Topology Check


Topology Check

With the textures and their special enhancements completed, we can now take one last look over our models to see if we can fix any problem areas or remove any more polygons. Doing this now is a good idea because, with the textures applied, it is easier to spot potential problems. The two areas we are looking for, as we've done in earlier stages of the project, are polygon reduction and triangulation.

Polygon Reduction

Now that we have finished the textures, we can reassess the geometry and remove anything that is no longer needed. The first area we can remove is where the polygons make up the upper spine; these are shown in Figure 9.50, left. Because her crop top falls quite high across her shoulder blades, we don't see her spine, so these polygons are no longer needed.

1.

Snap the vertices to the inner ones and weld them. This should not involve altering any UVs.

2.

The next area we can reduce is her navel. Originally, we built it in just in case we needed detail in this area, but the texture does a good enough job at providing definition. Select the vertices that make up the navel and weld them to each other, adjusting the remaining vertex so it is in the correct place.

3.

The result should look like Figure 9.51, middle. The UVs need realigning slightly in the UV Texture Editor, giving you the result in Figure 9.51, right.

Figure 9.51. Remove the navel detail.


Figure 9.50. Remove the spine mesh detail.


It's not likely there's much else we can reduce in Kila, but have a good look around anyway. Examine Grae, too, to be sure, before we continue on to check the triangulation.

Triangulation

All engines (game engines and even Maya's own rendering engine) convert polygons to triangles at render time. You may see a "quad" in the viewport, but look closely and you'll see that the square is already divided into two triangles, whether there's a line being drawn there or not. For quads, Maya is making the division decision on-the-fly, depending on the planarity of the polygon's surfaceand this might not be the decision that suits the surface of the model.

It's a good idea to do a pass on the model, slowly turning it around, looking to make sure that the quad decisions don't create concavities or bulges that are inappropriate to the anatomy. In those cases, you can manually create the desired edge with the Split Polygon tool. Or, if an edge already exists, turn it with the Flip Polygon Edge tool.

NOTE

se we are only splitting or flipping edges, the UVs will not be affected. If we were to delete polygons or dramatically alter the topology, the UVs would need to be tweaked or reapplied.


The main area containing some of these problems is Kila's face.

1.

Hide the hair geometry so that you can concentrate on the face's topology.

2.

Look in from the angle demonstrated in Figure 9.52, left. You will see a concave face causing the cheek to look angular.

Figure 9.52. Split the concave faces to smooth her upper cheek.


3.

Split these polygons as shown in Figure 9.52, middle, to smooth out the upper cheek (Figure 9.52, right).

4.

Now look at the bridge of her nose (Figure 9.53a), where you can see a bad crease.

Figure 9.53. Reduce the crease on the bridge of her nose.


5.

Our first step in reducing this crease is to split the polygons as shown in Figure 9.53b.

Next, split the polygons across her forehead as demonstrated in Figure 9.53c.

Finally, delete the edges highlighted in Figure 9.53d.

Figure 9.53e shows the reduced crease. Although it's not completely gone, it's better than it was.

Continue to look around both character models to see if you can see any more areas that need triangulating.

You've accomplished a great deal so far in this chapter. The textures are applied and enhanced, and the models have been fine-tuned. We're ready now to optimize the texture pages.