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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/22/2017 in Tutorials

  1. 5 points
    Introduction: Normal Map baking is the main texture a 3D artist will bake in their 2D application/Sculpting program of choice. Baking our normal maps allows us to make great looking game assets while at the same time keeping the poly count down so the game performs better, we can also cram more detail into our environments. What we do is make two models, one is our Low Poly model, with this we make the shape our our model and add in any additional details we need to make a nice silhouette. The second model is our High Poly model, with this is we can put in as much detail as we want , don't need to worry about poly counts or UV maps with this. Once we have our two models we use Blender's Wizardry powers and create a texture with the detail from our high poly model on it Smarty Says: I am not going to be covering the actual modeling, I'll leave that to you Step 1: Low Poly Model First step for us is to create our Low Poly model, when creating this model keep in mind that it is Low Poly and not very detailed, just add enough detail in to make a nice shape/silhouette, everything else can be modeled in the next step. Now for this Workshop I'm working on a wall texture and have chosen to use a single plane for this. The detail will be added in later on. Low Poly Madness Smarty Says: Make sure you UV map your model, it's very important you do this now before you move on. So that's done, I've superbly modeled it as you can see, took me hours , It's been UV mapped and is ready for in-game use. Step 2: High Poly Model Next step is the High Poly model, this is the part where can have as much fun as you like. When modeling in your detail you have to think about how well it will look when baked and how well Blender will be able to work with your detail. With that in mind make sure you avoid adding tiny details, these won't read well at all when baked and are better off being textured in. Another thing to note is to make sure you exaggerate your details, what I mean here is when making engraved details make sure you make them deeper than they'd actually be, when working with the edges on your model make sure you loosen the edge loops so the edges are rounder/softer. This might sound like madness, but it's actually not . The reason for this is it helps make a better normal map, the details are read better by Blender and in turn helps it with the baking process. High Poly with pretty colours Smarty Says: Here you can see the High Poly has been coloured, this is just to help me visualize things and is not something you need to do, can if you want to though. As you can see from the image above, I've modeled in just the larger detail, the smaller detail will be added in later during the texturing. I have also exaggerated the edges of my model and made the raised parts higher and the lowered parts lower than they normally would be. Step 3: Baking Before we start baking our Normal Map we have to do some prep work, this is very simple and involves selecting our Low Poly Model, going into edit mode and adding a new image. When baking Blender needs an Image to bake too, so we'll add it now and avoid having Blender throw errors at us. What we're going to be doing is baking our High Poly model to our Low Poly model's UV map, this is how we fake the detail. Make sure you de-select everything then select your High Poly model, then select your Low Poly one, this makes the High Poly selected while having the Low Poly as the active model. To the right of the screen you should see a panel with lots of buttons we can press (If you've hid it, show it now), what we want is the baking options which are under the Render Options, so in the tabs on the panel click the camera icon. The panel has a lot of render options, most of these we can ignore, the options we want are right at the bottom. So scroll down until you see the Bake options. -baking. First thing we need to change is the Bake mode, currently it's set at Full Render but we want just the normal map, click the box and in the menu that pops up select Normals. Next we need to check the Selected to Active checkbox, this is an important option for us, it'll tell Blender that we want to bake from our selected model (High Poly) to our active model (Low Poly). After that we can set the Distance and Bias, the Bias I set to 1 and because I am baking to a flat plane I set a high distance (Anywhere above 100), you can adjust this as you need to depending on what you're baking too. Last step is to adjust the margin, the margin bakes your normal map over the edge of your UV islands, this helps avoid problems with the texture not properly cover the edges of the model. I set this to 5, it gives me a 5 pixel overlap. After you've done that hit the big Bake button. The baking may take a while, it all depends on the detail you have on your models. Once Blender has done it's magic you'll end up with a nice new Normal Map you can use on your model. Smarty Says: Brown areas on your Normal Map are flipped normals, you'll need to correct these before re
  2. 3 points
    Introduction: Nifskope allows you to add, remove and change the textures that will be used by the model (NIF), we're going to take a look at where and how we can do this. Let's Change a Texture: First thing we need to do is open our NIF, so start up Nifskope and click the Load button in the top left corner, or if you have the NIF in front of you, you can double-click the file to open it in Nifskope. To the left you'll notice the Block List pane, each model has blocks of data, these blocks are for things like the model shape, the collision and with some models things like animation data. If you look closely you'll see little arrows next to the node names, if you click the arrow it expands the list, do that with the top item so we can see all the other data the model has. Load me pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease! In the window to the right click on the part of the model you want to change the texture for, this will highlight it's node in the Block list to the left, you'll then be able to use the arrows to expand the node list. Keep expanding the nodes until you see a BSShaderTextureSet property and click on it. Now press F3 to bring up the Block Details panel, you'll notice this is for the textures. If you click the arrow to the left you'll be able to see all the textures the model has. Smarty Says: For a list of textures use and the slots they go into, check the Graphic Artistry Reference sheet. To change or add a texture we simply click the purple flower icon, this will then display a find file box for us to locate our texture. Clicking the open button will make Nifskope display the texture on our model. Smarty Says: Before saving your NIF make sure all texture paths start with Textures\, this stops the textures from being hard coded to a location other potential users might not have the files.