Jason Pook's Games Design Blog

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Classic Mini Model- Self Initiated Mini brief


Over the summer i set myself a styled mini brief to try help myself improve my 3d modelling. I did this first by doing an rc car (see in my previous rc car process blog) but to step it up i wanted to model my own car. I own a 1996 classic mini equinox which is my pride and joy, what better to model that a car i can just go outside and see my mistakes in my 3d work. all my reference images are from my own car which i kept flicking to on facebook aswell.

This is how i got on i wont go into too much detail as it was a fairly extensive process, but i have captioned the process images to give you an idea what is going on and how i possibly did it.

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So with putting all this together and finally tweaking everything to my liking, some pieces i added for personal preference. I was basically adding pieces to my car that i may do in the future. This could turn out beneficial when im unsure on buying something on my car i could model it add to it and see what it could look like.

Anyways to the final piece i was very pleased with. I came across lots of problems all of which i felt i tackled well, pinching, z fighting, smoothing issues, verts where they should be, overlapping, and getting the reference images in each viewport work when i change the view angle in my 3dsmax view. During this process i learnt massive amount about how i like to model and things i can use whilst modelling like new modifiers. One inparticular was FFD’s (Free form deformation) this allowed me to use control points to edit the shape of whatever i was shaping e.g. i did this for my bonnet to create a smooth curve on edges and surface. The modifier i used the most was definately Symmetry, this allows you to do half the work, all you do is model half apply symmetry modifier and make sure the mirror is central so that the vertexes in the middle can weld together or adjust the weld distance so it fits your reference viewports. Turbosmooth gave the model the high poly realistic aspect to the model, this varied in iterations dependent on what was nessacery e.g. the rims for the wheels needed 3 iterations due to the complex shapes of the spokes whereas the indicators only needed 1 iteration.

Here it is untextured, im currently looking into Mental Ray texturing and rendering in 3ds max to give myself a realistic looking textured car model.

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So there it is..My high poly Classic Mini!

The polycount came to 879,277, a massive 563,715 of that beging the wheels which is huge in proportion to the rest. This will need to be baked down if i was to use it in a game realisticly, which would be a normal map applied to a low poly version of my mini to give it the appearance of a high poly model.


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Started experimenting with 3ds Max in Mental Ray texturing using some preset and adjusting specular and gloss levels for certain things. Anything that looks white is Chrome in the actual render window but i need to set up lighting for this to show i will get to this. I rendered it at a couple of angles to see what it all looks like, this made me notice the glossiness and specular of the paint was far too high so it would need to be toned down. Also the glass effect i added to the lights didnt work as i needed to apply a interior texture for the lights it did work for the spotlights, and im yet to seperate the windows so they are just part of the car paint. All work in progress.

All in all im very pleased with the outcome, the model looks just like a mini its all to scale. I must give myself plaudits for pulled this off for sheer grit and determination to improve as there was times it wasnt going right and i wanted to stop but fighting past that wall is the way to improve.

This actually turned out extremely useful doing this car as our client brief is set in the 1960s so i can use my mini with some minor adjustements to match the 1960s or previous model of the classic mini to go into our project. Due to my car the group wants me to do vehicles for the level as its not the easiest of modelling tasks. Automotive modelling really appeals to me and id like to pursue it further and improve more. Any feedback on my mini would be hugely appreciated and beneficial to my progress. Thanks.


Due to uploading for feedback and critique on polycount, i have been advised to show my wireframes in my showcase of my model. So here are some additional images with wireframes.

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Summer- Self initiated mini brief- Process

The brief i set myself in my previous post i am now going to discuss my own process of completing it.

Pt1. Find or Research your chosen vehicle for use of reference when modelling (Your car/ images/ sketches/ owned item etc.)

What was i going to do? there is a wide range of choice and being a huge car fan i had to go down that path. Personally owning a classic mini i thought i would go for that…but then i didnt want to jump in head first with this i could come back once i felt id improved my 3d modelling. In relation to the brief it says representation of a vehicle so i decided a remote control car would be a fairly challenging model to build to start me off with this brief, and i could also build the remote to control it.

With that in mind i set to the internet to find myself some reference images, maybe some parts i could add like a spoiler of my choice as rc cars are customisable.  SIDEtop

So this is what i found, simple shape with plenty of features to model. like the suspension springs, screws, spoiler, wheel, tire tread, antenna etc. The reason i picked these angles as when i am modelling in 3dsmax if i set up 3 planes evenly and texture the images into viewport i can use them whilst modelling to guide me in shape and size of my car. I think i will do a slight interpretation on some features due to topological difficulties but we shall see how it goes.

