Baking Lights For Static Lighting In 3Ds Max


While making a game, optimisation is one of the most important things that the studio must care. There are various ways to avoid this problem like reducing the poligons, reducing the particle effects details, creating level of detail(LOD) or creating static lights. I will explain how to bake the lights to create  static lights in this post.

Basically the static lighting is to create a texture map for objects or environment by baking the effect of the light source on this objects. After we use this baked texture on the objects, we do not need to create a light source in the scene. Even in AAA games, the static lights are commonly used to maximize the performance.

For this tutorial I created this simple scene which contains two boxes and a ground. Then I arrange their UV’s by adding Unwrap UVW modifier as you can see below. This step is important because we need to make sure there must be no overlap.


After packing the UV’s correctly, the scene is ready to bake. Press “Render To Texture” below “Rendering” menu.

Hotkey is “0” by default in 3Ds Max 2014.


It opens the Render To Texture settings as you can see below. It automatically adds the selected object to the Objects to Bake list. In the picture it is Box002.



Below Output rollup press Add… button and select DiffuseMap in popup which appeared. For this example we need to add only DiffuseMap.


After selection, it will be added into Output list. And below the list there are some render settings. The  size of “1024” is fine for this scene but keep in mind that texture sizes is a part of optimization as well.  Because, while too big decreases the performance, too low decreases the quality.

Another important thing is enabling lighting and shadows. They can be enabled by clicking the ticks which is inside the “Selected Element Unique Settings tab” as you can see I marked with red square. Then press render button at the bottom of the window. You should do the same steps for each object in your scene to have baked texture.


When I baked textures of my scene the result is like below. Shadows, highlights and midtones can be seen on textures.


I added the textures to the objects with %100 self-illumination and I took this render. There is no light source in this scene. Graphics are almost the same but performance will be dramatically increased in huge scenes.



Creating IK Target For Double Hand Animation in 3D Studio Max

While making an animation which animating one or double hand linked to another object we use IK targets. Linking an IK target saves us from animating objects seperately such as holding sword, rotating a car wheel etc. For sword example, mostly the position and rotation of the sword matters, not the hands. So when animating a sword, we expect that hands follow the sword handle by keeping their position on the sword.

I will explain it with a basic human CAT object. For ones who dont know how to create a CAT object, it can be found below Create Panel> Helpers> CAT Object



If you successfully create the human figure click Motion Panel. You will find the Layer Manager as you can see in left picture. Press and hold the button which I marked with red and release the button on Abs (Absolute Layer). Then press Setup/Animation Mode Toggle button so it will transform from red stop image to green play image.






Select any hand bone. If hand bone selected in the figure, you will see the Limb Animation rollup in Motion Panel. The button which I marked with red, creates the Target Point we need. You should press this button for each hands for this tutorial. If you did it right a cross must show up just front of the hands.

If you move this crosses, hands wont follow it. We will solve it very soon. Now its time to positioning the hands. I created a very basic sword for demonstration as you can see below.



I moved the hands until it looks like the figure is holding the sword with two hands but targets are still keeping their position.


Below the Limb Animation rollup, inside the IK System tab click the button which says Move IKTarget to Palm. This button will relocate the targets to the place where they have to be. Below this tab there are three scrolls as you can see in left picture. The scroll which says IK/FK must be “0,0”. Now the hands will follow the targets. So link the targets to the sword. Now the hands will moved by sword. Try to rotate or move the sword. If you didn’t miss anything, your animation must work well. I showed a picture below when my figure holds the sword.


Tip: After creating the sword, move the pivot point to the middle of the hands. When you rotate the sword the hands will animate very realistic.



For another example the figure below move its hands as the wheel rotates.


I hope it was helpful. If you have any questions leave a comment.

3Ds Max to Unity 3D export issues from the perspective of 3D designer

The most shocking thing after I started to create game assets is a huge part of the features of 3Ds Max and Maya are not supported in fbx export. And the only way to export a 3D model into a game engine is exporting the model as a fbx file. Static models like a building, a tree or a car etc. can be easily exported with materials. I had no problem with that. But other than “Skin“, “Physique” and “morpher“, wont be seen in the game engine. So you must do all the animations with bones and morpher targets.

And the other important thing is you should always “collapse all” by right clicking the modifier list just before exporting. Because for example if you want to export a model with turbo smooth, if you dont collapse the modifiers, turbosmooth wont be exported.

