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Project in 3D "Chests" - 1. Beginning. References and Plan
This post will be the starting one for my new project in 3D, which is aimed at creation of seven treasure chests game models, that will be included into single set and put on sale in online 3D content market places such as Unity Asset Store ( this is main target ) and possibly other ones. Process of their creation will include modeling and texturing in Maya, Mudbox and Photoshop, and I will post reports in my blog about how the work going, what hopefully not only will be interesting to my readers, but also will help me to keep my own motivation, so I can finish this project faster.
A tricky plan
Let me tell something about "Why treasure chests?". In overall some realistic ideas about making something cool in 3D and trying to sell it in 3D content stores appeared in my mind more that half a year ago — when Unity game engine received it's built-in content market, called Asset Store. Even then I've started to figuring out and thinking, what probably can be most demanded and popular in such stores, keeping in mind their specifics ( game development ---> game models ).
After a couple of pretty obvious conclusions I've set a three requirements for myself and my future projects for such stores. Possibly popular model(s) must comply with the following rules:
1. Be universal and basic for wide variety of games — our hypothetical model have not to be specific, it must be as basic and general as possible, can be seen in games often. For example, almost every first person shooter has some barrels, boxes and containers — this is the most general game assets for such games, and them can have high demand and be interesting for game developers. In another case, some conceptual hover tank can look awesome and be very attractive as 3D model, but it can't feet in most games, so such model not likely will sell well and be popular enough. Treasure chests in this aspect is as general as it can be — such kind of items can be seen in almost every fantasy game, so I expect them to be pretty popular.
2. Be high-quality assets — such online stores attracts many people that want easy money and just not experienced 3d artists that often follows the principle "everything sells" and put on virtual shelves low-quality, fast-made models. It's worth to admit — sometimes it works, and sometimes works pretty well — everything sells. But for myself I've decided to be as professional as possible and provide only high-quality models that comply with industry standards of commercial games, what in theory can be my advantage over other products that are represented in such stores. Also there is some reputation issues — it's better to have reputation of skilled and professional artist, that can provide world-level models, than reputation of a hobbyist that floods stores with rough and primitive models.
3. Be a bargain purchase — this is where general marketing rules take place, when customers more likely will buy something that looks like good and convenient purchase, for example, when buying a set of items. As it can be seen from stores statistics — top sellers is often are such sets, that includes several items of one kind — like "Weapon" set or "Cars" set. So this is why I've decided to make seven chest models and not just one or two.
So this is my thoughts about selling my models in 3D content stores. As result, I've came to decision to make a treasure chests (1), that will be made with usage of all possible technologies — diffuse, specular and normal maps (2) and will be put on sale as a set of seven items (3).
Now about creation process itself. In overall it will be like that: base polygonal modeling and UV layout in Maya, refinement and adding details in Mudbox ( hi-poly modeling for Normal map baking ), texturing in Mudbox and additional texturing and detailing in Photoshop, export to Unity game engine and checking a model in it. Repeat 7 times
Of course, for all this beauty I needed a bunch of references. Good sources for reference images is Google Image Search and Turbosquid 3D content store.
I'd like to make an accent on the last one ( Turbosquid ) — in overall such stores are the invaluable references source for your models, because there are some already modeled and rendered in 3D, real-deal models that can show how actual 3D model can look like. In addition to photographic references this definitely will help you to imagine what you actually doing and how it can be done. In other words, you can look how same models was done before you and take some inspirations and ideas from there. From this two sources I've managed to gather almost 100 chest images,
what will be more than enough for my purposes but remember — there is no "enough" word in case of references, try to get as many as you can.
That's it, the project description part is over, I think. Targets is clear, tasks are set — it's time to start working on it. You can follow the process and track progress at specially created Treasure Chests category of my blog, and I will try to make interesting and detailed reports about it.