Bare Bones Startup Guide for New Modelers

Neo

New member
Prologue:

My time here may have been brief so far, however it has come across me from reading many articles over the years I have downloaded from the Swaps as a Guest, that many users offer insight, but never model for themselves, nor do they know how but wish to learn. There are also those who want to learn, but have no idea where to start or what to do. All the tutorials here are great, however they assume you know something about 3D Modeling at the least. I know there has to be somebody out there that doesn't know what a 3D Modeling Software name is, or what it even looks like. This tutorial is for you. All though the name is "Bare Bones" this tutorial is very in-depth about what to do. If you feel that I skipped out on something, or that something needs more elaboration and/or better screen shots, feel free to reply to this thread/tutorial or Private Message(PM) me so I can make the change as soon as possible. You will also notice that I usually use generic/default objects to explain what is going on in my screen shots. This is because it is easier on the eyes, and easier for me to explain, however if you feel like I should redo these screen shots with an actual aircraft as the example, feel free to PM me and I may/probably will do so.


My method for Modeling is a bit different, and easier in my opinion, however view it as you please. I use a variety of Software Applications, however I will make it clear that you CAN use only Blender and GIMP, however I prefer to combine three:

Blender
GIMP/Photoshop
3DSMAX

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For this Tutorial, I will explain how to Model, Link/Parent, set Pivot Points, and UV Map in Blender. I will explain most of the Modeling via Blender, since it is freeware, and I will also go into 3DSMAX with UV Mapping, Pivot Points, and Linking, which is easier to do via 3DSMAX then it is in Blender.

However, I chose Blender as the sole Tutorial Software for the fact that it is a freeware and open-source software, and is easier to learn and use.

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Software Required:

Blender
GIMP

Software Suggested:

3DSMAX 2010 Trial Download
Multi Objects Unwrap Plugin for 3DSMAX

Plugins Required:

Rayvel's 3DS Export Plugin
3ds2kex Converter
 
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Neo

New member
Getting Started

To start off, the first thing you will absolutely need to do is install everything. If you wanted to use the 3DSMAX 9 Trail, you will have to complete the form, and use any further instructions offered at their site, since I have no clue what happens after you submit, since I own a copy thanks to my job. :)

Installing should be simple enough, just follow the on screen direction, select your customization when it comes to shortcuts, and then press next next, finish, to finally get it over with. Baby steps my friend.

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After installing, we are going to want to open Blender. Upon opening Blender, you will notice that you are in a TOP VIEW of a Cube. Right Click on the cube, and press your DELETE key to remove it from the scene.

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NOTE: For someone who has never laid eyes on any kind of 3D Modeling Soft ware, it can be tricky at best when you are trying to get around. Small things like what to press and where to look for extruding a face, or rotating an object can be easily forgotten. Practice helps work this into your mind, so that small things become a natural tendency, and you won't have to focus on them.

Some key things to remember:

To change the view, always go down to the lower left hand corner, and press View then select the view you want.

To rotate out of any view, or to rotate just in general, you hold down MOUSE3 (Usualy the Scroll Wheel) and move the mouse in the direction you wish to rotate.

To move along the plane in the current view, hold SHIFT then hold MOUSE3 then move the mouse, this allows you to move on a specific direction, instead of rotating the view.

To select anything in Blender, use the RIGHT MOUSE CLICK!

To select multiple, hold SHIFT or press CNTRL to free form a selection outline to multi select faster.

To change the View Mode, go down to that drop down menu, and change it from Object, to whatever you want.

To add anything, go up to the top left, and click add, or press "Space"

To deselect everything press A twice.

To select everything, press A, however this can be tricky, so just make sure everything is selected.

1 Blender Unit (You will see this in the Transform Properties Dialogue the most) is equal to 1 inch.

Vertices are Purple when not selected, when selected they turn Yellow.

In Object Mode, selected objects have a thin, pink/purple outline around them.

In Object or Edit Mode Scaling is done by Pressing S to scale on all axis, or by Scaling on any particular axis by Pressing X then either pressing XYZ to scale specifically on that axis. Move the mouse and dashed line out/far to make it bigger, to to make it smaller. Hold SHIFT for slower transformation for accuracy.

In any 3D Modeling Software, the 3 Axis of control are along the X, Y, and X axis. The Y axis is facing FORWARD AND BACK, the Z is facing UP AND DOWN, the X is facing LEFT AND RIGHT. If the Green line with the Arrow is point to the right, then model the NOSE of your aircraft towards the right along the Y so it doesn't come back in Real Flight as flying backwards.

In Edit Mode, you can HOLD SHIFT while DRAGGING one of those colored arrows to make the transformation move slower per rate at which you move the mouse. This is for more accurate transformations, and comes in handy all the time. You can use this in Object Mode as well when move objects close or farther away from each other.

Below in another post by myself is a list of common shortcuts in Edit Mode. Try to memorize the ones that make since, and the ones that you feel you will need to know. Some of them you will never use.

If you are still weary about some of the menus, take the time to open them all up, read through them, and press some of them to see what happens. In other words, do not be afraid to experiment so you know where things are, and what to press or what not to press when you should or shouldn't.

You can also re-size the pallet areas. These areas include the buttons at the bottom, and the "Hidden" buttons at the top. Put your mouse on that thin, darkish gray line to where Two Arrows show up, then click and hold, and drag. At the top, there is a small customization menu where you can change small features such as what selects what, most Blender users prefer the Right Click Method, but if you feel so, change that big button to left click. This is a common change amongst new comers.

For a Diagram and a little bit more explanation on the Layout of Blender: http://en.flossmanuals.net/Blender/Interface

The Screen can be split like that, however it is not necessary, and is usually an annoyance once you get use to Modeling and having such a big screen to view so much detail on, however with any kind of 3D modelling, you need to be able to see your scene from a variety of angles. To do this in Blender you need to split the current view. Put the mouse over the view and then bring it down until it hovers over the divider between that view and main buttons. Right click and a small menu will pop up. Click on Split View and select where the split will occur. The direction of the mouse determines which view is split. Hover the mouse over the right side view and then move it to the divider between the left and right views. Repeat the process and you will be able to see that the right side is now split.

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To start panning around, hold down your MOUSE3 Button (Usually the Scroll Wheel) and move it, you will notice that the view changes drastically, and immediately.

Now, in the lower left hand corner, you will see a menu above a Menu Pallet that holds multiple Drop Downs with all sorts of fancy buttons. Find "View" and click it. Now move your cursor towards the "Side View".

Take note of which direction the Green Arrow, for the Y axis faces. The FRONT END of your aircraft is going to want to face this direction. For our tutorial, you will be modeling a Flat Foamy for simplicity and ease of learning.

Go ahead and press the SPACE button on your keyboard while the XHAIRS are in the Perspective View (The Side View but make sure it is in there, not in the pallet or on a menu) and move your cursor over "ADD" then "Curve" then towards the right to "Bezier Curve" which should add a Bezier Curve to the Window. You will notice that it appears FLAT and invisible.

Press "R" then immediately after press the "Y" button to rotate the Curve on the Y Axis. Now, just start typing: 90 to rotate it exactly 90 degrees. You will now see the Curve. This Curve will be the Foamy and it its fuselage.
 

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Neo

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Making the Fuselage

Now that we have our Curve which will be our Fuselage, you will notice that it is just a line, don't worry at all, it doesn't mater for now. Right click with your mouse to select this Curve. Press TAB to go into EDIT MODE. You will notice 6 Yellow or Pink dots. One of which seems to cap the end of the line, and two extended from this "Vertex". These two that extend from this vertex are "Handles" that you will use to form this curve.

Press "A" to deselect everything. This key also helps you select everything in view. For future reference, Curves are the best method for drawing aircraft in Blender, and will end up being your Number One Choice for making most of the parts of your aircraft.

This may seem like such a small post, but it is hard to explain, when I can explain it via text and pictures. These pictures should be what your screen shows, and read all the text in the pictures as well. This is to elaborate on how to make your screen looks as close as possible to mine.

Experimentation is key when it comes to learning how to properly form and use curves.

When you go to make a real fuselage, you can have more then one curve for each leading edge, and they can all vary in what property they hold, i.e. Free For, Aligned, Automatic, Vector, etc.

Now, what gets confusing, so I have added photos instead, so please OPEN THE ATTACHMENT BY NUMBER AND READ FROM IT!
 

