Need advice; best ways to get art and animation

The place for artists, modellers, level designers et al to discuss their approaches for creating content for OGRE.
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RoundSparrow
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Need advice; best ways to get art and animation

Post by RoundSparrow »

Howdy.

I'm a programmer trying to hire and pay artists. I'm no artist and I appreciate that talent is required :)

However, I'm still confused by all my options for the technical side. In particular, if I'm paying for the art - I want it to be flexible and last :) In other words, i want it to be something that in 3 years I can improve a bit but will still look good. ((Better graphics cards in 3 years should do a better job of rending if my artwork is done correctly)).. But How do I achieve this?

A couple things I think I've figured out:

-- I want very high quality artwork, which means high poly count. However, I also want to get low-poly versions of the same characters so I can produce Normal or Bump maps and sort of have the best of both worlds. Right?
-- The most popular modeling tool seems to be 3D Studio Max in terms of userbase... and I'm focused on Blender artists too. For now, I've concluded that "in general", most tools are OK as long as the artists likes them / knows how to use it. A bit of flexibility is good... ?

Questions, things I don't understand:

1) Should animation be done within the model tools or should I get specialized programs? Or should I focus on animation separate from the models? Say I'm working with Blender, am I best to have a character animated in blender or should I focus on doing some of the animation within Ogre?
2) What techniques are most flexible in terms of lighting and skinning? Is all UV Mapping equal?
3) Rigging and animation... should I again get special tools or not worry, is this easy to rework later?
4) overall, making a highly detailed (state of the art) set of game characters... what steps are involved and what takes the most effort? What areas should I take time with and what parts are easy?

I'm sure like anything else, there are short-cuts... I don't want that, I want to make sure I'm having the artist do things so I get the most bang for my buck.

I know there is no one "best way" to do things, I'm looking for general feedback on what has worked best in your experience. I am still a nube, your experience (good or bad) is what I am asking for.

Thank you.

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RyanN
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Post by RyanN »

1. usually the modelling and animation is done in the same program. I use max and do everything in there then export straight out to the ogre format. Ogre is basically a platform for presenting artwork and doesn't do anything with the modelling proccess, except when you ragdoll animation but monster can talk to you about that.

2. UVW mapping is also done in the modelling program. Just about everything is done in an external software package to do with the art side of things. Typical workflow: Model is created > textured/uvw mapped > rigged for animation > animated > exported to ogre.
Lighting is usually handled by ogre in terms of scene lighting, dynamic, stencil or projected texture. I haven't used the quake editors but from what i've heard you can render lightmaps ?? not to sure.

3. its all done in the same package.

4. For optimisation sake you would need to plan out what you want, stencil shadows don't like hi-poly models, so if you want to use them maybe you could code in some LOD levels for specific detail levels. Ie: HL2 went with nomal mapped characters with hi-polys aswell where as doom3 went with low-poly models and normal maps, turned out pretty much the same but doom3 used stencil shadows where as HL2 didn't.

Game development is like a production line, someone handles textures, another person models, someone else does the animation. ID software didn't do this when they produced doom3, basically the artist was the artist and he/she did everything: hi-poly model, low-poly model, textures, uvw mapping, rigging, animation; this is the way i do it since i have more control over the end result, also im the only artist at our studio :wink:.
I suggest you find someone like that that can do everything, you might not even have to pay them since there is alot of artists out there in the modding community able and willing to get involved with any game development.

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