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By Chad Walker
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November 20, 2001




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The Basics of Designing and Creating Low Polygon Models


Cameras and Photos are our friends
Hours and hours of endless search can happen when you look for textures on the Internet or in books. So, let's try it from a whole new approach. Start off by writing down a basic list of pictures you'll need, go outside with a (preferably) digital camera, enjoy the beautiful day and take the pictures you 'really' Need. By taking the time to photograph good pictures you'll increase your artistic talents, meet new and interesting people, and eventually build up a library file of huge proportions that you can call your own. Since most games 'attempt' to create real worlds -- isn't it about time we start using real world images?

Tweaking and Cleaning
The last step is to clean your new textures up a little. Most cameras bring the images in rather nice so the most you may need to do is to brighten, sharpen, or hue the image just a bit. The choice is really up to you and the type of game you're creating. Be sure and take the time to check each image, make sure it's presentable, and most importantly be certain it's the one you're looking for.

Once the model is done you can create the U.V. maps for the character. Notice that in the images below, we have pushed all the pieces as close to one another as possible. If you have some objects that are going to be the same, then just make sure to lay each of those shapes on top of each other to conserve space.

U.V. maps.

The images below show some of the different texture maps that we made for the model. You could have placed these objects a hundred different ways, so if you have some cooler ideas for a layout, then go for it! With the texture maps complete, we can place them on the character as shown in Figure 28.


Okay, that's it! You may have a little more cleaning up to do, but other than that, we have a brand new super soldier!


The Big Picture

Take a break
Next to creating a cool 3D model, one of the most important things to do is to step away from your work for a moment. Step away? Why? Well, because you can be starring at the model for so many hours that you can easily over look things. So, get something to drink, go make you a sandwich, get up and stretch, or check out the news real quick. When you feel like your mind is active and conscience once again, then feel free to return to the world of modeling.

See the big picture
Breaks are important and so is detail, but the main goal is to always be aware of the big picture. You may find yourself modeling a fingernail and forgetting that you only gave him three fingers. This could be a problem. So, make sure you've always got the concept sketch in the background of your view port or sitting beside you at your desk. Also, be sure that you occasionally get up from your desk walk back about 4 or 5 feet and look at your model from a distance. Check to see if the character looks good, has shape; see if you can distinctly make out a tag mark on him/her.

Be sure to do the following:

  • Think
  • Stay focused (but not to focused)
  • Draw, doodle
  • Keep your mind open for new possibilities
  • Experiment
  • And most importantly, have fun!

When you accomplish these tasks and they become second nature to you, then you are one step closer to becoming the world's greatest game modeler! Now get out there and practice, practice, practice.


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