First year as a game artist

Past one year which I was working as a game artist in a game studio has taught me a lot of things. As the only artist in my studio, I have got many responsibilities. Before my professional carreer I always used to create my own, unique stuff. However, I have noticed that to release the game in time, it’s a good idea to take advantage of asset stores. So before a game we start to work, we always check asset store for (trees, cars, rocks etc.) as much as we can. It saves a lot of time and it lets you focus on more important things. Details are neccessary but not need to be totally unique if you are in a indie game studio.

It is important to choose right font. The font must be suitable for different languages in case of translation. Style must be fit on your game as well.

Teaser video of the game matters to make the game to be downloaded. The video must be released in social media or indie game blogs before the games publish. My favorite game teasers have in-game videos which show gameplay, as well as motion graphics and 2D or 3D animations according to the game. Keep in mind that teaser must be released weeks before the game. So the studio can reach as much gamers as possible.

Markets show the icon of the game as feature image and it is the first thing users will see. So the icon matters. It must be clear and must be able to be choosen among the others. Icon better to be designed seasonal-ready. For example in christmas you can be able to put a red hat on the icon.

A proffesional game designer I’ve met in a seminar recommended the “Agile Method” that means creating a playable version of the game immediately. It can be a walk on a line with your character or a car or even a box. Then you can improve graphics and gameplay later.

Creating a Railroad with Path Constraint and Snapshot Tool in 3DS Max


In this post i will explain how to use path constraint and snapshot tools to create continuous multiple objects. I am using this tools oftenly at work. For small scenes copy-paste could be easier to use but in huge scales snapshotting is much more time saver. I will post a few different renders below the explanation as example.

Before the start I created some kind of coal mine enter as you see above. Its only for the tutorial, I did not spend much time on it. Then I simply created a curved line starting from inside of the gate. It will be the path of our railroad.


Then I fit the line to the earth by playing with vertices. The earth plane has some ups and downs.


I created the wooden rail holder at the left side to put it below the rail.





Under the motion panel and assign controller drop down menu you will see position, rotation and scale. To assign a controller to transformer I selected position and pressed the assign controller button above the selection. After selecting path constraint from the list, it will be added to the object.



After adding path constraint, Path Parameters dropdown menu will show up. Under the menu Add Path button lets you choose which line will be followed by the selected object. I picked the path I created before. Usually the result is out of the rotation than how it must be look like. So I rotate it manually to find a position as I want. I recommend you to press follow button that I marked in the picture above before the manual rotation. Otherwise it will be unrotate again. Follow check lets rotate the object that controlled by path constraint on the way of picked line.

Now the object has a path animation. It can be seen by scrolling the timeline from begining to the end.



Snapshot can be reached under “Tools>Snapshot”. This tool can make a copy of the mesh within any single time or between a range in timeline. I have an animation of object that i want to copy in a range of time. So I checked Range and copied it 12 times as the lenght of my path.


The result is fine to me. I drew two lines more to create rails. And this is how it looks.


I also created the two pictures below. The one with city lamps is for this tutorial and the one with roller coaster is a product.




alan render3


Creating a 3D Drone

drone 3d model

I designed this concept based on my sketchs in the Codemodon Game Studio that I am currently working, for a commercial. I represented this vehicle as some part of a submarine and some part of a quadrocopter.

In this post I will explain the steps of creating this concept.


I started with this chamfer box with paramaters of 60x60x90 and 7 fillet. Increasing fillet segments is much more easy than adding turbosmooth or meshsmooth.


Then I added “FFD 2x2x2” modifier from modifier list. This modifier lets you to manipulate the mesh by as if the whole mesh is just a box. The submarine cabins roof is wider than the floor.


After giving the exact shape to the body, I divided the borders of glass and door with swift loop tool. “Swift Loop tool” makes easy many things. You can divide polygons with only one click. (Mark 1 shows the button of swift loop. In case if you dont see the panel which has swift loop tool, click to the button which is marked with 2, or your 3Ds Max version doesn’t have it)


Swift loop tool is availible only if you edit the mesh with “editable poly”. I detached the front window and the door just after dividing the edges with swift loop.





After detaching the door the steps that I follow explained above. I scaled down the door, I used boolean tool which is in “create>compound objects>boolean” to make an hole for a window on the door. At last I used shell modifier to make the door volumed.


Below of the vehicle is more primitive. I didnt used any complex shape. I created a construction with boxes and I added some details for the wings. I created some connection parts to make wings more realistic.



There are always many ways to create something in 3Ds Max. For the wings I followed the ways above. I draw a basic wing with line tool, extruded it and manipulated the shape with FFD 4x4x4 for making it look aerodynamic. If you add any material without using UVW, 3Ds Max will give you an error.

After that modifies the result of the construction is below.




