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Thread: 3D Digimon models I modified for my fan game(Now Featuring V-mon)

  1. #1
    I come from the net Master-Element's Avatar
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    3D Digimon models I modified for my fan game(Now Featuring V-mon)

    Hi, so it has been a over six years since I was active on these boards, some of you older members might remember me as Digi-Brigade one of the people that ripped so many of the DS game sprites among other things.
    Anyway I haven't been into digimon for a long time but I recently got a PSP Vita and of course played Cyber sleuth and that helped me get back into it. Anyway when I was on here before I made several attempts at using Gamemaker to make 2d digimon games. Since then I have taken game development seriously as a carrier choice, and I am mnow learning to make 3d games. I have many ideas for making my own indie games, and have been teaching myself to use Blender and Unreal engine 4. I want to make my own monster battling game like Pokemon but have come to realize that before I can attempt something of that scale I need practice coding and making meshes of characters. This lead me to decide that I would make a digimon fan game as a dry run first for practice. Of course this meant I was going to have to create each digimon from scratch. And though I'm getting better at making characters I realized that it would take me to long to do this on my own.
    Which brings me to the wonderful discovery I made by chance, my fellow Blender user referred me to a search engine that finds meshes from various sites. While looking for a tiger mesh I found a site that is the sister of the main one I got all my ripped game sprites from, but this site is all meshes ripped from 3d games. A few days before I had decided to do the digimon fan game so when I found it I did a search for digimon titles and hit gold. Appearently someone has ripped the meshes of all but two digimon from the Digimon masters mmo. This game has one of the most diverse selection of digimon I have seen in a game, and many digimon I wanted in my game are in it. So I'm going to use the meshes from the game and make my own of any digimon that are not in it.

    So this brings me to my render, I took the Digimon Masters mesh of Dracomon and edited and reskined it as practice. (Ps I also added a skeleton so I can animate it too)
    Now one problem I have with both digimon and even pokemon is that the creatures are too cartoon, lacking most non basic details like scales, fur, etc. To make things worse what the developers of Digimon masters did was take a drawing of the digimon in question like this for example

    Then used it on the mesh like skin, with out any additional texturing or shaders. This made the digimon even more cartoony then before. So I decided that if I'm going to make a game I'm going to make the digimon appear more realistic to a degree.
    Here is a picture of what the original Dracomon model from Digimon Masters looked like

    Pretty basic right, well now here is mine

    Second angle


    Looks pretty good right, not only does his skin defuse light, but his teeth and claws are glossy, and his eyes are reflective. Not to mention he now has scales and other textures. Plus the original mesh had pentagon shaped horns and fingers so I made them round. I'll admit the horns and wings textures need a little work, but otherwise he turned out great.

    Well what do you guys think?
    If anyone is interested I can make a short animation with him too, he is all set up.
    Last edited by Master-Element; 03-11-2017 at 04:48 PM.
    I'm the sprite artist formerly known as Digi-Brigade

  2. #2
    I come from the net Jay Ukyou's Avatar
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    It's an interesting look, but I actually quite enjoy the more cartoony style that Digimon has. If I wan't realistic monsters, I'd play Monster Hunter.

    The scales pattern looks nice enough, but I'm not a fan of the texturing on the horns. The shiny reflectiveness on the claws looks great. But missing lack of details on the mouth/teeth clashes with all the texturing. And the eyes look dull compared to how shiny the claws are. It's a nice start, but it looks unfinished. Whereas the original, more cartoony design looks intentionally stylized.

    It'd be cool to see more. And I definitely would like to see what kinds of digimon games you've made (or half-made) in the years since you've been gone.

  3. #3
    I come from the net Master-Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Ukyou View Post
    It's an interesting look, but I actually quite enjoy the more cartoony style that Digimon has. If I wan't realistic monsters, I'd play Monster Hunter.

