August 14, 2015 Mathew Gervais

Dev Blog 6 – The Assembly Line

Hey guys, my name is Mat, and I’m one of 3D Artists that is working on P.A.M.E.L.A, the other being Patrick who you’ve already met. Today I’ll be talking about my modelling pipeline, and how I ended up in this hot stuffy room with 5 individuals, setting out to make one amazing, and beautiful looking game, did I mention this game looks beautiful… it’s BEAUTIFUL.

It all started with my first job within the industry, yes I came out of college, and landed a job with Nvyve interactive as a junior 3D artist. It was a fun cozy job, a simple 9 to 5 with some great people, but then it all happened. A Week before GDC 2014 four individuals they kept in the back room locked away from the rest of us came out from their den. These individual had never seen the light of day, they smelled funny, and they had LCD tans, but inside that small room they were working on a very secretive project. We were introduced to the first trailer of P.A.M.E.L.A in our board room. It was amazing that these four individuals made something so gorgeous, and I knew right there, and then that I wanted to work on that game. With hard work I got the attention of Adam and Alayna, and got the great privilege of joining the team as the 2nd 3D artist, Patrick must have thought I was crazy for wanting to come into this, and I might have been, but I love a good challenge and what a challenge it has been.

I was put to the task of helping Patrick with the modeling of props and characters, and though Patrick has already gone through his modelling pipeline I’ll go through mine as it differs from other areas, and while doing so I’ll show you a cool prop that is used within the game.



Blocking Out

The blocking out stage is a fun relaxing part of modelling until you have to figure out how the damn thing works. I’m always looking for a good silhouette to the model, so that it looks appealing to the eyes. Lucky for me this particular model had a concept drawn by Alayna so my blocking out stage came down to figuring out how the parts all move together. In most cases if I don’t have a concept I look at a lot of references………a lot.




Refine Low to High Poly 

Depending on the type of prop I’m working on at the time I either use Zbrush or 3Ds Max to do the highpoly, in this case I use 3Ds Max for my hard surface modelling. It can be a real pain in trying to get a really nice curve without pinching, this is always an issue. I take my time and keep a good poly flow and I end up getting a good result. I pay attention to the spacing of my supporting lines making sure to get a nice soft corner so it reads nice on my normal map.






Oh yes the baking process of modelling, I tend to use a different method when it comes to baking my normals then Patrick, I like to use a little free program called Xnormals. This program can do wonders if you know the tricks. I tend to make my own custom cages within 3Ds Max by using the push modifier tool. I end up plugging these cages into Xnormals and get a good result if its done right.





Now the fun part of my baking process, I usually do all my big details on my normal through 3Ds Max, and try to add my paneling effect within my high poly, but most of the time I use a program called Ndo2. This work of magic plugs into my Photoshop, and allows me to create little normal details within my normal map. It gets pretty fun to create paneling, adding bolts and screws and small surface details. Also gives you a pretty nice surface ambient occlusion. From here I make myself a color ID map and plug it into substance designer. I’m still fairly new to this software but for a first time learner, it has done a great job for me.


The before and after of using Nd02


After all my textures are complete and a little detail work done within Substance Painter, I end up with a finished model, well sort of. I end up plugging the new bundle of joy into Unity 5 and see how its looking, and most of the time go back and forth with small tweaks to get the best look.

The final product (do the Wave)


Well that brings as to the end of the assembly line, it has been a fun experience working on Pamela and I cant wait to talk to you guys again, and show you more of what goes on behind the scenes. Stay locked for next friday as Adam will taking about level designing in…


Dev Blog 7 – Eden wasn’t built-in a day

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