Martin Dablander (hoidolario)

51 replies · posted

Collab2021 - WIP - hoidolario

This is an on-going thread documenting my progress through the 2021 Collab Project.

I decided to work on the stones. 

  • So, after familiarizing myself with the Scrape tool yesterday, I tried sculpting some stones today. It took me quite a long time to do it. But it is definitely a good practice. I hope the stones are close enough to the original. 

  • Today I went with much broader strokes. Therefore I managed go model most of the rocks. Only some small are left, but I think it's ok to copy and scale some of the bigger stones and not to model each of the smaller ones.  Maybe spikeyxxx  can have a look, and confirm if they are ok. Is It better to move further on and model  some more details (cracks..) or should I wait for next week?

  • For some reason the website insists I have not read this thread no matter how much I read it.  Maybe if I reply it will be fixed.

  • Homework Submission - Week 1 - Nature-Rocks


    That's how far I've come this week. The stones in white are modeled, the smaller ones in red are copies of others. I also started to model cracks in some of the stones. Unfortunately, I am not satisfied with the result. They look very unnatural to me. But at the moment I do not know how to improve it. I am grateful for any advice to improve the result.  

    • crew

      I'm very impressed hhoidolario! I have to give you full points + some extra for the effort.

      I see your comments with Vadim and his art direction. I think you're on track stylistically based on his suggestion. Can you go ahead and save your file in this google drive directory:


      Since the rocks won't have the locator business I discussed on the stream, you can save it as is. I'd like to use your rocks as an example for sculpting additional accents.

    • theluthier 

      Thank you for your kind words. I  just uploaded the file as you requested. I apreciate, that you will use them for showing us sculpting more details, as I really need some hints how to go into the desired direction. I am new to sculpting, and so  it’s both: Getting used to the sculpting tools, and finding the right artistic approach to get a satisfying result.

      Just noticed, that it is a bit a large file. So please feel free to delete anything you don't need. I have a backup anyway.

  • Hi Martin. You can try to push a bit more for a Blizzard-ish style. I was inspired by Orb's rocks quite a lot while making my own. Here's an example. And his whole portfolio is amazing.

  • Three more rocks with some more details. Still struggling in making  dents and nice cracks. Hopefully today's live stream will bring some insights. 

  • Today I literally spent 6 hours trying to retopologize a single stone. It was e very frustrating process and it turned out not well. There are some strange artifacts and I even don't like the shape.  Furthermore, when I enable shading smooth everything gets weird. I have to find a better way to fulfill this task, otherwise I will never get ready with some more stones.  For today I will call it done.

    • Dude this is great!

      From what I can see you might have a bit of geometry inside your model, or you've joined together some vertices you didn't mean to? 

      Apart from that try flipping your normals, or recalculating the outside normals. 

      When it comes to smoothing, in the right-hand panel make sure you have the object selected then go to object data properties (the green triangle) and turn on auto smoothing under normals. This will stop any over-smoothing.  Ignore my rock that is a sculpt not low poly 

    • Thanks I will try that out. 

  • Because of yesterday's result, I tried something different today. After some research, I installed the Retopoflow addon and tried it. I don't know if it's the right method, but it's definitely better than what I did yesterday. Hopefully I won't have problems later with the normal maps and texturing. The face count of all low res 8 rocks together is about 10,000. Is that still too much?

  • Homework Submission - Week 2 - Nature-Rocks


    So. Finally done with my homework. All of my low poly rocks got a UV-unwrap plus a normal map baked onto. It was my first time baking, so I had to  wrap around my head a little bit, but it was much easier than the retopo task. The rocks got only a basic color so there is a lot coloring to to do for next week. Will there be a color palette or are we supposed do pick colors from the reference picture? All the Normal maps are uploaded to  google drive, and a master file is saved also there. 

    Here is a picture of the low poly rocks with their normal maps.

  • In the last two days the rocks got some base coloring and textures (Ambient Occlusion and Dirty Vertex Painting). I tried to pick some colors from the reference picture. While painting I noticed that unfortunately nearly all of them have some shading artifacts. I'm sure that is a result of a bad retopo. Don't know how to fix it at this stage. The good thing is, that  you only can see the artifacts if you come really close. So maybe that is not so bad. 


  • Because every rock had its own UVs and texture set,  and I did not want to redo the painting process, I spend todays time in figuring out how to reduce the texture amount, and how to combine all the existing UVs. As a final result I was able to reduce the texture size from 16MB to 4MB and form 32 different Textures to only 2. After that I played around with some roughness and specularity settings. Is there anything left to do, or should I consider the rocks finished? If so, is there any easy stuff I can help out elsewhere? Bear in mind, that I' m a beginner tough. spikeyxxx 

    • Hey Martin this is great!

      The only thing that is bothering me, is that the contrast of the edges is too strong to my liking.

      Maybe use a Colorramp after your color texture to reduce that...

      Your version:

      with Colorramp:

      With different lighting...your version:

      and with Colorramp:

      I don't mean to say: 'use exactly this Colorramp with these values' or so, just find a way to reduce the contrast (maybe just a Color > Brightness/Contrast Node...)

      But this is only my personal opinion; if you like the contrast, then keep it!

      The rocks with their detailing and Normal Maps look absolutely fantastic!

    • Thank you spikeyxxx. You are absolutely right about the contrast. I had so much fun in painting, that I didn't notice it. Furthermore it also does not match the artwork, so I habe definitely to to something against that. I will try your suggestion with the color ramp. It looks like it has the desired effect. 

  • crew

    Great job hhoidolario ! Definitely full points for the week 2 homework. I see you've gotten some good texturing in already, but I want to go back and look at the low poly topology first since you mentioned getting some artifacts. 

