After completing the pre-production stage of the RED project, our team plunged right into the production process and started modeling our assets and characters. Each scene’s assets were distributed among our team members, with my portion consisting of the mushroom models and the werewolf character. In contrast to the character I modeled last trimester, this time I was much more limited in time and poly budget, since we will be rendering in real time in Unity. In this post I will discuss real time rendering and the low poly modeling method.
(How can you create detailed low poly meshes?, 2016
According to Unity’s online manual, the polygon count for character models targeted for desktop platforms ranges from 1500 to 4000 polygons for optimal render speed (Unity, 2016). In real time rendering the actions or images are generated as they occur in-game so a lower polycount is essential to conserve processing power; the higher the polycount, the longer the render time. Although render time is affected by various factors, the assets are still what mainly determines the speed (Silverman, 2013). The amount of detail on an asset is often determined by its proximity to the camera. This means that the closer the object is to the camera in a given scene, the higher its resolution will be of that object and a few variations of the object are modeled. This technique is called LOD, or level of detail, and is very useful because if the farther objects are less detailed then the key objects closer to the camera can be a lot more detailed (Masters, 2014). This technique is often used in video games, as can be seen on the gun model below;
In video games, for example, modelers often pose the following question to themselves when creating an asset; what is the importance of the asset in the scene and should a lot of precious time be spent on it? Will the player examine the asset at close-up? Will the player be interacting with the asset? All these factors determine the LOD (Pettit, 2015).
Although we are not producing a game but a cinematic trailer, the fact that we will be rendering real time means that we have to take the LOD of our models into great consideration. For example, the mushrooms that I have modeled are very low poly since they are a minor detail in the scene. The werewolf model, on the other hand, is one of the two main characters and will require a much higher LOD. The budget for the werewolf has been decided to be 10k polygons and that also includes the opacity map planes which will be essential for the fur.
So far I have found modeling the wolf to be equally interesting and time consuming. I am learning a lot about anatomy and the low poly modeling technique and I will keep modeling until the desired quality, shape and polygon count is achieved.