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In this tutorial I'll show you how to create a next-gen, game model of an old weathered Boiler, with the help of only one black & white reference image. The tutorial will cover the entire process from Low poly Modeling to High poly Modeling, UV mapping, Textures baking (i.e Normal and Occlusion maps) and Diffuse Texturing. Finally we'll be applying Xoliul's shader in Maya for realtime rendering of the model.
Now one important thing to note before starting this tutorial, is that while in Maya, I'll be using the default Hotbox controls, as this will be very useful to easily access the tools, and it will surely speed up your workflow. At least I hope it will :)
Additional Files/ Plugins:
Continuing from where we left off, select the rear most faces of the Cylinder and "Extrude" them (1) and then push them out a little, then using Scale, scale them down to create a slant (2). Then select the edge ring (3) and "Soften" the edges, also "Harden" the vertical edge loop, as it is on the other side.
Now create a new polygon "Cylinder" near the corner of the Boiler's base. Select the top faces (1) and using the "Extrude", "Scale" and "Move" tools create the shape shown below (2), then select the alternating edges of the edge loop (3), and collapse them (4).
Now first apply the default "Soften/Harden Edge" and it will give optimum smoothing to the surfaces (1), then select only the inner half faces of the base cylinder (2), and delete them (3). Next select the vertical open edges of the cylinder on both sides and "Extrude" them (4).
Now select the open vertices and snap them to the open corner vertices using the "d" + "v" keys (1). Repeat the same process with all of them, and then drag select the snapped vertices and simply "Merge" them (2). Then "Duplicate the model, and manually place it at the other end of the boiler's base (3), and then "Combine" them. "Duplicate" the combined mesh, and this time change it's scale on the "X-axis" to -1 (4).
Now go to Create>EP Curve Tool (1) and then go into the side view. Start creating the curve for the wires, where we need them (2-4).
Next select the curve, and then Right Click and hold over it and select "Control Vertex" to select the "Vertex mode" (1). Now you can tweak the shape by moving vertices the same as you would with polygons. So just refine the shape of the curve by simply moving the vertices (2-4).
Now got to the "Perspective" view and place the curve in it's correct place using the "Move" and "Rotate" tools (1-2). And then in "Vertex Selection Mode", tweak the position of vertices to fit it into the given area (3-4).
A few tweaks again to match the shape of the wire as seen in the reference (1-3), and then go back to "Object Mode" and duplicate the same curve again and place it next to it (4).
Now go to "Control Vertex" mode again and change the shape of the curve by changing the position of the vertices, as shown below.
Now just the final tweaks of the vertices to fit the curve into place.
Back in the Side View, we'll create a new curve using the same "EP Curve Tool" and add some extra vertices while creating it, which we'll move later to create the correct path (1-2). Scale the lower vertices in the "Y-axis" (only) to straighten them out (3). And finally go back to the "Perspective View" and move the vertices to correct the path (4).
Further tweaks of the vertices to get the correct shape as we need to follow our wire.
Now create another new Curve while in the Side View (using same "EP Curve Tool",) and again add some extra vertices, so we can change the shape later.
Now it's time to tweak the curve again, by moving the vertices to create the correct shape.
Follow up of the same tweaks.
Now create another Polygon Cube and elongate the shape by moving the faces to the left side (1-2). In "Edge Selection Mode" select the corner edges on both sides (3), and while keeping the same selection, press and hold "Shift+Right Click" and select the "Bevel Edges" option's box (4).
In the Options box, change the number of "Segments" to 2 (1), and you'll notice that 2 new edge loops will appear supporting the selected edges (2). Just lower the "Offset" from "INPUTS" of "polyBevel1" to lower the distance between the supporting edges (3). And then select the lower edge loop (4).
Now just by following the same procedure (as in the previous two steps) create 2 supporting edge loops around edge loop too (1). And then delete the extra edges, and connect the open vertices using the "Split Polygon Tool" (2). Optimize the mesh by deleting all hidden faces (3). And then finally tweak the shape of the cube again, to elongate it a little more (4).
Now got to Create>Nurbs Primitives>Circle and create a Nurbs "Circle" by dragging and selecting the radius (1-2), then move it and place it just above the first curve we had created and scale it down a bit (3). Then select the Circle first, and "Shift" select the Curve after that (4).
Now first go to Polygons>Surfaces (1) and it will switch the tools tabs from Polygons to Surfaces. Then while keeping the same selection, go to the Surfaces>Extrude "Options" box (2). And keep all the settings as shown in the "Extrude" options, and it will create a polygonal wire around the curve (3). Repeat the same process with the next wire (4).
Now apply optimum smoothing by using the "Soften/Harden Edges" tool (1), and then create another new wire using the same procedure over the lower curve (2). Repeat the same process for all the curves we have created by keeping the radius of the circle as per requirement (3-4).
Now we need some optimization on these poly wires, as they are still a little more then what we actually need. So first make use of the existing edge loops by moving them around to refine the shape, and then delete those which are not giving any support to the shape.
Now keep only the wire in view by using "Hide Unselected" (Alt+H) and then select alternating edges on the first edge loop (1), then select the ring of these and "Collapse" them (2). You'll notice that this doesn't make that much of a difference, but has optimized the mesh a lot (3).
Further optimization of the next wire using the same procedure, but with the deletion of hidden faces too this time.
Same optimization on the lower wire (1-2), but on some of the curves it needs more edges to have a nice, smooth curve. So using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" add a few more loops (3), and then by moving the vertices give it a much smoother curve (4).
Now further use existing geometry by moving the vertices to refine the shapes. And then the same optimization and refinement process will go for all the wires.
Now add 2 edge loops to the 2nd wire we created using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" (1), and then select the enclosed faces (2) and extrude them (3-4).