    The scales pattern looks nice enough, but I'm not a fan of the texturing on the horns. The shiny reflectiveness on the claws looks great. But missing lack of details on the mouth/teeth clashes with all the texturing. And the eyes look dull compared to how shiny the claws are. It's a nice start, but it looks unfinished. Whereas the original, more cartoony design looks intentionally stylized.

    It'd be cool to see more. And I definitely would like to see what kinds of digimon games you've made (or half-made) in the years since you've been gone.
    Okay so I took your advice and added details to the mouth including a tongue. Then I tweaked the horns a bit aswell as the pattern on the wings.
    Is this more finalized? (I also just noticed I forgot the nostrils lol)


    And I thought about what you said about the cartoony look, and it occurred to me that doing it that way would be easier to do on dozens of digimon compared to making them all realistic so I made a version of that too, with shaders

    so which do you guys like better? Cartoony or realistic?
    I'm the sprite artist formerly known as Digi-Brigade

  4. #4
    Make his pupils bigger and add nostrils (though I'm sure you've noticed) and you're set.

    Also why do his wings look cel-shaded?
    Come read my fanfic, Digimon: Days of Ruin! (Warning: NSFW)

  5. #5
    I come from the net Jay Ukyou's Avatar
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    Yes, that does look nicer! The mouth still doesn't match the details of the scales though.

    But the cartoony version with the shaders looks amazing! The style meshes nicely. Not sure what happened to his wings though? Is that a misplaced shader effect?

  6. #6
    I come from the net Master-Element's Avatar
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    Okay, this time I added nostrils, though they need a little work on the coloring, and made the pupils bigger. and on the more detailed one I increased the size of the texture of the mouth.
    Also the pattern on the wings I think is the shadow cast by the horns lol


    SO what do you guys think now? Which is better?
    I'm the sprite artist formerly known as Digi-Brigade

  7. #7
    I come from the net Jay Ukyou's Avatar
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    I still prefer the cartoony style personally, but the weird shading on the wings has to be fixed.

    The more detailed scaly model actually looks pretty good now, though! It's hard to say which is definitively better now!

  8. #8
    Completely digital MasterOfTartarus's Avatar
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    i think the cartoony one is better, though you probably have to do something about the light, his skin reflection makes it look almost like he is wet
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    Super Moderator Theigno's Avatar
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    I think there could be potential here but technical aspects aside for now (though I do have some more critical opinions on those in a moment), I would be interested in what the concrete concept for the gameplay is, if there exists one yet.
    In general the best tip for any fan game would be to distance yourself, in terms of gameplay, as far as possible from any officially released Digimon title that's out there. Because right now we're living in a time where there are 3D Digimon RPGs officially localized in english that are generally regarded as "good" and there is nothing that would make the average gamer turn off a fan game faster than the realization that there's a more polished official game out there that does the same thing.
    However if the game presents something truly unique people won't jump ship as easily because there'd be no similar ships to jump to. Of course that could be used as somewhat of an excuse but I'd say it's more along the lines of an insurance...

    On the topic of models, generally the newer models used in Cyber Sleuth, Next 0rder and Linkz are far higher quality than what Digimon Masters churns out and could provide a better basis in general... however since Dracomon isn't part of their roster it's no help in this particular case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Master-Element View Post
    Now one problem I have with both digimon and even pokemon is that the creatures are too cartoon, lacking most non basic details like scales, fur, etc.
    I wholeheartedly agree with this point. It's quite a disservice to the multitude of awesome Digimon Design concept to be eternally squashed into flat anime style (in fact I would say that it is a weakness of the JRPG and anime based games scene in general to be unable to open their eyes past "2D" aesthetics) having something that introduces, maybe not exact photo realism but rather something along the lines of "material realism" for Digimon would be incredible.
    Personally I only know about 2 official attempts to portray Digimon with somewhat realistic materials the first being the animatronics for early V-pet commercials and the second far more relevant case being the giant Examon boss in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. As they needed a boss that looked impressive while covering the entire screen they ditched the "drawn on" textures with more realistic materials. within the game there are still the glistening shader effects and the "staggered" cel shaded lighting however, rendering the model out in a neutral environment with a bit more complex lighting shows the true density of detail on the textures:

