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Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous - How Textures Are Made


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Dear Pathfinders,

There are three things you never get tired of watching: burning fire, running water, and other people doing their job well. Today we’ve prepared an extremely sped-up video of our texturing process for character models in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. It took our artist around 52 hours of work to finish this texture! And you are able to watch the whole process in just 6 minutes.



Our character creation pipeline is quite uncommon for modern video games and involves a little bit of modeling and lots of painting. We loved how Kingmaker’s visual style turned out, with every texture made individually, by an artist’s hand. And despite upgrading our lighting model, we decided to keep the same approach to texturing in PF: WotR. We wanted to find a way to make our textures look handmade and painted in a modern lighting environment.

So this is what we came up with. We start by creating very simple models of body and armor parts (which, by the way, usually share the same UV layout for similar parts) in Maya and bake some extremely low-detail normal maps. The only purpose of these normal maps is to get rid of the hard edges on the model and replace them with some nice, smooth bevels.

When this part of the job is done, we pass the models and normal maps to the texture artists and let them go nuts with the models in 3DCoat. In the final result, 95% of normal map detail is painted by hand, with diffuse and roughness being 100% hand-painted. This part of the process is shown in our video. You can see how the hand-painted look is preserved on a normal-mapped model.

Another reason for choosing this approach was the fact that by the time we finished Pathfinder: Kingmaker, we had gathered quite a few really good artists capable of creating hand-painted textures. The idea was to teach them the theory of physically based rendering and let them apply their painting skills to PBR. This would allow us to keep working with the same artists who had such a big impact on Kingmaker’s visual style.

It turns out that the pipeline has its downsides, the most notable being that every artist new to the project has to spend at least a month getting up to speed. But so far, the benefits have outweighed the drawbacks. We’ve learned a lot, we love how it’s coming together, and, most importantly, we’re having so much fun painting!

To arms!



Edited by druh0o
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