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Neo

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Making it Extruded and an Editable Mesh

So far we have an ugly Fuselage. This was only meant to engage you on how to move the Handles, Extrude, Draw, and Edit the Curves to your liking. With practice, you should be able to get any curve, in any shape, with as many extruded curves as you need. More then ONE CURVE can be used for one edge. We only used one curve for any set edges because we are not trying to make a perfect foamy here, just learn. What you should have learned, was how to manipulate the curves to make a decent 4 curve fuselage. It appears as 3, but in reality it is 4 ounce we make it a solid.

Now, if you rotate the view by Pressing and HOLDING MOUSE3 (Scroll Wheel) you will notice that it is FLAT. We need to make this extruded so that it had some depth like foam would, and them transform it to an editable mesh, in-case we need to make changes that are more complicated then what Curves can provide for us.

So, the first thing we need to do is ounce again, select everything by pressing A unless all the dots are already YELLOW. If they are, then don't press A.

Now, we need to look at some of those buttons below everything. Move towards the panel that says "Curve and Surfaces" on it with the arrow sticking down (If it isn't, press it) find the Extrude option, and hit the right arow to increase the value to 0.20 which is a good thickness for a rigid foam. Now using that SCroll Wheel, move the mouse and you will see that it is now a 3D shape, with depth.

Now, the problem is the only way to edit this ugly thing is by adjusting those curves, we want to convert it to an editable Mesh so we have access to every Vertex we created when we made the Curves. So, make sure that we are in "Object Mode" press Tab if you cannot find the drop down button. Make sure the object is selected, if it is, there will be a small Purple/Pink line around it. To select it right click on it.

Now press: Alt+C

A "Convert Curve To:" dialogue with Mesh as its only option appears, it should be right where your XHAIRS are. Press that MESH Label, since it is a button. You may not notice the change, but those fancy buttons at the bottom have, and they have changed to work for MESH properties. Press Tab or change the mode to "Edit Mode" in the drop down box above those fancy panels and you will see the difference. Each purple dot is like those in the Curves. you can select it, or HOLD SHIFT, and select multiple ones by right clicking. You can also HOLD CNTRL AND DRAG A FREE SHAPE over the dots to make Multi Select even faster.

Using those handy dandy arrows of different colors, you can move them around. Notice that when you select 4 of them, that are all neighbors, the FACE becomes Pink/Purple as well. This is the same thing as selecting a face, and if we pressed E, only that shaded face would be extruded.

In the attachment I have added, I have pointed out a few things in red dots.

NOTE: For that last screen shot, that is an actual custom model in Real Life, that a friend of mine who only builds his own aircraft from scratch, never any kind of ARF kit, helped me. I built this myself in Blender, no body helped me with building this in Blender. It is worded to sound like that though.
 

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Neo

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Adding More Objects and Mesh Editing Explained

When adding more objects, Real Flight forces you to always name them a certain way, and to always have them separate. So before adding anything, make sure nothing at all is selected, the quickest way to do this is by pressing "A" twice to select/deselect. Always check anyways.

What Real Flight wants is a separate part for each surface on your aircraft. For example, once for each wing, once for each elevator, once for the spinner, once for the wheels, etc.

This is so when we go to setup their pivot points, these parts can move individually, and what's even better is that they can break off individually, or as a couple, when you crash. Below is a list of the Real Flight names for the parts of the aircraft that you will most likely end up modeling. Not all aircraft have to have every single one of these parts, but this is just a general list of what 99% of them have.

Collision Mesh is what is used to detect crashes so parts break up. It is special. It is not needed, however, it speeds up physics, and also allows better customization of what and where something should hit another world object at. The consensus is that it is best to have Collision Mesh. Collision mesh has to be individual parts for each surface of the aircraft as well. The difference is that these parts are always named: ~CS_COLL for every single once of them, period. You always make it last.

What you generally do, is create all of the visual mesh before hand, then name it using the list below. Then what you do, is link all of the parts where they should go properly. Next, we make the low poly collision mesh. Low Poly means a model with generally less then 300 Triangles. In blender, Polys are read like a face. it doesn't count how many vertices make what, a Triangle makes 3 vertices, blender only counts faces. So if you know all of your faces are quads, then double it. When doing collision mesh, it is also recommended to make the wheels a bit higher in the poly count, and to try to keep all of the Collision Mesh's poly count below 3,000, or even lower for better results. I average roughly 1,800 poly with my collision mesh. It really isn't hard to make a decent collision mesh with a small number of faces. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be good enough to fit over the visible, and then better for the wheel to not sink in the ground.

When creating your Visual Mesh, the Mesh that everyone will see in the simulator, it is important that the total Poly Count always be lower then 20,000. In Blender, this is hard to calculate at best. Most objects use Quads, some, like a cylinder, use a combination of quads and triangles. It is the norm to just double it in blender. What I have seen in Blender is compared to a true 3dsmax poly count has always been roughly a 2.0 factor. So I know that if I 8,000 polys in Blender, Real Flight will see 16,000 and 3dsmax tells me I have 15,895 tells me that it is usually a 2.0 ratio.

I personally keep my models below the 10,000 face count line in Blender. You can find this data up in top right hand corner where it says: Ve: 1234 Fa:1234 (You can guess, Ve = Vertices, Fa = faces)

To rename objects, go down to that fancy little pallet with all of its buttons, and find the once that looks likes this:



Where it says "OB:Curve" you would change that to: (Only the ~CS_SOMETHING, nothing after the "-")

Fuselage - The Fuselage
~CS_LMW - The Left Wing
~CS_RMW - The Right Wing
~CS_LMHS - The Left Horizontal Stabilizer
~CS_RMHS - The Right Horizontal Stabilizer
~CS_MMVS - Main Vertical Stabilizer
~CS_MMR - The Rudder
~CS_LG - Left Gear
~CS_RG - Right Gear
~CS_LW - Left Wheel
~CS_RW - Right Wheel
~CS_SG - Steering Gear
~CS_SW - Steering Wheel
~CS_SPINNER - Spinner
~CS_ENGINE - Prop/Engine Location in Real Flight, usually just a small ring or torus.
~CS_LME - Left Elevator
~CS_RME - Right Elevator
~CS_LMA - Left Main Aileron
~CS_RMA - Right Main Aileron
~CS_COLL - Collision Mesh, Must be a LOW POLY version of the part of the aircraft you wish to collide with objects. Has to be separate parts, but named the same thing and linked to each part of the aircraft.

Then you can either go up to that menu, or press space. You can find out, simply enough, that the "Mesh" menu has basic Mesh Objects, like the default Cube, and the "Curves" menu has basic Curves, like the easiest and best curve to use Bezier Curve.

This is what every part will start as. Then using that Right Click and the arrow dragging, and the view changing, you will either morph the curve, or drag and drop vertices to shape them the way you want them to be shaped, into anything you like.

Here are some much needed keyboard Shortcuts for simplicity.

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General EDIT MODE shortcuts:


TAB or ALT+E. This button starts and stops Edit Mode.
CTRL+TAB. Switches between Vertex Select, Edge Select, and Face Select modes. Holding SHIFT while clicking on a mode will allow you to combine modes.
AKEY. Select/Unselect all.
BKEY+BKEY. Circle Select. If you press BKEY a second time after starting Border Select, Circle Select is invoked. It works as described above. Use NUM+ or NUM- or MW to adjust the circle size. Leave Circle Select with RMB or ESC.
CTRL+H. With vertices selected, this creates a "Hook" object. Once a hook is selected, CTRL+H brings up an options menu for it.
NKEY. Number Panel. Simpler than the Object Mode one, in Edit Mode works for Mesh, Curve, Surface: The location of the active vertex is displayed.
OKEY. Switch in/out of Proportional Editing.
SHIFT+O. Toggles between Smooth and Sharp Proportional Editing.
PKEY. SeParate. You can choose to make a new object with all selected vertices, edges, faces and curves or create a new object from each separate group of interconnected vertices from a popup. Note that for curves you cannot separate connected control vertices. This operation is the opposite of Join (CTRL+J).
CTRL+P. Make Vertex Parent. If one object (or more than one) is/are selected and the active Object is in Edit Mode with 1 or 3 vertices selected then the Object in Edit Mode becomes the Vertex Parent of the selected Object(s). If only 1 vertex is selected, only the location of this vertex determines the Parent transformation; the rotation and dimensions of the Parent do not play a role here. If three vertices are selected, it is a `normal' Parent relationship in which the 3 vertices determine the rotation and location of the Child together. This method produces interesting effects with Vertex Keys. In EditMode, other Objects can be selected with CTRL+RMB.
CTRL+S. Shear. In EditMode this operation enables you to make selected forms `slant'. This always works via the horizontal screen axis.
UKEY. Undo. When starting Edit Mode, the original ObData block is saved and can be returned to via UKEY. Mesh Objects have better Undo, see next section.
WKEY. Specials PopupMenu. A number of tools are included in this PopupMenu as an alternative to the Edit Buttons. This makes the buttons accessible as shortcuts, e.g. EditButtons-> Subdivide is also `WKEY, 1KEY'.
SHIFT+W. Warp. Selected vertices can be bent into curves with this option. It can be used to convert a plane into a tube or even a sphere. The centre of the circle is the 3DCursor. The mid-line of the circle is determined by the horizontal dimensions of the selected vertices. When you start, everything is already bent 90 degrees. Moving the mouse up or down increases or decreases the extent to which warping is done. By zooming in/out of the 3Dwindow, you can specify the maximum degree of warping. The CTRL limiter increments warping in steps of 5 degrees.

