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Bullethead

MS type AI Progress

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I haven't had much time to play with Gmax lately. All I could do at first was just make the backgrounds. But yesterday I finally got around to making the 1st polies on my Morane-Saulnier type AI.

 

If you've never heard of this plane, don't feel bad--I hadn't either until a couple months ago. Think "French Razor". They built over 1000 of them, but they only served for a matter of weeks in just 3 squadrons during the war, although they were widely exported afterwards.

 

Anyway, after several false starts caused by needing to do certain things in different orders, I finally got the main fuselage cylinder down. Then I started playing with smoothing groups on it. The real plane had prominent stringers all down the fuselage but a metal front end, as seen in the pic below. So, I decided I'd try leaving most of the fuselage unsmoothed circumferentially and just smooth the fore-and-aft strips. Below is the result.

 

What do you think? And for you experienced folks out there, is this a good idea or not? I mean, the poly count is the same whether I leave the fuselage rough or smooth it and fake the stringers with the texture, right?

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Not in to modeling yet,,,but question....

 

did you use gmax to make that,,,i sorta thout gmax was for skinning,,,maybe its for both....

 

i did get autodesk maya (from a wf2 post a while back ago...) just havent done anything with it other than make a ball......

 

but when you are done,,,does whatever you use let you save it to a .m3d file? and if so,,,does whatever you use let you open, and edit m3d files?

 

and,,if you know,,,does maya have the same capabilities?

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Gmax is used to build the model. The model then needs to be mapped, which can be done in gmax or via LithUnwrap. This yields a template or 'paint kit' which can be painted with Photoshop, PaintShop Pro, Gimp, Paint.NET, MS Paint, A.N.OtherBitmapEditor and finally the painted textures are saved as .dds files

 

Nothing to it really .... hahaha!

 

As far as Maya goes, see particularly Bzhyoyo's remarks here:- http://forum.combata...plane-tutorial/ and .m3d files are a one-way street: you can make 'em, but you can't edit 'em!

Edited by hairyspin

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Hi,

 

Yes, thats the thread i saw which led me to get maya (which from you last post on the thread, indicates i dont need it....),,,,,,

 

so guess i need gmax if i want to make anything m3d.

 

ok,,did some searching,,and there are posts that indicate 3dsmax is better than gmax...do you agree?, or should i just consider using gmax

Edited by sitting_duck

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Oh, by all means use 3dsMax if you like, I'd love to be able to myself. One thing might sway your choice just a little - gmax is free and 3dsMax costs several thousand dollars (or several thousand pounds in the UK) unless you can buy a student licence. Even then, you're looking at a couple of hundred dollars - similar in sterling - for a permanent licence. Even on eBay it costs a lot for a kosher copy.

 

Once you've got the model built, you'll still need to export to gmax to build the .m3d files.... You might also consider that gmax is overkill in its capabilities for CFS3 modelling - 3dsMax is overkill by several megatons!

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lol..ok,,this is too funny,,,now that i have maya,,AND 3dsMax,,,your telling me all i need is gmax.......

 

damn,,and all i wanted to do is make a christmas tree!!!!

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lol..ok,,this is too funny,,,now that i have maya,,AND 3dsMax,,,your telling me all i need is gmax.......

 

damn,,and all i wanted to do is make a christmas tree!!!!

 

Jeeze... you're better than me... I'd love to try modeling, but I drop it everytime. It takes me hours to make a cylinder, let alone an entire plane!!

 

How do you learn how to use it faster than frustrating experimentation?

 

OvS

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dont have a clue what you mean by entire planet......lol...all i want is a damn christmas tree!

 

I got a nice shiny green cone after about 5 hours of tuturials that always have ONE step that leaves you clueless what to do next....

 

think what i have to do next is get it to a wireframe,,,but that just a guess,,,,,

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I haven't had much chance to work on this for the past month or 2. What little time I had I used to refine the fuselage taking the above suggestions to heart, and I think it looks pretty good now.

