There isn't really a specific routine, just something that's become more natural to me over time. With this project there were no restrictions, I was aiming towards 'upcoming large open world sandbox game' . Anyway, generally my routine would be something like,
- Block out buildings on one layer
- Taking block out up in passes (but NOT adding damaged parts or making straight
things more organic, deal with that after you're confident with UV's later)
- Start playing around with camera setups early on to force you into thinking about placement.
- Block out and detail up extra bits on another layer.
- For large areas you'll likely want to use a tiling texture so start producing some of those. Just blockouts will do at this stage, just so you can UV correctly.
- Maybe cut up the geometry further at this stage to allow some creativity in texture use? For example the residential building (red bricks) used a tiling texture but I also made vertical cuts along the side that use another texture. Another popular technique is to do horizontal cuts, then replace the bottom with a duplicate texture that includes grime where it connects with the ground (did this on the blue concrete texture that holds the 2 metallic front doors). Also did unique cuts for the top parts of the cafe windows.
- Of course the biggest part is just going back and fourth unwrapping and creating simple textures just to make sure it all generally works. Once it does I'll start to work up the textures. Don't kill yourself by doing one massive non stop unwrap session, just go back and fourth on elements doing unwraps and basic texture work. You'll find your own routine with this bit, it always depends on how you work.
- Once it's all coming together I'll start thinking about alphas (on different layer) and smaller props to give a bit more life to the scene. Once UV's are ok you can start to add cuts so that you can add slight bends/irregular edges to make the scene more natural. Some people are fine with doing this before doing UV's but I find UV's easier to manage when they are as simple and box looking as possible. You can also see if edges are screwing up your UV's.
- Lastly should mention the colour map. Everyone has different names for this, it's just a technique where you unwrap everything (again!) onto UV2. Then you render out the UV's to use as a template to paint on top of in photoshop. You can also do lightbakes/ambient occlusion maps on this channel to overlay in your PSD as well as a render2texture diffuse to further make it clear what you're painting on top of. This is a massive process that deserves it's own tutorial but essentially it is done to break up tiling. You don't really need to unwrap everything though, if you don't have the time you can just unwrap the big tillable areas that really need it. Then the rest you just map to a little 50% gray square on the colourmap so it's unaffected by the process.
Some flats, I think in total I had about 20 ID's.