MESH Edit Mode Shortcuts:

CTRL+NUM+. Adds to selection all vertices connected by an edge to an already selected vertex.
CTRL+NUM-. Removes from selection all vertices of the outer ring of selected vertices.
ALT+CTRL+RMB. Faces loop select.
ALT+RMB. Edges loop select.
CKEY. If using curve deformations, this toggles the curve Cyclic mode on/off.
EKEY. Extrude Selected. "Extrude" in EditMode transforms all the selected edges to faces. If possible, the selected faces are also duplicated. Grab mode is started directly after this command is executed.
SHIFT+EKEY. Crease Subsurf edge. With "Draw Creases" enabled, pressing this key will allow you to set the crease weight. Black edges have no weight, edge-select color have full weight.
CTRL+EKEY. Mark LSCM Seam. Marks a selected edge as a "seam" for unwrapping using the LSCM mode.
FKEY. Make Edge/Face. If 2 vertices are selected, an edge is created. If 3 or 4 vertices are selected, a face is created.
SHIFT+F. Fill selected. All selected vertices that are bound by edges and form a closed polygon are filled with triangular faces. Holes are automatically taken into account. This operation is 2D; various layers of polygons must be filled in succession.
ALT+F. Beauty Fill. The edges of all the selected triangular faces are switched in such a way that equally sized faces are formed. This operation is 2D; various layers of polygons must be filled in succession. The Beauty Fill can be performed immediately after a Fill.
CTRL+F. Flip faces, selected triangular faces are paired and common edge of each pair swapped.
HKEY. Hide Selected. All selected vertices and faces are temporarily hidden.
SHIFT+H. Hide Not Selected: All non-selected vertices and faces are temporarily hidden.
ALT+H. Reveal. All temporarily hidden vertices and faces are drawn again.
ALT+J. Join faces, selected triangular faces are joined in pairs and transformed to quads

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o KKEY. Knife tool Menu.
+ Face Loop Select: (SHIFT+R) Face loops are highlighted starting from edge under mouse pointer. LMB finalizes, ESC exits.
+ Face Loop Cut: (CTRL+R) Face loops are cut starting from edge under mouse pointer. LMB finalizes, ESC exits.
+ Knife (exact): (SHIFT+K) Mouse starts draw mode. Selected Edges are cut at intersections with mouse line. ENTER or RMB finalizes, ESC exits.
+ Knife (midpoints): (SHIFT+K) Mouse starts draw mode. Selected Edges intersecting with mouse line are cut in middle regardless of true intersection point. ENTER or RMB finalizes, ESC exits.

LKEY. Select Linked. If you start with an unselected vertex near the mouse cursor, this vertex is selected, together with all vertices that share an edge with it.
SHIFT+L. Deselect Linked. If you start with a selected vertex, this vertex is deselected, together with all vertices that share an edge with it.
CTRL+L. Select Linked Selected. Starting with all selected vertices, all vertices connected to them are selected too.
MKEY. Mirror. Opens a popup asking for the axis to mirror. 3 possible axis group are available, each of which contains three axes, for a total of nine choices. Axes can be Global (Blender Global Reference); Local (Current Object Local Reference) or View (Current View reference). Remember that mirroring, like scaling, happens with respect to the current pivot point.
ALT+M. Merges selected vertices at barycentrum or at cursor depending on selection made on pop-up.
CTRL+N. Calculate Normals Outside. All normals from selected faces are recalculated and consistently set in the same direction. An attempt is made to direct all normals `outward'.
SHIFT+CTRL+N. Calculate Normals Inside. All normals from selected faces are recalculated and consistently set in the same direction. An attempt is made to direct all normals `inward'.
ALT+S. Whereas SHIFT+S scales in Edit Mode as it does in Object Mode, for Edit Mode a further option exists, ALT+S moves each vertex in the direction of its local normal, hence effectively shrinking/fattening the mesh.
CTRL+T. Make Triangles. All selected faces are converted to triangles.
UKEY. Undo. When starting Edit Mode, the original ObData block is saved and all subsequent changes are saved on a stack. This option enables you to restore the previous situation, one after the other.
SHIFT+U. Redo. This let you re-apply any undone changes up to the moment in which Edit Mode was entered
ALT+U. Undo Menu. This let you choose the exact point to which you want to undo changes.

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o WKEY. Special Menu. A PopupMenu offers the following options:
+ Subdivide: all selected edges are split in two.
+ Subdivide Fractal: all selected edges are split in two and middle vertex displaced randomly.
+ Subdivide Smooth: all selected edges are split in two and middle vertex displaced along the normal.
+ Merge: as ALT+M.
+ Remove Doubles: All selected vertices closer to each other than a given threshold (See EditMode Button Window) are merged ALT+M.
+ Hide: as HKEY.
+ Reveal: as ALT+H.
+ Select Swap: Selected vertices become unselected and vice versa.
+ Flip Normals: Normals of selected faces are flipped.
+ Smooth: Vertices are moved closer one to each other, getting a smoother object.
+ Bevel: Faces are reduced in size and the space between edges is filled with a smoothly curving bevel of the desired order.

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o XKEY. Erase Selected. A PopupMenu offers the following options:
+ Vertices: all vertices are deleted. This includes the edges and faces they form.
+ Edges: all edges with both vertices selected are deleted. If this `releases' certain vertices, they are deleted as well. Faces that can no longer exist as a result of this action are also deleted.
+ Faces: all faces with all their vertices selected are deleted. If any vertices are `released' as a result of this action, they are deleted.
+ All: everything is deleted.
+ Edges and Faces: all selected edges and faces are deleted, but the vertices remain.
+ Only Faces: all selected faces are deleted, but the edges and vertices remain.

YKEY. Split. This command splits the selected part of a Mesh without deleting faces. The split parts are no longer bound by edges. Use this command to control smoothing. Since the split parts have vertices at the same position, selection with LKEY is recommended.

CURVE Edit Mode Shortcuts:

CKEY. Set the selected curves to cyclic or turn cyclic off. An individual curve is selected if at least one of the vertices is selected.
EKEY. Extrude Curve. A vertex is added to the selected end of the curves. Grab mode is started immediately after this command is executed.
FKEY. Add segment. A segment is added between two selected vertices at the end of two curves. These two curves are combined into one curve.
HKEY. Toggle Handle align/free. Toggles the selected Bezier handles between free or aligned.
SHIFT+H. Set Handle auto. The selected Bezier handles are converted to auto type.
CTRL+H. Calculate Handles. The selected Bezier curves are calculated and all handles are assigned a type.
LKEY. Select Linked. If you start with an non-selected vertex near the mouse cursor, this vertex is selected together with all the vertices of the same curve.
SHIFT+L. Deselect Linked. If you start with a selected vertex, it is deselected together with all the vertices of the same curve.
MKEY. Mirror. Mirror selected control points exactly as for vertices in a Mesh.
TKEY. Tilt mode. Specify an extra axis rotation, i.e. the tilt, for each vertex in a 3D curve.
ALT+T. Clear Tilt. Set all axis rotations of the selected vertices to zero.
VKEY. Vector Handle. The selected Bezier handles are converted to vector type.

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o WKEY. The special menu for curves appears:
+ Subdivide. Subdivide the selected vertices.
+ Switch direction. The direction of the selected curves is reversed. This is mainly for Curves that are used as paths!

