View Full Version : Custom Visual Blades basic tutorial

Ryan Douglas
03-02-2012, 11:38 PM
In the free 6.00.038 update (http://knifeedge.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28203) we added support for user-created visual heli blades. We intend to publish a tutorial for this feature on the KEMax section of our website, but for now this should be enough to get you started making your own heli blades.

A RealFlight visual heli blade consists of three models: a clockwise blade, a counterclockwise blade, and a blur disk. You are not required to provide a blur disk model for a visual blade type; if the blur disk is omitted, RealFlight will use a default blur disk. Texturing for blur disks is a special case and will be described in more detail later.

The KEX Import Wizard process will prompt you for any one of these three models, then it will automatically locate the other two based on their filenames. You must therefore follow the naming conventions described below for the import to succeed.

The wizard will then prompt for a type for your blade (main blade, paddle blade, or tail blade) and a name. RealFlight's import process will automatically create new KEX and texture files using the blade name you provide. It is also the name by which the new blade will be known in the sim.

Once you've imported a custom blade type, you can then select it from the Vehicle Editor for your custom EAs and variants, and it will be included with them when they are exported as RFX files to share with other users.

The orientation in world space of single blades and blur disks MUST match RealFlight's expectations in order to work properly. Pay close attention to the attached screenshots and the XYZ axes shown.

Single Blade Geometry
(e.g. MyBlade_CW.kex, MyBlade_CCW.kex)
Both a clockwise and counterclockwise KEX are required. Their filenames must end in _CW and _CCW, respectively, as shown in the example above.

The clockwise and counterclockwise blade models each require a single frame called ~CS_BLADE", which should also be the parent of a collision frame ("~CS_COLL"). It is important to scale the blade so that it has a length of exactly 1 foot in 3ds Max.

The pivot of the blade frame should be positioned at the point where the lead/lag hinge (and therefore the LEADLAG frame on the helicopter model) intersects the blade. The object should in turn be positioned so the pivot is at the origin.

Refer to the screenshots attached to this post for the correct orientation.

Blur Disk Geometry (optional)
(e.g. MyBlade BladeDisk.kex)
If a blur disk is provided, its filename must end in " BladeDisk" (note the space), as shown in the example above.

The blur disk requires a single frame called "~CS_BLADEDISK" and does not require any collision geometry. The blur disk pivot should be positioned at the center of the disk. The object should in turn be positioned so the pivot is at the origin.

Refer to the screenshots attached to this post for the correct orientation.

Single Blade Texturing
The clockwise and counterclockwise single blade models are textured as you would texture any other model. They do not support normal or specular maps at this time. Most often, it will make sense for the clockwise and counterclockwise blades to share a common texture, although this is not strictly required.

Blur Disk Texturing
The texturing of a blur disk model is handled specially; the UV coordinates specified in the model are disregarded by RealFlight, and new UVs are automatically generated.

In the event that RealFlight uses the default blur disk model because you did not provide one, it will utilize the single blade texture for the blur disk. In this case, the UVs generated will map to a single horizontal row of pixels approximately 15% of the way down the texture. The left side of the row will map to the inside edge of the disk, and the right side will map to the outer edge. In many cases this is effective enough that a special blur disk and texture are not required.

Ryan Douglas
03-14-2012, 08:43 PM
The requirements and import process for custom visual heli blades went through some changes between the 6.00.035 public beta and the 6.00.038 public release. I have updated the above post accordingly.

11-20-2012, 08:58 PM
Glow is light that is present at night APs or when you lower the sun in the sim. This is done by using a separate piece of geometry usually a few polys and coloring them the color you wish to see in the sim. Then naming it ~CS_GLOW???. In the sim the object isn't a visible piece in sunlight. It only appears at low sun inclinations.

We can apply objects in the same way to the blade but if not done specifically the glow will be of a very large diameter and have a soft edge. In most cases this isn't a desirable effect. What if you want several thin bands of light to make up concentric circles or bands of colored light?

Start by making a cube and applying a material with the desired color. Let's say it's green. Name this cube ~CS_GLOWGREEN. Now make a second smaller cube and center it in the first cube but set higher than the first cube so they are stacked. Make a material that is white and apply it to the small cube and name it ~CS_GLOWCORE. If you will make more cubes the ~CS_GLOWCORE naming must be incremental by adding numbers as a suffix no underscore or spacing. Parent the Glow cube to the blade and the core cube to the glow cube. If you would like a thicker light band then just scale the cube pairs together in the appropriate axis.

I'm not sure why this works or how but it is how KE does it and the results are very nice.

07-14-2013, 10:01 AM
I have built a model with custom propeller and have generated a blur disk for bolt of the twin engines.

The blur disc graphic are visible at ALL times, Is this Normal?
Why does the SPINNER NOT turn at the same RPM as the Engines/motor? This I discovered when checking alignments in 3DsMax. Engines turn 4.5 - 5 for every single revolution.

Looking for any help I can get.


Also very noticeable blot out is occurring when looking through the Blur Discs. Here are a couple of screen shots

07-15-2013, 07:07 AM
This is why we need a better tutorial on this.

knud pedersen
01-09-2015, 04:38 PM
I can't find the Custom Visual Blades basic tutorial.
I want to change the visualblade scheme (texture) but don't know how.

Its in Realflight 7.5.


01-09-2015, 06:51 PM
This is the tutorial thread.:confused:

knud pedersen
01-09-2015, 07:17 PM
So do i nedd to instal KEMax, even though i just want to edit the colorscheme for the blade?

01-09-2015, 08:00 PM
What model are you wanting to edit it on? I may be wrong, but I highly doubt many blades/props are editable. The modeler has to make it, and I'm not sure many here are doing that. If it is, I think you just need gimp or Photoshop.

knud pedersen
01-10-2015, 04:05 AM
I wanted to change the Spinblades Black, to Spin blade Red tip and or red.
Can i just copy and rename the exiting spinblade files, edit them in photoshop and thats it?

01-10-2015, 07:24 AM
As long as you don't rename the texture, yes.