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 Post subject: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 5:20 pm 
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This is a Webley-Scott "British Bulldog" revolver, a pocket-sized pistol from before the turn of the century. (I'll let you speculate as to how this specific design's inclusion factors into the game.)

Image

Having spent more of my focus on level design stuff, I decided a little change of pace would be welcome, and try modeling something smaller than a character and getting it into the game. The basic pistol took the better part of a full working day, split over two, to get to this stage:

Image

looking pretty good! but for the purpose of the game, and the age of the pistol (from the late 1800s), we're going to want more detail. And you might also notice that a few key detail points, like the cut-ins on the frame just behind the barrel, aren't represented on my model. Not that I couldn't do them using 3dsmax's workflow, but stuff like that starts to get a little finicky. And as an indie dev, I really can't afford to be spending that much time on a single, small item.

So let's take it into zbrush and see what we can get out of it. But first, we'll need to take off the smoothing from max.

Image

for those who are curious how this goes. after having done the high polygon model in max, i strip off the subdivision layers because the way max smooths and zbrush smooths is different, and you leave the subdivisions on when you export you get some ugly striping and artifacts in the mesh.

so you drop down to the lowest layer (top pic) and export by groups into zbrush. leaving the different parts of the pistol on different layers allows me to control detailing as well as subdivisions more effectively.

from then we put the subdivisions back on using zbrush (going from pic 2 to pic 3) and then test to make sure we've got enough polygons to hold the sculpting detail we wish to add. et voila.

So now that we've got a pistol that's ready for detailing. Once we have all the details sculpted into the mesh, we will decimate the mesh in zbrush to get rid of too-small detail/polygons that aren't really doing much, re-import into max, and bake it down to a low polygon mesh.

there are people that are so much more comfortable with zbrush that they don't do any meshwork in 3dsmax at all, it's all sculpted in zbrush, but that's a very different workflow i don't think i'll attempt just yet.

One more note about a very neat feature from Zbrush: the morph brush.


when you are sculpting a mesh you are not adding or destroying polygons, you're just pushing them around. which means the meshes stay the same, in an important and useful way. this allows you to use morph targets, and not only that, but paint them like you would paint in any other deformation.

here, i've sculpted up the grip like some gross brain texture kind of thing. but before i did that, i hit the "StoreMT" button (which is now grayed out because i already have it stored). now if i pick the morph brush and then run back over what i just sculpted, the mesh pops back into the orginal shape. which you can imagine is super useful for all kinds of things. i can scratch or gouge the shit out of the mesh and then selectively bring it back up the original condition, without using the undo buffer.

Image


keep an eye on the thread and you should see the finished zb sculpt of the pistol soon!


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 9:24 pm 
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ultra cool for many reasons. are you going to show the process of doing a viewmodel too?


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 13th, 2012, 11:02 pm 
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thanks! yeah, I am planning to take the asset through the finished, baked low polygon asset. AM does not have "view models" as the term is typically used, which is to say a different, higher polygon version of an asset to be rendered only in the player's first person view, with a different, lower polygon version of the asset for third person use. For AM the third person version is also the first person version. Partly by sheer necessity of forgoing any unnecessary asset creation, but also because that's just how the camera works.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 2:18 am 
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Had to fiddle with an interesting little bug in Zbrush: the first tool you import (that the sub-tools layer onto) appears to need to be totally symmetrical. I first imported the frame of the pistol, which is asymmetrical due to the loading gate cutout on the right side, and when I tried mirroring brush strokes, the mirror image was floating out in space, which was a new one for me. Starting from the barrel (perfectly symmetrical, at least in its base state) and importing the other parts solved this problem. Usually that kind of headache is due to pivots being offset where they ought not to be, but not this time.

Anyway! Here is the finished high resolution pistol mesh, heavily pitted and weathered. I will decimate this later, and then starts the process of baking the low polygon mesh. I will start from the control mesh that formed the basis of the high res mesh and remove a lot of the detail/loops used to give the high poly model it's shape. Then UV map it, bake it, and we're that much closer to a finished prop for the game, of which there are few of this relative complexity.