 

One of the reasons for spending so much time on the fuselage was because I couldn't figure out a way to do the cowlling. It doesn't lend itself to being extruded from the fuselage because of the opening at the firewall. I tried a bunch of ways to do that, all to no avail. However, now that I know it's OK to use separate objects, I was able to make it, as shown below. It still needs a few more holes and the existing holes need to be cleaned up, but I think it's coming along OK. It doesn't QUITE touch the fuselage or overlap it at all, BTW.

 

However, I've run into a couple of problems:

 

 

 

1. Annoying Shadows

The main one is on the side of the fuselage, but there are small ones around the holes in the cowling. From my previous work, I know that it's possible to iron these wrinkles out by playing with smoothing groups, but nothing I've tried from the various vids has worked. Any ideas?

 

2. I am completely unable to make the cowling holes go all the way through. The cowling was made as a very thin-walled tube, which I extruded, uniformed scaled down, extruded again, etc. I cut the holes in the front surface with a 12-sided ngon spline using the "cookie cutter" option on the ShapeMerge. When I did this, the ngons were out on front of the cowling so made holes in the front surface. Then I moved the ngons behind the cowling and tried the same thing, but nothing happened. Any ideas how to fix that?

 

Thansk again for the help.

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Never a fan of cutting holes in meshes, so I'm not the person to ask.

 

As for your shadows though, that's an easy fix.

 

Most of the time with polygons, anything with more than 3 vertices that is not in microscopic perfect alignment, or if it abuts a shape that is out of plane, will result in those shadows.

 

The best way I have found to fix those is to either connect those vertices (in other words, divide your 5 sided polygon into several triangles) or take the shape that is out of plane and make it a separate element. Usually when I connect vertices, I'll tend to do it crosswise to the shadow. In your case, I would connect the upper left and lower center vertex, and connect the lower center vertex with the upper right vertex.

 

Try that and then smooth.

 

FC

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Hey BH!

 

Lookin' good there dude!

 

Something to play with and will sometimes help with those odd shadows

 

1 In the window , set up so you can see the edge lines like your picks show.

 

2 In the little window to the right, where it says Editable Poly. Right click on the editable poly in the window, and convert it to an editable mesh.

 

3 While in Editable Mesh, select edge.

 

4 With the arrow tool chosen, left click and hold, then draw out an area over the fuselage. Be careful not to be directly on the fuselage when you do this, or you will distort your polys.

 

Oops! Don't forget to check the ignore backfacing box!

 

5 Once the area is highlighted, you will see little dotted lines running across your poly. Go back to the window on the right, and under edit geometry, press the "Turn" button. It will highlight, then just move your cursor over the dotted lines and left click to change it's position.

 

 

As for your cowling, you can try a different technique. By creating your outside cowling, cut the holes, then clone the cowling, convert it to an editmesh, then down above the smoothing groups there is a button to "flip the normals". This will make an inside mirror of your cowl.

 

That last one was a trick I learned from Hairyspin.

 

Give a holler if you need a bit more help with that.

 

Conrad

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Never a fan of cutting holes in meshes.....

 

Does cutting holes cause problems down the road? Is there then another method for making holes like this?

 

As for your shadows though, that's an easy fix.

 

Thanks. That sounds nice and simple, which my Paleolithic mind can handle grin.gif .

 

 

Something to play with and will sometimes help with those odd shadows

 

Geez, there's so much about Gmax I don't know.

 

Technically speaking, what's the difference between an editable poly and an editable mesh? And why do you have to convert from one to the other to do some things like flip normals (which I sure can't see how to do with it as an editable poly)? And can your finished model have any editable meshes left at the end, or do they all need to be ediable polys or some other sort of thing?

 

Thanks again!

Edited by Bullethead

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I don't know about GMax in that I normally work with 3ds MAX.

 

As far as the holes thing, I usually just do a boolean as simple as possible...I find the more complicated the cut, the more screwed up/unpredictable the results.

