I'm not an artist, so unfortunately basic stuff like UV's, texturing, organic modeling, animation, and general not sucking are kind of hopeless for me. Nonetheless...
You can check out a lot of this stuff in motion from test videos for my last (dead) project. This also shows the kind of particle effects I was able to make in Sins of a Solar Empire whose particle engine is extremely limited, even compared to warcraft 3's. You can imagine silly things might happen when I start taking sc2 more seriously in that regard.
This model you may recognize. It originated in maya 2007, and SgtHK patched it up circa 2009ish. I had to rebuild his textures and UV's as well as redo a chunk of the mesh in 2010 to get it Sc2 ready. You'll notice that NiN's exporter struggled with the mesh (the sc2 art tools won't even export it as-is, because it's too many individual objects). I used the mesh to stress test the sc2 renderer. It's over 110k triangles, typical of my maya models since it has zero optimization, and uses 6 sets of 4kx4k textures. 30+ of these didn't even move the game's fps. This is the only mesh I have ever dealt with UV's or textures on, and it took multiple full days to figure out.
Needless to say, for my current project, I will rebuild this from scratch.
More trash from 2010. They are actually objects from scenes I was trying to build back then, before I realized just how small sc2 maps really were and that my TPS Campaign plans were completely impossible.
Some material experiments in the UDK. Oh if only sc2 could look that good. Other than the Moire effect. I couldn't figure out how to fix that.
Nonetheless, I am not good enough to do anything with the UDK. So, my experiments stopped there.
Not so impressive in Sc2...
^ You might remember those guys. They are from my 2012 campaign concept. They are probably too low quality to be used alongside my current ports and stuff, so I'll probably remake them or work off of them for one of the races. I don't know how I'll try to texture or UV them. Probably very similar to how the DyiithJhinn were done in Retribution.
My leading method of adding texture detail is to face-by-face split meshes and assign different materials to them.
Here's another old model of mine that SgtHK textured circa 2009 before he became too good to deal with people like me. Unlike the Juggernaut this only never got updated afterwards. It would need to be totally redone for sc2 if I ever decided to add it.
Some ships from Retribution. Many can be seen in those videos.
And a spiderbot from ages ago, I think 2010. I was hoping this could be animated via IK for a UDK project, but I wouldn't be the one to do it since I can't animate. The front panel is basically a weapon hardpoint, but I never made the weapons.
Haha, if I had the skills I would remodel all of the Terran stuff and get rid of that bulky look and feel you're talking about. Even though it would come at the cost of readability. I just hate the way that stuff looks. The materials for the few I put in sc2 were quite experimental... I wanted more specular definition on those, but I had a great deal of trouble getting that kind of look with the old tools. I think with the current tools I could get them more like what I intended, but I'd have to remodel/re-UV/re-texture them first, and that's just not something I can do at the moment. Also, NiN's exporter took an average of 4-5 hours to export even small non-animated models, so iterations were just impossible.
At the very least, I'm going to do some kind of script on the terran units that makes them appear a bit darker, like the cinematics models. Just changing the lighting settings is not having the expected results thus far. It's something I will have to play around a lot with, and potentially expand into the terrain and other races, for consistency.
Most of these were actually for a Sins of a Solar Empire machinima/movie project.