Image


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 6:30 am 
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I think the word you're looking for here is "sexy"


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 10:08 am 
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there is something weird to me about how smooth the gun is. countless cowboy films have taught me that the cylinder, or spinny russian roulette bullet house thing, is supposed to have these funny ridges on the outside. As a result this real gun looks fake to me, the nongunhaving consumer

I guess your real gun has those, they are just really small? and I suppose they are there to catch whatever mechanism spins that part to let a new bullet set up to get fired. Anyway though it looks funny to me.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 11:28 am 
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Interesting sidenote, Liesmith. My compulsive net search yields the following, but heaven forbid we turn this into another gun thread rather than the fine model thread that Gauss began.

My guess is that those cylinder grooves are ornamental. Collier's original revolver had them, and I think you rotated that cylinder by hand -- so they were probably used to aid alignment and may have been a product of the casting process or whim of the designer. After that, it was probably one of those things that most manufacturers kept because it looked weird to people without it.
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-261589.html
http://patentpending.blogs.com/patent_pending_blog/2004/11/colliers_flintl.html


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 5:37 pm 
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John's first messageboard hit reveals the answer. The term is "fluting," and can both decorative and and practical, but primarily to save weight from the larger area toward the front of the cylinder, between the chambers.

This is a very old pistol, but if you google pictures you will find various productions with both fluted and unfluted barrels. Unfluted is the most "old timey," and since I am emphasizing this as a pistol from the 1870's, I kept with the unfluted look.

From an Answers.com posting:

Quote:
In most chamberings, purely for looks. For instance, the Ruger Super Blackhawk has an unfluted cylinder in keeping with it's "Dragoon" appearance, but the Ruger Blackhawk in .44 Magnum (same chambering) had a fluted cylinder. Revolvers in the truly monster chamberings like .475 Linebaugh typically use a non-fluted cylinder to maximize the strength of the cylinder.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_are_some_ ... z1mOuLKaWJ



Barrels can also be fluted too. There are "pencil" barrels, which have a minimum of metal to keep the gun safe, but under extended automatic fire, a pencil barrel will basically melt. You can cook the barrel off of about any gun (this is why machineguns have quick-change barrels), but a heavy or bull barrel means a stronger barrel that can withstand more heat before warping.

Below are the M16A2 (the revised, heavier version) and the M16A1 (below, the original pencil profile) style barrel. Not a huge difference, but noticeably thicker. For long distance shooting rifles, the barrel profile can get even thicker.

Image

Fluting a barrel keeps a lot of the benefits of having a heavier barrel, with a weight savings.

Image

So there's more than you wanted to know!


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 8:21 pm 
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that makes a lot of sense. cool.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 14th, 2012, 10:57 pm 
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Thanks for posting this, gauss. This is especially relevant to my interests as I've been trying to make heads or tails of how/why to use Zbrush recently. That's a damn fine model, by the way.

If you don't mind me asking, what actually constitutes a "working day" for you as an indie dev? Do you keep yourself to anything resembling a schedule?


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 1:46 am 
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Outlander wrote:
Thanks for posting this, gauss. This is especially relevant to my interests as I've been trying to make heads or tails of how/why to use Zbrush recently. That's a damn fine model, by the way.

If you don't mind me asking, what actually constitutes a "working day" for you as an indie dev? Do you keep yourself to anything resembling a schedule?



By far one of the most useful ways of getting acclimated to working in Zbrush and even having a step-by-step full project to end up with a high poly asset (though you'd have to look elsewhere to learn how to take it all the way to a baked low poly) is this Eat3D tutorial, ZBrush Hard Surface Techniques. There's a lot up front about just familiarizing with the program, and a lot of helpful stuff about setting up custom brushes, docs, and a custom UI that loads from the start. The custom UI stuff is especially infuriating without help, but this guy walks you through it verbally while you watch his screen in real-time. That's how I learned about the morph brush trick, understood just how far Zbrush could be taken for a high poly asset workflow. I know 60 bucks might seem like a lot, but it's 7 hours of tutorials, including all his brushes and whatnot included. If you went through the training you would be very comfortable with the program, I should think. Do you have some form of tablet?

I also have some character work in ZB recently I will post soon.