 

I was thinking something similar to what someone else said about the cowling...make just one side of the cowling with the holes, then copy and extrude the copy. Flip the normals and reattach to the original cowling mesh. Then weld verticies (0.001 spacing) and you're done.

 

Again, I don't know gMax or OFF/CFS3 require the models, but I work only in Editable Poly and I can do everything I can do in Editable Mesh and more.

 

FC

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I might be a bit late, but you have a long email waiting on forming the cowling.

 

I'm still digesting it. It was a BIG meal grin.gif . All the Gmax tricks in it are worth the price of admision by themselves. Many thanks.

 

So, is it better to do it that way or to make the cowl a separate object? If it's separate, you get a bit of discontinuity in the surface, which is realistic, but at the price of some additional polys, most of which aren't ever seen, and perhaps some z-buffer issues as a result.

 

I take it Boolean is better than splining? Thanks for pointing out how to make that work. I tried that before using a spline and ended up with total crap. Like my 12-sided cylinder I was using to make the whole produced a partial 6-sided hole all pluged up with polys I couldn't delete.

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Hey BH,

 

So, is it better to do it that way or to make the cowl a separate object? If it's separate, you get a bit of discontinuity in the surface, which is realistic, but at the price of some additional polys, most of which aren't ever seen, and perhaps some z-buffer issues as a result.

 

To create the cowl as a seperate object is fine. Just attach it to the fuselage when you're done. That should help avoid the issues you mentioned.

 

The difference between editable mesh and editable poly, technically speaking, I can not explain. But I am finding that if there are issues with deleting things while in poly, if I convert it, I can delete it. Same thing happens with vertices sometimes. They won't weld while in editable poly, but they will in editable mesh. I'm sure there is a more detailed explanation as to why it will work in one and not the other sometimes. But like you, I'm on the "discovery trail". And all the little details the guys with experience have been passing on, open up mores to experiment with.

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Editable mesh and editable poly are different ways of working with your model. The model is made up of vertices and edges joining them in groups of triangles - this is the mesh. Polygons have more than three vertices and edges, but each poly is made up of two or more triangles, the building blocks of your mesh.

 

Working in Editable Poly or Editable Mesh depends on what you want to do. You won't get access to the individual triangles except in Editable Mesh, but Borders are only directly accessible in Editable Poly. Slicing polys is best done in Editable Poly, extruding edges in Editable Mesh (brilliant operation) and Flipping Normals (language! blink.gif ) to turn polys inside out can only be done in Editable Mesh. Experiment to find out what works, like Conrad says. Editable Patch is something different which I'm still learning about, but has to do with bending and stretching within the confines of a defined mesh.

 

CFS3 doesn't mind whether your model is all Editable Meshes or Editable Polys or a mix of both with some pre-defined shapes (box, cylinder, teapot etc) thrown in for good measure.

 

As far as building your model with separate objects versus extrusions from a starting object; well, that argument will go on as long as gmax/3dsMax have users. Don't be forced one way or another, we all use both methods to some extent or another. When it comes to making the model fit for export to CFS3, you're going to break up your gorgeous single object into fuselage, l_wing, r_wing, rudder etc and the 'collection of objects' modeller will have to make sure there are no annoying gaps in the model - viewing the scenery through a gap between engine cowling and fuselage detracts somewhat from the immersion factor. Large parts which overlap will also cause serious skinning problems.

 

3dsMax is just the big brother to gmax - originally gmax 1.2 was 3dsMax 4.2 minus the rendering facility and NURBS (whatever that is....) but Max is a whole lot more capable these days. If you think gmax has a heap to learn.......! But, the Max modeller has to get his finished model back into gmax before it can be exported to CFS3, unless he's still using Max 4.2.

 

 

And I know you gentlemen save your work regularly, but I always pass on the Save As Plus tip:-

 

In the Preferences for gmax, Files tab is an option to Increment on Save - this means that if your file is named Halberstadt01.gmax, when you save it it will be saved as Halberstadt02.gmax. The other option is Save As - when the dialogue box comes up, there is a '+' button next to the 'Save' button. Click this button and MS_AI.gmax will be saved as MS_AI01.gmax immediately. I have hundreds of files which are the building history of my current model.

