VR envinroment using photogrammetry dev log part. 2-8

"Art", 3d, VR

A part II of my game (sort of) dev log.

Planing part II using mobile so only vertical view for now. Restrictions I have to work with with limited set of models. Flow chat drawing on mobile for puzzles in games. All in all this is a dev log that might be interesting for people working with 3d graphics and planing to step in to real time engines as well as doing some photogrammetry and all of that in Virtual Reality. So its still planing part, and here also show some snippets from my previous VR environment and some workflows very briefly, just to give you a taste of whats coming.
here is a video from my first environment – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7SRu…
and the environment itself – https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile…
and joggling in vr with carrots and skulls just like in hl alyx!

So in the third part I am doing retopo of a scanned model in 3D coat. then splitting the result for better uv shall / island distribution to maximize texture space. And last thing – sins steamVR / hammer / source 2 (?) doesn’t support tessellation / subdivision, I am “baking tessellation” to the mesh using height map that i have from baking my original model.

In the forth part I am testing if it is worth to split lower part of tower to 5 separate models each with 4k texture and sort of a displacement map baked directly in to the mesh sins there is no tessellation in hammer editor. (At least steam VR version of it). Also accidentally recorded a hammer crash, that just happens each ten mouse clicks. Well to be honest might be each 20 mouse clicks :) so save regularly and pray..

Strange problems with hammer editor
normal maps or smoothing groups (max terminology) soft edges (maya terminology) phong breaks ? (in cinema 4d) shade smooth ? (blender)

so for some reason importing obj file to hammer brakes smoothing groups and only way to fix it i found is selecting all edges on object in hammer and setting normals to smooth. in general more detailed walls do look better then just flat ones, so i will use quite a dense mesh for my tower. its around 15 k – 20 k for ground, and all 4 walls and a dome as one model.

One small update on normal maps. Sometimes you might end up in a situation where normal maps are not as punchy not as strong as you might want them to be. But you do not want to spend time doing things again. so i found this sort of cheating method. it kind of works. Basically it makes your existing normal map to have more effect. sort of. all you need to do is duplicate the image in 2d image editing software and modify its “levels” to be specific only blue channel of an image. And you use this as overlay blending mode on top of original image, save it and here you go. I should do more A B tests to see is it worth it, but at least it doesn’t make it worst or it seems so :) go ahead try it out and report me back if it works for you as well.

Continuing my development of photo realistic 3d scanned VR environment for steam vr in 3d studio max. Sins I have spitted upper and lower part of my tower walls to have better texture density i end up having unwanted seams that i plan to hide by making beams (big wooden things that you find in ld architecture). Here I only make a box, add some edges, some noise some chamfer and make uv’s.
Main take away – dont model too much detail, and see at what point its best to do uv unfolding. You make it later in process its harder to unfold. You make it too early and you might destroy something. Adding some chamfers, noise’s and stuff could be done after unfold is done and uv’s are done.

In this episode we will continue with VR environment (with photogrammetry assets) devlog. In last part we created beams (jolts?) and made their uv’s. Now lets draw textures using texture projection. I found that 3D coat lets us use one texture to be simultaneously painted in normal map and color textures – that is super neat! So i decided to draw some burned wood textures that i have prepared in photoshop by mixing up some reference photos. Drawn two versions of wood texture – regular and burned. Made a mask in photoshop to mix up these textures. And load it up to engine.

devlog part 1 for VR environment with 3D scanned models

"Art", 3d, VR
An intro to my game (sort of) dev log. planing part using mobile so only vertical view for now. discussing game engine choice in 3 sentences. Also flow chat drawing on mobile for puzzles in games. All in all this is a dev log that might be interesting for people working with 3d graphics and planing to step in to real time engines as well as doing some photogrammetry and all of that in Virtual Reality. well just the end result in VR not the whole process :) more on game engines to present your 3D scanning stuff in VR: easiest – publish on sketchfab. easy to do, but very limited in interaction. though u can still walk around (teleport) around your objects in VR. You can add sound. here is an example – https://skfb.ly/6zAvR all models created using photogrammetry. then there is hardcore option – unity and unreal. Here you can do probably anything, make any move movement style, or anything really, but you will probably need to learn programming. At best use visual “programming” using node system like blueprints in unreal. Here I am taking a “middle path” less complicated then unity / unreal, but more then sketchfab – iam doing VR environment for steam VR. Its is created using source 2 engine (?) and has quite a bit of interactivity. Basically you are modding valve game here in their level editor called hammer! that’s what i will be doing in this dev log.

3D scans and asset flipping in game dev. world


photorealistic 3D scanned models

why arguably one of the biggest 3D scanned model providers (quixsel) slashing its prices or making them free in UE asset store is a good thing for smaller photogrammetry asset creators like me.