Pt2. Once comfortable with chosen vehicle (it has to be real, no transformers allowed!) plot yourself out a design process to tackle in 3d modelling.

I realised that doing an rc car i could cut a few corners as there is no interior and just a base so one moulded block would show a built rc car under the shell. But first things first i set myself up 3 reference image planes top, front and side. This would allow me to get the scale of my model right in at least 2 viewports for accuracy to the model.

reference setup

As you can see evenly measured planes that have been aligned together with precision, this was just a simple process of create plane to scale, clone 2 times and match, then texture each individual plane with relevant reference image. I then selected all 3 and clicked freeze selection so i wont even move them by accident, it wont be changed.

The next step was the car shell, as i dont know what the frame looks like i decided to do the main car shell then model the frame to match the shell based on what id made.

The shell started off as a simple box that i scaled to match each viewport as close as i thought i could go,car shell but obviously there are many curves and bumps in the car so a box would look right at all. By converting to an editable poly this allowed me to use the connect tool when selecting edges, this is similar to the swift loop tool but if you do it in multiple connections its more even topology. I then just grabbed vertexes and moves them to fit the shape of the model, i did this in side and front viewport so it had the reference shape as if i did just side view it would be wrong. I then deleted all polys underneathe the shape as its just a shell and i didnt need them as other objects would fill that space. But as you can see thats far too sharp and boxed to look realistic it need smooth transitions of bends and shapes.

car shell turboTo do this i added a turbosmooth modifier, which gave me the curves i wanted i upped the iterations to 2, turned on isoline display and clicked on show end result when going back to my editable poly. i used the swift loop tool to create some air intakes front and back. Obviously i wanted to show definition of the centre piece and the intakes so a trick i learnt was to use the swift loop tool whilst turbosmooth is on and the closer to the line it is the more pinch it will do to your tubrosmooth to make it a more solid shape. With being pretty happy with that shape and it being modelled to the reference images i decided to leave it for now and move on to modelling another area of the rc car. to make the topology neater when i swift looped I moved selected ringed edges and use move with edge restriction to even it and space it all out.

I proceeded to the tire, from the reference image it needed to be fairly thin with a bit of a outer ridge like a tire does. I did this initally using spline modelling techniques, i put it in the front view and used lines to draw the shape of the tire but only from top to where the rim would be not the full tire otherwise my chosen modifier next wouldnt work. I then used Lathe modifier in the X direction to create my geometry, but it wasnt in the right axis, using the sub selection of the modifier axis i used the move tool to drag it down and create a tire shape with a ring in the middle (where the rim will fit). to create the smooth inner tire bump i converted it to an editable patch and used the inner handle scaled in the Y direction to curve this out and create the tire.

The rim was created by a tube aligned to the centre of the tire and a cylinder with matching segments to the tube facing eachother so that i could use bridge to create the spokes. Then it was just tweaked with a centre cap which i modelling a screw to fit inside, it was turbosmoothed and swiftlooped to pinch the shape and create our wheel in completion.

After that i duplicated the wheel when grouped together to have 4 copies for the car aligned them and positioned them to individual locations. This allowed me to model the axel and wheel connector to the axel. I then began to model the spring suspension for the car which is clearly visable at front and back. Being a spiral shape the best thing to use was the helix shape which is essentially a spring, once aligned to my object it was just a case of making sure it looped as much as i wanted to and tighten it up around the cylinder of the suspension with height and radius. Once happy all i had to do was go to the rendering option on the modifer toolbar and tick enable in viewport and renderer, this then thickened out my helix to a 3d spring which i could adjust thickness and sides for however high poly i wanted it.

tire3 treadI then added tread to my tire, this was just cubes modelled on the surface on the tire cloned several times in a row of 2 then every other cube being deleted to create a tread, once angled the tread on the inner part of the tire it was duplicated with the axis set in the centre of the wheel using the rotate tool on snap holding shift.

To speed things up i made a list of what needed doing to finish the car. I needed to model: a frame, a inner car carriage with battery latch, spoiler joined to frame, bumper joined to frame, a car antenna, a remote with ariel. Then i needed to align everything in position relevance, make any additions i may think of, use symmetry for tires to the other side, texture.

Here is the remainder of the process as this post is getting very lengthy and images speak a thousand words, maybe not in 3d modifiers but i will explain where needed.