As far as working day, it's tremendously variable. I tend to think of a "working day" roughly the same as most work days, 8-9 hours or so, but I am also an unrepentant night animal, and sometimes will go very long stints. But I think my output is bound to be quite a bit more regularized soon. Something I haven't officially told the forums yet is that I just recently affianced my girlfriend and we will be married late this summer, so that's also been a factor for progress, or lack thereof, on the game in the past week or so :)


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 4:21 am 
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gauss wrote:
t I just recently affianced my girlfriend and we will be married late this summer


Image of Blood Money-style wedding suddenly coming to mind with attendees all firing guns into the air in celebration.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 5:16 pm 
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i am finding the most old-timey of adventurer gear to awkwardly present at the baby shower


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 6:31 pm 
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JACK I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU NO INTERNET PEOPLE


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 7:03 pm 
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You gotta make this shootable from within a jacket/armor/coat pocket. It would work well with your current game concept and I'm pretty sure it would be a gaming's first.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 15th, 2012, 7:17 pm 
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We should coordinate so he doesn't end up with 27 tiny pith helmets.

I was looking at that tutorial before. I think you just talked me in to it. I don't have a tablet yet, but I'm in the market. Looking at the "Bamboo Pen and Touch", or maybe this slightly cheaper but much larger generic, for price reasons.

Seconding Chaya's idea. Is the drawing your gun/element-of-surprise-like-in-that-one-scene-in-Blood-Diamond thing still going to be a major component of gunplay?


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 1:44 am 
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Chaya wrote:
You gotta make this shootable from within a jacket/armor/coat pocket. It would work well with your current game concept and I'm pretty sure it would be a gaming's first.


Chaya/Outlander: yeah we'll see what's feasible/what works out in a prototype, but all those ideas are still my go-to for gunplay stuff. The more I approach this the less and less interested I am in anything resembling a modern shooter. So yes, hopefully those kind of gun holdout/surprise elements will still be there.


Outlander: stick with Wacom, basically nobody else can really compete in terms of quality. The Bamboo is small, but man if you can get one for ~65 dollars like that Amazon link promises, that's great. I had an off-brand tablet for my first as a freshman in college and it did not live long at all, and cost about that much money. So I would recommend the Bamboo.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 4:51 am 
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The rest of my progress with a little more detailed breakdown of techniques.

Image
Image

before and after this new pitting pass:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 4:57 am 
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i was going to message before (but you never came online on steam) but this turned out so good


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 6:51 am 
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I have a Bamboo Pen which I picked up in the summer last year for around £25-30 I think. It was in the sale which I now realise is because they've since updated all the product lines to the new models.

It is similar to the Pen & Touch but without the Touch capability - it only responds to the Stylus. I was really impressed with it when I bought it, and I still am, although my heavy handed strokes have started to carve into the pad. Like gauss says, it is quite small. I initially bought it for tweaking 2D drawings using GIMP and applying a basic render -for that it is perfect - although I recently began to try my hand at Digital Painting with it. I don't near snap my stylus in frustration like I do with watercolour brushes but the small size makes it awkward to utilise my elbow in strokes. Everything gets a bit wristy.

In short - yes I would absolutely recommend the Bamboo.

Back on topic - That gun looks awesome. I like how the pitting seems concentrated around the regions where the user's hands would be (i.e. on the leadup to the trigger). The stuff on the barrel looks a little bit noisy though; the deformations are quite large and seem to detract from its cylindrical form - although I think this is because the lighting and shading effects are not as pronounced on the barrel as they are the frame. I'm looking forward to seeing it rendered.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 9:41 am 
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Yeah, that update is badass.


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 16th, 2012, 11:27 pm 
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from informal surveying, the intuos4 medium is the best size for comfortable painting. the bamboo is perfect for a cheaper option, though


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 17th, 2012, 12:52 am 
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"Perfect" and "Cheaper" are exactly what I want. Shit just got ordered. Oh man. So excited. Thanks for the input, everybody.


That bulldog is looking dead sexy. I agree, though, that the barrel is a little busy (especially since nobody is likely to see the underside of it?).

On a tangentially related note, wouldn't the pitting inside the chambers completely fuck up the accuracy of the gun? Not that I'd expect a snub-nosed .44 to be anything like accurate in the first place, but it would be interesting if some chambers shot straighter than others. I wonder how many players would even pick up on that if it was in the game and never mentioned. "alright, so shots 1 and 4 are accurate up to 150 yards, 2 misfires half the time, and the rest are at least good enough to hit a stationary building on clear day."


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 17th, 2012, 2:26 am 
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I'll be coy and say that this gun might not be for shooting, exactly. :)


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 Post subject: Re: a zbrush story: the making of a british bulldog
PostPosted: February 17th, 2012, 7:17 am 
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post this on your damn blog already


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