At Human Alloy we strive to bring you the most realistic 3D people models out there. Struggeling with the existing 3D human models in 2008 while working on a lot of architectural visualizations, Tristan Bethe (3D artist & co-founder of Human Alloy) decided it was time for a better product. He created a 3D human model with the highest possible quality that incorporates all the necessary features to make them extremely customizable. Seeing the succes of his Premium models, he decided to also create a Basic 3D people model. In this article he explains why and shares the smart compatibilty of the models when used together in one visualization.
We started out making our Premium models. These models have it all: masks and shaders for every surface, 5 resolution meshes, realistic hair with its own low poly version, high resolution maps and more. These 3D humans best show off the quality we are striving for. For the first time it is actually possible to have 3D people credibly in the foreground.
Interior done by Johannes Lindqvist (http://johannesl.se)
However there are times all this goodness is overkill and you just need to get dozens or maybe hundreds of people in your scene. Maybe you need to fill a shopping mall or an airport. In that case not all 3D people need to be created equal. In all likelihood most 3D people end up just a few dozen pixels high.
That’s why we’ve created our Basics series. They have lower resolution meshes (+-40k triangles) and a 2k Diffuse texture. Next to 3Ds Max and Vray they’re also fit to be used in SketchUp. Your computer will thank us for keeping the resolution so low when you populate your whole shoppingmall with them. Another upside is that we sell them in a bundle of 5 for the same price as one Premium model.
On close inspection they might look a bit rough, but that’s because they are not made to be in the spotlights. They are like the extra’s in a movie. Content meant to be in the background.
Just like in the movies there are – ideally – a few stars that stick out from the masses and who make the whole picture interesting to watch.
In the picture above we’ve combined Premiums and Basics together. When used correctly they play excellent together without any obvious visual hiccups. Can you tell which models are which?
By far most models in this scene are Basics. However where you can actually see details like the hair, (skin) shaders and high resolution textures I’ve placed Premium models.
Remember that each Premium model comes with 5 resolution meshes from 40k triangles all the way up to millions. So although you might have purchased a Premium model you can use the lower resolution models in the background with the same advantages as the Basics. You can, by using the masks and the complete shader stack, recolor a Premium’s clothing and hair and use it 2 times in your scene both on the foreground and in the background!
3 Variations of the same model
Of course there are smart things you can do to the highest resolution Premium to keep your 3D scene running smoothly. Vray proxies are one of those features. If you’re not already using them, you definitely should. What they basically do is only load in the full resolution model at render time and only show a low poly substitution, or proxy, mesh in your scene. This helps to keep your viewport performance high and secures a much shorter load and save times since the high resolution models are saved separately from your main scene. Be careful though: you cannot edit the mesh after you created a proxy, so be sure you are happy with it before you convert. The shader you can change at any time.
‘How do you do this proxy thing you speak of?’, I hear you ask. Easy!
Let’s do this step by step in 3Ds Max and Vray. See those blocky 3D people? Those are Vray proxies already. We are going to turn the nice purple lady into one now. Select what you want to combine into a proxy. In this case: her hair and body.
Right click on her and from the drop down menu select ‘V-Ray mesh export’
You now see the VRay Mesh export dialog window. Here we are going to adjust a few default settings. First select the path where you want to save the VRay proxy. I suggest placing it in your texture together with the other files from your project. Most cases I find it more useful to combine the selected objects into one single proxy, however if you want to convert many objects at once the default option should be used. Check ‘Create Multi/Sub-Object Mtl’ to create one multi/sub material for your proxy. Also (easily overlooked) check the ‘Automatically create proxies’ option. You can tweak the amount of faces you like to see in your low poly proxy if you want, but the default will do.
We’re always interested and curious to see what our 3D people are used for. Did you use our model(s) in one of your visualisations? I invite you to share your projects with us, so we can learn from your examples & share them as inspiration with other 3D artists. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org.