I modelled the frame using box modelling to create the outer edge path of the car once donei used the symmetry modifer to mirror this to the other side, and to make the support connections down the middle i just extruded inner polygons where i believed nessacery. Then the inner carriage was modelled to fit above the frame but inside the car this made sure the inside of the shell wouldnt be seen and gave depth to the model with a simple addition of a inset battery box with latch. I then made the spoiler using splines for the edges of the spoiler and the handles of converting to bezier to sculpt the edges, then applying the extrude modifer for 3d element. Final touches were needed to the connection of the wheel to the suspension to the car needed a extra part and extrusions to make connections visable. Then it was final modelling of a bumper which was beveled to create what i thought was a nice solid look to the bumper, then the antenna for the car to recieve the controllers movement. Finally the controller was modelled, using topology creation in local for some features. It was all just a case of putting shapes together for the controller and extruding some polygons for features. And that left texturing after i added my air intake on top of the car which wasnt on the reference but i liked it as a feature.

Here is the final car!

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I chose a random colour scheme and then added some racing stripes, a racing number, some form of zig zag decal, and some racing sponsers of NOS and Falken. All textured in photoshop. When unwrapping the shell i used the relax custom setting so i had a more even texture when applying my colours this really helped in the end. Also to finish it off and complete part 3 of texturing and organising, i grouped all areas to eachother and gave every part a name so there was no Box1001 and if this was to be passed down the pipeline in a game people checking or editing would know exactly what is what. Grouping is key.


Alot went wrong dont let the process fool you, i had many a rage storm out the room when it just wasnt doing what i wanted to with the topology, capping polys and actually modelling the frame/spoiler took about 11 times as it just wasnt transitioning from one to another right with the turbo smooth applied. With experiementing on many new modifiers i hadnt used before such as lathe and symmetry it took time to adapt to using them and getting my head around how i would go about the next piece.

In the end looking at the reference image i thought well that isnt exactly what is there for me to make. But you have to remember its just a reference image its there to guide not to be precisely replicated unless specified so i was pleased with my result.

One tool which was a total life saver that i was new to was the “isolate mode” this is a little pink light bulb at the bottom which when you selected what you was editing it would hide everything else and focus purely on that object. This allowed me to rotate around the object much easier and nothing was blocking my view. Other tools i found useful: local- this allowed me to move or scale objects i maybe previously rotates and angled in the direction they was facing so the objects local. AutoGrid- when modelling something i wanted on a surface so say the control sticks for the controller if i put on auto grid it would create my shape onto the controllers face.

Overall i was very pleased with my outcome for my car. I am hoping to now take this a step further and model a proper car using the skills i have obtained here. The poly count was just over 1.7million so high poly work but there was no restrictions and i did use only what was nessacery in some cases it could have been alot higher.

Give it a go the brief i set is here.

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3DS Max- Technical terms

The technical language used within my last blog post on texture mapping is something i will have to become versed in. We have been told before that once we know more and more we will be talking in our own language of the work place this will help understanding between our peers when we do group projects it will be very benefitial for future career paths when we finish our degree aswell. That being said i want to research further into some of the techincal language i will be using the sooner i come to terms with it the better for me and my peers.

Here is some terms i have looked up and expanded on where i can:

UV: is Uv mapping in 3d modelling it puts a 2d texture onto the 3d model. You put your texture onto the rendered uv map once unwrapped using a program like photoshop then bring it back into 3ds max and bring it is as a bitmap and apply material to stage selection.

XYZ: This is basically the x axis, y axis and z axis of 3d modelling used to scale, move, rotate your model.

Vertex: is a single point on a model or a point in 3d space.

Polygon: it is a face of a model or a surface, can be made using 3 joined vertexes if you work in tri polys or using 4 vertexs if you work in quads (i work in quads)

Ambient Light: is the general light that illuminates the entire scene. It has a uniform intensity and is uniformly diffuse. It has no discernible source and no discernible direction.

Ambient Occlusion: or AO is a method for emulating the look of true global illumination by using shaders that calculate the extent to which an area is occluded, or prevented from receiving incoming light. Used alone, an AO shader, such as the separate mental ray Ambient/Reflective Occlusion shader, creates a grayscale output that is dark in areas light cannot reach and bright in areas where it can. The practical result is that the AO provides nice “contact shadow” effects and makes small crevices visible.

Anti-aliasing: improves image quality by smoothing such internal image edges. Antialiasing can be either on or off. Turn this off only when you’re rendering test images and want greater speed. Leave it on at all other times.