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o XKEY. Erase Selected. A PopupMenu offers the following options:
+ Selected: all selected vertices are deleted.
+ Segment: a curve segment is deleted. This only works for single segments. Curves can be split in two using this option. Or use this option to specify the cyclic position within a cyclic curve.
+ All: delete everything.

Object Mode HotKeys

HOME. All Objects in the visible layer are displayed completely, centered in the window.
PAGEUP. Select the next Object Key. If more than one Object Key is selected, the selection is shifted up cyclically. Only works if the AnimButtons->DrawKey is ON for the Object.
SHIFT+PAGEUP. Adds to selection the next Object Key.
PAGEDOWN. Select the previous Object Key. If more than one Object Key is selected, the selection is shifted up cyclically. Only works if the AnimButtons->DrawKey is ON for the Object.
SHIFT+PAGEDOWN. Adds to selection the previous Object Key.
ACCENT.(~) (To the left of the 1KEY in US keyboard) Select all layers.
SHIFT+ACCENT. Revert to the previous layer setting.
TAB. Start/stop EditMode. Alternative hotkey: ALT+E.
AKEY. Selects/deselects all.
CTRL+A. Apply size and rotation. The rotation and dimensions of the Object are assigned to the ObData (Mesh, Curve, etc.). At first glance, it appears as if nothing has changed, but this can have considerable consequences for animations or texture mapping. This is best illustrated by also having the axis of a Mesh Object be drawn (EditButtons->Axis). Rotate the Object and activate Apply. The rotation and dimensions of the Object are 'erased'.
SHIFT+CTRL+A. If the active Object is automatically duplicated (see AnimButtons->DupliFrames or AnimButtons- >Dupliverts), a menu asks Make duplis real?. This option actually creates the Objects. If the active Mesh Object is deformed by a Lattice, a menu asks Apply Lattice deform?. Now the deformation of the Lattice is assigned to the vertices of the Mesh.
SHIFT+A. This is the AddMenu. In fact, it is the ToolBox that starts with the `ADD' option. When Objects are added, Blender starts EditMode immediately if possible.
BKEY. Border Select. Draw a rectangle with the LeftMouse; all Objects within this area are selected, but not made active. Draw a rectangle with the RightMouse to deselect Objects. In orthonormal ViewMode, the dimensions of the rectangle are displayed, expressed as global coordinates, as an extra feature in the lower left corner. In Camera ViewMode, the dimensions that are to be rendered according to the DisplayButtons are displayed in pixel units.
SHIFT+B. Render Border. This only works in Camera ViewMode. Draw a rectangle to render a smaller cut-out of the standard window frame. If the option DisplayButtons->Border is ON, a box is drawn with red and black lines.
CKEY. Centre View. The position of the 3DCursor becomes the new centre of the 3DWindow.

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o ALT+C. Convert Menu. Depending on the active Object, a PopupMenu is displayed. This enables you to convert certain types of ObData. It only converts in one direction, everything ultimately degrades to a Mesh! The options are:
+ Font -> Curve
+ MetaBall -> Mesh The original MetaBall remains unchanged.
+ Curve -> Mesh
+ Surface -> Mesh

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o CTRL+C. Copy Menu. This menu copies information from the active Object to (other) selected Objects.
+ Fixed components are:
# Copy Loc: the X,Y,Z location of the Object. If a Child is involved, this location is the relative position in relation to the Parent.
# Copy Rot: the X,Y,Z rotation of the Object.
# Copy Size: the X,Y,Z dimension of the Object.
# DrawType: copies Object Drawtype.
# TimeOffs: copies Object time offset.
# Dupli: all Duplicator data (Dupliframes, Dupliverts and so on)
# Mass: Real time stuff.
# Damping: Real time stuff.
# Properties: Real time stuff.
# Logic Bricks: Real time stuff.
# Constraints: copies Object constraints.
+ If applicable:
# Copy TexSpace: The texture space.
# Copy Particle Settings: the complete particle system from the AnimButtons.
+ For Curve Objects:
# Copy Bevel Settings: all bevelling data from the EditButtons.
+ Font Objects:
# Copy Font Settings: font type, dimensions, spacing.
# Copy Bevel Settings: all bevelling data from the EditButtons.
+ Camera Objects:
# Copy Lens: the lens value.

SHIFT+C. CentreZero View. The 3DCursor is set to zero (0,0,0) and the view is changed so that all Objects, including the 3Dcursor, can be displayed. This is an alternative for HOME.
DKEY. Draw mode menu. Allows to select draw modes exactly as the corresponding menu in the 3D viewport header does.
SHIFT+D. Add Duplicate. The selected Objects are duplicated. Grab mode starts immediately thereafter.
ALT+D. Add Linked Duplicate. Of the selected Objects linked duplicates are created. Grab mode starts immediately thereafter.
CTRL+D. Draw the (texture) Image as wire. This option has a limited function. It can only be used for 2D compositing.
ALT+E. Start/stop EditMode. Alternative hotkey: TAB.
FKEY. If selected Object is a mesh Toggles Face selectMode on and off.
CTRL+F. Sort Faces. The faces of the active Mesh Object are sorted, based on the current view in the 3DWindow. The leftmost face first, the rightmost last. The sequence of faces is important for the Build Effect (AnimButtons).

*
o GKEY. Grab Mode. Or: the translation mode. This works on selected Objects and vertices. Blender calculates the quantity and direction of the translation, so that they correspond exactly with the mouse movements, regardless of the ViewMode or view direction of the 3DWindow. Alternatives for starting this mode:
+ LMB to draw a straight line.
o The following options are available in translation mode:
+ Limiters:
# CTRL: in increments of 1 grid unit.
# SHIFT: fine movements.
# SHIFT+CTRL: in increments of 0.1 grid unit.
+ MMB toggles: A short click restricts the current translation to the X,Y or Z axis. Blender calculates which axis to use, depending on the already initiated mouse movement. Click MiddleMouse again to return to unlimited translation.
+ XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY constrains movement to X, Y or Z axis of the global reference.
+ a second XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY constrains movement to X, Y or Z axis of the local reference.
+ a third XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY removes constraints.
+ NKEY enters numerical input, as well as any numeric key directly. TAB will switch between values, ENTER finalizes, ESC exits.
+ ARROWS: These keys can be used to move the mouse cursor exactly 1 pixel.
+ Grabber can be terminated with:
# LMB SPACE or ENTER: move to a new position.
# RMB or ESC: everything goes back to the old position.
+ Switching mode:
# GKEY: starts Grab mode again.
# SKEY: switches to Size (Scale) mode.
# RKEY: switches to Rotate mode.

ALT+G. Clears translations, given in Grab mode. The X,Y,Z locations of selected Objects are set to zero.

*
o SHIFT+G. Group Selection
+ Children: Selects all selected Object's Children.
+ Immediate Children: Selects all selected Object's first level Children.
+ Parent: Selects selected Object's Parent.
+ Shared Layers: Selects all Object on the same Layer of active Object

*
o IKEY. Insert Object Key. A keyposition is inserted in the current frame of all selected Objects. A PopupMenu asks what key position(s) must be added to the IpoCurves.
+ Loc: The XYZ location of the Object.
+ Rot: The XYZ rotation of the Object.
+ Size: The XYZ dimensions of the Object
+ LocRot: The XYZ location and XYZ rotation of the Object.
+ LocRotSize: The XYZ location, XYZ rotation and XYZ dimensions of the Object.
+ Layer: The layer of the Object.
+ Avail: A position is only added to all the current IpoCurves, that is curves which already exists.
+ Mesh, Lattice, Curve or Surface: depending on the type of Object, a VertexKey can be added

CTRL+J. Join Objects. All selected Objects of the same type are added to the active Object. What actually happens here is that the ObData blocks are combined and all the selected Objects (except for the active one) are deleted. This is a rather complex operation, which can lead to confusing results, particularly when working with a lot of linked data, animation curves and hierarchies.
KKEY. Show Keys. The DrawKey option is turned ON for all selected Objects. If all of them were already ON, they are all turned OFF.
SHIFT+K. A PopupMenu asks: OK? Show and select all keys. The DrawKey option is turned ON for all selected Objects, and all Object-keys are selected. This function is used to enable transformation of the entire animation system.
LKEY. Makes selected Object local. Makes library linked objects local for the current scene.

*
o CTRL+L. Link selected. Links some of the Active Object data to all selected Objects, the following menu entry appears only if applicable.
+ To Scene: Creates a link of the Object to a scene.
+ Object IPOs: Links Active Object IPOs to selected ones.
+ Mesh data: Links Active Object Mesh data selected ones.
+ Lamp Data: Links Active Object Lamp data to selected ones.
+ Surf Data: Links Active Object Surf data selected ones.
+ Material: Links Active Object Material to selected ones.

