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How I Make Overgrowth Assets: Part III, The Base Model

Add Comment! By Aubrey Serr on March 4th, 2009

Here is the third part of how to make an Overgrowth asset. This time I will talk about making a base model to sculpt from. This is the first of the 3 models I will make to create the final asset. I built this using 3D Studio Max 9 with the intention of importing it into Mudbox 2009.

Box-modeled base model finished
Box-modeled base model finished

I only want to touch on the basic techniques I am using a little bit. There are lots of tutorials out there already for the techniques I use. To build the basic shapes I use a technique called "box-modeling" where you start from a box and extrude or cut faces and move vertices around until you have the desired results.

Subdivided base model
Subdivided base model

Once I am done with that, I use some subdivision (AKA sub-D) modeling techniques to help with some of the more linear details. What this does is that it smooths out your original model, but the main reason to do it at this step is so that you can refine the shapes more and eventually use this model for making normal maps. One technique I like a lot is to use smoothing groups to define sharp corners and lines. Although it is usually better to let your sculpting software subdivide your mesh, there is often no easy way to get nice hard edges once you start sculpting.

one uses just smoothing, but the other uses smoothing and smoothing groups to get more defined edges
The one on the right uses smoothing groups to get sharp definition

One of the main things that differentiates a really good base model from a bad one is how consistent the mesh density is. My finished one is not perfect, but it could be worse :)

It is important to try and get a consistent mesh density
It is important to try and get a consistent mesh density

One more critical thing to remember for a base mesh is to keep everything as quads! Triangles will not smooth correctly once they are imported into Mudbox. I use .obj format for my exported files. Next week I will start detailing this in Mudbox.

Any tips from other modelers out there? What software do you like?