This month we wanted to give you a bit of an insight into how we
construct our weapons, an overview of the process from start to finish.
The construction of a 3d model like this is surprisingly complex and
the process has many stages. We are going to break it down a bit so you
can see what goes into those shiny media shots of the weapons.
Start at the Start
The first thing is to work out what weapon
it is needs modelling. In this case we are looking at the Raging Bull
which has been beautifully modeled by Sampson. The team decides exactly
what version of the model is needed and then the modeller finds
reference images. Finding references is a vital stage, you can't just
make up the design for these models otherwise they don't come out
looking good. This is the sort of shot that the modellers will use for
Build from the Base
From these reference images the modeller
then builds up the base of the model, at this stage is it still quite
simple. This stage is about getting the basic shape right from which
all of the details are then added.
From the base model a vey detailed high polygon
model is created. This means modelling all of the little screws and
edges. Now ideally we would stick the model straight in the game at
this point as it looks awesome. However the problem is that your
computer can't cope with such a complex model - this is true for all
models, not just guns. When your graphics card tries to draw the gun it
tries to draw all the little details and just slows down. This results
in the game turning into a slideshow and makes it no fun at all. What
we need to do is try and maintain the level of detail but decrease the
complexity of the model. Luckily there are some ways that we can do
UV mapping is a way of interfacing between the
texture of the model and the model itself. As you can imagine the
textures are 2 dimensional while the model is 3 dimensional. The
problem is that you can't directly project a texture onto the model.
This is where the UV map comes in; it is effectively a picture of the
gun unfolded into 2 dimensions.
Making a Normal Map
A Normal map is a clever technique for
making models look more detailed without making them more geometrically
complex. From the high poly model a Normal Map is taken. This is a 2D
image of the gun where the colours represent the depth and angle of the
faces. The map will then be reapplied later bringing pseudo detail to
the less complex model. Normal mapping is a complex subject and I'm not
the best guy to explain it, if you are interested in learning more
start with Bencloward.com
which is an excellent explanation of the concept. This image is just
part of the Raging Bull normal map showing the profiled lettering.
Notice the map is actually back to front, this just depends which way
up the gun is on the UV map.
Now we have a UV map the texture is painted onto
the map. This is very tricky as you have to make the flat texture fit
nicely onto the model. As you can see from the textures it isn't
exactly intuitive. The other reason texturing is difficult is the level
of detail needed. To make the gun look good it needs to be realistic so
the texture has to be done carefully to make it look real. This
includes things like scratches and wear marks where the gun would be
Just to get it looking as good as possible
we then render it nicely and put it into our media template. There is
your finished product from start to finish.