*
o SHIFT+L. Select Linked. Selects all Objects somehow linked to active Object.
+ Object IPO: Selects all Object(s) sharing active Object's IPOs.
+ Object Data: Selects all Object(s) sharing active Object's ObData.
+ Current Material: Selects all Object(s) sharing active Object's current Material.
+ Current Texture: Selects all Object(s) sharing active Object's current Texture.

MKEY. Moves selected Object(s) to another layer, a pop-up appears. Use LMB to move, use SHIFT+LMB to make the object belong to multiple layers. If the selected Objects have different layers, this is ORed in the menu display. Use ESC to exit the menu. Press the "OK" button or ENTER to change the layer setting. The hotkeys (ALT-)(1KEY, 2KEY, ... - 0KEY) work here as well (see 3DHeader).
CTRL+M. Mirror Menu. It is possible to mirror an Object along the X, Y or Z axis.
NKEY. Number Panel. The location, rotation and scaling of the active Object are displayed and can be modified.
ALT+O. Clear Origin. The `Origin' is erased for all Child Objects, which causes the Child Objects to move to the exact location of the Parent Objects.
SHIFT+O. If the selected Object is a Mesh toggles SubSurf onn/ off. CTRL+1 to CTRL+4 switches to the relative SubSurf level for display purpouses. Rendering SUbSurf level has no HotKey.

*
o CTRL+P. Make selected Object(s) the child(ren) of the active Object. If the Parent is a Curve then a popup offers two choices:
+ Normal Parent: Make a normal parent, the curve can be made a path later on.
+ Follow Path: Automatically creates a Follow Path constraint with the curve as target. If the Parent is an Armature, a popup offers three options:
+ Use Bone: One of the Bones becomes the parent. The Object will not be deformed. A popup permits to select the bone. This is the option if you are modelling a robot or machinery
+ Use Armature: The whole armature is used as parent for deformations. This is the choice for organic beings.
+ Use Object: Standard parenting. In the second case further options asks if Vertex groups

should not be created, should be created empty or created and populated.

*
o ALT+P. Clears Parent relation, user is asked if he wishes to keep or clear parent-induced transforms.
+ Clear Parent: the selected Child Objects are unlinked from the Parent. since the transformation of the Parent disappears, this can appear as if the former Children themselves are transformed.
+ ... and keep transform: the Child Objects are unlinked from the Parent, and an attempt is made to assign the current transformation, which was determined in part by the Parent, to the (former Child) Objects.
+ Clear Parent inverse: The inverse matrix of the Parent of the selected Objects is erased. The Child Objects remain linked to the Objects. This gives the user complete control over the hierarchy.

*
o RKEY. Rotate mode. Works on selected Object(s). In Blender, a rotation is by default a rotation perpendicular to the screen, regardless of the view direction or ViewMode. The degree of

rotation is exactly linked to the mouse movement. Try moving around the rotation midpoint with the mouse. The rotation pivot point is determined by the state of the 3DWiewport Header buttons. Alternatives for starting this mode:

*
o
+ LMB to draw a C-shaped curve.
o The following options are available in rotation mode:
+ Limiters:
# CTRL: in increments of 5 degrees.
# SHIFT: fine movements.
# SHIFT+CTRL: in increments of 1 degree.
+ MMB toggles: A short click restricts the current rotation to the horizontal or vertical view axis.
+ XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY constrains rotation to X, Y or Z axis of the global reference.
+ a second XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY constrains rotation to X, Y or Z axis of the local reference.
+ a third XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY removes constraints.
+ NKEY enters numerical input, as well as any numeric key directly.
+ ENTER finalizes.
+ ESC exits.
+ ARROWS: These keys can be used to move the mouse cursor exactly 1 pixel.
+ Rotation can be terminated with:
# LMB SPACE or ENTER: move to a new position.
# RMB or ESC: everything goes back to the old position.
+ Switching mode:
# GKEY: switches to Grab.
# SKEY: switches to Size (Scale) mode.
# RKEY: starts Rotate mode again.

ALT+R. Clears Rotation. The X,Y,Z rotations of selected Objects are set to zero.

*
o SKEY. Size mode or scaling mode. Works on selected Object(s). The degree of scaling is exactly linked to the mouse movement. Try to move from the (rotation) midpoint with the mouse. The pivot point is determined by the settings of the 3D Viewport header pivot Menu. Alternatives for starting scaling mode:
+ LMB to draw a V-shaped line.
o The following options are available in scaling mode:
+ Limiters:
# CTRL: in increments of 0.1.
# SHIFT+CTRL: in increments of 0.01.
+ MMB toggles: A short click restricts the scaling to X, Y or Z axis. Blender calculates the appropriate axis based on the already initiated mouse movement. Click MMB again to return to free scaling.
+ XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY constrains scaling to X, Y or Z axis of the local reference.
+ a second XKEY, YKEY, ZKEY removes constraints.
+ NKEY enters numerical input, as well as any numeric key directly. ENTER finalizes, ESC exits.
+ ARROWS:These keys can be used to move the mouse cursor exactly 1 pixel.
+ Scaling can be terminated with:
# LMB SPACE or ENTER: move to a new position.
# RMB or ESC: everything goes back to the old dimension.
+ Switching mode:
# GKEY: switches to Grab.
# SKEY: starts Size mode again.
# RKEY: switches to Rotation.

ALT+S. Clears Size. The X,Y,Z dimensions of selected Objects are set to 1.0.

*
o SHIFT+S. SnapMenu:
+ Sel->Grid: Moves Object to nearest grid point.
+ Sel->Curs: Moves Object to cursor.
+ Curs->Grid: Moves cursor to nearest grid point.
+ Curs->Sel: Moves cursor to selected Object(s).
+ Sel->Center: Moves Objects to their barycentrum.

TKEY. Texture space mode. The position and dimensions of the texture space for the selected Objects can be changed in the same manner as described above for Grab and Size mode. To make this visible, the drawingflag EditButtons->TexSpace is set ON. A PopupMenu asks you to select: "Grabber" or "Size".
CTRL+T. Makes selected Object(s) track the Active Object. Old track method was Blender default tracking before version 2.30. The new method is the Constrain Track, this creates a fully editable constraint on the selected object targeting the active Object.
ALT+T. Clears old style Track. Constraint track is removed as all constrains are.
UKEY. Makes Object Single User, the inverse operation of Link

*
o (CTRL+L) a pop-up appears with choices.
+ Object: if other Scenes also have a link to this Object, the link is deleted and the Object is copied. The Object now only exists in the current Scene. The links from the Object remain unchanged.
+ Object & ObData: Similar to the previous command, but now the ObData blocks with multiple links are copied as well. All selected Objects are now present in the current Scene only, and each has a unique ObData (Mesh, Curve, etc.).
+ Object & ObData & Materials+Tex: Similar to the previous command, but now Materials and Textures with multiple links are also copied. All selected Objects are now unique. They have unique ObData and each has a unique Material and Texture block.
+ Materials+Tex: Only the Materials and Textures with multiple links are copied.

VKEY. Switches in/out of Vertex Paint Mode.
ALT+V. Object-Image Aspect. This hotkey sets the X and Y dimensions of the selected Objects in relation to the dimensions of the Image Texture they have. Use this hotkey when making 2D Image compositions and multi-plane designs to quickly place the Objects in the appropriate relationship with one another.
WKEY. Opens Object Booleans Menu.
XKEY. Erase Selected? Deletes selected objects.
ZKEY. Toggles Solid Mode on/off.
SHIFT+Z. Toggles Shaded Mode on/off.
ALT+Z. Toggles Textured Mode on/off.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Neo

New member
Now that I have explained how to:

Add Objects
Add Curves
Edit Curves
Edit Mesh (Objects)
Change the View
Change the Mode
Change the Names
Rotate Objects/Vertices/Mesh (Always the same, Press R then the axis, then either rotate with mouse or type the degrees)
Move Objects/Vertices/Mesh (Always the same, just what you select and how many changes)

I will not explain how to fully Link, Place Pivot Point, and UVW Map in Blender. I personally recommend that you do all the Linking, Pivots, and UVW Mapping in 3DSMAX, or follow Win Hand's Method since Blender's Handling of these functions is not always exported correctly. You usually have to do most of the linking in the SUP File that gets generated from using the 3DS2KEX converter provided by Knife Edge Software. I will explain how, and what exactly you do after I explain Linking and Pivots.

