So the model optimization is done! We have been through each section of Kila's body and optimized them all in an attempt to get the polygon count under 4500. Before we look at the final total, spend some time looking at the model to try and reduce it further. See if you can spot any areas we missed.
Figure 5.64 shows the final model, top to bottom, after all the optimizations described in this chapter. So what's the polygon count? Triangulating the model gives it to us: 3998. We are well under our budgetwhich is great. But we can't afford to put any detail back in just yet, as we may need the polygons during the next chapter, "Deformation Testing." Once the model is finalized we can then go back through it, if we feel we need to, and add detail back in.
Figure 5.64. kila, fully optimized
Before we go to the deformation stage, I recommend saving the model and leaving it alone for a day. Clean up the model and the scene then save your file as Kila_Optimized.mb. If you can, do something else before you come back to it for a final look. Taking a break from it will enable you to see it from a fresh perspective when you return. You may be able to spot some additional extra polygons that can be removed, or an area that needs reshaping. Indeed, optimizing the geometry will mean that some areas do in fact need reshaping. Usually, they will be thinner than before and so will need filling out.
Take some time to look around the entire model. Double-check the proportions and make sure the shape is perfect. Check it against your concept images; you must be positive it is correct before you proceed to the next stage.
Here's a good way to determine how smooth your model is: Go to the Lighting menu in your current panel and select Use No Lights. Just the silhouette of the character will remain. Now you can rotate around the model and assess her.
Following are some of the alterations I made to Kila during my final, postoptimization examination:
You can see the final model in Figure 5.65.
Figure 5.65. The tweaked Kila model
When you're sure Kila is ready, clean up the model and the scene, and save your file again as Kila_Optimized.mb.
We now have a model that is not only clean and good looking, but efficient as well. The various techniques explored in this chapter will serve you well when you need to optimize your geometry. You'll know what to look out for on future projects.
With Kila now the best she can be, we can proceed to see how she deforms.
Chapter 6. Deformation Testing
WE ARE NOW CLOSE to finishing sculpting the Kila model; only this chapter remains before the base model is compete. If you are like me, you could easily spend another week refining and fine-tuning the mesh to perfection, but time is not a luxury you can afford in the games industry, so we will push on.
In this chapter we will briefly introduce the use of joints and binding while we test that our model will deform correctly. For a game character to perform convincingly, it must deform convincingly. Using the correct topology around areas that bend, such as elbows and knees, will result in a believable character that the player can relate to. Testing Kila's deformation at this stagewith the mesh completely sculptedwill save headaches later on. Suppose the character hasn't been tested, and we go on to texture and rig her. If we then realize that she needs extra polygons in a certain place or has an area that needs altering, that will mean retexturing and possibly rerigging her. It's important to test the deformation now.
In Kila's current condition, her torso will initially deform quite well because it is essentially cylindrical in shape and does not need to bend dramatically. The arms and legs, however, will bend quite considerably at the elbows and knees and so must be checked.