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Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

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Polaris

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Post June 13th, 2009, 10:26 am

Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

Full tutorial, start to finish, on learning how to make 3d models, texture them, and getting them into Starcraft.



Alright, here we go:

First, make sure you have these programs:

Wings 3d http://www.wings3d.com/
3Dsmax (The trial version works for rendering as well) (If you cant get 3dsmax, try Gmax, I believe it should have the same rendering ability as 3dsmax)
GIMP - Not always needed, but most renders don't look good hot off the press. http://www.gimp.org/
Some GRP conversion software.

---

Part 1: Creating your 3d model

So, have you always been in envy of those mods with the cool 3d rendered units? Well, have no fear, after reading this, you will be able to do the same thing!

Alright, to begin, if you haven't already, download Wings 3d. If you have it installed and ready to go, open up the program. You should see a screen like this:

Image

HUGELY IMPORTANT!!!! Wings 3d has some bugs with saving stuff, and occasionally crashes when using the "Save as" function. To prevent it crashing, we must save it before we actually start creating anything. So, go to file>Save As> Type the name in, then hit ok. If it crashes, just start it up and try it again. Note that it will never crash when when you save normally, by just clicking "save" when you are making the model.

Back on track, that screen is pretty plain and empty, right? Lets fix that.

Wings 3d's functions are pretty much all mouse based, so, keep in mind, the right mouse button will be your best friend.

Anyway, the basics of camera control: You press and release the middle mouse button. Wow, that was easy! Now, just move your mouse around to move around the 3d plane. Scroll up or down with the mousewheel to zoom in or out. When you have the camera position where you want it, just press the middle mouse button once more, and it will lock your view, and you can work normally.

Alright, that's it for the camera, lets start making our model!

Right click anywhere on the screen. It should bring up a menu like this:

Image

Select the Cube option. You should now have a nice, fat, juicy cube sitting in the center of your screen.
Image

Now, lets turn this stupid looking cube into one sexy space ship!

Make sure you have Face Select active:

Image


Select the front face of the cube, pointing outward to the Z axis.
Image

Right click anywhere on the screen, bringing up that infamous right click menu. Select "extrude," and then "Normal."((Quick explanation here: If you extrude normal, it will extrude where ever the face is pointing. If you extrude on say, the y axis, it will extrude the face up or down)) Now you will find if you move your mouse, the face will be either extended outward, or into the model. We want to it extend outward.

Image

Save periodically, don't forget. ;)

Next up, we want to bevel that front face. Make sure the face you extruded before is still selected, then right click anywhere, and select "Bevel." Move your mouse around until you get it the way you want.

K, working our way through the varius functions... Deselect the front face by pressing the space bar, or clicking on it again. Now, we want to select the two far faces on the side, or, pointing on the X axis. Now, to select multiple faces in Wings, you dont need to hold down control, or anything, just click on them. Click on both faces on the left and right X axis.

Image

Now, another wonderful function: Inset. Right click with the faces selected, and go down to "Inset." Now, moving your mouse, you will see that this makes the selection you have on those faces much smaller, or bigger. We want to make it smaller, but not too small. Here's about how small you should inset it:

Image

Right, so, these are supposed to be wings on our little space ship, so lets make that selection not as high. Right click, and go to Scale>y axis.(Scale is a huge function, and it can be used for a wide variety of things, experiment with it) Now, moving your mouse, it adjusts the height of your insetted selection. Make it thin, something like this:
Image

k, lets make those wings! Right click, and extrude them, normally.

Image

But they still dont look like wings! Let's fix it. With the two faces on the end of the wings selected, right click, and go to Move> Z axis. Move the mouse until the wings are back about this far, or however far you want them:
Image


Alright, one last thing to do to finish off those pesky wings! With those two end faces still selected, right click, and go to Scale>y axis. Move the mouse until they are like this:

Image

Good, now they look like wings!

