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Rendaridra Fallen

How to create Lods on Artistic Pieces

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How are you supposed to create lods on highly intricate artistic pieces like candles and small sculptures when doing so you lose most of the detail?  I have read many putting down those who do not make these lods and I can understand it if regarding geometric pieces like furniture etc, but with organic mesh, made with voxel sculpting where imagination is not constrained by straight lines, how is one supposed to create them?  Is it really that bad to not make lods for intricate work because you lose the details?  Most the people I know have no problem viewing my items at lod 4 and their selling point is that they are only 1 prim.  I would lose this and the details if I were to make separate lods.  So what do I do?  Have my creativity and quality of work stymied because by  using separate lods I lose all the details?  Or continue as I have been and as many here have stated, not really making mesh the "right" way.

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With organic mesh: No matter what sculpting method you use, always make a retopology process for the mesh.

Retopo the high density mesh into a low density mesh that has quad structure and even edgeloops. After retopo LOD modelling is a very easy and straightforward process - it is done by just deleting suitable amount of edgeloops.

To get all the high density mesh details into low density one: use normal maps, ambient occlution maps, cavity maps, dirtmaps, or whatever mapping technique that preserves the details.

The correct way to make game assets is to let your creativity fly with sculpting, but after that go engineering and retopo, design LOD's and optimize texture usage. That is all you need to do :)

 

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If you would show a picture of an object in question, it would be helpful to give some advise.

I can tell you though, that most likely I won't see your items at all, when I would came across them in-world, until I accidentally would cam very close onto them.

Losing detail is the nature of lodding. The art is to make the switches as smooth as possible. Small objects will be only a few pixels on screen from a distance. There is not much (pretty much none) detail which could be seen on a few pixels anyway. So there isn't much point leaving it on the model.

The route you have choosen, is to kill your object altogether, instead of leaving at least some kind of representation alive. At least for those who want to take advantage of the dynamic LoD system the SL viewer provides.

When I read voxels and sculpting, without mentioning normal maps at all, I get the feeling that the model isn't really an appropiate game asset to begin with.

However, you are free to choose whichever route you want, just be sure that not everybody is willing to adjust their viewer settings to your liking.

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erm. SL only has texture(diffuse)+normal map+specular map.

To OP:

Seriously though, engineering for a detail setting of 4 is just lazy. There's no need to have a gazillion verts for an object thats 10 pixels wide/high, and most objects simply do not need that level of detail at a distance. Often you can even get away with simply creating low poly distant impostors. That is what LOD is for and that is why every single 3D game uses them. That's also why sculpts suck so badly: There is no custom LOD for those.

Creators have a responsibility to not lag everyone to hell and back. I know that most creators in SL really don't give a damn but that is not a reason to follow in the majorities footsteps.

Candles can be super detailed and still remain 1 LI, I've made plenty myself as have plenty of other creators, without totally falling apart at low LOD. For fine detail use normal maps if it makes sense, but keep in mind that each texture needs to be downloaded and therefore a 1024x1024 texture on a small object is just irresponsible. Adding normal and/or specular to a teeny tiny object likewise is rather pointless.

Think of it this way: You're not creating assets for a static raytracer where poly count is irrelevant. You're creating an asset that needs to be rendered upwards of 25 times every second. It is your job as a creator to make that happen.

Edited: Fixed formatting mess.

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Jenni Darkwatch wrote:

erm. SL only has texture(diffuse)+normal map+specular map.


Sure. I was referring to the diffuse texture baking process. To preserve or generate a diffuse texture from a HP model to LP model, you can (if you wish, not necessary tho) take advantage of various mapping methods: cavity maps, occlution maps, dirt maps, displacement maps and so on : )

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One trick that can sometimes be useful for complex items like that is the object impostor.

What you do is add one extra face to the mesh and use a picture of the object as the texture for it. Hide that face in the higher resolution model and scale it up to full size in the lower ones.

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