Axis: uses the xyz, used to scale, move, rotate your model.

Baking: allows you to create texture maps based on an object’s appearance in the rendered scene. The textures are then “baked” into the object: that is, they become part of the object via mapping, and can be used to display the textured object rapidly on Direct3D devices such as graphics display cards or game engine. You can render to textures using the Scanline Renderer or the mental ray renderer.

Bitmap: is a still image produced by a fixed matrix of colored pixels, like a mosaic. You can use bitmaps as textures for materials, as backgrounds to viewports, and as rendered environments.

Boolean: combines two or more objects by performing a logical operation on their geometry. The objects typically overlap, but they don’t have to. The original two objects are the operands and the Boolean object itself is the result of the operation.

Parent->Child precedence: causes joints closest to where a force is applied (the end effector) to move less than joints farther away from the force. This is the opposite of Child->Parent precedence. Parent->Child precedence assigns the highest precedence to the base object and the lowest precedence to the end effector.

Compositing: The Composite map type is made up of other maps, which you layer atop each other using the alpha channel and other methods. For this type of map, you can use overlay images that already contain an alpha channel, or employ built-in masking tools for overlaying only certain parts of a map. (noun) A still image or a motion picture created by overlaying one image or motion picture with another. (verb) To combine still images or motion pictures by laying one over the other. Compositing often makes use of an image’s alpha channel.

Co-ordinates: The Coordinate Display area shows the position of the cursor or the status of a transform and lets you enter new transform values.

The information in these fields varies, depending on what you are doing:
  • When you are simply moving the mouse in a viewport, these fields show the current cursor location in absolute world coordinates.
  • While you are creating an object, these fields also show the current cursor location in absolute world coordinates.
  • While you are transforming an object by dragging in a viewport, these fields always show coordinates relative to the object’s coordinates before the transformation was started.While you are transforming an object, these fields change to spinners, and you can type values directly into them. This is an easy alternative to using the Transform Type-In dialog.
  • While a transform button is active and a single object is selected, but you are not dragging the object, these fields show the absolute coordinates for the current transform. See “Interface,” below.
  • While a transform button is active and multiple objects are selected, these fields are blank.
  • When no object is selected and the cursor is not over the active viewport, these fields are blank.

DOF: Depth of field is a multi-pass effect. You turn it on in the Parameters rollout for cameras. Depth of field simulates a camera’s depth of field by blurring areas of the frame at a distance from the camera’s focal point (that is, its target or target distance).

Extrusion: It moves your polygons in or out dependent on the value you set, i use it alot in modelling and is very useful for modelling in general especially buildings. here are the methods for extruding multiple polygons at once:

  • Group Extrusion, takes place along the average normal of each contiguous group of polygons. If you extrude multiples of such groups, each group moves along its own averaged normal.
  • Local Normal, Extrusion takes place along each selected polygon’s normal.
  • By Polygon, Extrudes each polygon individually.
  •   Extrusion Height, Specifies the amount of the extrusion in units. You can extrude selected polygons outward or inward, depending on whether the value is positive or negative.

HDRI: The Radiance image file format is used for high-dynamic-range images (HDRI). Most cameras don’t have the capability to capture the dynamic range (the gamut of luminances between dark and bright regions) that is present in the real world. However, the range can be recovered by taking a series of pictures of the same subject with different exposure settings, and combining them into one image file.  Also they have an accurate white balance that will bring convincing and colorful lighting into your scene