Say, this whole ship is way to big and fat. We should change that. Change your selection mode from Faces to whole Entities:
Image

Now, select your whole model. Right click, go to scale> y axis, and scale it until you think it looks right.
Image

Yay, now it looks remotely like a ship designed by drunk engineers! In fact, worse then that, it looks like it was designed by some silly 14 year old kid who has too much time on his hands! Oh wait...

Now, we have one last thing to do: The engine. Switch back to the face select mode, at the top. Select the back face on the model, and inset it slightly.
Image

Then extrude it a bit. Ok, now, select all the faces around the engine, except for the front face.
Image

Now, right click, and select smooth. Your engine should now be circular. Almost done... (Also, the smooth function is very nice, but it also drastically increased the polygon count of your model, so only use it when needed. More polygons makes it harder to texture properly.)

Go to the Edge select mode, at the top.
Image
Make sure you press the space bar to deselect everything before you start this part. See those edges in the back of the engine creating a sorta diamond shape? We don't want those. Select them.
Image

Right click, then go to dissolve. (or you can just hit backspace, that's the shortcut) Those edges you selected should be gone now.

Switch back to face select mode, and select the back face of the engine, where you deleted those edges.Right click, and inset it slightly.
Image

Next, with that face still selected, go to extrude>normal, and instead of making it go outward, this time, we want it to go inwards. Make it go back about this far:
Image

Now, the finishing step! Right click, and go to Bevel. Bevel the face until it looks about like this:
Image

And that's it! Your done! At least, with the basic tutorial. Do whatever you want to make the ship look better, and practice up with making your models. Basically in the tutorial, I wasn't trying to show you how to make something amazing, I was just teaching you how wings worked, and going over the basic functions\modes\ect. The rest of the learning is up to you! So, what are you waiting for? GO MAKE SOME MODELS!

-End part 1.

Part 2 will be on UVW mapping, which is a very advanced form of texturing. (sounds scary, huh? Well, its not that hard, really, as long as you know a bit about GIMP, or photoshitshop)

JUST KEEP IN MIND! THE FEWER POLYGONS\FACES YOU HAVE ON YOUR MODEL, THE EASIER IT WILL BE TO TEXTURE! Besides, SC rapes the quality of the models anyway, so there really isnt a huge need to make a model more then 400 polygons.

Have fun!
Last edited by Polaris on June 15th, 2009, 7:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Polaris

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Post June 13th, 2009, 10:27 am

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tuturial

Part 2- UVW Mapping and Texturing

(Make sure your model is saved before you start this step! Screw-ups here are bad.)

So, we have an awesome space ship here, but it looks quite bland. We should probably change that.

Go to the Whole entity select mode.
Image
Select your ship. Right click, go to UV Mapping, then Direct.

Image

You should now have a window pop up looking like a copy of the other one. But its not, exactly.

Really quick, let me explain what UVW mapping is. UVW mapping is unwrapping your 3d model into a 2d image, basically. Its also the most advanced form of texturing. Anyway, moving on...

Right click in your new window, and go to Segment by>Projection. Your model should now look pretty funky colored, like this:

Image

What those odd colors are, are coordinates for unwrapping your model into a 2d image. Its hard to explain, but you'll get it as you follow this.

Now, for this model, using the Segment by Projection was almost perfect, but for most models, it takes a little bit more then that. Lets just change one thing:

Look at the front of the ship. See those 3 different colors in the front?

Image

Select those faces. Once selected, right click, and go to AV chart 4. (Its the green color) Those faces you selected should now look green.

Alright! Now your model is all divided up, and ready to be unwrapped into a 2D image! Right click, and go to Continue>Projection Normal.

