[Update] How to improve your building abilities

Hello there fellow builders! In this guide i’ll be covering the important principles with regards to how you can improve your building abilities with some steps that are easy to understand. Recently everyone has been asking the same questions; so here are few answers:


Scale / Proportion / Contrast explained

Definitions:

  • Contrast occurs when two related elements are different.

  • Proportion is the size relationship of parts to a whole and to one another.

  • Scale refers to relating size to a constant, human body per example.

The Scale / Proportion:

The Contrast:

In this example made by me (a long time ago) you can see how everything blends together without having a main focus. That’s why it’s essential to use the contrast to switch the eye’s focus.

Towards what you want to emphasis in your buildings:

As you can see in the second picture, the middle tends to stand out more, the main character in the middle being exposed which in short makes it easier to bear witness to.

Cases of contrast in Roblox

The general shape technique it’s used in building scenarios at a large scale, when you don’t want the viewer to look at each individual building and lose the prime focus on what you intend on showcasing.

The general idea technique It’s when you want to show the viewer some details of the building but you don’t them to focus on the building itself too much.

The emphasis a specific spot technique It’s usually used when you want to make the viewer gaze upon a specific element / structure.

Keep in mind, that’s not the standard names of the techniques, it’s saturated in order to simplify things. I’d like you to remain with the semantics with the techniques in mind rather than their terms of address, because you can forget the names. However, your subconscious will know how and when they can be applied.

Try to avoid

  • Scale / Proportion confusion

image

  • The bad contrast

image


Colour theory and useful links

In this part of the tutorial I will cover how colours work since in Roblox you can actually use any colour you’d like, back in the day we were unable to take advantage of the whole spectrum and we were pretty limited (that’s a story for another time based upon the fact that being restricted can often render you more creative)

What is the HUE.

HUE it’s basically the colour itself. Nothing too hard to understand.

What is the Saturation

Saturation it’s something that you’ll encounter frequently during your projects. Basically, it’s how much white is in a colour. Remember, the saturation applies for every colour regardless of the colour.

What is lightness, what are the shades and the tints?

This property is usually used in Roblox OutdoorAmbient when you want to make your place uphold a specific atmosphere. You can see how the showcase places are usually dominated by 1 color or a set of colors. This principle might be applied to GFX as well.

In our previous example regarding contrast techniques we used 3 buildings consisting of miniature models to convey how the colours might change the purpose of a building; knowing that, you can observe how the colours remain the same while their hue/saturation/lightness/tint/shades appear to change

This is why it’s of the utmost importance to comprehend how colours are affected in order to achieve the superlative atmosphere for your game.

Color Pallets / Useful Links

Now you’re aware of the process on how colors interact with one another, but knowing how colors match with one another might be challenging even for a veteran sometimes. Don’t worry about this, there’s few tricks to achieve a good color match and there’s bountiful websites that do that for you.

  • Monochromatic It’s one colour with different shades and tints basically, you can make a whole abstract world with just this colour palette.

  • Analog Analog colours consist of 3 colours that are adjacent to each other within the colour wheel. In my example i split them apart so it’s easier to see.

  • Complementary colours are the ones that are polar opposite to one another in the color wheel. They’re easy to spot , plus they’re useful as well for real life clothing pairing.

  • Triadic colors are easily found when you draw a triangle on the color wheel. The points of the triangle will convey the colours to you.

Here are few links that simply the tedious process of finding the color pallets for your game, gfx, hats, meshes projects.

https://coolors.co

https://colorhunt.co

http://colormind.io


Building theory and the building flow:

When you decide to build something, it’s mandatory to establish several guidelines. These guidelines can be either a complex scheme with some simple questions. The subject it’s too large to be debated here and every builder has it’s own guideline but I can show you a few questions and examples that might give you an idea.

What style I am gonna use?