    If you have the time, I would recommend going back and trying the retopology again. You mentioned using RetopoFlow and I'm guessing used contours? I would actually recommend using mostly just PolyPen for these and placing vertices wherever the mesh substantially changes direction. Since these will be given a baked normal map and won't be animated, you can even use triangles where necessary. Here's a quick example of what I mean:

    It's a lot more simple while still keeping tighter details like the cracks. Try to also avoid everything pinching together at a point like in the center of yours. Again, if you need to connect things with triangles, that's totally fine, but try to keep the geometry as simple as possible, especially where it is flat. 

    Apologies it took us so long to grade as it will likely mess up your texturing work, but now that you've textured these once it should be a much faster process this time around. If you absolutely cannot afford the time then you could also experiment with the Quad Remesh in the mesh data properties. From what I've tried on your models it makes the result too mushy and you'll lose the nice areas like the cracks, but it could help with getting something down quickly. 

    Super great work so far, I know this is a pretty wild trail by fire for your experience level, so congrats on kicking butt so far and keep up the good work! 

    • Hello jlampel  Thank you for your nice grading and critique. As you suggested I started the retopo again trying to consider your advice. I don't know how long it will take tough. If you find time maybe you can have a short look at my new mesh, and see if that is better now. II'm starting to get comfortable in using the RetopoFlow tools now, but there is still a lot to learn. There are still some problems I don't know to solve properly, but I hope the low poly style it is more forgiving about these mistakes. Here are some pictures until where I managed to come today.

      Still don't know how to deal with such mesh properly.


    • crew

      Nice job, that is looking much better! 

      I think part of the problem you're having in areas like that is overcomplicating the geometry a bit too much. There shouldn't be that many vertices that need to be combined to begin with. Here's an example on the left of the density that's needed for the project in comparison:

      Try to focus on vertices and not so much on edges and faces. If there's a change in the surface that alters the silhouette of the object from any angle, put a vertex there. If not, a vertex is not needed. You might even try working entirely in triangles if you want to shift to that mindset. 

      If I had to close a gap like that though, I would do the same thing you did, but try to keep the vertices a little more evenly spaced apart so that the faces aren't quite so stretched:

      Overall though, these are looking much, much better! You may want to go in and reduce the topology in some of those areas where it gets tight on surfaces that don't need that much detail, or take another shot at lowering the poly count even further like in the first example in this post if you have the time, but what you have now certainly looks usable to me and we could make it work. 

  • Homework Submission - Week 3 - Nature-Rocks


    First of all I want to say thank you, that you took so much time and effort to provide me some guidance to the retopo workflow. I really appreciate that. I had a hard time in understanding how much mesh density is needed, and how to achieve a properly shaped low res object. I repeated the retopo of my rocks. This time I had much less of these shading issues. Except for one I am really satisfied with the result. After that they got their normals baked and a cavity texture from dirty vertex painting. At last I painted a color texture and played around with the specularity and roughness settings.  This time I tried to avoid too much edge highlighting.  spikeyxxx Hope that looks better now. 

  • spikeyxxx jlampel 

    Here is an other update from my rocks: I added some procedural nodes to the material to get some more stony look. Feel free to have a look at the shader and add some critique. If everything is OK then I will bake new image textures with the adjustments and work on a final presentation.

    • Hi Martin, looks great, but personally I would prefer the earlier version as this is more in line with the artwork..

      Maybe find an in-between...some of this new detail (I'd say about 20-30%), but mostly  keeping the stylized look from before.

      But, Jonathan is the one deciding, so better wait for what he has to say.

      Anyway, they are both looking great, it is mostly a matter of what style we want to achieve...

    • crew

      Wow, that's a sweet procedural texture! I like it, and I agree with spikeyxxx that it's a bit too strong. This would be excellent as a subtle detail to support the nicely painted map you did earlier with the highlighted edges like below. It doesn't have to be exactly like this, but just as an example:

    • hhoidolario, it looks like you are finishing up with your project.  And, your rocks look great.  I'd love to post your artwork in the TSMF Blog.  Please let me know if you create a money shot.  

    • Hi splat21. You are right, the rocks are finished. I worked on the shaders after Kents live Stream and incorporated his suggestions. I will post a final render today as a Homework submission, and I am working on a money shot thought I have no idea how to present the rocks in an interesting way til now. Feel free to take the final render in your blog once I have uploaded it today. 

  •  Homework Submission - Week 4 - Nature-Rocks

    jlampel spikeyxxx 

    This is my final homework submission. After Kents last stream I adapted the shader as he suggested, and baked some new textures. Finally I made two renders. One which shows the stones in a neutral lighting, and a second more cineastic one. I tried to find a way to make some ordinary rocks looking interesting, and came up with an idea to present them on pedestals, inspired by the Rosetta Stone in  the British Museum. It took me a while arranging the Rocks and  tweaking the lighting. My goal was to capture interesting parts of the siluette while not making the whole scene look boring. splat21 If you want, you can use it for the blog.

  • crew

    You did amazing work with the rocks hhoidolario! The final result is exactly what I hoped for. They look great in the assembly:

    I still have a lot of populating to go but even this little row looks fantastic. Thanks for joining the project! I hope you enjoyed and learned from the experience. It was a pleasure working with you 🤝

    • theluthier  jlampel spikeyxxx @everyoneelse

      Hi, it's been a week since the end of the collab and I wanted to say thank you for this project. I had a lot of fun with it and also learned a lot. Thank you for your help, your detailed feedback and the respectful treatment of a beginner like me. Thanks also to the great community here at CGCoockie. It has been a pleasure to work together. I am looking forward to see the end result, and I am proud to have been able to contribute a small part in it.