Image

Now, wait a second, and your model should be fully unwrapped! (Note, if it comes up with "could not calculate normal for chart, just ignore it, it means nothing important)

So now you have the alphabet pasted onto your ship. Now, unless you want it like that, I suggest we put something a little less gay to be the texture. Right click in your Unwrapped model's window, and click Create Texture. Use the parameters as below:
Image

Hit OK, and your unwrapped model should look like this:
Image

(Note, don't close out of the UVW window, you will need it later. Just resize it if you have to. If you did\do close out of it, get back into it by following the first 2 steps)

Also, very useful hint: You can click on the unwrapped objects in the window, and not only will it highlight it in the UVW window, but it highlights it in the normal window as well. This is useful for identifying what face is what:

Image

Moving on, in the MAIN geometry window, at the top, not right click, go to Window>Outliner. This should bring up a small window looking like this: Image

See the cube1_auv entry? Thats your unwrapped UVW texture. Right click on it, and go to Make External.
Image

Save it somewhere where you will remember it.

Now comes the fun part! Fire up GIMP, and open up the texture you just made External. Create a new layer. Layers>New Layer. Leave the parameters alone, and hit OK. Now, download and save this texture, and copy it into your Unwrapped UVW image: http://i536.photobucket.com/albums/ff328/Psiyon/newtexture-1.png
Heres what it should look like:
Image

Now, we arent done yet. Go to Dialogs>Layers. It should bring up this window:
Image

Move the bottom layer to the top. (click and drag it) Now, you should see your unwrapped model in the front. Find the wings. (The topsides of them, that is) To find the right ones, switch back into wings, and follow this:
"You can click on the unwrapped objects in the UVW window, and not only will it highlight it in the UVW window, but it highlights it in the normal window as well. This is useful for identifying what face is what:

Image"

Now, back to GIMP, click on the fuzzy select tool. (Shortcut is U) Now, with that on, select the two topsides of the wings (Hold shift while you go to select the other one):
Image

*Do note that those two that I have selected might not be the right ones for yours.

Keeping those two topside wing faces selected, go into the Layers Dialog. (Dialogs>layers, if you closed it)

Move your textured layer back to the top. You should now see the texture, with the outlines of the two wings still selected. Now, make sure these are still selected. Switch to the Bucket Fill tool. (Shortcut is Shift + B) Now, go to the tool options window. (if you closed it, go to Dialogs>tool options)

Go down, and check the "Fill whole Selection" box:
Image

Now, one last thing to do: Go to the main GIMP panel, and double click on your foreground color.

(Its Black by default) Change it to this color: ff00fc
Image

Now, with the Bucket fill on, and your foreground color set to pink, click on the outlined selections. They should now be colored Pink.
Image

Now, we are ready to stick this back into Wings3d. Deselect the two wings. Go to Image> Flatten Image, or you can merge the layers in the layers Dialog. Either way, it has to be 1 layer. Now, Save it. Don't save it as a new one, save right over the original. Ctrl+s.

Finally, we can get the texture on our model. Head back into Wings 3d, and go to the Outliner window. (It can disappear sometimes, so its Window>Outliner.)

Select your Cube1_auv, right click, and select "refresh."
Image

You should now see your texture magically appear onto your model.
Image

One last thing to do. Back in the outliner window, select your Cube1_auv once more. Right click, and select "make internal."

You're done. But before you save it, lets prepare it for the next section of the tutorial.

Go to File>Export>Wavefront (.obj), and save it somewhere you will remember it.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU KNOW HOW TO UVW MAP! Feel free to experiment with it, and make your poorly textured model look 100x better. Just remember: Keep it simple. If you use too many decals and stuff, it will get raped of quality when you put it in Starcraft, and it will also probably look like shit as well.

--End part 2
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Polaris

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Post June 13th, 2009, 10:31 am

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tuturial

Part 3 - Rendering Your Unit


Congrats on making it this far. This is also, by far, the easiest part of it all.


Boot up 3Dsmax, or Gmax.

Once booted up, go to File>Import. When it brings up the explorer window, navigate to the folder your exported .obj file is in. Click the File Type dropdown box, and select Wavefront Object (.obj)
Image

Hit ok, ok again, and ok once more, then you should see your model, untextured, loaded into 3dsmax. (You will see the texture when you render it, don't freak out.)

