How to Create the Entrance of 'For Honor'
The leading cloud rendering service provider and render farm in the CG industry, Fox Renderfarm, will show you in this post a scene inside "For Honor," the Entrance, created by a student who is learning 3D modeling. The creator completed this work over a period of four weeks by solving problems and challenges with the help of his/her teacher and his/her own efforts. This article is a summary of his/her experience in the creation of this scene.
Analyzing Concept Art & Building Rough Models
This is a case of the PBR workflow, specifically utilizing 3ds Max for low-poly modeling, ZBrush for high-poly sculpting, TopoGun for retopology, Substance Painter and Photoshop for texture, and ultimately rendering with Marmoset Toolbag 4.
To ensure production progress, in the early stages, the scene was initially constructed in 3ds Max based on the concept art as a large-scale reference for proportions, and then the actual production process began.
Making Mid-poly Models
House Structure: serving as the foundation of the scene framework. The house was divided into several parts for construction, including the roof, walls, floor, door frames, steps, and two side stone platforms. Through analyzing the concept art, it was determined that the stone walls and roof tiles employ a repeating texture pattern, which was subsequently applied throughout the scene.
The scene props included stone lion statues, lanterns, ropes of hanging tassels, and more. Among them, the stone statues, steps, and several wooden elements were sculpted using ZBrush.
The process of creating the mid-poly model involved continuously refining and adding more intricate details based on the rough model. It was important to analyze which models require sculpting and retopology during the initial stages of production, and which models could be reduced in detail to serve as the low-poly model. Conducting this analysis early on significantly improved efficiency in the production process.
Making High-poly Models
The high-poly modeling stage was relatively intense, involving numerous wooden doors, plaques, walls, as well as stone steps and statues. However, the task became less laborious when it came to identical wooden boards in the scene, as they could be easily adjusted and reused.
Since the only element in this scene that required complete sculpting was the stone lion, I decided to challenge and improve my sculpting skills by starting from a sphere. After several days of sculpting, I began to see some progress. Then, with guidance from my teacher, I delved deeper into proportions, structure, and finer details.
The wooden boards, during the sculpting process, were meticulously sculpted stroke by stroke to enhance the texture and bring out the grain. Additionally, props like stone steps were also carved.
Afterward, the UV unwrapping and baking process followed.
Making Low-poly Models
In the early stages, we conducted an analysis of the assets. Among them, only the stone lion required retopology, while the remaining props could be obtained through reducing the mesh of mid-poly models.
Overall, retopologizing the low-poly model is a relatively simple but patient task. There are several points to consider during the process: 1. Controlling the polygon count of the model. 2. Planning the mesh topology in a logical manner and determining whether certain details need to be retopologized. 3. Evaluating the density of the mesh topology for proper distribution.
During the low-poly retopology stage, we encountered few difficulties. We followed a standard of 1m³/512 pixels to create the textures and planned them accordingly based on the predetermined pixel density. Then, we proceeded with UV unwrapping and layout. Throughout this process, we encountered issues such as seams appearing and models turning black. Eventually, we identified the problems as certain areas of the model lacking smooth group separation in the UVs and flipped normals. When placing the UVs, it is important to fully utilize the UV space to avoid wasting resources. Additionally, we needed to redo some of the UV work later on. It should be noted that in 3ds Max, when using automatic smoothing groups, it may not be apparent if the normals are flipped. Therefore, it is advisable to double-check after completing each section.
Next was the normal map baking. We matched the high-poly and low-poly models in 3ds Max and ensured that there was some distance between all the models to avoid overlapping during the baking process. If any issues arose with the baked normals, we would repair them in Photoshop. Fortunately, there were no major problems throughout the entire baking process, so minor adjustments in Photoshop were sufficient.
I initially conducted material rendering for the sculpture and showed it to my teacher. However, the teacher pointed out some shortcomings. With guidance from the teacher, I gained a new understanding of material rendering. The key is to focus on volume first and then details. Volume here does not solely refer to the presence of volume under lighting conditions, but also the perception of volume even in the absence of lighting, relying only on colors. The addition of darker shades and textures further enhances the sense of volume in the model. Finally, sharpening was performed to make the details more prominent. By following this approach, the materials created would appear three-dimensional under lighting effects.
After completing meticulous file organization, I standardized the naming of models, material spheres, and textures. This significantly reduced the workload when using Marmoset Toolbag 4. Once all the preparations were done, I began placing the models, setting up the lighting, adding special effects, and finally positioning the camera for rendering. During this process, a considerable amount of time was spent on lighting. The coordination between model materials and lighting never seemed to achieve the desired effect. However, with guidance from my teacher, I was able to improve the overall result.
The above is our experience sharing the production process of the Entrance for the game "For Honor".
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