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Tips and tricks from an idiot savant

Discussion in 'Modeling' started by ErickC, 9 Dec 2016.

  1. n4gix

    n4gix Resource contributor

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    Eric, why aren't you using the "Mirror Modifier" on the stack instead of that stupid and irrational "Mirror Mangler" button on the top tool bar? It does the same job but without screwing up the normals. :scratchch
     
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  2. tgibson

    tgibson

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    I think that's what he says he is using in the last post? I think he just wished the button didn't mess up the normals, because it works better in certain circumstances.
     
  3. hairyspin

    hairyspin Resource contributor

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    Paul Domingue posted some months ago how to use the Mirror Button safely. :confused: No, really. Having produced a mirrored clone of object whatever with the Dreaded Button, Attach the copy whatever01 to the original. You will now have two things which are both part of the original object whatever. In Element sub-object, select the copy and Detach it. Change the sign of its pivot x position and do the necessary for its orientation. The Attach operation restores proper normal alignment to the clone and avoids the inside-out problem in FS.

    Not for novices, so I'd maintain the Universal Warning to any novice Gmax/3dsMax user. I removed the Blasted Button from both Gmax and Max toolbars and don't think about it now.
     
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  4. Heretic

    Heretic Resource contributor

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    Doesn't the mirror gizmo in GMax support offsets?
    In 3ds Max, I'd simply move the gizmo to x = 0m and end up with perfectly symmetrical parts.
     
  5. ErickC

    ErickC

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    It's not the mirroring I hate, it's the fixing of pivots, copying and pasting of translation key values, and rebuilding of the hierarchy that bother me. The button does it all automatically - by applying a scale of -1 if memory serves - and takes about a second, the process we have to use because of the screwy normals (any way you make them un-screwy requires redoing everything I just described anyway) takes long enough that it's something that I avoid until the model is nearly done.

    Anyway, I'm working like mad on a model that won't be named - I have an anniversary to make, and not a whole lot of time to do it!
     
  6. hairyspin

    hairyspin Resource contributor

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    Of course it does, we're just covering as many ways to skin the same cat as possible. ;-)
     
  7. Heretic

    Heretic Resource contributor

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    Regarding the normals, there's not much that the "Flip" button in polygon mode ("Edit Poly" modifier) can't fix.

    Except inversely oriented polygons with "normal" normals. Which will make an object appear as "right side out", but shaded darkly in MCX or FSX and will require some tedious, manual .x file editing. But that's a whole different story.
     
  8. ErickC

    ErickC

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    Just a quick heads-up, although only applicable to FS9. I like to use alpha channels to control transparency because it allows all kinds of interesting effects that you can't get with transparent textures. I set up the transparent material here and this was the result:

    B737 1.0 progress 256.JPG
    Well, my first instinct was to set a Z-bias in the window materials. It worked like a fart in a space suit. Notice, however, that the landing light lens, which uses the same material, is showing the wing behind it just fine. I didn't want to give up the alpha transparency, because it's also being used to allow the painter to control the visibility of some parts, such as eyebrow windows or beacon housings (others will use the title line in the aircraft.cfg a la TDS), i.e. parts that are already transparent. I noticed a thin sliver of nose with the clear air windows open from some angles, so I exported a version with an auto-interior via model commander:

    B737 1.0 progress 257.JPG
    A ha - that's odd. You can see the nose, you can see the sliding clear air window frame, but the thin sliver of window frame that's part of the interior walls is not visible.

    I made a guess - the parts you can see are all above the transparent parts in the hierarchy. So I made the windows children of the interior walls:

    B737 1.0 progress 258.JPG

    Almost there, but the inner windows aren't visible through the outer windows. Working on the hierarchy idea, I reversed them, made the inner non-moving windows and sliding window carriage parents of the cockpit walls, the inner clear air windows children of the carriages, and the outer windows children of the inner windows.

    Voila - problem solved!

    B737 1.0 progress 259.JPG

    The further down the hierarchy, the later the draw order. Parts that must be drawn behind something must be higher up in the hierarchy.
     
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  9. hairyspin

    hairyspin Resource contributor

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    That is invaluable, thanks!

    Tidy mapping too. :wizard:
     
    Last edited: 7 Apr 2017
  10. Ronald

    Ronald Resource contributor

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    Awesome knowledge (and nice mesh-pictures too) shared again ErickC, thanks!
     
  11. ErickC

    ErickC

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    Yep, I'm an idiot.