Assuming you don’t have a style and you’re confused about what styles are, and how they work I will try to explain them to you. Styles are a way of doing something, especially one that is typical of a person, group of people, place, or period. Having that definition in mind we find examples of styles, in history or pop culture. I will enumerate few styles that might help you:

Medieval Building styles:
  • Pre-Romanesque

  • Romanesque

  • Gothic

City/Building styles:
  • Art Deco

  • Brutalist

  • Deconstructivist

  • Expressionist

  • Eclecticism

  • Googie

  • International Style

  • Late Modern

  • Metabolism

  • Mid-Century Modern

  • Minimalist

  • Organic

  • Post-Modern

Futuristic styles:
  • Biopunk

  • Nanopunk

  • Postcyberpunk

Retro Futuristic styles:

  • Steampunk

  • Dieselpunk

  • Clockpunk

  • Atompunk

  • Steel Punk

  • Rococopunk

  • Decopunk

  • Stonepunk

I know I’ve said not to remember the names but the meaning behind the techniques previously, I am giving you the names of the styles so you can go and do your own research on the styles that you believe cater to you the most. Purely because each individual style deserves a guide of its own.

How did other artists implement the style? / How can I make something similar but at the same time idiosyncratic?

After getting the style you’re looking for it might be hard to come up with something on your own accord. Thus, references are always a good way to create something innovative, a derivation of something that exists but it’s unique in its own fashion.

Where should I start when creating something?

So at this point you should be familiar with how the Colours / Scale / Style work and you might have already picked some references from the websites mentioned. But you don’t know where to start building. This process is parallel to that in illustrations. Start with basic shapes > details > fine details .

  • 1st Read it’s the simple details that you have to work on, usually raw shapes of the object.

  • 2nd Read it’s adding the minimal required details in order to achieve a semi realistic perspective.

  • 3rd Read It’s adding nuances to the shapes

  • 4th Read It’s adding the final details, the finest ones usually require extra time but they tend to show how much dedication/passion a developer possesses for his game.

Should I use low-poly or classic blocks?

Roblox has been through a multitude of trends ever since its release. For most of its time everyone used blocks, maybe sometimes they experimented with meshes or even plugins to build low poly terrain (back in the day). Nowadays, Roblox is implementing new ways to import OBJ to allow its developers to expand their capabilities of creating. The natural question of someone new: “What style should I use?” - A low-poly one / blocks / a combination of both? There’s no certain answer and I am planning in the near future to make individual guides for each style but for now, it’s up to you. Low-poly does look rather visually appealing but it requires you to learn a new 3D software that may be somewhat intimidating. Some people prefer the classic vibes of the block building; others do a mix of both for something new with old vibes and fresh. Now it depends on your side, if you’re willing to take the time to learn something new or use the quaint Roblox Studio. This guide covers the fundamentals of building / designing. Plus, the softwares you’re planning on using will not affect what you have learned today.

What plugins should I use?

Depending on what you are planning to do there’s a lot of plugins that might help you in achieving awe inspiring games. I will name a few that I have used for a while:

Plugin List

Building Tools by F3X
An alternative to the Roblox Studio’s tools focused on common shortcuts.

Atmos - quick skybox browser
Insert and preview skyboxes quickly and easily, with support for filtering and built-in lighting settings.

Light Editor
Using the plugin you’ll be able to view all of the lights in your map when it’s enabled. By clicking on their icons you’ll be able to instantly change them allowing you to get that perfect atmosphere for your game.

Atrazines Terrain Plugin V2
This is mainly a triangle terrain plugin that is streamline creating triangle terrain. It features a modern UI and has several useful features.

Stravant ResizeAlign
A plugin that aligns faces of parts via resizing, so that you don’t have to manually resize the parts to get them aligned.

Stravant GapFill
A plugin that lets you “fill in” the gaps between edges of an arbitrary selection of parts in your place, as well as letting you do things that are pretty much impossible using the existing tools. Such as creating smooth rolling contours on your creations. Also allows you to extrude faces of parts; double clicking on a part’s face will create a new part by “stretching” that face out in the direction it’s facing.

