It’s been a waaaay too long time since I posted something here, but for the last months digital art has been on the back seat of my life. That has changed recently though when my good friend @LtJ4x asked me if I would be willing to create an asset for his upcoming game Abstractanks (which you can already play by following the link and supporting it on Desura!). Ok, to be honest it took me pretty long until I actually got something done (did I mention that I had so much other stuff going on?). In the end though I managed to create something as you can see in the images below.
Modelling this was much more of a challenge for me than I initially thought it would be. But somehow creating stuff for games is always extra challenging as it has to be able to be rendered in real time which leaves much less room for cheating than if it is “only” to be rendered using a raytracer. In this case making all of the hexagonal pillars into one big mesh was the first challenge. I had to tinker a lot with that and in the end modelled the pillars separately and then did a retopology pass on top of that to create a single mesh. This resulting mesh was then subdivided and I sculpted the holes and craters using Sculptris.
After that I did another retopology pass to get the polygon count down to a level appropriate for a real time engine, this time taking the changed geometry from sculpting into account. You can see the resulting geometry in the wireframe below. It definitely is not the prettiest of meshes, but should get the job done. Still lots to learn when it comes to edge flow
Finally I neede to texture this. I first tried with some photo textures but that just doesn’t produce a good looking mesh, especially not for this kind of stand alone asset. So I had to dive into texture painting, something I never really tried before. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the texture painting in Blender to work in a way that I felt comfortable with, so I had to paint in an external application. Initially I used my trusty Photoshop Elements which worked ok, but still didn’t feel quite right. During my research on texture painting I came across this excellent tutorial by XRG81. Even though I didn’t paint in Blender, I went pretty much 1:1 as he did it, though I started out with a photo texture which I applied some filters on so I didn’t have to start with a blank image. On his channel I also saw that for illustration he is using Krita, an open source painting program, which I had heard about but never really tried. I gave it a shot and it is just a breeze to use, I’m very happy with it. It has great tool presets, works nicely with my Wacom and makes digital painting simply fun. So I ended up importing the initial work from Photoshop Elements into Krita (yes, it reads .psd files!) and painted the texture there. I had Blender open at the same time on the second monitor so I could see the changes to the texture on the mesh directly (by simply reloading the texture image in Blender manually and using OpenGL viewport preview). I’m quite pleased with the result, final diffuse texture below.
The asset has not yet made it into the game, Jax is busy with other stuff. I hope he gets around to importing it soon, I guess I’ll have to do some reexporting to different formats and with different settings until we find something that works. I’ll update this once a screenshot from the game is available.
Finally I purchased Substance Painter via Steam since it looks like a very promising tool for texture creation. Already played a little bit with it, nothing to show though. Hopefully I’ll get around to creating another asset soon which I will then try to texture using this new program.