I would imagine only big AAA game dev. studios can actually produce artwork that can look good together with photorealistic scanned models. And such studios, i imagine rarely buys assets, they make them in house. So i imagine indie devs, who actually sometimes buy models in asset store, can not make such quality models by themselves with their indie budgets. Having a big scanned object library go for free, entices smaller and indie devs to try AAA graphics and they become potential buyers of other scanned models. Basically, more people could now be my customers.

..or am I just looking at the world through “rose-tinted” glasses, doping prices will lead others to drop prices and it all goes to… you  know where…


“hero” models or environment props?

As a 3D model sellers in marketplaces, are we complicit in asset flipping? Asset flipping is something we despise in game industry. But same approach in arch viz and product design does not make sense. If well made, a car of a same model will look the same no mater the artist. In games though we are creating unique worlds and asset flipping becomes much more of a sour spot if it stands out and gets noticed. And there are some community members who are not only allergic to asset flipping but vocal as well.  And here, i argue, photogrammetry (or any other 3D scanning method) comes in. So if we take a tree, a stone, a brick wall…


unique or generic?

As long as they are not main characters and as long as we strive for that AAA – photo realistic look, they all will just look real. So i think asset flipping in realistic graphics, for non “hero” props becomes way more forgiving. The model that is somewhat stylized is quite recognizable, it has certain style. 3D scanned models are most realistic and no one calls photorealism a style that someone used, therefore, all others using it are “copy cats”. So doing asset flipping with such models should be less noticeable and therefore again should broaden appeal of buying 3D scanned models for game dev. Who would recognize that a same tree was shot in 5 different movies? it just looks real, it doesn’t carry a “style” that would be recognized to it.


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How to export animation for display in sketchfab?


Well its easy… only you have to use bones (joints) and export fbx. But… there are situations where one wants to use other ways of animation..
Say you want to do wind for flag, or noise modifier for plants. or just use bend modifier (deform, nonlinear, bend). Yes, you could do same transformation with bones/ joints… but that’s like 10 times more work.
So you might know that fbx / sketchfab also supports morph targets (blend shapes).
So here is what you do – just copy paste your object with animated modifier as many times as you you need. (you will have to experiment with numbers of copies needed)
Now you go through timeline and convert animated object to static mesh. And use these as morph targets (blend shapes).

Water well 3D model


So this is quite old well. I get drinking water from it when i am living in my village. Its our neighbors well. So as you can see its main construction component is these… concrete barrels that used to be commonly used in all wells i know of similar time period. Not that exiting. But nice part is all this wooden part to protect well from rain, to store a bucket and so on. Also clutter around well is exiting and interesting for me at least. All you need is a rope and a bucket and you can use the well for any game dev situation it can be both decorative and functional piece.

You can get it directly from sketchfab (3D image above) or on CG trader water well 3d model.

Plantain 3D model


While working on graves and tombstones i made one scan where the grass (actually  latin – Aegopodium podagraria, eng. – Ground-elder, de. – Giersch) around the gravestone turned out pretty good even though there was no intention to capture and reconstruct it. Here is the result of some leafs extracted from that particular scan:

And here is the scene where i used this model:


So inspired by result i tried to make some grass scans. And here is the result – it turned out pretty good i would say. The reason i chose plantain is that it has big leafs – easier retopology and good ground coverage. so compared to simple grass you need less polygons to have convincing foliage on a ground.



You can get this model in sketchfab but as well you can get it on cgtrader – here – with a 30 percent discount now!

Set of old doors


Whenever I walk in old town, at home or abroad, in any city, I often notice the level of detail people used to add to a simplest objects, like doors. So naturally i decided to do some 3D models of them. I have around 10 doors photographed and turned to 3d models, but they all are still raw scans.
Only two of them i have already retopo’ed and made textures and everything. Here they are:
So I like this idea of being able to buy set of old, dirty, worn out set of doors but might be its just me.
For now I have two of them on sale. Here comes two questions. Should I continue with doors?
And if so.. probably they are more usable if they are made so that one could open them. But if that is a case, what should I do with other side of door? Just make some thickness to it and use the texture of front of the door with overlapping textures? Is this wise?

So on Cgtrader: Door I and Door II


Jesus and Mary for sale


There might be lots of reasons you would like to buy Jesus or Mary 3D models. The Jesus here is very rusty, very vintage and he has only part of one hand. It was 3D scanned in actual cemetery and it is found quite often in cemeteries. I guess it was a popular iron cast for grave and cross decoration at some point. He doesn’t look particularly happy, but what can you expect, he was left alone for years in graveyard. Part of this model was manually retopologised while some parts undergone automatic retopo in instantmeshes. Comes with 4k PBR textures. Just don’t remember if metalness map is included if not just use black color – it is so rusty there is no reflective areas..

