Lome port. A Container Terminal 3D Model
Port 3D terrain database

We make several terrain databases a year. But all of them are proprietary to our customers and, of course, we can’t use them for our needs. That’s why we decided to make our own port 3D model, which we could use as a playground for experiments, marketing purposes, and sell it as an off-the-shelf product in the future.

We didn’t want to waste too much 3D modeling resources, so at the first stage, we concentrated on the selection of the right geographical location. Old European or US ports are good candidates to be built, but they look too complicated and are distributed in large areas. We decided to choose a young and compact port and narrowed down the investigation to the African and Asian regions.

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Oil platform 3D modeling
Oil rig 3D details
Detailed 3D model

Oil platforms are one of the most magnificent engineering structures nowadays. Many resources are required for their construction and maintenance. They are massive and complex. Except for the equipment involved in oil extraction, platforms contain many extra modules to provide their work and self-sufficiency. And their re-supply is carried out by aviation and special class of vessels (OSV).

Naturally, the functionality of such a complicated system is impossible without a highly-qualified staff of a dozen of various professions. And modern technologies like computer simulation, virtual reality systems, safety briefing videos, and others are used to train this staff.

Based on this, we decided to include the offshore oil rig 3D model into our COTS library. We chose the Malikai Tension-Leg Platform (TLP) located 100-kilometers off the coast of Sabah (Malaysia) as a prototype. This choice was affected by the classic appearance and source materials’ availability on the Web.

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Between creativity, accuracy, and … budget
Virtual Kismayo, Somalia

Simulators’ real-time 3D models’ creation is, in fact, very close to the things game industry artists do, which naturally results in technologies and human resources migration in these areas. But the work in the simulation and training industry is full of contradictions and pain for a game artist. On the one hand, a model must be visualized realistically, which allows speaking about a creative component. On the other hand, a customer expects technically competent 3D models, which allows referring this type of activity to engineering. And here finally comes the third and the most unpleasant moment – 3D content is undoubtedly an important part of any simulator, but the priorities very often belong to software and hardware components. As a result, an artist, like it or not, has to deal with a tight schedule, mass production, and, sometimes, not the most advanced technologies.

So, in this article, I’m going to describe how the EDGED team works in this environment, aggressive to creativity.

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Old-style (But Not Useless) Texturing Workflow
CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter model in the 3D modeling window, “No light” mode (Consistent colors)
CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter model in the 3D modeling window, “No light” mode (Consistent colors)

Although PBR rendering is being actively introduced into the simulators market, an enormous part of the systems are still using classic visualization or transition concepts. Consequently, an ability to create quality diffusion textures still remains an essential skill for the artists working in this area.

You may get surprisingly high-quality models without creating high poly geometry and using only your favorite 3D modeling package and good old Photoshop.

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Our customers don’t need 3D characters
Mine clearance operation. EOD9 and LDE characters.

They need 3D people. It sounds not good for an artist, but that is true. Our customers don’t need characters in terms of the game industry. Simulators makers are practical persons, and they don’t want to invest money into things that are not directly simulation subjects. In the vast majority of training systems, people are absent at all; others are somewhere in between “Could have” and “Won’t have” speaking in prioritization terms. In the cases where they must be, the main requirements to models are their functionality and professional authenticity, not their art value.

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How to be Agile Team in 3D Models Development

Modern systems’ 3D graphics quality at the simulation and training market increases dramatically from year to year. Requirements to models and shaders, to virtual worlds specification and working out get more complicated continuously. In this context there remain fewer and fewer possibilities to realize projects’ visual part by separate artists and the role of teamwork increases. Our studio is continuously looking for technologies and methods to allow organizing teamwork the most effectively.

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United Arab Emirates

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© EDGED Digital Solutions FZE LLC. is a leading 3D modeling company which provides consulting services all over the world.

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