Now, the first step: Rescale the time to 17 frames. See the timeline on the bottom? On the right, click this button:
Image
The mouseover says Time Configuration, and looks like a window with a clock, for those who cant see.

Once you click that, it pops up with a window looking like this:
Image
In the Frame count box, change it to 17, and hit Rescale Time, and hit ok. Your timebar should now only have 17 frames, instead of 101.

Next step: We need to create an Arc for our camera to follow. Turn on Snaps.
Image
Now, in the sidebar, go to Create>Shapes>Arc.
Image


Now, move to your Top Viewport. (If you dont have one, press the T key.) Click and hold down one square above your ship. (Snaps should be on and helping you get it exact) Then, still holding the mouse down, drag down to one square below your ship.
Image
Release your mouse, and drag your arc one square to the right.
Image

Click once more, then your arc should be done.

Alright, now, we need to make a camera. In the sidebar, go to Create>cameras>Target Camera.

Image
CHECK OTHROGRAPHIC PROJECTION!!! All of Starcraft's units were rendered with this on, and anything without it will look odd(er :P) ingame.

Next, move into your Top viewport once again. Click and hold 1 square above your ship, and drag until you are in the dead center of it. Release your mouse.
Image

Now, we need to get your camera to follow the Arc around. Select your camera. At the top, go to Animation>Constraints>Path Constraint.
Image
You should now have a dotted line following your cursor. Click on the Arc with it. Your camera should automatically snap to the start of it, which is the bottom.
Image

But oh no! Its going to render it the wrong way! Lets fix that. Select your ship, and click on the Mirror button, it looks like two triangles with a line in the middle. Select Mirror Y axis.
Image

Your model should now be facing upward, which is the correct way when it renders it.

Getting close! Change to the front viewport. Zoom out\in to where you can see your arc. Select it, and move it exactly one grid space upward, which puts the camera on a 45 degree angle, which all units were rendered at. Image


Now, we are ready to render it! IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE YOUR TIMELINE IS AT FAME 0 BEFORE YOU START THIS STEP!

Click on one of your viewports and press "C." You should now be seeing through your camera.

Now, go to Rendering>Render, and this window should come up:
Image

Under the Common tab, make these changes:
Check Active Time Segment: 0 - 16. This will make it render all 17 frames out at once.
Change the size to 96 hight and 96 width.
Check the option Superblack. (This makes it render no transparency on the model itself.)
At the very bottom, where it says Viewport, make sure it says Camera01, or whatever.

Now, click on: Files...
Image
That should bring up an explorer window. Find a place where you want to save 17 .bmp files. Name it lol.bmp, or polarisisgod.bmp, or something with a .bmp in it. Though, I would prefer you used polarisisgod.bmp :P

Hit ok, and it should bring up another window. Check 24 bit RGB, or whatever it is, and hit ok.

You are now all set. Again, make sure viewport is the camera, and the timebar is at frame 0.
Hit the big render button at the bottom. It should bring up a window, but just close out of it. Navigate to your folder that you saved your .bmps in, and compile them with your favorite GRP editor. Now, you have 2 options at this point: make it looks a lot better with Gimp or Photoshop, or put it ingame right away. I chose to make it look better. Here's my result:

Image

Congratulations, you now know how to 3d model (kinda, just keep practicing), UVW map, and render units for Starcraft!
Now, what are you waiting for? GO MAKE SOME KICK-ASS MODS!

-End Part 3

-End Tutorial
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bajadulce

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Post February 4th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tuturial

Polaris wrote:Image
CHECK OTHROGRAPHIC PROJECTION!!! All of Starcraft's units were rendered with this on, and anything without it will look odd(er :P) ingame.
Orthographic and Isometric must mean 2 different things nowadays. I was a machine draftsman working in college and Orthographic projection means using one view to project another (The most common being the top-front-side view). Isometric means lines moving towards the background are all at 30 degrees. And most importantly PARALLEL.. i.e NO vanishing point. Which is key. So there must be more to getting a true isometric render? Something I tried to find on the internet, but gave up on and eventually just resorted to faking it. I'm sure there are true methods of producing a "true" isometric render, I just never had the energy to find such info.