For those with 3DSMAX, I will also include how to do it in those applications as well, which you will find to be much much easier.

-------

To start off, we want to first make sure that everything is named properly. If you recall from my previous post, you should know just how to do this. Now, we need to setup the Pivot Points for certain Objects so that they rotate Correctly in Real Flight. There are two methods to doing this: Use Blender's Built in Handler, or use Win hand's export to Deep Exploration. Either ones work best, but to try to keep the files in one place for most of the build, we will be using Blender's Method for Pivot Points.

Blender's Method for adjusting Pivot Points can be tricky. What you will end up doing, is moving you cursor down towards that pallet of buttons. But first, take note of where that red circle with XHAIRS through it is located. The Pivot Point, will be moved to where this is. Now, find where it says "Curve and Surface" if your mesh is still a Curve and has not been converted. Otherwise, find where it says "Mesh" and below it, find the "Center Cursor" button. When you press this button, that little Pink Dot, or maybe Gray Dot, that everything Rotates on, Scales on, and moves on in OBJECT MODE will be moved to the center of that 3D Cursor Hotspot (That red circle with the XHAIRS in it, which you can place anywhere on the screen by just Clicking.) If your Object is still a curve, notice that this point will be aligned with that 3D Cursor, but the Pivot will remain at the center of the Object.

You may have to change views, and move this around till you get it to where you like it. When you change views and move that 3D Cursor, take note that it will not move away from the view, it will only move along the X and Y Axis like it would on paper. It will always remain at the same distance from your view. This is helpful when accurately places Pivot Points. Look at the Attachments for a better explanation.

This can be tricky to make perfect.

Now, we need to rotate this Pivot Point. In Real Flight, all objects that are suppose to move, must have the Pivot Point aligned with the Leading Edge of the aircraft Part, and must always have the Rotate set on the X Axis, or the Red Arrow. Luckily, Knife Edge Software, has included a very nice Image of how this is done. This image can be viewed here: http://www.knifeedge.com/src/images/KEmax/tutorials/control_surface_pivots.jpg

Notice that the Spinner has its pivot point aligned with itself perfectly on the Y axis: http://www.knifeedge.com/src/images/KEmax/tutorials/engine_spinner.jpg which comes through the very center tip of the spinner.

Notice that the X axis comes strait through the Center of wheels, and is aligned perfectly centered in all views: http://www.knifeedge.com/src/images/KEmax/tutorials/nexstar_landing_gear.jpg

Notice that the Elevators have the X Axis aligned with the Leading Edge of themselves, and the Ruder has the same basic Setup? Well we need to make our Pivot Points look like this as well. Reference the Attachments if you are lost.

For now, I will continue to how to rotate the Pivot Point, is a multi step process. First, we need to make sure that we can see this Axis. Make sure that the Control surface is selected, then press tab, or select "Object Mode" in the drop down. Then, down lower in that pallet, find the button with the three black arrows on it, and press it. Next, go to the right, and find the pallet named "Draw" then find "Draw Extra" and finally, hit "Axis". What we need to do, is rotate the Object in the direction we want it to go. So first off, make sure you are in object Mode. Select the Object that you wish to rotate. Now, press R then press Y then type in 90 to rotate it on the Y axis 90 degrees, so that is looks as if it is aligned with the X axis. Now switch to Edit Mode, and select all of the Vertices, then rotate them again on the Y axis by pressing R then Y and typing -90. Note, that the direction you rotate it in, and how much varies on what object we are placing.

The goal is to rotate the object in Object Mode till the X axis is placed along the Leading Edge of the Control Surface, then go into edit mode, and rotate the Vertices in the opposite direction so that the Visual Mesh has not been changed.

What you did was rotate the Object's Center Point (Pivot) but then revert it's visual appearance back to how we want it to be. When manipulating certain object points, you may have to play around with this method often before you get the result you want for that specific part.

NOTE: When Positioning the Cursor, you can also Select the Vertices that you wish to align it with, then press Shift+S then select Cursor, and Selection. This will speed up the Alignment of the 3D Cursor if you have Vertices that are located exactly where you want the Pivot point to be.

I have included some screen shots detailing what exactly to do.

After you have setup all of the Pivot Points along the Front Leading Edges of all of the Control Surfaces, do the same, following KE's Pictures for the Spinner, Rudder, and Wheels if they do not make much sense, since they are rotated slightly different.

Next, we will talk about how to Link Objects to each other, so the the Generated SUP File is correct. However, you may find that it is not always correctly exported, however Rayvel's 3DS Export project should take care of this problem. Go up to the first post and click on the link. You can download it from there and install it.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Neo

New member
Linking Objects in Blender

As you may have heard or read before in previous tutorials, Parenting or Linking in Blender is extremely strait forward, however it had little GUI Help, as opposed to 3DSMAX where you can have na Schematic View and manually link with a fancy GUI.

To start off, we always select the Child. So we should select the Wheel for example, and then select the Gear. We will use the Steering Wheel and Steering gear for example. So we want to select the Steering Wheel with Right-Click, then hold SHIFT and select the Steering Gear. Now press Cntrl+P and a small Menu just under where your mouse is currently located will appear. Go ahead and click on the "Make Parent" button, as it is a button.

Now, you may have noticed it or not, but there is now a dashed line that connects the two objects together. On some versions of Blender, the Pink line around them, will become the same color. All version should support the Dashed Line connected them. Congratulations, you now have linked your objects.

~CS_LMW - Fuselage
~CS_RMW - Fuselage
~CS_LMHS - Fuselage
~CS_RMHS - Fuselage
~CS_MMVS - Fuselage
~CS_MMR - ~CS_MMVS
~CS_LG - Fuselage
~CS_RG - Fuselage
~CS_LW - ~CS_LG
~CS_RW - ~CS_RG
~CS_SG - Fuselage
~CS_SW - ~CS_SG
~CS_SPINNER - Fuselage
~CS_ENGINE - Fuselage
~CS_LME - ~CS_LMHS
~CS_RME - ~CS_RMHS
~CS_LMA - ~CS_LMW
~CS_RMA - ~CS_RMW
~CS_COLL - (The OBJECT it is made to act as the collision mesh for)
 

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Neo

New member
Mapping in Blender

So far we have learned how to Create and Edit Mesh, Create and Edit Curves, Adust Pivot Points, and how to Parent/Link objects.

The last few things we have going for us is the actual 3ds2kex conversion, and of course, mapping so that we can have a colored aircraft. I might as well say it hear, that Mapping in Blender is annoying, but it well suited for Animations and High-End Mappings, however for a newbie, it seems like Hell. The hardest thing to learn how to do in Blender is Mapping. However, it is something that shouldn't leave your mind.

So what we will map, for practice is either that ugly thing we called a Fuselage, your current aircraft, or your standard cube. For my demonstration, we will use a Cube. This part of the tutorial, will include a lot of pictures, and I recommend that you open these attachments and read them. This part requires a lot of showing.

To start though, we will first need to split our screen. So hover your cursor over the darkish Grey Line at the bottom just above that button pallet until you see two arrows. Right click on it and select Split. Then adjust the Line so that it appears to be above the Pallet, and is halfway across bother sides of the view.

Now go into the Right Hand View port, and at the bottom, where you see "View" move your mouse to the right, and select that little square button with a grid on it. A Menu should pop up. Go to UV/Image Editor.

You should now see a flat, gray or blue grid.

Go back into the 3D View port and select Edit Mode from the Drop Down List. Keep everything selected, or press A to select all if it is not selected. Then on your keyboard, press U and then from the Menu, select Unwrap, which should be the first option. Now in the Right Hand View Port, you can see that there appears to be a Yellow Outlined Box.

For the upcoming events, I would prefer you look at the images.

Ounce you have fully mapped your objects, you may still have some questions.
 

Attachments

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Neo

New member
Blender Texture Maps Extended

When working with Blender you may have noticed that it is impossible to use one Texture Map (UV Map) for all objects. The workaround can be lengthy and sometimes annoying. There are two workarounds. The first is to go into GIMP and set the Alpha Channel as White, and overlay each render and open it as the current image. This is lengthy, and unneeded.