Repeat the same process on the 1st wire (1), and then select half of the faces on the lower wire (2-3) and extrude them (4).
Select the last edge loop, and "Extrude" it just outside to create a holder shape for the pipe (1). As we can notice the holder is looking too low res because it only has 4 sides, so using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool", add edge loops in the center of each side (2-4).
Now delete the rest of the edge loops on the pipe and keep only the connecting edges of the holder shape (1). Then Snap the inner open vertices to the corresponding vertices on each side (2-3). Then select all these vertices and merge with a lower threshold value and it will merge only the snapped vertices (4).
Now select the alternating vertices of the shape and scale them to create a round shape (1). Then select the outer edge loop and "Extrude" it to make the complete shape (2). Then select the edge ring, and make the edges "Soft" (3). And finally select the holder shape in "Face Selection Mode" and "Extract" it (4), so that we can use the same shape in multiple places where we need to.
Now the other end of the same pipe needs to have the same holder, so first change the pivot of the holder to one of the inner vertices (2). Then snap the holder to the open vertex of pipe's end (3). And then "Combine" it with the pipe and select and merge the vertices.
Select the lower cube shown below and "Duplicate" it. Then place it just over the front pipe's open end, and "Mirror" it on the "Y-axis". Then delete the center edge loop of the shape.
Now select the upper vertices and push them back a little to have a slanted shape. Then select the middle vertex and snap it to the lower vertex (on both sides), and merge them (1-3). Then select the front faces and scale them down a little in the "Z-axis", to have a slant on both sides (4).
Now select all the upper vertices and scale them up a little on the "Z-axis" to give it a lower tapered look (1). Then on both sides delete the diagonal edge and using the "Split Polygon Tool", connect the open vertices (2), then apply "Soften/Harden Edges" to complete mesh (3). Finally select the outer edge loop and extrude it and create a border (4).
Now further optimization of the mesh by "Collapsing" the selected mesh, and moving the vertex to adjust the shape. Also check it in perspective to have an idea of that point of view.
Now connect the open vertex using the "Split Polygon Tool", and then move the vertices to improve the topology as well as the shape (the grey colored move gizmo shown is the previous location of the selected vertex, and the colored one is the new location)(1-3). Finally select the lower edge and delete it (4).
Now using the "Split Polygon Tool", create an edge loop connecting the open vertex to the upper vertex (1-2). And then move the shown vertex a little bit out, so that it can support the curvature of the edge loop (3). Then select the shown edge in last image and delete it (4).
Now some small movement tweaks of the vertices to achieve the proper curvature of the shape. For that always look at the shape from different perspectives so that the curvature will be the same when seen from any direction. Then connect the open vertex to the below one using the "Split Polygon Tool".
Now to create the rest of the wires. Create another curve using the "EP Curve Tool" following the same work-flow we used previously.
Now just the tweaks of the same curve to fit it to the shape required.
Create another Nurbs "Circle" and snap it at the upper end of the curve (1). Then select the Circle first and the Curve second (2), and go to Surfaces>Extrude under Surfaces tools tab (as we did in STEP 20.) By keeping the same Extrude settings we'll have the same result (3), then just do one "Reverse" normals over the polygon output (4).
Create a new Cube to stand as the base of the Motor, and remove the back face of it which is not visible at all (1). Then create a Polygon "Torus" with 12 "Subdivisions Axis" and 8 "Subdivisions Height" (2). And then in "Face Selection Mode" select three quarters of the Torus (3) and delete it, so you only have one quarter out of it remaining (4).
Now Duplicate this and place it just below the Cube as shown (1), then select the upper edge loop to continue the pipe up to the cube (2), and also create a holder shape for it at the top (3-4).
Now "Extrude" the edge loop at the other end (1), and using another quarter shape (2) place it facing the motor this time (3). Again "Extrude" the open edge loop at it's end to connect it to the Motor (4).
Now using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" add 2 edge loops on the surface (1), and then select the faces between these 2 new edge loops (2) and finally "Extrude" them (3). Again using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" add 2 new edge loops on the other side, but with a bigger gap (4).
Now select the faces contained between the 2 edge loops and "Extrude" them (1). At the connecting point with the motor, add another edge loop using the "Insert Edge Loop Tool" (2). And then again select the faces contained between these 2 edges, and extrude them (3).
Now select the whole pipe mesh, Duplicate it, Scale it down and place it near the main one's position (1-2). Then just make a few more tweaks to make it look like another pipe section and not exactly the same as the main one (3-4).
Now create a new Cylinder with 6 sides (1) and delete the two extra edges from the front face, as it will reduce the triangle count (2). Then just place it at the border of the main cylinder (3), and rescale it accordingly to make it fit (4).
Rotate it a little to have the actual orientation of a nut bolt (1), and then change it's pivot to the center vertex of the main base mesh (2). Then duplicate it 9 more times around the border, by keeping the "Discrete Rotation" option at a "Step Size" of 9 (3-4).
Now select these 10 bolts and group them by pressing "Ctrl+g" (1). Then select the group and change the "Step Size" of the "Discrete Rotation" to 90, and duplicate it 3 times as shown (2-4).
Now repeating the last 2 steps again, create another set of bolts for the front border also (1). Then select all these and make a new group (2), then duplicate the group and change it's "X-axis Scale" to -1, and it will move it to the other side (3).
Now select the motor and the pipes connected to it with it's base, and make another group (1). And simply duplicate it again with the "X-Axis" scale set to -1, and we'll have another motor on the other side (so that it won't look empty), and it also isn't an exact copy of this side (2-3).
And here is our Low poly model of the base, completed with all the details required and is ready to move on to next stage.
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