The true test would be to create a very LONG box and see if it renders with a vanishing point. i.e. the top and bottom edges converging on one another in the distance.
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Jack

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Post February 4th, 2010, 6:23 pm

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

Orthographic has nothing/little to do with isometric. Orthographic is when it's rendered without perspective; most modern 3D apps have an option for whether you want orthographic or perspective renders. Technically perspective is more realistic.
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bajadulce

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Post February 4th, 2010, 7:31 pm

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

Ortho is when it's rendered without perspective; modern 3D apps have an option for whether you want orthographic or perspective renders
Ahh I see what they are referring to now. Yes, that's a bit confusing because ppl start throwing around the term "ortho view". Orthographic Projection is a universal language for communicating 2D views that a machinist for example would use with blueprints. It represents the raw data and has it's own set of rules with hidden lines and cross-sectional views etc. Thing can get really complicated when you start dealing with objects on a truncated surface etc. Circles become ellipses and all that fun stuff. You then usually include an Axonometric view as well. :) The combined views that make up an "ortho" have no 3 dimensional model representation however.

Ortho renders are renders that have no converging lines and use exact measurements. Isometric views are a special case with the object oriented at 30 degrees. (So if Starcraft used true isometric views you would set that angle to 30 degrees, but Polaris image shows 45?)

Technically perspective is more realistic.
Yes, this is because "perspective" involves vanishing points as in the real world or photographs etc. All lines in an Isometric view or other "ortho" view run parallel with their axis which means they don't converge. This is not natural to the human eye as this isn't how we perceive nature. In fact MC Escher used this to his advantage in much of his art.

So after all this looks like one must use a Camera instead to render models at 30 degrees to get a iso? No wonder I couldn't find the "isometric" button I was looking for. Unless there is an ortho render button I'm missing? I looked all over the internet for and couldn't seem to get an answer for this one.
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Jack

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Post February 4th, 2010, 8:54 pm

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

There is no isometric render (that i know of) other than manually tilting the camera 30 degrees. Ortho and perspective should be the two options for how the camera renders.
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Corbo

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Post February 5th, 2010, 2:30 pm

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

To make an isometric view, on max, I have't found an easier way than, yes, manually moving the camera to make an angle of 45° (not 30°) but then you have to switch to orthogonal view.

An isometric, by definition, is a 2 dimensional axonometric representation of a 3D object in which, both, the depth and the width axis make an angle of 30° with the horizontal and the lines are parallel. Imagine a cube, actually don't imagine it. I'll make it.
Image
The lines are all parallel, you always have the same width and depth and the lines do not meet at a vanishing point.

Just moving the camera and positioning it will create a perspective, and not an isometric because the depth and width won't make an angle of 30°. They'll vanish, like baja said. One could, though, check the orthographic projection, if you don't, it'll be a perspective.
Image
The lines vanish at a vanishing point located at the infinity :P
Even height lines are vanished (3 points perspective)

Though, for units, personally I like rendering as perspective, but buildings should be isometrics. And the correct rendering angle the camera had to look at the object with, for isometric, would be 45°

Image
Though, must of this stuff is covered in polaris' tutorial, I just wanted to extend a little bit on a more theoretical approach.

EDIT: lul, the quotes DB siggy changed background to heidi in here too :P
Unofficial Mod Night:
Image
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aricpole

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Post April 22nd, 2010, 10:51 am

Re: Complete 3D Modeling Tutorial

I like 3d modelling and I like the steps you mentioned here. It is good to work with. I am learning it by myself with the help of on line tutorial like this. I am creating a 3d model and I think it can be helpful to me in creating that. I also want to know that How can I add the animation to the model? If there is any answer please provide me proper steps.
History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.

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