Creating photorealistic 3D assets for AR and VR experiences

Bringing believability to AR and VR experiences with photorealistic 3D

From photorealistic 3D product visualisation brought to life through AR (augmented reality) to the creation of unique and immersive 3D worlds in VR (virtual reality), the ability to produce photorealistic 3D models is often a key part of the AR and VR experiences we develop for our clients. And it is the texturing of a 3D asset that defines its believability – get it right (i.e. photorealism) and you can create truly engaging experiences.

So, how do we create these photorealistic models? Let’s start at the beginning.

After a 3D asset has been modelled, it is ready to be textured. This is essentially ‘colouring’ the 3D model in; a series of texture maps are created and applied to the model to give it it’s final look. These maps can contain information such as colour, specular value, metalness and even bumpiness.

Up until now this process has been time-consuming as all individual texture maps need to be created separately. However, with Substance Painter the process has been refined significantly, making it much quicker and even more creative.

Effective photorealistic 3D texturing with Substance Painter

We’ve been using Substance Painter for a few months now for client projects, exploring what is capable and assessing how long it takes to achieve photorealistic results for our 3D models that we use in our 3D animations and also on mobile devices and in augmented and virtual environments.

The big benefit for us is that we can now create textures procedurally, meaning we only need to input a few parameters and we’re already 80% done towards the final result.

Built within the program is a full library of pre-definied materials that can either be used in your final texture or as starting points that can be edited to achieve the exact material you’re looking for.

Substance Painter - creating photorealistic 3D textures

Demo project – Star Wars First Order Tie Fighter

Our goal when starting this project was to create the most accurate, film quality 3D asset ready for production.

With our 3D model ready to go, we were quickly able to create our own ‘Tie fighter material’ that we applied to most of the geometry. The bespoke material applies dust and rust in the creviced areas of the 3D model with a slight amount of metal edge wear to make the model look worn and battle-damaged.

After creating the material for the first time all we had to do was take the saved preset and drag and drop it onto the other parts of the model.

This is the most useful aspect of Substance Painter, as it’s now quick and easy to finish texturing any of our 3D models to a professional standard.

Photorealistic 3D Tie Fighter

Photorealistic 3D Tie Fighter - detail

Photorealistic 3D Back To The Future Time Train

The benefits of photorealistic 3D assets for increased brand engagement

The ability for us to create these amazing photorealistic 3D assets provides our clients with even more opportunities to bring their brand and products to life. We are already using this new workflow to produce a range of 3D products for one client that will enable their customers to ‘try before they buy’ by placing photorealistic 3D versions of the products in-situ in their homes using AR.

We can only achieve this by utilising tools such as Substance Painter which enable us to streamline the production process without compromising on the quality of the output.

To bring your brand or products to life with photorealistic 3D assets, get in touch with the Engine Creative team now.

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