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Small details - loads of fun!
repost from February 7, 2011 - my blogpost made for PeopleCanFly Blog:
Hi I’m Krzysztof Dolas (‘Hatred’), an Environment Artist here at People Can Fly. I work with Level Artists from the Art Pit on all the things you see around our characters. This can be any object from a rock to a bridge.

If you’ve read some of the previous blog posts, you might be asking yourself how much effort does it take to make a single level? Let me give you an example from Bulletstorm’s pipeline; creating a simple “Office Chair”. Sounds easy right? Well read on….


When you google for an Office Chair you might get something like this:
Since we know we need office space assets, the task lands on one of our Concept Artists. This time, it was Maciek Wojtala. After searching lots of references he propose an idea:
But wait! Isn’t it too simple? It sure is. On his weekly meeting with Creative Director Adrian Chmielarz he receives a ton of feedback like:

- You’re sure it isn’t too old school?
- Where is the Sci-Fi feeling?
- WTF, man?
- I think it needs a bit of uhum and pftham… You know what I mean. 

So our Maciek goes back to the drawing board and produces loads of new cool ideas for kick-ass sci-fi chair designs:
After one meeting more and a bit of idea bouncing, loads of sketches and sweat later we reached the final design of our “simple” office chair:
Next Maciek does a quick sketch of the surrounding office combined with couple of other assets as well:
Yeah! Finally the design phase ended and the sketch came to me. My task was to recreate a concept in 3D, fully colored and ready to use in the game. Always when I get something cooler than another rock/wall/roof/toilet I think “F#$& yeah”!

First thing that I do is blocking out rough 3D shapes to find a balance.
Now I can start the real work - a high polygon model. It comes with loads of iteration, figuring out what isn’t covered in concept, what works well what’s not. It’s the time when the “intense mouse clicking hours” start, but it’s also the most fun. Sometimes when I get a concept that I like from the first glance, I’m catching myself spending some extra hours on fun details that 90% people won’t even notice. But I enjoy it so what the heck! (When you play our game, try to guess which keyboard button was pissing most of us off so much that one of my fellow 3D artists said: “You must get rid of it so it’ll look more real!”)
At the end some Z-brush love and voila; we got a high poly version!
Now it’s time for a low poly one (with correct number of faces that won’t kill the performance in the game) and some time to read news on forums while doing some “mindless” things like UV layouting, smooth groups setup and finally baking geometry information from a high polygonal model to a low polygonal with use of 2D Map textures.
Now I have time to play with color. Since I spent a lot of time on painting textures during our previous project I just love this part!                           
                                              
Finally we got THE ASSET Office_Chair_01.
We are nearly at the end. 

The last step is exporting it to our engine, creating a material and connecting everything inside the editor so it’ll be ready to use. This time this “simple chair” was cool enough to attract Mithos (Piotrek Arendarski’s) attention who had some extra time and helped me with a funky material pass that brought the monitors to life!
 
When you come to play the game, from time to time try to think about us sitting in our fallout shelter- WORKING OUR DICKS OFF sculpting each rock/wall/toilet for specifically for YOUR and our OWN pleasure.