A bit of a Stumble and a little extra effort for Storytelling

General / 31 December 2017

 So taking a break from pretty much a week or two of uving hundreds of objects I decided originally to do a quick sub divide and just bake down some smoother normals. But there were quite a bit of issues due to my over eagerness. First, stretched or inconsistent texel density as well as uvs, and secondly, while I feel the textures were somewhat cohesive the laziness needed to be corrected. 

Originally I was working on something like this: 

Substance Painter 2017

All around from the offset it has issues. Bad uvs, too detailed height and normals, chaos overall makes it difficult to read. Most of these objects will be read from about 15-30 feet away but still it's not an excuse, so I went about correcting this a few ways.

  • First; I took a step back and thought about how to procedurally present these objects; this means both in asset construction (for kitbashing in Unreal) as well as the overarching story I am trying to tell. (As a base overview, cdc is forced through government regulations to stop making anti-viruses; world continues to descend into general post apocalyptic elements.) Story treatment will be added later in a visual format.
  • Once I decided on a direction, I decided to then take my idea from concept to Marvelous Designer.


Behind the Drapery is the blockout I used for marvelous for sewing details and draping things appropriately. It's assembled in a way that I can kitbash these assets in unreal, including the cushions, so I can often recycle and re-use assets in a manner you find pretty often in use today. 

First from afar the folds needed to read, as this entire scene will have 3 lighting conditions. There are about 3 re-used instances of this couch, so while the drapery is detailed, it needs to be in a way that makes it not super obvious, close or far proximity.

Differing viewpoint of beanbag/floorpillow with seamless tiling alpha added through surface noise.

Ref mesh for Marvelous Designer

Marmoset quick renders for how the folds read in low poly. (Pre-bake.)

While none of these assets are spectacular by any means, its the extra effort and deciding that my couch and supporting assets looked awful. Sometimes we need to swallow a tough pill and realize that low effort hurts more than ourselves, especially in the industry. While this depends of course on varying circumstances like time etc, you can save people alot of trouble by just making the effort to tell a better story and have quality assets.

Next Steps; the uvs are already done thanks to uv master in ZBrush, so next I need to compile these assets appropriately in maya, have two different shaders (lambert) for the color ids in Substance Painter, and place the uvs accordingly on 2 maps while making sure to generate separate uv maps (sets) for lightmaps in unreal as it's a good practice to know and do your own in my opinion. 

Now that I've taken a step back I am much happier and more refreshed with my piece and it's now no longer set a tone of laziness for when I run into other baking/texturing errors down the line. 10/10 times the extra effort is always worth more than getting annoyed due to someone pointing out bad work.