    I've been watching some Blender tutorials - because I am finally starting to accept the inevitable - and thought how neat it was that so many functions could be performed by the center mouse button. Realizing that Blender and Max have more common functions than the interfaces indicate, and being too lazy to dig through the manual, I decided to see what I could do.

    Since I was evaluating some of my locomotive WIP, I already had GMax open. I decided to see what would happen. I clicked the button and dragged in a viewpoint. It panned the scene. I figured "if we can pan, I bet we can rotate." So I held down control and clicked. No rotation, but it speeds the pan up. Shift? Oh, shift is nifty, but not rotation. Shift will constrain the pan to whatever axis you're mostly moving the cursor about. One last key - and sure enough, holding down alt and the center mouse button rotates!

    I was thinking I might finish this:

    1703 1.2a.JPG

    Oh, I know, it's irrelevant to the forum. I'll be a good boy next time.:rotfl:
     
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  12. hairyspin

    hairyspin Resource contributor

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    My dear chap, do try to keep up: the middle mouse button is a time-honoured bit of Gmax productivity! :rotfl:
     
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  13. antaris

    antaris

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    Hello Mr. Cantu

    Just want to say that your locomotive is in a single word, beautiful. To the untrained eyes (like mine), seems a very sophisticated balance between modeled details and textures -which are outstanding by its own-. Keep up the good work sir.

    Kindest regards,
    Sergio Kauffman.
     
  14. Ronald

    Ronald Resource contributor

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    Coming from my own Blender experience, If you do not take the time to dig through the very (user-interface-)basics of Blender, you will crash later on in the process.
    That is why i've shared my Blender (started) experience in this resource, for everyone to enjoy:

    Blender2FSX Toolkit - "Getting Started Guide"
    Inside this getting started-guide are a ton of links to almost every blender-related-subject one can think off, including the GUI-basics.
    - http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/resources/blender2fsx-toolkit-getting-started-guide.191/
     
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  15. Paul Domingue

    Paul Domingue Resource contributor

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    Far from irrelevant. Don't forget all the ground scenery and any modelling is relevant.

    Btw, I downloaded and played with the latest version of Blender. I noticed at startup you have the option to select 3ds Max style of control.
     
  16. tgibson

    tgibson

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  17. Melo965

    Melo965

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    How much like 3DS Max does it get when you use the 3DS Max option? I opened up Blender the other day and it appears to be quite different from the MAX way of doing things.

    I will be on vacation for a week or so soon, and not bringing the computer. I did buy and download the Virtual P-40 Airplane Blender eBook so I can learn about Blender while on vacation. Like Eric said, eventually I will have to go the Blender route.
     
  18. Ronald

    Ronald Resource contributor

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    Congratulations Melo965, since that is the best online learning resources in relation to Blender and aircraft modeling.
     
  19. ErickC

    ErickC

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    That it is - I even have a few photos of it on that very site! I think this unfinished beast might be more to your liking, though:

    RSD15-v2-1.1.JPG
    That I had stopped working on it sometime before 1703 got to its present state is readily apparent by the big difference in overall resolution, but it's still an order of magnitude better than v1. It's actually kind of sad that, given my well-known love of ALCo power, the only ones I had in the works besides the v2 RSD15 were a C424 and RSD-5. Most of the locomotives I released or had in the works were second-generation GM units.

    Open Rails now supports functional 3D cabs, so I did a bit of tinkering with the GP10 model, exporting a version of the model sans-figures to get a feel for the new procedures:

    RLCX-1703-cab-1.2.JPG
    RLCX-1703-cab-1.3.JPG

    It's just the cab from the exterior model, and is rather primitive for a virtual cab, but I'm going to use it to test out the addition of functional gauges and animated controls. Once I get the process down, I'll be able to finish the higher-res version of the cab that I started with the intent on rendering the cab-view images. No point in rendering stills anymore, might as well just make a virtual cab out of it.
     
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  20. tgibson

    tgibson

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    Very nice Alligator! (for those who are not train buffs it's called that because of the long nose). I see you are modeling the Santa Fe modification with the large opening in place of one of the carbody filters. Another detail - it's an example of the second (of two) orders by ATSF since it has one air tank on each side. My Broadway Limited HO models are from the first order, with two air tanks on one side and none on the other.

    I'd encourage you to finish it, but I don't use TS anymore - too busy with FS and my club layout (La Mesa Model RR Club at the SD Model RR Museum).

    Thanks,
     

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