3D Assets and Graphics Update

Hello everyone! I’m Eric, and I just finished up my first week as intern at Chaotic Formula, working on Tails of Fury. In my first week I spent a lot of time getting familiar with the project and the tools we’re using. Part of that was organizing some of the assets into a level building kit:

3D asset kit

3D asset kit

That’s 445 assets, ready to drop into a level. This could have been a long, mind-numbing task, but Maya actually makes it pretty easy (after a little research, anyway). The first thing I did was to create a custom button using Maya’s script editor.

Custom button in Maya

Custom button in Maya

I called the button Zero because it zeroes out an object’s size, rotation and position and returns the pivot point to the center of the object. That way every object is at default and ready to go into Unreal.

Unorganized rock assets

Unorganized rock assets

Starting for example with a bunch of rocks. You can use this button on many objects at the same time. Because it zeroes out the object’s world position, you end up with a jumble of object all at world zero:

Centered rock assets

Centered rock assets

But that’s ok, because the next step is to use Maya’s align tools to automatically sort these rocks into a nice clean line.

image08

Rock assets automatically arranged

From there, I batch renamed them using Maya’s integrated renaming tool. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done. Finally I cut up the line of objects into chunks and reorganized them as a block of objects, for easier use. Here’s a bunch of platforms ready to go!

Floating platforms

Floating platforms

The other half of my time was spent learning Unreal Editor and experimenting with materials. We’re leaning towards a cel-shaded look, so I dug into a few tutorials and Unreal’s node-based material system (which I’m really loving BTW!). Here’s a quick look at the cel shaded material I came up with:

Unreal cel shaded material

Unreal cel shaded material

Flat shaded lighting

Flat shaded lighting

This hooks into the Blueprints system to check the direction of the level’s direct light, then separates the material’s color into distinct bands for a flat, cartoony look. Here’s a quick couple variations:

Flat shaded lighting with screen space ambient occlusion

Flat shaded lighting with screen space ambient occlusion

Flat shaded lighting with normal map

Flat shaded lighting with normal map

That’s all for this week, more updates soon!

Eric Knittel

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