My name is Jonathan Doorenbosch and I am a 3d artist for Call of Combat, in charge with asset modelling to populate the game world. Over the last few months I have modeled and textured many models ranging from trees, weapons, to cover objects... such as a wooden wine barrel!
I am personally impressed at the teams progress and very excited for the fans and future fans *wink* to see our blood, sweat and tears equivalent of work in the near future.
So, I am here to touch upon our work process for developing 3d assets; for those interested in our sweatshop production line.
Firstly, we begin by consulting the art director, who has planned out the important assets required for the game. The art director will give the 3d artists an asset to work on, as well as reference images and design specifications; all wrapped up nicely in a short briefing. These briefings also contain rough descriptions for a feel of the level we are building, such as it's location, weather, lighting and condition.
Luckily, we are given enough artistic freedom to mold the assets as we wish, adding details as we see fit (so long as they complement the art direction). Unless the assets are natural, as we have to make them quite realistic... mother nature's a b*tch...
Thus we begin work by looking through the art briefing, to understand our limitations in technical specifications. Such as, the amount of polygons/triangulation we can use and the texture resolution. Usually we then find extra reference images for slight style variations. This is to mix and combine details to shape a nice model, which is still plausible in the game world. You'd be surprised at how many types of wine barrels there are...
The 3d models are created with dimensions based on real objects to keep them to scale. Once the 3d models have been made and unwrapped into a 2d space we begin with texturing.
Depending on the type of model, we sometimes create a higher resolution version (just the 3d model, minus the texturing) so that we are able to bake down these crisp details into the optimized 3d model. This process allows us to make flat faces look round and squares into spheres (not really but close enough) to add that touch of detail without killing the players computer when you load a level.
If we have the baked down details, which comes in the form of normal and ambient occlusion maps, we use them as a base to start our texturing. Aside from this, we either use the reference images we have found or search up images for interesting details. Each of the artists have a slightly different approach to their texturing but ultimately we create textures for each material in that asset, add in the details then tweak lighting/shading. from this diffuse map, which is the colour map, we create a normal map using programs such as xnormal or shadermap. This normal map is essentially the information that makes flat faces round in a 2d image format.
Lastly in this texturing process, we have to create a specular and a roughness map. Both of these are basically black and white images that are derived from the diffuse and normal maps. We make sure these black and white values match real material specularity values to be certain our materials match real world values. The roughness map is not as precise as the specular, as roughness is relative with materials, so we follow a rough guideline based on real world examples such as fine powder, paper, lacquer and glass.
Finally, these models are created and exported to the game engine for a last check of consistency within the game world. If the models are slightly off with color saturation, specular values, etc, we will make those tweaks to finalize the asset.
So there you have it, a wine barrel! whats with all the wine barrels you ask? Cause the team probably could use a few of them right about now.