I used the materials inside 3Ds Max. The name of the materials are above. I didn’t modified this materials. They come with 3Ds Max by default. After adding some details on door and adding materials the concept has done.

I took this render with Mental Ray.

I hope it was helpful. See you next time.

How to 3D Low Poly Style Landscape


In this post I will explain the tricks of low poly style landscape render with 3Ds Max.1I started the project by creating the plane for the ground base mesh. Its a simple almost square 20×25 segment plane. Then I converted to “Edit Poly” by right clicking the mesh.


After creating ground I heightened the hills and the mountains with “soft selection tool” which is in Soft Selection panel at right side.

5  When I create the mountain tops I increased the pinch value of the soft selection tool as you see in the picture at left. Pinch value make the vertices which is in the falloff area of the selection stronger or weaker. The graph below values must be seen like a mountain.

Tip: You can start to create mountains with a lower pinch and you can increase the value a little after.



I finally decided to leave the mountains like above. 9

After finishing the ground, mountains material have to be set up. I decided to paint mountain body to brown and top of the mountain to white. Due to there is only one mesh to paint 3 different materials, the best solution is to use “multi-sub object”. To use this kind of material, Polygon Material ID’s must be grouped. I left the polygons that will be grass to default 1, I set the mountain body to ID 2 and the mountain top to ID 3. It can be set in Polygon Material IDs in the Edit Poly tab. As you can see above. Before setting the IDs the polygons which will be grouped must be already selected.



I am using “smooth” modifier to harden the meshes. It can be selected in modifier list>smooth. If Auto Smooth is selected, decrease the treshold amount and the mesh will be like low poly style.8

To create the multi/sub-object, Open the Material tab (press M) then click the button which says “standart” which is shown in the first picture above. It will open a new window. Pick “Multi/Sub-Object”. As you see in the 3rd picture above there is a list of material slots. Due to polygon material groups which is I did before the ID groups of the material will paint them.

1st ID is green for the ground

2nd ID is brown for the mountain body

3rd ID is white for the mountain top

If the material IDs set correctly the mesh will be shown like the picture below.




I created the trees in a very basic way. I created a cone, copied it 4 times and attached with a stick. I set the polygon material groups of the leaves to 2 and left the stick to default 1. I made a new multi sub object material and added it to the tree.clouds

Creating the clouds is a little bit tricky. I created a basic sphere with 16 segment then I used “pro-optimizer” modifier which is in the modifier list menu and I added “smooth” modifier to make it look low poly style. Just copied 3 times and variated it.



Stone is also created with the same modifiers.



To create a forest, copying and copying is not the best way. It takes time and it will be like un aligned by the ground with hills. I think the best way to make a forest is to using the “Object Paint Tool” which is above of the viewport screen. Before using this tool make sure the object that you want to copy is 1 mesh.

Press the button which is marked with the number “1” then click the tree mesh. Press the button which is marked with 2 and you can click to the ground where you want to create a tree. It will copy the tree where you will click. It is also aligned by the Axis “Z”. It means if you click the mountain the tree will not stay below the ground. If new trees are so big you can manipulate the values which is marked with “3” cyan color.


I put the stones with the same tools. I copied some clouds to the sky and added some details like the river, rainbow and stuff.

I Was In Arles How To

I Was In Arles from gunisigicihangir on Vimeo.

This is an artwork which I created as my graduation project for Marmara University-Istanbul. Digitalizing a classic artwork always excites me. While I was working on Microsoft Kinect that idea appeared in my mind. How great it would be to see unpainted areas in Van Gogh’s Bedroom painting. After the graduation exhibition in Marmara University, it also exhibited in amberFest 13′.

This work looks quite complicated but actually it is one of the simplest projects that I made.

I started by searching how to adding skeleton data taken by kinect into a Unity 3D project. I found a sdk which is released by Microsoft for Unity. You can download it from website below.

You will need to install kinect developer toolkit and kinect SDK too. Just after the download has finished, open the Unity3D and run “Kinect1.7UnityPackage.unitypackage”. Make sure all the packages are selected then press import. This will import a package consist of some codes and an example project.


We can work inside the example project by modifying it. When you import all the package you will see KinectSample in the Project window below. Full path is Assets>Scene>KinectSample.8-01

To create the feeling of looking at inside the picture I decided to create a main camera with a target point which is always looked at. Because if you dont use a target point the camera always look the same direction.

I found this code from reference tab from Unity3D’s website.

var target : Transform;

function Update() {

I copied and pasted this codes as a javascript code in Unity and simply linked it into the camera by dragging and droping. You can create a Java Script file by right clicking in the project window and create>Javascript. You must see the component in inspector menu when you select the camera. Then I created a cube front of the camera for the target and attached it to the “target tag” of the component that i just created inside the camera. You can reach the target tag inside the inspector menu and you can add an object by clicking the circle beside it.


