Low poly art style exploration: Excavator

Excavator GIF

During the last few months I’ve been taking some time to learn about low poly modelling and other stuff that can help make things look more interesting in a game, like camera effects and tuning the lighting system in Unity 5.

I’ve made a couple of videos showcasing some experiments, I’ve learned some lessons, and even developed a script to manage color correction dynamically – which I uploaded to the Unity Asset Store.

I figured out that I could summarize my work in a few posts and share the results with the community. I’ve been posting most of those results in Facebook, but the blog gives me the opportunity to explain this work further.

Case of study: Excavator

I’m going to start this series of posts with a simple model of an excavator. I made it with 3DS Max using a technique (rather than a technique I would say “a way of doing things”) called box modelling. Basically, you start with simple 3d objects, and adding edges and extruding operations you can achieve complex models. Also, I like to use Boolean operations. You need to be organized and have a good special thinking, but other than that, the idea is easy to follow.

If you need some resourses, I found the tutorials at the web site Digital Tutors very useful to learn the basic techniques for box modelling with 3DS Max:

The background and the base terrain are simple shapes with some geometry filters that give that wrinkled effect to the mesh. I’ll get back to it in future posts.

Camera Filters

Camera filters are free to use in Unity 5 free Edition, and this is really good news for indie developers. Camera filters can change dramatically how a game looks, and it is worth to take the time to learn to use them and the artistic and technical theory behind them. Bellow you can see an image of the model with the lighting set up in unity before and after applying Color Correction Curves (different for the foreground and background), Screen Space Ambient Oclusion and Obscurance.

Excavator no filter

The first filter alters the mood of the scene, make it feels more live and cinematic. The the last two give more deep to the model and terrain, countering the excessive simplicity of the models while keeping a clean and elegant look.

Excavator with filters

Youtube author PigArt illustrate the importance of the filters in less than three minutes in this video: 3 nodes that can change your render (in Blender). I strongly recommend his channel for anyone interested in getting into low poly modelling.

I will talk more about filters in a future post.

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