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How videogame rocks get made

Kdad

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Sep 20, 2018
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In this video, Vox’s Phil Edwards interviews Galen Davis of Quixel at Epic Games. His job is as a developer, but sometimes he goes out into the desert to scan rocks. This scanning economy is a crucial new stage in making realistic 3D games today.

Rather than modeling and texturing assets manually, designers often rely on scanned assets to make their games, movies, or other 3d productions look real. Quixel sent Davis to Moab, Utah, just to scan the exotic terrain there for use in Unreal Engine.

There are other ways to get assets for 3D productions, from your phone to the many different available marketplaces. These provide opportunities for photoreal assets to be downloaded instead of created, allowing designers to save time and improve the quality of their work.
 

Fredrik

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I don’t know what to feel about this, feel like cheating compared to handcrafted things, but I guess it’s nearly impossible to draw nature by hand until it’s photorealistic.
 

ivhyn

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Jan 15, 2016
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I don’t know what to feel about this, feel like cheating compared to handcrafted things, but I guess it’s nearly impossible to draw nature by hand until it’s photorealistic.
The reality is that it's just a lot faster and way more realistic to scan assets, it's not really cheating if doing it by hand takes 5x the time and only looks half as good.
Artists who make rocks and other organic assets have been using photo derived textures for more than a decade now to get to a higher degree of realism, it's just that photogrammetry has become really easy and cost effective in the last couple years and there's plenty of stores that offer fully scanned assets now.

Also, I know this video is aimed towards people who know nothing about gamedev but a normal map doesnt store how high something is, it stores the xyz directions of a surface.
 

Fredrik

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it's not really cheating if doing it by hand takes 5x the time and only looks half as good.
Depends how you’re looking at it. Maybe calling it cheating is unfair but I’m not impressed by it even though it’s clever. I’ve done it myself for clouds, split up a photo into 10 or so layers of parallax, easy peasy compared to actually draw the clouds.
 
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Captain Toad

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Dec 1, 2020
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Did you guys know all video game clouds are just reskins of bushes?
 
Feb 7, 2012
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Ive made plenty of rocks for games....not everyone is scanning them in. I still love sculpting them and then designing the materials in designer. Its done just as much as scanning, you cant always get the look you want from scanning.
 

Aenima

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Nov 5, 2004
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Did you guys know all video game clouds are just reskins of bushes?
Thats true for Super Mario Bros. Are there more examples?