    Image Thumbnail (custom)
    (The texture or mesh detail wasn't changed in any way from the files in the game)

    That's what I'd call a realistically textured Digimon and I don't want to be too mean but that's not an easy effect to achieve and your Dracomon doesn't even come close. As stated before I believe that a properly executed realistic style would be way above any stylised cartoon aesthetic but at the same time most stylized art will end up looking better than an unconvincing attempt at realism. Because realism has to be on point to a certain degree, even being just off by a few degrees on detail or shady would produce alienating and uncanny results.
    ...But let's try to be productive and see what exactly that examon does better than Dracomon: Obviously there is far more detail. The base texture your dracomon is still nothing more than flat colors. there needs to be more there, more highlights, skin folds, little details.

    Below you can see the texture for the normal Cyber Sleuth Examon compared to the boss texture:

    Image Thumbnail (custom)Image Thumbnail (custom)

    Image Thumbnail (custom)

    That's quite a skip in detail and right now even the individual details on the normal texture are quite numerous even if they are more obviously "drawn". And that's one the problems with your scale texture. It doesn't seem like it belongs to the body at all. It doesn't follow the curvature and details of the anatomy, it's just an uniform repeating pattern plastered all over. There need to be more noticeable differences in scale patterns on different parts of the body, more recognizeable irregularities to make it look more natural. The scales should also be aligned to the UV which right now they don't seem to be. There are parts on the model where there's two patterns going in different directions and they meat with a clean "divide" between them. That's especially apparent on the feet, so important how which parts of the mesh have been unwrapped where on the texture and that's what the "flow" of the scales should be oriented on.
    Then there's the issue that the scales have no sense of depth whatsoever. They are completely flat projections. Less a texture of the skin than simply the normal flat "cartoony" skin but at night someone got some roller stamp and stamped a pattern with ink all over Dracomon while he was sleeping.
    In other words the problem that the texture is solely utilizing the color channel and nothing else. That limits things because right now the scale pattern only consists of "shadows", when depending on the angle of the lighting it should also result in highlights. This cannot reliably be done with just color. So while there indeed needs to be more detail on the general texture, it should be more the chromatic part of it, keeping the shadows out of the normal texture. The actual shapes that have to interact with the lighting, produce the illusion of an texture engraved on the skin should be done in greyscale and then put in a bump map, which is the easiest way to have a less flat style.

    The Examon model (again) does something more advanced by adding detail using a normal map:

    Image Thumbnail (custom)

    While bump map can only calculate depth on a single axis a normal map emulates "correct" three dimensional geometry by overlaying 3 bump maps, one on each color channel, and each of them defines geometry on a different axis. Not really something that can be drawn by hand and most likely outside of the scope for this game... but for just standard skin and scale textures bump maps should suffice.

    ...that's about as far as my knowledge goes for techniques that are applicable to games. It would take a bit to actually make "photo realism" happen on that Dracomon and while it would be awesome it might simply not be the most efficient approach for a solo project.

    By the way, I don't think that Dracomon's horns were supposed to be actually round.

    ...also, don't call me Igno.

  10. #10
    I come from the net Master-Element's Avatar
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    Well I tried the normal map, on dracomon, and the effect was a huge difference, but decided I didn't want to stray that far from cartoony. Plus adding that much detail to every digimon would be a long and painstaking job. Plus just finding the textures for dracomon alone was a pain in the ass since I don't have resources for that anymore. Not to mention aligning the scales texture so it was going the right direction section by section took for ever. I can do a shot of Dracomon with a bump map, but without finding textures for every digimon easily that could prove to be a waste to do for all digimon.
    As of now I'm leaning towards cartoony just with shaders over skinning it with an image.
    What do you guys think?
    I'm the sprite artist formerly known as Digi-Brigade

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