The distance between the camera and the target point is important to make the movement more natural. But it depends on the project.

5Second, I attached the camera to the “03_Head” inside the “KinectPointMan”. The project has 2 skeleton. rainbowMan_v06 and KinectPointMan. I used “PointMan” because the other one vibrating the camera while Point man is smoother.





To finalize the project delete the “rainbow man” which we didn’t use and move the camera until the KinectPointMan disappears from the screen. Then you can create your own scene to look inside. I would love to share my 3D model for Van Gogh’s bedroom but unfortunately it was erased with many project which I didn’t sync to cloud after the burned hard disc disaster.

I created a couple of cubes to realize the movement as you can see below. I preserved the skeleton just to show you my body movements.



You can manipulate the distance to see the difference.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. See you next time.

2D Character Animation With Adobe After Effects

This is a very short part of the video teaser of Şekermeker – Sugarmugar which is a game going to be released soon for Android and IOS. The game will be published by Codemodeon Game Studio which is I’am currently working as an art director. I will explain you how I created the teaser video with basic tools in After Effects.
creating the bodyThe characters in the video are exactly the same images as the one in the game. I started with seperating the joints and moveable parts of the characters such as legs, arms, eyes, eyebrow, head. Then I exported them to After Effects layer by layer.


After I get my images in the project panel next step is to create a new composition. I used the values below.




Next, drag and drop the images that insinde the project panel to composition panel below. The images will be over and over not accurately. So I needed to move the individual parts to the actual places.


The woman doesn’t have a mouth as you see above. That because the mouth needs to be created in After Effects as a vector. So we can move the control points to animate it look like she is speaking.


I created the mouth like above by using Pen tool. I made only 4 control point, so it is a very simple mouth. Pen tool must be used after creating a new shape layer. Otherwise it will react as if a mask.


To create motion I made a tween for the Shape Layer 1>Contents>Shape1>Path1. Its a very long path but easy when you familiar to it. After Effects works with keyframes. I presume that you alredy know how it works so I will not explain it.


To animate joints, I used puppet tool. It is a very usefull tool in After Effects. It lets us define joints and move them by click an release.

A usefull tip: you can Ctrl+click to a joint to make a realtime animation. If you click ctrl while you already clicked to puppet tool you will realize the cursor will be a clock. So it is ready to animate. Animation starts from the current time until the end of the composition time.


If you dont have a character, you can experience it with simple objects like boxes etc. Puppet tool is great for cartoon animations. It is simple but the result satisfies.

2D Cartoon Character Illustration





In this tutorial I want to show you how I created the little alien who is wearing oculus rift at left side. I created this character for the banner above which is I made for the company I am currently working for. I seperated the tutorial to a few steps.

Before The Start

I had to let the audience understand that we are basically working on virtual reality by using Oculus Rift in our products.

Oculus is a very magical tool to amaze people. And it seems like little bit futuristic. Hence, I decided to create aliens who are wearing Oculus Rift and looks amazed by it.

creating the body

Creating The Body

I strongly recommend you to make some sketch before starting your design. I made a few sketches on paper then I started to draw the body with pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.  In the third step of the picture above I decided the angle of axises of arms and legs, then I drew the legs freely. I am skipping the hands for a while.

creating the rift


Creating The Rift

Drawing of Oculus Rift is easy part of this tutorial. I only paid attention to make it more understandable and recognizable. Due to my alien has 6 eyes, he wears 3 goggles’.

drawing the hands

Drawing Hands

This step is a little bit advanced. To see this forms of hands, you may need some basic drawing courses. I made a couple quick sketches above. They are not great but always help.

I am giving the shadows and highlights according to the light I imagined before I’ve started. Upper sides are bright and lower sides are darker. It perceived like it is volumed.
facial express

Facial Expressions

This is an advanced step too. I collected mouth shapes above which I used on the other characters in the banner to make it clearer. However it is not enough to understand facial expressions. You will need to observe a lot. Even masters still observe.

When the first time I ever wear Oculus Rift basically I felt anxiety, amazement and mind blow. I tried to express this feeling upon that characters. First character above worried, second one is amazed and the last ones mind has blown.


tiny details


Its always good to have some details like volumes, shadows, highlights and reflections in your illustrations. It makes the artwork looks better. And always keep in mind to be consistent when you draw the shadows and highlights. Best way to work on lighting is deciding the imaginary light source before painting the shapes. This will be very helpful.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, see you soon.