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show user profile  graphix72
Haven't been here for almost 2 months, it's good to be back :)

Question: I have a little airship I am modeling for a 3D game. The gondola (cabin) underneath has both inside and outside. It's 1 object, broken down into 10 separate material groups. I created a Multi/Sub material for it, with 10 materials - one for each material group.

Now it comes to UVW unwrapping. Is it better to unwrap all UVWs for all groups onto one giant bitmap (something like 6000 x 6000 pixels) and refer to it from all my materials in the Multi/Sub material, or is it better to allocate a separate bitmap (maybe 1000x1000 pixels) for each material group?

Note: Some of these materials are metalic, others will be more diffuse (Blinn or Phong), that's why I want to use the Multi/Sub material which lets me use different shaders. However, should they all grab their coordinates from the same huge bitmap or is that a gross waste of RAM? What's the best thing to do here? I have 2 gigs of RAM.

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2/1/2009 5:38:00 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 5:38:00 AM)
show user profile  Dave
I fail to see how any airship in game would need anywhere near 6000x6000 pixel texture space. (not to mention that 6000x6000 is an incorrect figure anyway).

I'm tempted to ramble on here... but I feel as though it would be wasted, I just don't think you quite know what you're doing. How does your RAM have anything to do with it? If you're making an object for a game, it's other peoples specs you should be thinking about, and you should assume that not everyone will have a super duper machine.

"I flew over Egypt once"

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2/1/2009 6:14:27 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 8:10:06 AM)
show user profile  Bolteon
maybe 3k....

maybe... but 6k is diving into the movie quality realm.

listen to the above.

-Marko Mandaric

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2/1/2009 6:25:31 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 6:25:31 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
For real-time use, always use power-of-two textures where possible, so 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096.

256 used to be the standard, all recent accellerators can now texture from higher resolutions.

I wouldn't go any higher than 4k, ideally, stick to 1k or below.

Newer 3D accellerators can render from non-power-of-two textures, but power of 2 is still optimal because of the way the maths works to look up the texels when rasterising triangles. You also need power-of-two to be able to compress down to DXTn for use of real-time texture compression, to save video memory.

In the end, it depends on the capabilities of your end-user's equipment.

This is usually addressed by supporting high-res textures for 'power users' and supplying lower res texures for those with lower spec. equipment.

Most graphics engines can generate the low res. textures by filtering the high res. ones, though you might want to create custom low res textures (and mipmaps) in some circumstances.

Like all memory issues, when you run out, the system will start swapping and will grind to a hault.

This will likely happen on your end users machines (who will probably have lower spec. equipment than you) long before you see the problem. Its a good idea to keep a low spec machine around for testing so you can see how your application behaves when you start hitting the limit.

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2/1/2009 7:14:23 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 7:34:47 AM)
show user profile  graphix72
Thanks especially to advance-software, I'm a self-taught 3D Max guy and it's useful to learn these things.

To Dave, please ramble on, your effort won't be wasted. I'll read it and learn, so please expand on what you wanted to say.

Bolteon, I want this to be movie quality because it's supposed to be the opening animation to a game, not actual game content. For in-game I would use lower resolutions and low poly models.

Everyone: You still haven't explained to me whether I want to break up the texture into separate bitmaps for each material ID or whether I should combine them into one big bitmap. Is it better to use 10 separate maps that are like 512x512 pixels, or one huge one that's like 4096x4096 pixels and contains all the parts of the whole ship?

Thanks guys! (And girls, if any)

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2/1/2009 7:48:28 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 7:48:28 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
Go multiple 512's if you can, because not all accellerators can handle 4k textures.

Also, if you do it that way, you can put common surface detail in one or more of your maps and share it between multiple models, to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Think of it like a big jigsaw. The more efficiently you can pack the detail, the better.

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2/1/2009 7:57:52 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 7:57:52 AM)
show user profile  horizon
If it's for a pre-rendered animation, none of the rules people just taught you apply.

You don't need to unwrap it if you use all procedurals.
You don't need to worry about multiple textures, lenght:width ratios, sizes if it doesn't cap your ram memory.
You don't need to collapse the stack, attach the objects, mind a poly limit...

It's not the same, so you haven't given the most crucial info in the first post.

For real time, what people told you is true, but can't you just ask the people that are programing the engine?

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2/1/2009 8:12:55 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 8:13:52 AM)
show user profile  Dave
If you need to unwrap it, then do so... but if you can quite easily get away with tiling textures on the different ID's, then do that with 4 or so tileable 512's. I have read of some who produce a sort of "texture index" whereby, using some dark magic they combine all their textures into a giant sheet that is only looked up once in reference to everything. This is for multiple assets though, whereas we're just talking about the one here.

I don't know what game you're working on or how important this airship is within it (or how it's to be viewed on screen) so I (or anyone) can't really be specific here.

"I flew over Egypt once"

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2/1/2009 8:18:08 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 8:19:45 AM)
show user profile  advance-software
... and, like horizon says, if the content is just for a pre-rendered cut scene, none of the above matters !
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2/1/2009 8:22:14 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 8:30:54 AM)
show user profile  graphix72
Okay, thanks guys. I unwrapped the thing, because I really don't want any tiling to be seen. I want to add rust, scuff marks and dirt in all the corners and logical places in Photoshop, definitely don't want it to look like a tiled texture or procedural map. I want it to look like a worn, battlehardened but functional ship, sort of like the Millenium Falcon or Luke's landspeeder from Star Wars. It's got peeling paint and dings and scratches, part of the charm!

I'm also using Deep Paint 3D, to help me lay down the base textures before I go into Photoshop to work on the details.

The ship is a focus in the animation, so it needs to look detailed and good. It's a steampunk game, with air pirates and biplanes and zeppelins and flying cities. If you want to check out the zeppelin, go to and click on the picture of the airship near the bottom. It's a bit out of date - last week's work - but very close to what it looks like right now. Of course I'll post new work when I have it.

Thanks for your help everyone, if you have more tips on this subject or UVWs in general, please reply.

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2/1/2009 8:43:38 AM (last edit: 2/1/2009 8:43:38 AM)
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