Posts Tagged ‘Calvin Bryson’

TurboTips: An In-Depth Look at Falloff Maps

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 by

Falloff maps are an extremely powerful tool for artists to utilize when creating procedural shaders. They are essential when trying to create any realistic shader that is reflective or has color changing properties like chrome, metals, and pearlescent paint.  In order to use Falloff maps effectively, it is important to understand how the map works.

In this week’s edition of Turbo Tips, we’ll explain the ins and outs of Falloff map parameters.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating with 3ds Max, but the ideas and concepts can be used in many other 3D programs.

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TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 4

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 by

It is very easy to zone out and work away without thinking about your scene, naming, or organization. Before you know it, you have a few dozen cloned objects named Box#### or a Material Editor full of textures named # – Default, and if you take a break, you may not always remember what’s what, or what’s applied to where.

Our Turbo Tip of the week (and possibly of the year– this advice is that important!): keep things simple by naming and organizing as you go.

For now, this will be our final post in our series on Scene Optimizations & Best Practices.  If you have a topic or question you’d like to see addressed in a future edition of Turbo Tips, check out the bottom of this post to find out how to get in touch with us.

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TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 3

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 by

For viewport navigation, grouping and selection sets are the way to go. Both can be as big or small as you want. Like layers, groups are retained when merging scenes, while selections are saved per scene.

This is the third part of our four-part series on Scene Optimizations and Best Practices.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating below with screen shots from 3ds Max, but these fundamentals can be applied to other software packages.

3. Working with Groups

Good Organization_0

Groups are very useful for scene organization. Rather than combining objects into one big object, group all the objects together. Unlike attaching or merging the objects together, the group can be opened, allowing you to work at the object level or closed for easy selectability of the entire model.

Subgrouping

Groups can also be stacked inside each other to organize the object up into larger more logical pieces. Above, you can see that the object has been broken into 3 groups within the Main Object Group. All individual objects are still editable by opening the groups. Usually having groups inside of groups is only necessary for models with many parts that need to be organized for easier navigation.

 

4. Selection Sets

Selection_Dropdown_1 Selection_Dropdown_2

Selections sets are another useful option for simplifying scene navigation. With selection sets, you can select everything you want, the same way you would a group. So if you have a set of objects that you need to select often, and for some reason you don’t want them grouped, simply type the name of the set into the Selection Set space. That selection will be stored in the drop down for easy reselection without grouping the objects or merging them into a single object.

 

4.1 Managing Selection Sets

ManageSelectionSets_1

ManageSelectionSets_2

 

You can edit selection sets from the Manage Selection Sets menu. Access it from the Edit menu or the icon next to the selection set creation box. You can view all objects within each selection set, add objects, or remove objects from this menu. Other options are also available by right clicking on the object names in the window.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 2

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 by

Navigation using the layer editor is something every artist should do, or at least know how to do; it’s a powerful tool when it comes to organizing a scene. The layer editor makes it quick to select objects and groups, and offers a variety of other controls. Layers are retained when importing or merging scenes together, so its important to understand how to organize them efficiently.

This is the second part of our four-part series on Scene Optimizations and Best Practices.  For our purposes, we are demonstrating below with screen shots from 3ds Max, but these fundamentals can be applied to other software packages.

2. Using Layers

LayerEditor

Compared to the layer editor on the left, it may seem that the layer editor on the right is less organized, but it’s only because there is more information. That’s a good thing, since objects can quickly be hidden, frozen, or selected from the Layer Editor. It’s also important to note that all the names are short, yet descriptive enough for you to know which objects you are working with. This makes the scene very easy to navigate.

The “Lights” layer contains all the light objects and lighting components in the scene. The “StageLayer” contains all the floor and camera objects that make the scene. The “Gym_410” is the layer that contains all the parts of the model so it has the name of the model, which is required by the specification.

 

2.1. More, or Less

Layers_1

To make the layer editor less busy, a layer can always be collapsed when not in use. Right-clicking on an object name brings up a variety of options, including access to the Object Properties. Layers are extremely useful when working in a scene to isolate major components of the scene from each other.

You can see in the left side image above that the 3 layers the file has been separated into are collapsed. When working on just the model, you can easily hide the two other layers from being visible, so you only see layer “Gym_410” contents in the viewport.