Most people who want a powerful system like Blender, get stuck here. So here is how we continue. using the list of Keyboard Shortcuts, what we do before we UVW Map everything is Select every object in Object Mode, and press Cntrl+J and select "Join Selected Meshes." Remember to always do this BEFORE NAMING, LINKING, AND ADDING/ADJUSTING PIVOTS! If you do this last, even though it is near the end of this tutorial, you will run into several problems. The first one being that your links, pivots, and names will all be lost. The second reason is that it will only add to your frustration and anger. Learning can be hard, but I am trying to make it as easy as possible.

What we want to do is make sure we have all objects selected, in Object Mode. Then what we want to do is Join them as described above. Next, we switch back into Edit Mode, and press U to Unwrap everything. The Unwrap may or may not be what you want it to be. So to continue, we will either use the Size, Rotate, and Drag commands after making sure we are in FACE selection mode to morph the selected faces how we want them to be. or we can use the Smart Unwrap Modifier to make our UVW Look the best in my opinion.

Now that we have generated our UVW Map using the techniques described above, we will use those same directions to render it to a TGA so we can edit it in GIMP. After we have rendered the TGA, we will need to separate those meshes again. This is where it can get very frustrating. Using the MULTI SELECT by holding SHIFT or Holding CNTRL and FREE FORM A SELECTION BOX select all of the Vertices that make up your Fuselage, and press "P" then select "Selected" to separate all of the Vertices and faces that make up your Fuselage into another object. Do the same for each INDIVIDUAL part of the aircraft, and be very careful when doing this, as to not screw up the new meshes.

I might also mention that if you have parts on your aircraft such as rods and wires, that do not need to waste UV space, you can assign them a different material, and not include them in the Joined Meshes to save time.

Now, we need to know how to set the textures to our objects. This we do by using the "Materials" Selection tool in Blender. I have included some Screenshots of how to do all of the above.
 

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Neo

New member
Editing the UV Maps and Applying them to Objects in Blender

Now that we have learned how to make effective UV Maps in Blender we must now utilize the GIMP program to edit them. So in the last post(s) you should have also rendered that map by using the UVs->Scripts->Save UV Layout option in the UV Editor View in Blender.

GIMP supports TGA files, which is what it saved as. This also just so happens to be the ONLY file format that Real Flight will accept.

So go ahead and open GIMP. You will notice that GIMP does not look anything like Photoshop, but features the same elements and power, for free. When you first open GIMP, be prepared, it may take a while since it has to find all of its extensions, and what not.

So start off by going to the File Menu then selecting Open. it should be the more rectangular box that pops up that actually has the menu on it. Why they did this, I don't know, but it looks nice. The navigation can be a bit fussy with GIMP, and I have pointed it out in these screen shots. I also had to blackout (White) some of my Icons of files I have saved on my desktop for Work. I am in the modeling business, and these models, are part of a game, that I cannot share. :D

it is probably easiest to look at the screen shots from below and use them to your wisest decision to paint your practice UV Map. Ounce you are satisfied with your UV Map which from now on we will call a Texture Map since it now has color, we want to save it. Go to the File Menu, then press Save. Simple enough.

I pointed out the Curve Editor in GIMP, which when you use it, allows you to manipulate strait lines to make stunning curves. I have included a feature Screen shot on how to use this tool effectively to produce professional looking curves that are not jagged. These curves function a lot like those in Blender, however they have less features, but still have handle and can be shaped exactly how you want.
 

Attachments

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Neo

New member
Setting Materials in Blender

Luckily enough, Real Flight allows us to use Multiple Materials so we can have some objects UV Mapped and Textured, and others to just have a solid color. This speeds up mapping for small things like Rods and Wires which are usually a solid color anyways.

To do this, we should follow the screen shots that I have included as well.

You will notice that the first screen shot shows what I mean by having different Materials, it also shows you the Material editor. In the screen shot, I will show you how to apply different materials in Blender.

So far, we are on the road to victory with our first model. This tutorial was deisgned to be a Newbie's guide on how to make basic shapes, objects, curves, edit them, map them, name them, link them, and assign materials and manipulate Pivot Points.

Now that you should be familiar with Blender and some of the tools that you will use often, you can continue to exporting and importing. We will learn how to export using Rayvel's Plugin, and import into real Flight.

If you are still having issues after reading through this ENTIRE Tutorial, you can PM me. I will help, and I will probably add onto the tutorial as well to make sure it can be explained without a PM.
 

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Neo

New member
Exporting using the 3ds Export Plugin by Rayvel

When exporting from Blender, it is important to always know that the Built In 3DS Export does not work correctly with the 3ds2kex converter that we have to use in order to finalize the pre0build of our model before import the kex into Real Flight.

Rayvel's plugin works like a charm, and fixes most if not all of the issues we culd possibly run into. So for starters, we must install this Plugin.

From what I have read over on his thread, his install directions may be skewed fro Vista and Windows 7.

When installing on these platforms, you must navigate like this:

%USERNAME%\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\.blender\scripts

You can simply type this into the Address Bar at the top of your File Browser. The %USERNAME% should bring you to your current user that you have Blender installed on.

When downloading from his thread, rename the .txt file to .py at the end, or you can download the g3x and change the end of that file to .zip an extract. Both methods work, since both methods produce the same file. He cannot upload the.py or the .zip since the.zip is either to big, and the .py is no allowed by the forums.

Then install, after installing, you will have to restart Blender. Make sure your work is saved so far. If you are still having issues with anything, then please post a reply on Rayvel's thread which you can find on the first post of this tutorial. For myself, I cannot seem to get it to work even though I do have it installed correctly, but this does not matter to me, since I use 3dsmax for this.

To demonstrate anyways, I will draw up a simple aircraft in 3DSMAX and export it from there and then use the 3ds2kex converter instead of the plugin for 3DSMAX so I can still explain myself.

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So, here are a few things you will need to know. First of all, make sure that the Texture File for the aircraft is in the same folder as the 3DS which will soon be a kex.

Make sure you download it from here: http://www.knifeedge.com/KEmax/downloads.php#

Ounce you download it, you will need to extract everything to a specific folder on your PC. Then after you have extracted it, locate and move the 3ds file nwe exported from Blender, and the TGA file we painted in GIMP to the same folder as the 3ds2kex.exe

When you go launch this, it is important to know how and where. I recomend that you move this folder to your C:\ directory so that you have less typing to do when you open the Command Prompt and run it.

When you do open the command prompt (Open as an Admin under Vista and Windows 7, by right clicking and choose "Run as Administrator") yopu will want to type the following: (Chnage the address to the actual location of the folder you have the 3ds2kex executable in.)

cd C:\Users\Owner\Documents\3ds2kex\3ds2kex

3ds2kex -c -s SPAD.3ds

Now, look into the folder that has the 3ds file. Make sure you replace the directory and the name of the file with your own. There should now be a .sup file in that folder as well. Open this in Notepad or Notepad++ so that we can check and make sure that everything is linked and named properly.

It should look a little something like this:

[~CS_20]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_20
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_6]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_6
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_LME]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_LME
Parent=~CS_LMHS
Pivot=

[~CS_22]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_22
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_SG]
IsPivot=No
NUP_MaxRotationXDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationYDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationZDEG=0.
Name=~CS_SG
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_LMHS]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_LMHS
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_24]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_24
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_LG]
IsPivot=No
NUP_MaxRotationXDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationYDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationZDEG=0.
Name=~CS_LG
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_7]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_7
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_18]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_18
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_ENGINE]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_ENGINE
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[RootFrame]
IsPivot=No
Name=RootFrame
Parent=
Pivot=

[~CS_14]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_14
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_8]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_8
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_10]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_10
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_RMA]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_RMA
Parent=~CS_RMW
Pivot=

[~CS_LW]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_LW
Parent=~CS_LG
Pivot=

[~CS_9]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_9
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_19]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_19
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_MMR]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_MMR
Parent=~CS_MMVS
Pivot=

[~CS_RMHS]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_RMHS
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_15]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_15
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_0]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_0
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_11]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_11
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_21]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_21
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_1]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_1
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_23]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_23
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_SPINNE]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_SPINNE
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_LMA]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_LMA
Parent=~CS_LMW
Pivot=

[~CS_2]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_2
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_RME]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_RME
Parent=~CS_RMHS
Pivot=

[~CS_RG]
IsPivot=No
NUP_MaxRotationXDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationYDEG=0.
NUP_MaxRotationZDEG=0.
Name=~CS_RG
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_16]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_16
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_MMVS]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_MMVS
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_12]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_12
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_3]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_3
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_RW]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_RW
Parent=~CS_RG
Pivot=

[~CS_RMW]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_RMW
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_SW]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_SW
Parent=~CS_SG
Pivot=

[~CS_4]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_4
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_17]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_17
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_5]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_5
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[Fuselage]
IsPivot=No
Name=Fuselage
Parent=RootFrame
Pivot=

[~CS_13]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_13
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

[~CS_LMW]
IsPivot=No
Name=~CS_LMW
Parent=Fuselage
Pivot=

When you go to edit it, make sure the the field that you change is the Name= Field. Keep the name in the [] the same so when you run the 3ds2kex convertor again, it knows what the original name is, and what to convert it to. If you find problems in the linking, then change the "Parent=" field to the ~CS_NAME of the parent to the object.

