Reattaching Elements and Test Optimizing

After you've finished fixing your mesh, your STL Check should issue no errors. The character mesh should now be attached into the following seven components, each having its own texture map. (During the UV unwrapping process, you can still select individual elements in Element Edit mode.)

■ The head, consisting of the helmet, camera, headset and microphone, and face

■ The two eyes (separate objects)

■ The torso, consisting of the upper body, canteen, and ammo

■ The arms and hands (separate objects)

■ The lower body, consisting of the waist, flashlight, legs, and boots

After I attached my components, I reapplied an STL Check to each one to double-check the mesh for errors. Then I centered the pivot points for each.

You can perform a quick optimization and polygon reduction just to see how your mesh will look in the end. Note that this is only a test. Be sure to save your work, because you'll be working at the highest polygon count until you've created and applied the texture and normal maps. First reattach everything to form a single mesh, and then apply an Optimize modifier (see Figure 4.7). Looking at the Before/After section in the Modifier panel, my mesh went from 10,762 faces to 8,290 without changing the shape of the mesh. The target face count will eventually be between 5,000 and 7,000.

Figure 4.7 Applying an Optimize modifier to the entire mesh dropped the face count from 10,762 to 8,290 without changing the shape of the mesh.

Delete the Optimize modifier. Then apply a MultiRes modifier, and in its Options panel, click Generate. At the top of the panel, change the Vert Percent from 100 percent to 50 percent. My mesh now has 5,316 faces and still maintains most of its shape (see Figure 4.8). This modifier is great for creating multiple Levels of Detail

(LODs) for video games. It isn't necessary for characters to have the same face count as they diminish in distance from the player's view. If characters maintained the same count, the computer would attempt to display inviolable detail and slow down graphics processing.

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