Pro textures tutorial, Genetica and iClone

Spiral Graphics has just posted a clear and well-delivered new video tutorial on how to use the new Genetica 3.5 Pro (*) environment-map features, to make some impressive-looking unique real-time material/bump-map texture combos for iClone…

(*) Genetica is a new one to me — a luscious-looking $400 seamless-textures maker, and node-based materials-mixing and tweaking suite. I guess I could do something similar in Photoshop, but would I ever remember the recipe I used? …

Taking all the interface elements off Just Cause 2

I’m pleased to find that Just Cause 2 (the hot game of the month, hit-pickers) on the PC allows me to take all of the HUD interface elements off the screen, which would seem to make it a good candidate for machinima. Although the crosshair has to be taken off the screen using a little BoloPatch (just load it while the game is loading). Now if only the fans could find some way to make the lead character go invisible (I’d hope it would be possible via a little modding) then we’d have a perfectly clear first-person view of the best-looking PC game-world for years (*), to use as animated iClone backdrops. It’s like Far Cry 2, but with rich colour. And there’s 100+ fly-to-the-horizon square-miles of it…

Without crosshair and GUI.

With crosshair and faded GUI.

Although, thinking about it — developers Avalanche will hopefully eventually re-use the Just Cause 2 setting for a tropical version of their excellent TheHunter animal-hunting game, a game which allows a clear view of the game-world without any silly Lara Croft-style character bobbing about in the middle distance. Although if you don’t want to wait until then, and just need a static backdrop, a minute spent using Photoshop’s clone tool does wonders…

Where a lot of PC games make you turn off or scale down anti-aliasing because they use engines that cater to the console-kiddies (gnash, seeth…), Avalanche’s new engine lets you turn it up to what would normally be crazy game-stopping levels at 1920 x 1200 — and yet it still runs without a single stutter or slowdown. I’m really looking forward to getting out of the naff tutorial sections, and being let loose on the whole “open world” island.

(*) “the most graphically spectacular videogame I’ve ever seen on any platform … This engine is a miracle” — PC Gamer magazine’s lead-reviewer Tom Francis.

I really really hope someone mods this to make the character/weapons invisible, or makes a freecam mod for it.

Detailed face on a low-poly head

Wolf has posted a new YouTube video showing the use of ZBrush and the new 3DXchange, to create a detailed face on a low-poly iClone character…

Free alternatives to the $600 ZBrush might be: i) the excellent user-friendly CB Model Pro (which can also paint directly onto models, but it’s export only), or ii) the open-source Blender application which has a detailed “sculpt mode“. There’s also the $120 Argile.

Free iClone Roboid character

I made a quick and simple robot in Spore, to serve as a demo of my Spore to iClone pipeline tutorial. Feel free to experiment, try it out. It’s just 13,000 faces and is packed as an iClone project file (2Mb, .7z zip file) showing off three in one scene. It has no animation at present, but can be animated (not something I’m currently familiar with). It seems that you’ll need to add IK constraints, and then motions in iClone — on this model there’s no way to set up groups and pivot-points in 3DXchange 4. I’ve included the texture maps in the file — I guess it may be possible to repaint the maps at 2048 x 2048 for less blurry textures? If you use this in a movie, please give Spore a credit.

Click the picture for a larger version.

Standard legal disclaimer, as required by Spore‘s publisher EA:—

This original Spore model, constructed by me, is being offered for use as part of a personal noncommercial free project, for the noncommercial benefit of the fan community for EA’s products. “This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Electronic Arts, or its licensors. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Game content and materials copyright Electronic Arts Inc. and its licensors. All Rights Reserved.”