Hey there, Gamers and Game Makers!
I recently decided to take an idea for a game that I've been sitting on for a very long time and start to actually develop it. It's a long project that is going to take a couple of years to actually make. Since this project is much larger than my past games and because visually, I want it to stand out, I decided the only way to do it justice was to use an improved workflow for my asset creation.
For the longest time, I've used Blender for my 3D models when needed. Using the built in texture painter to set a base texture and then using photoshop to touch up the textures. I also use photoshop mainly for my 2D asset creation and will continue to use that for my 2D projects as it suits best. So, for the new project, I knew I needed to take a step outside my comfort zone in order to achieve the look I have in mind for the game. My new basic workflow involves four new tools to produce my 3D assets.
I'm first modeling a base mesh in Maya 2018. Although at this point, I'm still weighing up the pros and cons of Maya and Blender as Blender is a fantastic tool for this and it's free. I'm liking some of the export features in Maya but unless I notice a significant improvement in Maya over Blender, I may just revert to Blender as my go to tool for knocking out a base mesh. Anyway, I use Maya to create the base mesh of whatever I'm modeling. I keep it as low poly as possible, just getting the shape and basic details correct. I also do my UV unwrapping at this point.
I then export the file and open it in Zbrush. Zbrush is a fantastic 3D modeling package that focuses on sculpting. With my base mesh imported, I subdevide the model adding more polys and now I start to sculpt in the finer details. The result is a much more detailed model but the problem here is that now, the model is very high poly and unusable in the game engine.
My next step is to bring my model from Zbrush and open it in 3D Coat. Here, I'll make use of 3D Coats retopology in order to produce a low poly model from the very high poly model that still retains the details I added in Zbrush. Once I'm happy with the model, it's time to texture it.
For texturing, I use Substance Painter. It allows me to import my model and paint directly onto it as well as using smart materials to get better results. It also has a layer system similar to photoshop. This allows me to paint various details on different layers and not have to worry about ruining the whole texture if I decide to change a certain detail later.
While the workflow is longer than before, it's so far proven to yield far more impressive assets. I still have much to learn about these tools before I'm confident in using them but, with only a little over a week of playing with them, they've been easy to get to grips with and are making the design process much easier. The game in question is in the pre-production stage and it'll be a long time before I have anything to show but, keep an eye out.
Until next time!