Layers_2

Adding new layers, editing layers, and organizing existing layers can be done by using the buttons at the top of the Layer Editor menu.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

TurboTips: Scene Optimizations & Best Practices, Part 1

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 by

Keeping your scene clean and organized is important while making any 3D model. A well constructed scene will make modelling and editing your own model easier, and it may encourage customers to buy your product. The examples below are from 3ds Max, but these concepts can apply to any 3D package.

 

1. Organize Objects

If a 3D scene is difficult to navigate and/or modify, then editing a model within that scene can become extremely frustrating for the person attempting to use the model. (And this frustration is usually enough to make someone look elsewhere for a model that is easier to edit and use.) Industry professionals want a model that is ready for production and is quickly editable to fit their needs. No matter how great the model looks, poor scene organization can make it unusable to them.

Bad Organization_1

The treadmill model (pictured above) is a good example of an object that shouldn’t be combined or merged into one single object. Merging the model creates lots of subobject elements that are very difficult to sort through and edit. Not only would it be difficult for you to go back and adjust the model later, it would also be difficult for the customer who purchased the model.

Bad Organization_3

Bad Organization_4

 

If an artist wants to edit any part of this model, they would need to go into element mode to sort through the different pieces looking for all the parts that make up what they want to edit. Then, they will have to hide the unselected elements within the object to get a full view of the pieces they want, or detach the elements into a new object. This makes it very inconvenient and time consuming for the end user to make changes. Combining your model into a single object makes more work for everyone.

 

1.1. Naming

Good Organization_2

Name all objects and textures in the scene. The names must be descriptive enough so that anyone could look at the layer editor and quickly select the desired object. Never leave anything as the default name such as Cylinder03, Object05, Map #6(VrayMtl).

Naming

You can see in zoomed image above that every object has been renamed descriptively after separating the model out from one single object. If you select any of the names like “Console_Screws”, the descriptive name gives you a good indication of where to look on the model for this object. The first word indicates what larger part of the model to look; “Console” . The second word lets you know specifically which part of the model will be selected; “Screws”. You will also notice that naming this way makes selection very easy from the layer editor since all parts of the model will sort alphabetically.

 

1.2. Intelligent Combining & Merging

Good Organization_3

Merging multiple objects into one larger object should only be done when it logically makes sense. For example, the screws on the back of the console are combined into one object named Console_Screws instead of having 13 individual screw objects.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

 Next week in TurboTips: Using Layers, Part 2 of 5 in our series on Optimizing Scenes & Best Practices

TurboTips: A Guide for PSD Structure

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 by

Photoshop is the most commonly used program in creating textures for 3d models, but what about the customer who needs to edit these textures ?

The majority of TurboSquid customers edit the textures of a model after purchase, and more often than not, they are using Photoshop to do so.  Letting the customer know that a well-organized PSD is included with your model can make it more attractive to a customer (and potentially increase sales).  In this edition of TurboTips, we’ll show you how to structure a PSD for easy use.

When a material uses several bitmaps in different channels (Diffuse, Specular, Normal, etc.) the bitmaps should be placed in a PSD file, with each texture map on a separate layer, organized for easy workflow.

PSD1

In the PSD file, use folders and Copy Merged rather than collapsing layers. Using folders and Copy Merged is to work non-destructively, allowing you to use a group of layers as a single layer, instead of collapsing. Copy Merged allows you to paste a flattened or merged copy of your selection allowing you to keep the original layer composition unchanged.

Using Copy Merged makes texture modification much easier if it needs to be edited it the future, or if the model passed on to another artist. Photoshop’s History can only go back so far and once you close the program, you are stuck with the saved changes.

psd2

Folders also allow you to clean up and organize the PSD for easy navigation, or moving groups of elements.  The Photoshop file folder organization should be broken down into texture specific maps:

  • Main folder names should be the full word, abbreviation, or representing letter of texture map (EX: Diffuse, Diff, or D). Keep the naming consistent for all maps in the PSD.
  • Subfolders within the main Map folders should be used when necessary for organization. For example, multiple grunge layers should be put into a folder called Grunge inside the folder.

psd3

All Photoshop layers should be named short, descriptive names, so that others would be able to quickly identify layers and edit them. (See images for examples.)

We strongly recommend that you NOT use the PSD file for texturing the model directly. Save out the individual bitmap files in a format such as PNG. Name each file with a descriptive suffix, referencing which map it is.

Calvin Bryson is the Senior Technical Artist at TurboSquid, and a 3ds Max expert.  If there are any topics you’d like to see in a future edition of  TurboTips, let us know in the comments below, or Tweet your question to @TurboSquid with hashtag #TurboTips.

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