Monthly Archives: July 2013

Vertex-Based Particle Import

So we’ve got a new particle system to play, let’s see what it does!
Particles that we allowed to change right now include special weapons effect, like Bounty Hunter Jinada glow, Anti-Mage glowing weapon that replaced vibrating lightning and Phatom Assasins golden glow. Let’s review what Valve told us!

For items which have effects on them by default, such as edge glows, item authors will be required to submit a .dmx or .fbx mesh which defines where these particles should go on their item. This will use base effect authored for the item and place the particles accordingly.

To do this, create a new mesh, much like creating an LOD. However, this mesh will represent particle positions, one per vertex. Triangles, faces, and general connectivity do not matter on this mesh. The best way to create a mesh for this is to treat it as a single polygon. Keep in mind that particles will be created from all vertices in the mesh, so do not attempt to create valid convex or closed triangles in the traditional sense if this creates vertices in undesired locations.

While it is possible to use the vertices from the original mesh, generally speaking the density will not end up being appropriate for the effect. In addition, UV’s, hard edges, etc. can create duplicate vertices in some cases which is generally undesirable.

There is a hard limit to the particle count allowed for each item.

While each piece of modeling software will vary, here is an example of how to quickly create effects for an item in Maya :

First, start with your finished geometry. Select this mesh and Modify->Make Live. This will allow us to use the base mesh to draw vertices for our new mesh, while constraining them to the topology of the original.

Next switch to the Mesh->Create Polygon Tool. This will allow you to draw the new FX mesh locked to the live geo. The entire mesh will be a single polygon. Draw points where you wish to see particles, such as along a blade edge. The density of these points will usually be higher than that of the normal mesh, it may require a bit of trial and error to get the proper density for the desired look.

Once you’ve added all the points, you can export just the effects mesh. Name your mesh the same as the item with a _fx postfix, similar to an LOD.

Loading the effect into the item submission tool will show you a preview.

WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING?!

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While this seems confusing at first, let’s take a look at the particle effects already ingame:
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As you can see, in reality, particle “line” is actually a bunch of dots. Every “dot” is actually a vertex in this “particle mesh”, so let’s try creating one ourselves!
So following Valves advice, let’s get our weapon model, decide where we want our particles (on the edge) and we will use the “blade” edges for our particle mesh. Just select them, detach and skin the same way you skinned your weapon.
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Export it, and load it up in the importer!
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It works! Kind of.
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As you can see, the effect is overwhelming, you can actually see the space between the particle dots, and there’s two rows of them! This happened because we grabbed the blade faces, but since it’s vertex-based particle effect, the vertices is all that matters! Because we grabbed the edge without any change, it repeats the wire and prodece the effect we don’t want. So let’s fix that! Getting back to our “particle mesh”, first, let’s add some more vertices on the edge! You can do this however you want, i just used Cut tool.
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After adding some more vertices, let’s see how it looks ingame!
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Great, now it’s smooth, seamless and looks almost great! It’s still overwhelmingand we still need to remove the second row that we left there. Let’s get into max and just delete them, right? Select them
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Press delete, and bam!
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Everything is gone D:
While our particle system is vertex based, it still needs some geometry too back it up (even if you managed to leave isolated vertices, it’ll give you error on import).
So what we want to do, is that we want to grab all the vertices we don’t need, weld them together so we can keep our vertices in one ugly polygon. Don’t worry if it looks bad, it’s only vertices that we care about.
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Let’s test it ingame now:
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Nice! We got rid of the second row and particle effect looks fine and dandy now! Remember that you can break it up all you want, skin them to any bone you like, get creative!
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As a side note, if you’re creating the particle mesh from your geometry mesh, make sure to reset uv mapping, you can just drop planar UV map on it. This needs to be done in order to avoid vertex doubling on the uv shell edges.

You can check out finished submission here

Omnimaster Healing Ward bonus

I also tried recording some video, but Camtasia said nope.

Mid sculpting. I had a hard time finding some solid owl sculptures and every asian culture seems to favor dragon, lions and demonic dogsies, so i kinda tried combining chinese sculpting setails, while keeping it not overdetailed.

After some sculpting i ditched the branch and the pedestal and decided that orb will be more fitting. Also basic polypainting with the solid color and some shadows. I’m going for Kurr-Ishimanari styled ward.

After the retopo i did this quick and awesome guide for Ike:

First ingame test, the pedestal is back, now round. Solid colors and too much contrast.

Because owl seemed huge i checked the sizes and it looks even smaller than Kurr-Ishimanari!

in order to try and balance things out i borrowed the flagpole and it seemed to even out composition and the size.

Not happy with the flagpole i’m boxing out some withered tree. Leaves were ditched later. Healing ward gots crazy polylimit of 2400, which allows me to use more geometry, but be more conservative on the texture.

First tree test seems lacking something, we figured out that we need to break the flow.

Changing the shape of the tree a bit and copy-pasting the branch saved me from resculpting and retopoing while keeping the silhouette interesting. Also added some MAGIC.

After the investigation, turned out that Kuur-Ishimanari ward is REALLY dark which prevents it from overbrightening. After toning down the color, adding topdown gradient and adding focal points with red and glowing eyes (MORE MAGIC to go with the aura effect) the texture is done. Pedestal is cracked and worn down, but it’s hard to see. Should’ve added more wear to it with bigger cracks and crumbled edges.

On the workshop

 

Zbrush Rendering

Tried something new and rendered it in zbrush, it gives bunch of nice masks and you can bake the lighting and materials and on and on.

Might as well share the wisdom.
First of all, you import the hero model you decompiled/got in the archive.
001Then you import/merge your items and they should stick if you skinned em.
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Then you import the animation file that you can decompile, or you can pose the guy yourself.
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After that, you offset the uv maps for every item. One to the left, one to the right, one to the top and so on.
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Then you attach everything together, select the UV map and fit it into the default size and export it without the bones.

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Now we need to combine the textures for every item on one sheet and save it separately.
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Load up the Zbrush and import our hero.
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Now assign the texture to him (you may want to flip it vertically)
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After that you may want to subdivide him a couple of times without smoothing and then a couple of times with smoothing On.
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Now you can either fix something right in Zbrush, create polypaint from texture to add some adjustment or start rendering right away.
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Zbrush gives you bunch of settings and works very smooth, i’ll definitely try it some more. There’s also bunch of tutorials about it.