Texturing Characters and Ships for Man O’ War: Corsair
Being a long time Games Workshop fan (Our first Warhammer purchase was pre 40K and was the 2nd Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle.) One of the things I loved about it was the world it created.
So I was very excited to have the chance of texturing characters for Man O’ War: Corsair. I would consider myself a moderately skilled texture artist and while a workman can’t blame his tools I needed something better to paint the models involved in Man O’ War: Corsair.
At the start of the Man O’ War: Corsair production we decide to take a step up.
We knew Unity 5 would involve Physical Based Rendering and we wanted to take advantage of that. For my short, and not entirely accurate answer and on what PBR actually does, (the full explanation is beyond me!) then essentially it allows the different parts of the models created to react to light differently. If for instance I paint Metal on a character then the way that part of the model reacts to light is a lot more metallic/reflective. It basically makes objects look a lot more realistic in different light conditions.
We evaluated lots of different texturing software to enable us to create the PBR textures required to make the Man O’ War: Corsair characters and ships.
In the end we decide to go a Substance Painter –https://www.allegorithmic.com/products/substance-painter
It was big step to take on huge open world project and learn some new software but it was one of the best choices we made on the production. Substance Painter handles a lot of the thinking for you and actually feels like Photoshop, which was nice for me. I always love a paint package in which I can create lots of layers and folders!
I found I was up and rolling with a sound knowledge of the basics after about a day.
Substance Painter is also very flexible – Games Workshop are rightfully very protective over their brand and needed our assets to fit into the existing Warhammer world, and as a result there was a lot of honing the content.
Thankfully the textures tweaks that would have taken a lot of work in the past were pretty painless.
For instance the Goblin Doom Diver on the left uses a similar base model to the Goblin on the right. So once I painted the first Goblin, I made a smart material of the paint job. This was then just dragged onto the new model and saved me hours of set up.
Something I have just recently discovered is the integrated baking. I was using Normal to bake until I noticed the feature! Pain free and in a few minutes I was baking High Poly model details onto low poly objects.
One of our ship designers Dan Williamson who created and painted the Skaven ships in Substance and has been taking advantage of Substance Painter’s ability to paint with psychics. (something I have barely touched yet!) As you can see on the side of this Doombringer he used the Physics Painter to paint some nice green slime on the hull of the ship.
It’s all good
Now before you accuse me of basically creating an advert for Substance Painter. I just want to say I am getting no incentive to talk about Substance apart from the fact that is has made my life a hell of a lot easier, and for all you texture artists out there, I can say it is worth a look!
Of you want to know more about PBR textures in Unity using Substance painter here’s some good resources: