This weeks tutorials were on normal maps. They are a way of adding extra surface detail onto objects without needing hi resolution geometry. Perfect for games.
Here is an example of what a normal map does.
Believe it or not, this is a flat surface. The pyramids aren't really there. Check out the next few images.
The cool thing is that the pyramids generated by the normal map react to the light as if they are really there. Of course it has its limitations as demonstrated in the above image.
This example was created by creating a flat plane, then duplicating it, and on the duplicate, extrude out some pyramids. The software then compares the two and makes a map for the flat surface, based on the detailed surface.
This is it's normal map.
Here is another example of a normal map adding extra depth.
This example however wasn't generated in Maya. In Photoshop you can make normal maps based on textures. (requires a plug-in like Ndo)
This is its normal map.
Here's one final example of a complete scene making use of the extra detail normal maps create. These maps were done in Photoshop too.
Here are the normal maps.
Next is the game character. This week was UV mapping.
Nothing new to add really, other than it is even more important to make use of the full UV space for games as it's all about optimising.
Now for the dynamic tutorials.
Here particles are used to create rain. when the (rain) particles collide, they die off and new (splash) particles are born.
Then we have some 'Riged Body' Dynamics. A bowling ball is made solid, and is effected by gravity. and so are the pins. The ball is given initial velocity, which tosses the ball down the ally.
To save on computer calculations, stand in objects were used. The ball used the sphere stand in and the pins used a cube stand in.
This example uses a combination of Rigid Body dynamics and particle dynamics.
Particles created around the metal object and follow it wherever it goes. (to do this 'Soft Body' dynamics were used. This create particles for all the vertices and the metal object was a 'goal'.)
When this particles collided with the floor, spark particles were emitted.
Here is a video of the above effects.
:( I didn't get a strike...
That's all for now.
A Flock of Pixels.