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  #16  
Old 11-24-2006, 09:04 PM
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Very cool, thanks for the little tutorial along with the plane! Can't wait to see it finished
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2006, 09:22 PM
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Adding landing gear and collision meshes completes the 3D model. This is now ready to export to 3DS Max for final processing.
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  #18  
Old 11-24-2006, 09:46 PM
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Here's the plane imported into 3DS Max. There are three things that have to be done to it in Max before it can be exported to Real Flight.

1) All aircraft parts need to connected in a hierarchy starting with the fuselage. In 3DS Max this is called linking.

2) All moveable parts need to have pivot points defined. These establish not only where the object pivots from but the direction it rotates.

3) And saving the best for last, a texture map needs to be created to color the plane.
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  #19  
Old 11-24-2006, 10:35 PM
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Max Part 1 - Linking

Linking the hierarchy is pretty straight forward. Just as your fingers are connected to your hand, your hand is connected to your arm, and so on...

You do the same for every part you modeled. Here's what the linkages will look like:
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  #20  
Old 11-24-2006, 11:18 PM
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Max Part 2 - Pivots

Setting pivot points is also pretty easy. Each moving part gets one (don't forget the collision meshes for the wheels).

In Max the axis which translates to the rotation axis in Real Flight is usually X (the red one). The exceptions are the engine & spinner, which for some reason use Y (the green one).

Be sure to align the axis with the hinge line (note this on the flaps & ailerons, which due to a tapered wing are off-axis). Also watch the alignment of the rudder since its axis is vertical. (See post #61 for a more detailed explanation - DHK)

This picture shows all of the pivot points for the moving parts.
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Last edited by dhk79; 05-07-2007 at 10:22 AM. Reason: Added note referring to Post #61.
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  #21  
Old 11-24-2006, 11:44 PM
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Max Part 3 - Texture Mapping

Add a blank TGA file as a diffuse color map to a Max material and assign that material to all parts, and this plane is at a point where it can be imported into Real Flight, but it doesn't look very good (and it won't fly, yet). So the next step is to texture map it.

You'll need a good paint program that supports multiple layers (in its native format) and can save the picture as a TGA file with an Alpha channel. I use Paint Shop Pro, but there are many that can do it.

Texture mapping is a lengthly, tedious process that will take nearly as long as the entire rest of the project (if you do it right that is).
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Last edited by dhk79; 11-28-2006 at 04:40 PM.
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  #22  
Old 11-25-2006, 12:15 AM
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You have to texture each part one at a time. I always start with the canopy and then do any other transparent parts.

Select the canopy and add an Unwrap UVW modifier. Setup the Unwrap UVW options as shown in the first picture (including having your now blank TGA file displayed as the map. Select the canopy and apply a "flatten mapping" to it (the default options here will work fine). Select all of the pieces, scale them down, and move them to one corner of your TGA map.

Then as shown in the second picture "render the UVW template" and save it as a temporary bitmap.
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  #23  
Old 11-25-2006, 12:58 AM
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Note that in another paint program the steps used here may be different from these which are for Paint Shop Pro. Since there are so many paint programs that can be used, I'm not going to paste in a lot of pictures. Instead I'll list out the steps I take so that they can be applied to another program as needed.

The goal is to get the outline of the canopy parts on a transparent layer.

1) Open the UVW teplate you rendered from Max. Set the palatte transparency to the background color (normally black), and copy the image to the clipboard.

2) Open/create a blank picture in the native format. Set the background to a light color that will not be used on the aircraft and set that as the palatte transparent color (I used a light lime green).

3) Paste the UVW template as a new layer in your drawing.

4) Create a new layer named "Canopy" and make sure it's above the UVW layer.

5) Copy the region of the UVW layer that has the canopy parts in it.

6) Switch to the Canopy layer and paste what you copied as a transparent selection. Since you can see through the layer, it is easy to set the selection down directly over where it came from (but on another layer).

7) Delete the UVW layer (with its black background) and you've achieved the goal.
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  #24  
Old 11-25-2006, 10:35 AM
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I find that the transparent sections are the most tetious. Frequently working on a few pixels at a time, on either the color or alpha channel.

Then switching back & forth between Paint Shop, Max, and Real Flight. While the preview in Max is pretty good for most work, if you need pixel by pixel alignment I always find it's best to look at how it will be rendered in the final program.
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  #25  
Old 11-25-2006, 08:49 PM
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Im just here to say thanks for doing this model.

I just hope you dont reproduce the crappy cowl that was on the TF plane.
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  #26  
Old 11-26-2006, 01:37 AM
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With the canopy and alpha map done, it's time to start added the other major components. Try to visualize how you want the full texture map to be laid out, as you only have one and everything has to fit on it.

Add and flatten parts one at a time and as you update the TGA file you can see it in the UVW editor so it is easy to place the next part.

A couple of points to remember:

1) Parts that are solid color (like most spinners) do not need to be flattened. Have a small area of the color on the texture map and scale the UVW way down to fit in it.

2) Parts may overlap on the texture map. If both wings are the same (or mirror images of each other), you only have to do the texture for one and use it on both.

3) There may be some parts that you will not want to flatten (pilot figures, for example. Just try flattening one and then figure which piece is which and get your painting of it to look good). These can often be textured using a front/back or top/bottom map, which will flatten out the sides a bit but will keep most of the part intact. 3D games, like "Half Life" use this type of mapping.


In the second picture, I've added and flattened the fuselage. Just to the right of the canopy are a bunch of panels from the inside of the cockpit. These are going to be a solid color, so they are just stacked on top of each other. In the top right corner are all of the pieces that make up the exhaust pipes. They are going to be solid black and so they didn't really need to be flattened, but they got smashed with the fuselage. To the right of the main fuselage parts are the pieces that make up the instrument panel. I may do something with them later, so I'm keeping them separate.

When you go to the paint program with each part, put them on a separate layer of your master texture. This allows you to move and scale the parts separately, if you need to adjust their placement later.

Also add decals and markings on thier own layer for the same reason.

The steps are the same for each new part, so I'm going to go off and finish mapping the parts. I'll post several in progress pictures when I'm done.
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File Type: jpg Image42.jpg (63.9 KB, 117 views)

Last edited by dhk79; 11-28-2006 at 04:43 PM.
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  #27  
Old 11-26-2006, 12:26 PM
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Why not simply use a seperate material for your transparent parts and turn down the opacity in the material editor window,thats the way i do it.Makes it loads easier and quicker.
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  #28  
Old 11-26-2006, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inky00
Why not simply use a seperate material for your transparent parts and turn down the opacity in the material editor window,thats the way i do it.Makes it loads easier and quicker.
Actually the canopy is a seperate material in MAX. The canopy is defined as ~CANOPY (i.e. show both sides & transparent) and most of the rest of the plane is ~SBS (show both sides). I have the trasparancy set by alpha because of the bars on the canopy of this plane, you do not want these to be transparent.
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  #29  
Old 11-26-2006, 05:56 PM
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All of the other parts have been added to the UVW map and placed on a seperate layer in the master texture file.

The texture still needs to be painted, but that does not add much to the tutorial. So let's import this into Real Flight for the last step of the process.
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Last edited by dhk79; 11-28-2006 at 04:44 PM.
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  #30  
Old 11-26-2006, 06:00 PM
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In Real Flight open the new plane up in the editor and you'll see that nothing matches up.

Starting with the fuselage make the Real Flight physics model match up with the 3D one.

Move from one part to the next until you get the whole plane done.
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