 

HTH

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Thanks for that little save option there Hairyspin! A new piece of info! Yeah........ Now to make a note of it. good.gif

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Working in Editable Poly or Editable Mesh depends on what you want to do. You won't get access to the individual triangles except in Editable Mesh, but Borders are only directly accessible in Editable Poly. Slicing polys is best done in Editable Poly, extruding edges in Editable Mesh (brilliant operation) and Flipping Normals (language! blink.gif ) to turn polys inside out can only be done in Editable Mesh. Experiment to find out what works, like Conrad says. Editable Patch is something different which I'm still learning about, but has to do with bending and stretching within the confines of a defined mesh.

 

I've been wanted to extrude edges. Thanks for the tip on that ok.gif. Nice to know the differences.

 

When it comes to making the model fit for export to CFS3, you're going to break up your gorgeous single object into fuselage, l_wing, r_wing, rudder etc and the 'collection of objects' modeller will have to make sure there are no annoying gaps in the model - viewing the scenery through a gap between engine cowling and fuselage detracts somewhat from the immersion factor.

 

When I did it with a separate piece, the gap between fuselage and cowling was 1mm so the gap would only be visible when viewed from precisely the correct angle. You'd never see it from your own cockpit. But just maybe, in an external view or if you were fighting my plane, you'd see the gap if you were precisely 90^ to it. So I didn't think the gap per se would be a big deal. I was more worried about z-buffer issues when viewed from non-90^ angles, like maybe if you were looking at the plane from an angle to the front, you'd see the firewall on top of the cowling, like how it shows up in Gmax.

 

I spent ALL DAMN DAY working on the cowling, which is a pretty complex POS. I was doing it as in your email, outside only, then clone, flip, and shrink the inside. Below are the results. Mucho fiddling with vertices, edges, and smoothing groups to try to eliminate dents and shadows on the finished product as much as possible. I got about 99^ of them ironed out, can't get the the rest any better, and figure "it's done". You can only see what remains if you look really close from just the right angles, so they aren't a big deal IMHO.

 

I'm particularly proud of the the long, narrow, curved slot in the cowl front at 10 o'clock as you see it from the front. That was a real MF.

 

However, as you can see, the firewall causes a z-buffer problem in Gmax. Will that show up in the game? If so, then I think making the cowling as a separate object would be better. When I did it that way, there as no z-buffer problem in Gmax. Besides, it would be MUCH easier to texture the inside that way. I suppose I can do that by detatching the present cowling rather than having to start over--I sure don't want to go through making all those holes and slots again. What do you think?

 

I haven't haven't gotten to cutting the "organ pipe" gap in the lower fuselage yet, but that shouldn't be a problem. Thanks muchos for telling me how to do Booleans without things going completely to crap.

 

Anyway, thanks to everybody for the help, and please feel free to point out what I did wrong here, so I can fix it.

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Attaboy! clapping.gif Booleans give such a neat tidy cut when you get them right. And it's a gmax problem I think, not Z buffer - are you sure there's not a poly or a set of twisted edges hanging around there?

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Booleans give such a neat tidy cut when you get them right.

 

Well, the Booleans (reference, cut, refine) do seem to have the virtue of being able to cut more than 1 surface at a time, and also seem to leave fewer spare vertices than spline cutting. So I think I'll be doing all my cuts that way now. Thanks for telling me what settings to use.

 

And it's a gmax problem I think, not Z buffer - are you sure there's not a poly or a set of twisted edges hanging around there?

 

After further review, this seems to be just an artifact of the Gmax "User" view. When I change it to "Perspective", all the trash goes away.

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After further review, this seems to be just an artifact of the Gmax "User" view. When I change it to "Perspective", all the trash goes away.

 

Sometimes I get strange artifacts on screen, like past remnants of what I've just moved/deleted/hidden. Zooming in & out or panning the view a touch will remove them to show the present condition.

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