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This week we continue our behind the scenes look at how Models are created.

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Welcome to Friday Update #15!

This week we continue our behind the scenes look at how Models are created. This isn't meant to be a tutorial, but hopefully will serve to give you all a little more insight and even maybe a little inspiration to try this for yourselves! The best thing to do before starting a model is to gather reference images. Front and side images are ideal for proper proportion.

Friday Update 15 modeling example Friday Update 15 modeling example

Now that you have your images you need a modeling program! There are MANY programs out there to choose from and they are all very different. If you are looking into making game design into a career you really only have two choices, 3D Studio Max or Maya. If you are looking to just get your feet wet I would recommend checking out Blender (free) or Milkshape ($35 USD). Since each program works differently you will need to find tutorials online to teach you their tool-sets. Most Half-Life modeling is done with either Box Modeling, or Poly by Poly modeling. Finding tutorials shouldn't be too hard but be sure to read a few and get comfortable with the tools before starting on your first model.

Everbodys first models will be pretty bad, so try not to get discouraged. Stop by the forums and post your work. The members will be able to tell you things you should change to improve and really help show you how to fix things up. If you look at some work from other artists it can help to show you how a model is properly constructed. The average NNK model is between 1500-2200 triangles so keep that in mind if you plan to try an add-on for any half-life mod.

Now that you have your reference images and are familiar with your programs tool-set you can get started modeling. If you have good references it can help to lay them in the back of the viewport and trace over them. With every triangle you place try to think if it helps the shape of the object you are working on and how much. Many beginning modelers will start with objects that have many wasted triangles, and ones that don't really help the shape of the object. It's also very important to keep in mind where your model will be seen. If it's an object that is right up in the players view often you will want to maybe use a few more triangles to get the shapes looking right as opposed to an object that is off in a corner and doesn't take up much screen space where you can use less.

Friday Update 15 random ingame image Friday Update 15 random ingame image Friday Update 15 random ingame image

One of the things you might have noticed if you have a keen eye is that on all of our models we reuse the same feet, hands, and headbands. This not only makes animating easier, but also adds a clean streamlined look to all of our work making it much more visually pleasing.

A good thing to consider when modeling is how the object will move as well. This is mainly for characters, but even objects sometimes have movement. Maybe sure you put enough triangles in the right places so that the object will deform properly. For characters this would be places like the elbows, knees, shoulders, neck, waist, fingers, etc. What is the right amount of triangles? Well it mostly depends on your budget of course. There are small tips and tricks to make things deform well with very few triangles if you need them like for a DS game, or you can pump a lot into those areas to be safe for more high tech stuff like UT3.

The best thing to do is keep at it. Modeling is not something you can pick up in a week and be good at, it will take time and practice so keep trying. Also, posting your work on forums can really help a lot. There are many artists out there that are willing to help you and give you advice on how to improve your work. Keep an open mind and try to take criticism as best as you can. Just be sure to NEVER post someone else's work as your own! If you have used someone else's work as a base and edited it, give credit to the original artist or ask for their permission depending on the use. Most of all just try and have fun, make something that interest you and enjoy messing around with it in 3D!

Now we couldn't just go a couple of weeks without any real updates for you guys, so enjoy these three new screenshots! (Posted above)

Come back next week when we'll have in-game videos showing off some of our intricately detailed maps!

- The NNK team

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