Material: Found in the material editor, can give many different effects to a model by applying a material, but to have it in a game engine you need to texture it apply the texture into the material editior as a bitmap then apply to model.
Quads: 4 vertexes joint together form a quad which is a quad polygon. used mainly in modelling as when you import your model into a game engine they like to convert models into their own specfic form of tri polys.
Tris: 3 vertexes joing together form a tri which is a try polygon. you can model in tris but game engines like to have there own coversion of tris so its easier to model in quads.
Mesh: is a type of geometric model of a 3d object in which the basic shape is made up of points, or vertices, connected by edges. The renderable surface of the mesh object is made up of faces or polygons that connect the vertices and edges. Examples of mesh objects in 3ds Max are primitives such as Sphere and Teapot, as well as Editable Mesh and Editable Polygon objects.In 3ds Max you can edit a mesh by transforming, adding, and deleting the various elements, or sub-objects: vertices, edges, faces, and polygons. You can also apply various changes with modifiers.
Tiling: The Tile option in the Material Editor is on by default, repeating the image along the U and V directions. You can use the Tiling values to scale the map image. Setting negative Tiling values increases the size of the image. You can also set tiling values in the UVW Map modifier. These settings are in addition to the tiling values you set for the map in the Material Editor. If the map’s base tiling parameter has a value of 2.0 and the UVW Map modifier has a tiling value of 3.0 for the same axis, the net result is 2.0 x 3.0 = 6.0. To avoid confusion about where the tiling is coming from, you may want to set the map’s tiling in its base parameters or with the UVW Map modifier, but not in both locations. The Mirror option is a variation on the Tile option. Tile repeats the image side-by-side, while Mirror flips the image repeatedly.
This is just handful of technical terms but i could add to the list massively with the world of 3ds max being ever expansive, my tutor paul has been doing it for 13 years and still doesnt know all the program which says alot. most of the definitions i got was from 3ds max help an extremely useful website that i will definately be using in the future if i have a enquiry on 3ds max.






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3d Realisation- Software Introduction (13/11/13)

We have been introduced to new software in 3D Realisation today, a multiple of software names were mentioned which we could come across in 3D realisation such as: Maya, Z Brush, Sculptress, Madbox, Lightwave, Daz, Blender, Unity, UDK and many more. But today we have been introduced to 3DS MAX a software which happens to be free for all of us students, a massive bonus for us as we can work more at home on our models. Our tutor asked for a show of hands at how many students have experience in using 3D software in general, only 4 hands were raised as although I have made a roll-a-ball game in unity recently I wouldnt class it as much experience in 3D Software.3ds

Before being allowed to experiment with the software Paul took us through the basics of 3DS MAX which are the fundamentals that I need to know when using this software. This was a dot is a vertex, a vertex is a single point in 3D; then an edge which is a line in 3D with a vertex at either end, a tripolygon which is a triangle which is used to render objects and items in the software, and then a quad polygon which is the same as a tripolygon but with 4 vertexes to make a square (this is the one that we will be working with). We will be working primarily in quadpolygons because we need to model in them so that when we import a model into UDK it will turn all of them into tripolygons itself, as UDK likes to do that itself and unless you have a huge understanding of where tripolygons should and shouldnt be in UDK then just do it in quadpolygons and let UDK do the seperating. And then if you need it back in orginal form as something has gone wrong Blender has a tool to change tripolygons to quadpolygons. The more polys you have the higher the detail will be in your model, my 3D artist i chose Tor Frick used 69000 tripolys to make the Datacore (see other blog).

Whilst we was waiting for Paul to print the next sheet which would be a tutorial on making a crate in 3DS MAX, we had to read a “user interface and navigation” worksheet booklet to make sure that we know the basics of how to get around and work 3DS MAX including useful tools and tabs we will come across such as Orbit, Display Tab and Modify Tab. Once we all had at least one read through of the navigation and user interface sheet, we was handed another worksheet titled “Your First Model” which instructed us to build a crate by modelling, unwrapping and then texturing it. To begin we had to create a box and specifically model it to a set size given by us, which was each dimension set to 50. Next in the command panel we have the modify tab which I had to right-click on my box to make it into an editable poly, this will enable a whole range of new options to appear in the modify tab so i can advance to the next step. Using CTRL and then clicking the face of the side of the space it selected that side or sides to be able to be modified. This lead to using Inset (as a by polygon) of 5.0 and then extruding the shape as -2.0 this created the crate effect.3dsmax cube progress

This was the process of the crate where i have purposely selected the extruded faces to show you that the crate has been done successfully.

Addition things we could try was doing the top and bottom of the crate inset and extruded aswell which required the exact same process as the rest of the sides. renaming the box from box001 to crate 001 which was extremely easy as it was at the top of the command panel in the modify tab. Then finally an option to put a texture onto your shape of your choice this I came across some minor problems with as when rendered my first texture I chose which was polished chrome you could barely see as I had not entered any light source, but I quickly reverted to a stone texture so it rendered well. Also when choosing my texture I had a problem with getting the texture onto the box this was due to my rending settings, I had to edit my render settings to put it onto mental ray so it can texture and render properly.

3ds max rendering stone

Here is this finished rendered product in the bottom left of the picture with the textured orignal shape on the right and the texture selection in the top left behind the render. After this I experimented with other shapes using the same techniques to find out which shapes it would work with i had success with a pyramid but the sphere wouldn’t work.