s great news, and we want you to have that later certification date along with the shiny new badge for all your models.

To submit your Pro v1 models for Pro v2, you can do one of two things:

  • Reupload your native file in the product to automatically trigger a reinspection for Pro v2.
  • Or, if you have a lot of models to submit, open a support ticket with the subject “Upgrade Pro v1 to v2″ and list the product IDs you want to upgrade. We will manually trigger a reinspection on our end.

Please note that any 3D models you submit for Pro v2 in this way will go through a full inspection for the new specification.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: Objects in Layers

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 by

Part of the CheckMate Pro v2 specification calls for objects to be placed in a named layer within the scene file. This helps customers a great deal when they merge your 3D model into a scene with many other models. Rather than having to search around for all the bits and pieces of your model, the customer can find everything easily within the named layer.

If you use 3ds Max, please note that you can’t rename or delete the default Layer 0. You will need to create a new layer and name it after your model.

The layer must be named to pass CheckMate Pro v2, but you cannot rename the default layer in 3ds Max.

The layer must be named to pass CheckMate Pro v2, but you cannot rename the default layer in 3ds Max.

Create a layer specifically for your model, and name it with the same name as your model.

Create a layer specifically for your model, and name it with the same name as your model.

You should also use short names on your objects if possible, and avoid using the same prefix on multiple objects. Then, when the customer opens up the layer window, all your object names are obvious and readable without having to scroll over.

 

Topology Tools for CheckMate Pro

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013 by

Both Autodesk Mudbox and Pixologic ZBrush have recently introduced new tools to retopologize heavy 3D models to evenly spaced quads. These tools were created so users can quickly retopologize intense meshes and replace heavy detail with normal maps. The resulting mesh is much easier to edit and retexture than the original.

3D scan model before and after being retopologized with Mudbox.

3D scan model before and after being retopologized with Mudbox.

Even though these tools were originally created to treat the heavy meshes created by these applications, there’s no reason why you can’t use them on 3ds Max, Maya, and Cinema4D models too! 3D scans and older models in particular can benefit from a quick quad retopo.

3D Coat and Blender also have retopologizing tools. You can find comprehensive reviews of all these applications around the Internet, and even YouTube videos showing you how to use them.

With CheckMate Pro v2 now having a more stringent topology standard, you can explore these tools and see if any of them will help you meet the standard. As with any automated tool, be sure to visually check the results yourself before assuming the tool did a perfect job.

CheckMate Pro v2 Specification: 3D Text

Monday, August 19th, 2013 by

One of the things customers love about subdividable CheckMate Pro v2 models is that they can zoom in for closeups on just about any part of the model.

Many hard surface objects such as appliances and electronics include 3D text extrusions or cutouts. If the text is quite small or thin compared to the overall object, you can simply use a normal map to represent such text. For times when you really do need to create 3D text, you can use the text tools in your 3D application… as long as you check the geometry afterward and clean it up.

In the image below, auto-generated text has been extruded and subdivided. The text has far more edges than needed on curved letters like S and G, while not having enough detail on straight letters like A and M. Subdivision causes several of the letters to lose their shape, meaning a customer can’t subdivide for a closeup on the letters.

3D text created with automated tools is hard to edit, has unnecessary detail, and does not subdivide well.

3D text created with automated tools is hard to edit, has unnecessary detail, and does not subdivide well.

In just about any 3D application, after generating text with a text tool, you’ll need to remove unnecessary detail and add holding edges for subdivision. This topology gives customers the maximum number of options for how they’ll use the model, including closeups of the letters.

Holding edges on corners and intelligently-spaced edges on curves keeps the poly count reasonable for easy editing, while still providing enough detail for subdivision.

Holding edges on corners and intelligently-spaced edges on curves keeps the poly count reasonable for easy editing, while still providing enough detail for subdivision.

 

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