Monthly Archives: October 2007

Tutorial 1b

Keeping up with Mike ūüôā
Just as a demo, I used the small images Mike posted to paint the inside of my model bounding box.
 
First I adjusted the material properties in 3DC so tha material ambient value is 100% – this means the material will ignore any lighting effects within the modelling tool. I currently have ambient light, two direction lights and one point light in the scene, which is the default when starting 3DC.
 
sw1500-1e
 
Next I load the image into the texture tab (second one from the left) by clicking on the image and selecting the file.

sw1500-1d

I can now use the paint brush tool on the right bar to fill the face with the image.

I repeated this process with the side and rear images.

For some reason the top view fill wouldn’t align with the display, so I used the alternative method of filling a face – which is generally more reliable than the paint tool.

First Select the face with the face selection tool (second from top on the right)

Align the display with the top view image –¬†viewing down from above with the front to the left in this case.

Click on the fill operation in the operations panel on the left:

sw1500-1g

I also changed the display options to make it look a bit more like Max

sw1500-1f

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Tutorial Update 1a

I don’t normally work with backdrops but to keep in sync with Mike’s model I’ll give it a try – never too late to learn a new technique.
 
My normal method is to make parts and position using known dimensions off of plans. A bit like making a plastic kit.
 
I found a side elevation of the SW1500 on the net, chopped it to the limits of the loco.
 
Adjusted the box on top of my generated model to the right height and position, inverted it, pasted on the image and locked it.
SW1500-1C

Mike Porters Tutorial

Mike Porter (http://portergraphic.spaces.live.com/) from the ACES team has started his rollingstock tutorial for MSTS2, using 3DS Max.
 
I thought I would take some of that information and re-run it with 3D canvas.
Unfortunately I don’t have the plans so I’m working a bit blind.
 
3DCanvas can be set to work in feet, but being a good "european" I prefer to stick with metric, the conversion is not difficult Рand the computer will do it for you with the right tools Wink
 
I start the model by running my TS Engineer 3.0 plugin for 3D canvas Pro
 

sw1500-1a

Firstly I select a similar wheel format from the list on the right (Passenger Coach/EMU in this case) to give me 2 bogies.
I then fill in the boxes with the dimensions.

The plugin accepts input values like 40’8",¬†4′ or 20". It knows what system 3D canvas is set to and, in this case,¬†converts the values to their metric equivalent.

I fill in the values for one bogie and use the copy button to set the other. I then fill in the main box dimensions and press the start building button.

2 Seconds later:

sw1500-1b

I usually save a copy of the settings I have used just incase I need to do it again or to build something similar.

Still a little way to go.

Well it sort of worked after a bit of tweaking.
 
I managed to re-export the Sopwith Dolphin with the blurred prop object not producing any shadows (which I set from the 3DC material editor)
 
I just need to test all of the 50 extra parameters now Рwhich could take some time.

Progress

I think I’ve almost finished the FSX material editor part of my export plugin now.
Unfortunately I can’t try it out at work!
 
Instead of the long scrolling page used by the gMax plugin, I’ve gone for the tabbed dialog approach.
 
fsxx1
 
It’s not a perfect fit into 3D canvas, there is no material event I can tie into. You need to select an object then run the plugin – it should work ok.
I store the data in a readable format so manual editing is possible.
 
I’ve also decided to set up some "standard" materials – some of these are listed in the FS10 SDK new aircraft document. If I store this info in an XML file, users will be able to set up their own standard materials.

Trains and Planes

I’ve been playing with trains in MS Train Sim (MSTS) and Trainz (TRS2004) for 6 years now, time for a small change.
For various reasons Don't tell anyone, the release of Rail Simulator last week was a bit of a dissapointment. This also helped my decision
 
I’m going to do more Flight Sim X (FSX) modelling and flying. I’ve always enjoyed¬†flight sims over the years¬†and as an added bonus, the new MS Train Sim¬†is based on FSX.
I think I’ve settled in the Classic British flight sim forums¬†as they seem to be the best fit with my area of interest – old stuff like my trains – anything after 1930 is too new Open-mouthed
 
I’m not sure what to use this blog for, but I’ll start it as a progress monitor for my¬†FSX exporter for 3D Canvas Pro.
 
The state as of today is that I can export models with the same features as suppoerted within 3D Canvas, that is:
  • Material colour and specular shine
  • Animations
  • Texture Map with/without Alpha
  • Bump Map
  • Specular Map
  • Environment Map

The rest of the properties need an extra plugin to set the values. These will be stored against the material as a string property.

Along the way I have found that I needed to reverse all the animations and vertically flip the texture coordinates. It must be something to do with the max/gmax exporter being opposite to DirectX standard "right hand" coordinate system (which 3DC uses). The XtoMDL program must then compensate.