Multiple angles, using 3D-models

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Post » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:20 pm

[quote="thomasmahler":14exycq4]
Also, remember that we've got 3d software now and that we could create those characters in 3d (and use flat shaded pixel art as textures) and just render out the different perspectives for each animation type.

This is not as tough anymore as it used to be when we really needed to paint each pixel from scratch. Creating 2d with the help of 3d is a very viable option these days, especially for stuff like this.

I used to fucking hate the fact that in 2d games my character never changed in appearance when I equipped a new set of armor or weapon. It just wasn't feasible back then to create dozens of animation phases for each and every set of equipment. But that sorta stuff could be done pretty easily with todays tech - batch setup your scene with the equipment and batch render it out over night.[/quote:14exycq4]

Thomasmahler, what programs do you recommend me to start using (preferrably free software) to create something in 3D (relatively easy - if possible) and ultimately ending up with having sprites for Construct?
Or what do you recommend me to start searching for in search engines?

Blender perhaps?
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Post » Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:52 pm

I haven't really worked with Blender too much, so I can't recommend it directly, but from what I've seen it's grown into a cool package over the last couple of years. Dunno if Blender is easy to learn though, cause the interface was always its weakest point.

I can't really give you a concrete answer to your question, cause it's like asking some other artist what sorta pencil one should use. I personally still prefer Maya over any other app, mainly because I'm so used to it and because my config is totally configured to my needs.

The games industry is mostly based on 3ds Max still and I don't think that's gonna change in the foreseeable future - I actually think Max will gain more and more popularity still.

XSI is also a _very_ cool package which is outstanding in many fields. Still, it isn't being used as much in the films / games industries as Maya / Max. It's pretty big in Asia though.

If you just want to render out sprites, I guess looking at Blender won't hurt, especially since it won't cost you a thing.

In general, whatever package you'll learn - 3d under the hood is the same thing everywhere, doesn't matter whatever package you'll decide on. It's like driving a car. Even if you're used to your Honda, you'll have no problem driving with a Mazda if you have to. Sorry for the shitty analogy :D

3d CG is still pretty complex and not that easy to learn - Remember, for creating appealing characters you should know a thing or two about anatomy, sculpture, texturing, UVs, you'd basically have to know the whole 3d pipeline, have a good technical understanding and also have a background or a vast interest in the art itself. I studied traditional sculpture and been working as a character artist for a couple of years now.

Really good character artists that throw out production quality work aren't that easy to find, even for high profile studios, because you really need years of training.

Sorry if that's not what you wanna hear. If you want to learn a package for your future career, I'd say look at Max, Maya or XSI. If you just want to dabble with 3d and render some stuff out, go with Blender. If you want good character art or 3d art like what I've described, consider hiring a freelance artist for that - that'll still be cheaper than investing years of your own time.
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Post » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:04 pm

Thanks for your lenghty answer. I will try to have a look at Blender and see how it can help me.
3D modeling itself is interesting enough already.

And yes, I'm only looking for a way to speed up the process of having a character, in multiple animations, in different angles.

I don't know if your answer is going to change if I tell you that the result I am looking for would be something like:

Relatively simple (compared to unreal engine 3 models, with high-detailed facial expressions).
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Post » Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:27 pm

Well, it'd definitely be simpler than Unreal or what you'd expect from any next-gen game (though not by as much as you'd probably think, since the only difference for next gen is that you'd have a high poly source file for normal maps and texture bakes), but you'd still have to have an idea about anatomy, polygons, subdivision surfaces, UVs, rigging, animation, shaders, lighting and rendering and probably post processing to create something like this within todays standards.

If this is the first time you delve into 3d, go with something different, something easier instead. Creating full production ready characters that are animatable isn't a thing you'll learn in a couple of weeks or even months. 3d isn't very gratifying in that regard, since it'll take you years to become really good and then you'll still sit at least a couple of days or even weeks (next-gen) on a single character asset. I've been doing this for a couple of years now working for some of the biggest developers in the industry and my first solo attempt will be very simplified, but stylish 2d because I literally couldn't afford creating all the 3d assets just by myself. It's not feasible.

The advantage is that if your character is done, you can play all the animations during render and render it out in one batch from all the perspectives you need, just by setting up a couple of cameras, like you would in real life. So it's possible, but if you're a one man team or an amateur, it's probably not feasible.
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Post » Tue Apr 14, 2009 9:45 pm

Thomasmahler, you are german? For which company do you work?

Also, I saw your blog about game movement. Castlevania versus heart of darkness.
How beautiful Heart Of Darkness is!

How do you think they created the animations of the main character and the black little creatures?
All "sprited"?
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Post » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:56 pm

[quote="thomasmahler":2ti3h88b]
In general, whatever package you'll learn - 3d under the hood is the same thing everywhere, doesn't matter whatever package you'll decide on. It's like driving a car. Even if you're used to your Honda, you'll have no problem driving with a Mazda if you have to.[/quote:2ti3h88b]

Yeah except if the "car" is blender, than you'll have a hard time finding the ignition :P
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Post » Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:14 pm

Like he said, there was an episode of top gear where they got tractors, and one of them had so many features and gizmos it took one of them like an hour to even turn it on. That's what some 3D programs are like. It's got wheels and a gas pedal, but that sucker is no car, and nowhere close to as easy to use.

Choice of 3D software makes a huge difference on your workflow. Maya, for all its incredible capabilities, is worthless to me because it's ridiculously hard to use. I took a class on it and can't understand what they were thinking when they designed it. I've used a lot of 3D programs, and finding one that's easy to use (or one that you can even use at all) makes a huge difference.
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Post » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:08 pm

[quote="Arima":o5n5r7e2]Like he said, there was an episode of top gear where they got tractors, and one of them had so many features and gizmos it took one of them like an hour to even turn it on. That's what some 3D programs are like. It's got wheels and a gas pedal, but that sucker is no car, and nowhere close to as easy to use.

Choice of 3D software makes a huge difference on your workflow. Maya, for all its incredible capabilities, is worthless to me because it's ridiculously hard to use. I took a class on it and can't understand what they were thinking when they designed it. I've used a lot of 3D programs, and finding one that's easy to use (or one that you can even use at all) makes a huge difference.[/quote:o5n5r7e2]
Trouble is, with 3d programs they need to do so many different things, for so many different types of thing, and so many combinations of so many different things for so many different types of thing. It must surely be difficult for the developer to squeeze all the functions into a GUI to make the vast amount of possibilities actually possible and not have it end up being a total mess (like this paragraph). This also means there's not usually one specific way of doing something, and different people might have completely different methods of accomplishing the same task. Best way is to just start with very basic stuff, then build on that gradually.
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Post » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:16 pm

Actually, Maya is very well designed. It's clever, the UI is still pretty good even though it's over 10 years old now and you can do so fucking much in it. Node-based design, it's very expendable, you have MEL or Python as scripting languages, its polymodeling toolset is halfway decent, the mental ray integration isn't too bad...

Arima: What are you using instead now? I have to switch back to Max in a couple of weeks, I'll probably miss my Maya config, but Max has a much better modeling toolset anyway - especially with release 2010 (polyBoost integrated, yay!).
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Post » Thu Apr 16, 2009 3:50 pm

I love 3dsMax and well there is evalutation kits and you can get it for cheap if student or so but then there is always the 100% Bit torrent sale if you don't want to pay like a 1 000 dollars for it
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