Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Texture Maps

In this post I'll be looking at several established characters from video games and analyse their texture maps.

The first map is of a character from the agme "Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep" (2010). The most noticible thing about the design is that it's quite simple in terms of the texture, consisting of block colours with carefully placed lighting/gradients, next it should be noted that the fabric has painted folds to create depth. You can clearly see the difference between the materials even though theres no texture map, it seems asthough the model has just been covered in a high quality colour map. Whats intriguing is the way the artists has managed to create shading on the map as it seems to soft and controlled to be an outside influence (such as lighting), it's most likely using some type of baked light map (which I've had practise creating recently). There are also not too many extruding shapes which would most likely have made mapping a bit easier, the main apeal of this map is that it's simple yet still hase enough detail to keep the character interesting. I think I'm going to have to research mapping techniques as well as analysing them.

This character comes from 2006's "Gears of War". Unlike the previous character map, this one opts for a more realistic approching, using texture maps aswell as colour maps. These texture maps are most noticible on the skin of the two characters pictured and the arms of the human character where you can clearly see the material of the fabric. The colour pallet is quite muted, using only greys and browns but you can still distinguish different materials from each other. It's easier to see that theres an outside lighting influence with this image but the way the light bounces off the model in "bloom" style shows that theres probably some type of reflective map on the model to create that effect. The quality of the skin is an odd area to analyse as it's realistic but not quite, making it qualified for a place in the uncanny valley, nonetheless the quality of the maps blend very well and little details such as the stubble and skin fading into each other or the wear/scratches on the gun should be praised.

The final character map I'll be looking at is that of "Tomb Raider: Anniversay" (2007). This model is a weird mix of the previously looked at, whilst it wants to create a semi-realistic presentation of the character it also whats to keep a stylisitic design that relates to the character's previous incarnations on earlier consoles. The map makes use of texture and bump maps but also has heavy relience on the colour map for areas such as the face and to also make creases in clothing more noticible. There are nice touches that the texture map brings such as the detail on the leather belt and the jumper/top. Again it seems that theres an outside lighting source and that the model may have some type of reflective map on it as well.

From looking at these several models and analysing their maps I've come to the conclusion that more artistically styled games may use baked light maps and have simpler colour maps, where as maps that want to replicate reality seem to have Bloom lighting and use texture maps, that said a stylised game can use texture maps aswell but they seem to be more used in "realistic" games. A little more research is required, especially into the overall mapping process.

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