The New Normal


Been a couple of weeks since my last post, and all I really have to show for my absence is more of this darn pillar. I have since learned a bit about using a high-poly model from Maya and a program called xNormal to generate a normal map, which when applied to a low-poly model in Maya, gives the illusion of high definition. Pretty cool if you ask me!

If you look there near the base, you’ll probably notice something funky going on. It looks like a piece of the pillar has peeled up and lifted away from the rock beneath it. It hasn’t really; it’s built into the texture map and only appears that way from this angle. If you study the normal map below, you can see exactly where that deformity occurred (4 times) on the big U-shaped piece near the center of the map. I’m not sure what went wrong or how I should fix it.

Below is the diffuse map that covers the surface of my low-poly pillar seen above. This map was generated in xNormal with a rock texture added in Photoshop. I have also applied a cavity map to deepen the shadows and an “AO” (ambient occlusion) map to soften the lighting.


Suppose I should also mention that I learned to create a better UV map in 3DCoat. This was far quicker and cleaner than shaping the UVs all by hand in Maya. I didn’t share that first one here because it was awful… it was also 4 separate maps applied to 4 separate objects! Not exactly my best work.

Below is a screencap of the pillar after unwrapping its UVs in 3DCoat. The UV map still isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely an improvement over its previous form.


And finally, here’s a screencap of the pillar in Unity.


Mossy Pillar Plus Bonus Hammer


I’m not doing a very good job of updating this blog on a regular basis, am I? Well, all I have to show today is the pillar once again, although this time around I’ve at least learned to make a high quality or “high poly” version with smoother edges and just a tad more detail than before.


Also, I figure I’ll go ahead and throw in a screenshot of a war hammer type weapon that I modeled and textured as part of an in-class exercise (while following the instructor’s lead, that is) in another course of mine, Intro to Game Design & Development. We’re doing a fair bit of 3D modeling in that one as well.

Playing with Pillars


Time to update! I’ve had a couple more classes since my last post, and through them I learned the tools needed to model and texture this pillar. I’ve learned about working with edges, faces, and vertices, as well as functions such as extruding and inserting edge loops. And in last week’s class, we went over UV mapping and how to use the finished UV map to create and apply a texture map to the model. Fun stuff. I have to say that though my pillar may not be perfect, I’m pretty happy with it and my overall progress so far. (And once again, click the images above if you would like to enlarge them.)

Firsts (WordPress, Maya)

Snowman2 600snowmanrender3_cropped

Well, then. First post on a new blog in a long, long time. Five or so days ago I began taking classes at Richland College in Dallas in Game Design and Development, 3D Modeling and Rendering, and 3D Animation. This blog is primarily for 3D Modeling and Rendering, maybe more down the road. Don’t be too surprised if I sneak in a little bit of artwork here and there or even something from my animation class if I’m eager to share it.

That said, onward to 3D Modeling and Rendering. My first time using Autodesk Maya. I like it so far, and I’m excited to learn more. To start with, the rest of the class and I learned some basics of Maya like how to navigate Maya’s interface (more challenging at first than you might think) and how to begin modeling with polygon primitives.  Our first assignment was to model a snowman in class. Simple enough, sure, but I thought it was a good learning exercise… especially for a newbie like me.

The image on the left above is my snowman as he appeared when I finished class that evening. The image on the right is after I experimented a little last night with adding materials, colors, and textures. Click the images to see them a little larger.