Stravant Model Reflect
Reflect Models over a chosen plane

CSG Primitives
Create primitive objects like Cones and Tori with a click of a button!


The light and final touches for outstanding results

Thank you for reading my guide so far, I hope some of the information that I provided was new and or, refreshing for you! In the end we need to have lighting. The light has the potential to completely revamp the aura of the game itself. So far you’ve acknowledged how to use the proper scale, how to use the colors in your projects and how to find your style. Online references will already give you an idea of how the atmosphere of that theme should look like but if it’s too difficult to figure out, or you’re just eager to learn more information about light there are few guidelines for it:

Light Direction

Light’s Color Meaning

The Light can modify how the scene feels almost spontaneously. Plus, it makes a cosmic difference between a generic Roblox game and a mind boggling one.

I want to do a small disclaimer, online you’ll see a lot of charts about colors and their ‘‘real’’ meaning. Please refrain from making this mistake. When you are developing a game, take into account the connotations of the regions colours. In Europe for example, we signify the danger with red ( IE. the ‘‘stop’’ sign) meanwhile in Asia they signify good luck and fortune with red ( new year’s red envelope with money per example) so do not follow an online chart and try to search about the cultural meaning of the place you try to emulate rather than solely heeding the denotations…taking it upon yourself to do some additional research will always pay off; so i’d heavily advise it.

There are two kinds of light:

They are used in different environments, one is typically used for natural scenes whereas the other is used for locations because some light sources are only obtainable within artificial environments.

Natural Light

Usually used for natural scenes, it may also be used for an architectural scene.

Artificial Light

As you can see the artificial light comes from light sources that are man-made.


Final thoughts

Thank you for reading everyone! I hope this brief guide will help you to understand how to build something when you don’t know where to start. If you are an advanced or an elite tier builder please do message me. Let’s have a debate about something that I’ve missed or misunderstood, that way I’ll be able to amend my errors. And if you find any grammar error message me as well so I will correct it, I’m not a native english speaker and I am aware that my english is not the best. Best of luck in your future projects!

Disclaimer: In this guide I used online materials as well as personal ones. I’m not mainly using Roblox buildings because I’d like to present the concept as clearly as possible for a beginner. Having the visual idea simplified things, as opposed to just portraying them in complex projects…in my opinion it’s the best approach for a novice.

Update:

Reformulated the guide in a more intelligible way.

120 Likes

Thank you for presenting this wonderful tutorial; and making it so accessible. A study in design, covering such a diverse range of topics. Even those working on a collegiate level education would spend months or several semesters covering. This will be a huge asset to any member of our community; No matter their experience level.

I also want to thank you for finally giving me the name for this very specific style of design :wink:

7 Likes

Thank you for making this guide. Although I do know how to build, it’s always a good start improving your building skills on the platform. :slight_smile:

Really appreciate it. - Zachjelly

2 Likes

Without doubt that my building skill will improve after i read all these. thank you very much :smiley:

2 Likes

Very helpful to a Novice builder like me. I appreciate this a lot.

1 Like

This is a very good tutorial, no matter the level of skill a builder has, going over everything you explained can really help someone. It really helped me out

1 Like

Very helpful and well made tutorial, definitely will be very helpful to me, can’t wait for my builds to improve off of this. Thank you very much!

1 Like

I want to thank to everyone for reading and liking this guide, I really hope this helped you in the long! I am willing to make another guide, based on the basics and concepts. What should be the next guide based upon?

  • Low-Poly 101
  • Roblox Studio’s 101

0 voters

Wow! This is extremely helpful!

I’ll be taking this into consideration when making my games.

1 Like

Thanks! This will help my building to improve.

1 Like

Just found this, and it will for sure help me to improve my current building ability!
Thanks!

1 Like