Friday, 12 August 2011

3D Asset Creation.

There are so many ways to create assets such as characters to environments and various props using such products as Autodesk's range, Modo, ZBrush and the open source Blender for our games, but what I am writing about this evening is how the creation of assets could all be changing in the near future.

This short blog this evening starts of with the mention of tablet technology, the all to familiar iPad from Apple, this has really changed the way the games industry and it's consumers are playing games these days, but what's also interesting is it could also change the way game developers create assets for our games, let me explain.

You may or may not have heard off a certain app called TreeSketch, with this app the user can create tree's by touch, drag and release, doing this action paints a tree with branches and leaves onto a canvas. I wrote about this app previously with my Unity Technology blog here: (at the time it was called TreePad) please read, it will give you more of an insight into the app itself if you don't have it installed already.

Getting back to the idea, this app has a great feature where the user can export the tree as an .fbx file, unfortunately this doesn't include the materials and textures inside the app due to licensing issues I believe but nevertheless you can assign materials and textures to the tree in an engine such as Unity. Here is a video from Steve Longay demonstrating how easy this is to create a 3d interactive tree: I am quite confident this is easier then creating tree's in various other modelling packages but I am sure I'll be proved wrong.

There is also another app which I only discovered today and one I have been hoping someone would develop, Autodesk have released a 3d sculpting app which users can customise one of seventeen base models with a range of sculpting and detailing tools, and the added feature which is cool, stencil photo's on top! Photos can be imported or captured directly with the iPad 2 camera!! The base models range from human head, full scale human body, animals, shoes, t-shirt and a car. View video here: 

123D Sculpt
The downside of this app at this moment is no feature to export the models as .fbx or .obj files but hopefully Autodesk will implement this with a future update. If that feature does make it into an update that's already a nice range of assets you can create/sculpt and export on the move for your video games and with great ease. I am not sure of how many artists do 3d modelling on their laptops while on the move but I think with the tablet technology combined with these great apps now it's possible to do this with ease and while having fun at the same time.

To sum up,  whether or not this will change the way game developers create art assets for games remains to be seen, it appears the technology is there, now all we need is more apps! This can also be used as a great education experience for young game developers at college or universities, either way this new asset development pipeline will make some impact in the industry.

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