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Best way to organize wall geometry and UV layouts for interior spaces
show user profile  Redturtle
Hey gang, I'm working on a project for a friend and I don't have a lot of experience working on interior environments. As you can see in the image below I'm modeling an interior space with multiple wall segments and a few rooms. Ultimately I'd like to make this a level for Unreal 4, so this space could be explored in Unreal.

I have a few process questions for you.

1.) How should I handle the geometry for these walls, should the walls all be one solid mesh?
2.) Whats the best way to organize the UV layouts of the walls?

I realize my questions might seem a bit vague, but basically I'm at the planning / organizing point of this project and I don't want to waste time making too many mistakes. Any advice on how to organize this interior space's geometry and organize the unwrapping process so that the textures are most easily managed would be appreciated.

read 798 times
5/7/2015 8:25:19 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 8:25:19 PM)
show user profile  Dave
I'd go with multiple combined meshes, but not as multiple as I'm seeing in your screenshot. To make your life a little easier later down the road, you might want to attach up all the pieces that would share the same shader/texture. Weld up any obvious points to prevent any sort of gaps or minuscule overlaying geometry.

Tiling textures are your friend, if you need unique details then fair enough, I won't stand in your way! But vertex colours with blending shaders are also your friend. ie... have multiple tiling textures all on one shader! Need a bit of damp in that corner? No problem! Want to bake lighting info into the texture? Use a different map channel! Need that attractive girl at the coffee shop to notice you? Wear a tee shirt with her face on it!

"I flew over Egypt once"

read 794 times
5/7/2015 8:36:53 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 8:36:53 PM)
show user profile  Redturtle
Thanks Dave, can you offer some thoughts on the best way to unwrap walls like this? Most of these walls will be brick or plaster, so some tiling will be possible. I'd like to preserve the same UV density through out the space, but I'm not sure the best way to do that.

read 790 times
5/7/2015 8:48:42 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 8:48:42 PM)
show user profile  FX
Planar...flat as much as possible?

I did something similar for F1 garages, can post the layouts if that's a help...tho' I make up uv-ing as I go along, never quite sure if what I'm doing is the right way to do things.

read 774 times
5/7/2015 9:40:43 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 9:44:15 PM)
show user profile  Redturtle
Yeah I'd love to see the layouts you ended up with regardless to how they came about. Might be helpful

read 770 times
5/7/2015 9:56:08 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 9:56:08 PM)
show user profile  FX
K, here goes, I basically went for a stacking approach...long horizontal strips..-ish... could probably be more optimized, I just kept going till i ran out of space, then saw how I could have done it better and was too lazy to do it :)

i guess starting at one end of the room and laying it out in strips as you work your way round, may be a good approach.

When you run out of room start another texture.

read 768 times
5/7/2015 10:04:59 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 10:15:42 PM)
show user profile  Redturtle
cool thanks, definitely gives me some ideas. appreciate it

read 761 times
5/7/2015 10:17:50 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 10:17:50 PM)
show user profile  FX
Yup, I am to uv mapping what Arnold Schwarzenegger is to ballet dancing...:)

May be better to study game textures as it's for Unreal, Assetto Corsa has a more compact *tiling friendly* way of doing things.

read 749 times
5/7/2015 10:39:38 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 10:39:38 PM)
show user profile  Dave
No unwrap. That was my comment regarding tiling textures. Just use basic box mapping and make sure the scale of said mapping is the same throughout the scene (if needed). Then all you need to worry about is the resolution of your textures being consistent.

Looking at FX's example, while it's nice, it's a lot of work for something so simple. Entire lengths of walls all unwrapped uniquely for the sake of a decal and a shadow bake.

Keep decals separate, just splat them on the mesh with alpha'd planes after the fact. Shadow bakes, if you want them are done on a secondary channel, which does have to be uniquely mapped BUT you can basically get away with an auto-map, since you won't ever be working directly with the result.

Sadly, I don't have anything to offer in terms of step-by-steps as FX has done, but I did dig out some old work stuff that had to be done uber quick, like an hour or two each at most.

Aside from little things like the church door, or the barrels. Nothing is unwrapped, I just throw on a box map, and use tiling textures. The church scene demonstrates vertex blending between 3 textures on the outside bit. I know it looks like 2, (snow and mud) but there's also a different muddied concrete texture being used to break it up a bit.

"I flew over Egypt once"

read 748 times
5/7/2015 10:48:06 PM (last edit: 5/7/2015 10:48:06 PM)
show user profile  LionDebt
TBH, both approaches are valid.

For large scale scenes - I go the boxmap'd + tiling texture route for the main geometries, with various props and other assets more traditionally textured.

Dave is making the overall point (shoot me if I'm wrong) but you can get plenty more bang for your buck - texture wise - within the game engine itself. I come from Unity so I can't say that I know the ins + outs of shaders / materials for Unreal... But, mixing in noise, gradients, various other diffuse maps, using alpha'd cutout planes for decals / graffiti / specific detailing... Is what 90% of your texture work should be. With the other 10% being (well, having great tiling textures), box-mapping and decent lighting / material setups (ie. reflections).

Also, if you're a shading/coding ninja, just make all your textures as procedural as possible :)

example: Say you wanted some of the plaster to be pealed away exposing some raw brickwork on one of your walls. Simple, alpha cutout and mix the two textures. Or alternatively, create a decal for it.

Some general answers for your questions though:

1) Walls shouldn't be one solid mesh. As with almost everything in 3D modelling, nothing should really be a single solid mesh :)

2) You also need to think about concave vs convex collision detection - ie, you might need to supply simplified "walls" to act as your collision layer.

3) Avoid any overlapping geometries. Not sure on thresholds but as a rule of thumb I try to avoid all z-depth buffering as far as possible.

4) From a design perspective... "project for a friend" - how many maps are you going to be using?
- Diffuse obviously.
- Baked AO?
- Blended AO into diffuse?
- (High to low poly baked) Normals map?
- Specularity?
- Shadow map? etc

5) What's the scenes poly budget? :)

read 726 times
5/8/2015 2:46:34 AM (last edit: 5/8/2015 2:57:43 AM)
show user profile  FX
I did mine a couple of years ago with no regard for the game engine whatsoever and little knowledge of optimal uv mapping...took me ages and I eventually got sick of the sight of it.

Obsessed over detail far too much, always happens when there isn't a deadline :)

With hindsight, like LD says, get a good solid idea of your workflow before you start so you know what order to do things in...I didn't, which meant re-doing things till I got sick of re-doing things.

If you want quick and fast check out Flatiron...

read 691 times
5/8/2015 2:12:00 PM (last edit: 5/8/2015 2:12:00 PM)
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