3D model of jesus used for grave and cross decoration in cemetery

So that was Jesus. What about Mary? Here she is:

Ok, the bubbles and twisting is not part of the model. But now she looks cooler, doesn’t she? ah dono. So Again quite a common cast sculpture commonly found in cemeteries. This one has auto retopo but in 3 levels. the Mary herself has most polygons, the rock has less while cross has a least number of polys. Again 4k textures. twisting mary 3d model

But.. can you actually see anything in this gif.. not so sure. so here is a proper picture of this 3D model as well:

3D low poly photorealistic holy Mary model for any graveyard

low poly 3D mpdel of holy Mary
and if you are game developer and you work with unity -why not to get all graveyard models i have in one pack on unity store? click on image below:

__0000_Layer 8  comes with prefabs, colliders and LOD’s

grave, thumb stone and cross 3D models for sale


So I decided to try selling some of my photogrammetry models.

These Models where made in two cemeteries in Vilnius (Wilno) in Lithuania – Bernardinų cemetery and Rasų cemetery. Most graves are from the end of 19th century and most inscriptions are in Polish, sins that was quite a Polish city at the time. All graves are broken, rusty and run down. So if you are looking for some background objects for your new game that might be in horror genre, or historical, or just takes place in Europe you might be interested in these models. Actually models are low poly but still have quite a bit of detail and they might be used not only as a background objects. Poly counts are in 2-4k range depending on model. All have diffuse (Albedo) and normal maps. Some have Ambient Occlusion, Height or Bump maps. Textures are mostly in 4k resolution. You probably can use these models not only for real time graphics but for visualizations or film as well.

Models are sold as separate gravestones/crosses, as collection of a particular graveyard or all in one.

Here are links to skechfab depicting two sets – from both grave yards.

Models from “Bernardine” Cemetery:

Models from “Rasu” cemetery:

And here is All in one collection on Cgtrader:   all gravestones, crosses and thumb stones

Rest of the models: All other models

360 video resolution?


So I stitched / rendered / drawn my 360 in biggest resolution I can. What resolution should I choose for viewing…
It seems the more you investigate the messier it gets. Most of online platforms will allow you to upload what you have and re encode the way they can distribute your video online.
Littlstar tells you -5gb limit and h264 for compression. More details
If you do stereo 360 – you have to contact them for further details.
Youtube is like… give me whatever ..
If you are planing to show your video on specific device with specific software (say gear vr using their player)
You will have to prepare the video in correct resolution, right bit rate and in correct encoder.

Today’s HMD’s have a limited screen resolution of:
PSVR: 1920×1080 (960×1080 per eye)
Vive: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Rift: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Gear VR: 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye)

But that’s the number of pixels they can show. Your image typically has to be much bigger. (these devices do not directly show rectangular images – due to lens distortion you (or software of hmd) has to distort the image opposite way of HMD’s lens distortion – so at the end you see an ok looking image.
To achieve this you have to have more pixels. Another thing is field of view. We create a equirectangular image that covers full sphere. But in HMD you see only a small portion of this image (at the time when you rotate your head you see another part of image).
So our big resolution we feed to HMD gets diminished quite a bit when we actually see it through HMD.
Then there is a whole other mess with codecs and their limitations.

So what is .. Recommended (?) / optimal (?) / max (?) output resolution for:

Platform                        Codec                            Resolution               FPS                  Avg. bit rate

Gear VR                         h.265                        3840×2160                            30         10 – 20Mbps
Cardboard       h.264 (Baseline, level 4.2)     3840×2160                     30         20 – 30Mbps
Cardb. iOS      h.264 (Baseline, level 3.1)       1920×1080                      30         10 – 14Mbps
Oculus Rift     h.265 / h.264                           4096×4096                        60         40 – 60Mbps

recommendations taken from here.
The next level of taking advantage of limited HMD resolution and squeezing more quality would be to do clever tricks like Chris Milk is doing.
The idea is to use images in part of your video. But this is a complicated witchcraft not for us mortals..  :)

And probably third level is building your own viewer. Ant that’s programing. so I stop here.

Someone should make a calculator: you input your eq resolution your hmd’s field of view and resolution per eye – and you get a final “on screen” resolution. anyone?

If you are not using dslr/ cg you need a true 360 cam. here is a list with specs:
More reading on these topics:

More thoughts from links:

The ideal format for gen 1 PC HMDs would be 4096×4096 @ 90 FPS, which roughly matches the angular resolution and refresh rate of CV1/Vive, but this can’t be achieved without H.265 Level 6.1 (which is itself impractical due to CPU load – no hardware acceleration for H.265 yet). H.265 Level 6.1 also would provide 5944×5944@60, which is ideal for Gear VR, but again, probably could not be decoded in real time on that device.