Remember that all objects should start excatly like so: ~CS_ if they did not start like that, or there name was cut short, change it!

Now that we have our corrections in the sup file, we need to run the 3ds2kex convertor again. Hopefully you did not close out the cmd line yet.

This time when you run it, do not include the -c

So type the following: (make sure you change the directory and the filename! You do not have to retype the first line if you are already in that directory, just retype the second without the "-c")

cd C:\Users\Owner\Documents\3ds2kex\3ds2kex

3ds2kex -s SPAD.3ds

Now if your 3ds file is not in the same folder as the 3ds2kex.exe you will have to type out that directory as well.

Now if you get an error that says "You have exceed 8000 polys [*****] you must reduce the number of polys or use collision meshes" then you did not use collision meshes like you should have. I did not include the Collision Mesh in my sup file for the purpose of drawing this error. You may also see an error that states that your total poly count is over 20,000 (20000) in which you have modeled to accurately (hopefully) and you need to reduce it.

If you get an error that states that there is no texture file, or if you forget to add a texture file, your model will either give out an error, or you will have a texture-less model when we go to import this into Real Flight.

I did not include any screen shots for this demonstration, as it is just typing a few lines into the Command Prompt. If you feel you need screen shots, reply back, or send me a PM.
 
Last edited:

Neo

New member
Importing into Real Flight

Importing your aircraft after the kex has been successfully made, can be the most gratifying and hurtful moment. Two reason: when it comes up and you see it on the runway, facing the right way, all the parts moving correctly, it will be overjoyous, but if it isn't functioning right, i.e. parts no moving correctly, facuing backwards, it makes you want to punch the wall sometimes, espeacially if your new and this took you longer then expected, and frustrated you enough with the converter complaining about things.

However, this is by far the simplest part of creating your aircraft, however another time consuming part comes after this: physics.

To start off, we want to open Real Flight. Then we want to go to the File Menu, and select Import, then from there, select KEX. In Real Flight 4.5 you should get a nice dialogue that should initially request you to browse for the item. Afterwords, it will ask you whether or not this is an Airplane, Heli, or Airport Object. Finally, it will ask you select a close matching aircraft to speed up physics generation. Select one that you think matches well in size, and construction.

Finally, it will import.

So to get started, we need to select the aircraft from the Aircraft Selection Menu. It should say " Creating DDS" if this is the first time. Ounce this has completed, load it up so that it is sits on the runway.

Congratulations, it is now in the Simulator. Now, we need to edit this aircraft, so go up to the Edit button, and select it. Another dialogue with a Visual, and a Wire frame view of the aircraft will come up.

From this view, we will now edit the physics.

Please reference the screen shots below if you are having difficulties.

NOTE: if you have re-import after some minor visual tweaks, it is best to over-write everything except the AV, unless you changed the mode so drastically, that it would become a hardship compared to a preselection when you import the kex.
 

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Neo

New member
3DSMAX Linking, UV Mapping, and Pivot Points

As I said earlier, I would explain some of what I do as well in 3dsmax 9. I have also gotten feedback that suggested that they use 3dsmax as well. This is to help those out who know what there doing, but do not know how to use 3DSMAX to Link and UV Map.

To start off, we will need to MultiObjectsUnwrap Plugin to do this correctly in 3dsmax. It would be nice if someone could generate a plugin like this fore Blender as well, however I am afraid that won't happen until a much later version, if it does not come pre-built with it.

So download this plugin from here: http://users.skynet.be/arketip/arketip_multiObjectUnwrapENG.htm

Installation of the macroscript:
1. Click the MAXScript item in the Main Menu, select Run Script...
2. Locate and select the script and press Open
3. Go to Customize > Customize User Interface and select the desired Tab (Keyboard, Toolbars, Quad or menu)
4. Locate the category 'UVWtoolBox' under group 'Main UI'
5. Search in the category for the name 'multiObjectsUnwrap'
6. Drag the script to the toolbar, Menu, QuadMenu or assign to a Shortcut
That is obviously how we would install it. After it has been installed, we are going to want to select all of the Objects that we want mapped and press that button where ever you may have put it.

Ounce you have pressed it, unless you want to use Previous Maps, you don't have to leave that checked, although it won't hurt to just not uncheck it either, unless of course you have screwed with individual maps, and wish to revert, then uncheck it. Now press Unwrap UV's. REMEMBER TO NEVER CLOSE THE DIALOGUE UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED MAPPING!!

You will see a progress bar appear as it slowly, or boastfully unwraps your objects onto one UV Map. It should open. Usually it is much too large, and you have to zoom out by scrolling with your Mouse Wheel or MOUSE3.

Now you can see overall what your aircraft looks like, from a mostly Top-Down View most of the time. Now what we want to do is map this properly so that we have a decent map of the aircraft. For starters, what I usually do is use the "Flatten Mapping" tool. This tool tends to work best. You may have to play around with the degrees, which is defaulted to 45 in order to get the correct number of parts, or just keep that number lower then 5,000 small useless parts along with your 4 large, useful ones.

Now what we can do, if we do not accept this, is undo this, or simply just Flatten Mapping again, at a different angle/degree. If we are unsatisfied, you can select all the parts (should be red when selected) in Face-subobject mode except for those ones that you think are giving you problems. Then for those object that you believe to be giving you problems, you can simply, choose how to Flatten Those or just simply transform them using the Transform properties to make them useful to you on your map.

Don't forget that you can grab, rotate, move, size, etc. objects in the map as well.

Now before we finalize this, we are going to want to always render this UV Map. So go to the Tools Menu, then at the bottom, press the "Render UVW Template" Button. Now another dialogue should appear. What we do with this, is change the size of the render to 2048X2048 (do not press the Aspect Ratio Button). You may select a different size, however it must be a multiple of 2, so 1024, 2048, 4096, etc.

Then we want to uncheck the Show Overlapping, unless you want this of course, and uncheck the Seam Edges button, as it become annoying over time.

You may also want to consider using that drop down box, and pick the "Solid" option so that the objects are filled with the color in the box to the left of it.

Reference the screen shots if you find yourself lost.

Now we want to return back to that dialogue that we set the UV's with. So you guess, press the set UV's button, and watch as the magic begins. Ounce again, a progress bar, and then when it finishes, that button should gray out, and all your objects have returned back to normal, with the same names, pivots, etc. but mapped correctly.

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Linking in 3DSMAX is the easiest of things to do. It is so simple in fact, that it can be explain in only four sentences, and just one screen shot. In 3DSMAX, what you want to do, is open the Schematic View, by pressing the button at the Top-Right that has a Yellow Box with an Arrow pointing down towards a Gray Box. Ounce open, you will notice a bunch of Bluish Gray Boxes with the name of your objects in them, but to continue we first want to press the button Hierarchy Mode button at the top towards the left, which appears to be One box at the top, and two slightly to left and below this top box. Ounce press, we want to find the Fuselage of the aircraft, and drag it towards the left side of the screen so that we can link things to it fastest. To link, we simply press the Connect button just right of the arrow on the left upper side, and finally, we click the object (CHILD) that we want to link then click the Fuselage, or whatever part it should be linked to. You will notice that it falls into place just indented towards the left slightly and lower then its parent.

Reference the screen shot for a better example.

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NOTE: FOR SCREENSHOTS FOR PIVOTS GO HERE

Pivot Points in 3DSMAX is a very easy process. It only requires a few simple modifications which include moving and rotating. Before we start out we always want to make sure the nose of the aircraft is along the arrow of the Y axis. Not literally on the line, but facing in the same direction. Real-flight uses the Y axis as the movement forward Axis. If our aircraft is not facing in this direction, we will not be able to fly in the correct direction. Next, make sure you only have the aircraft part selected that you wish to manipulate. Before we continue, lets do a check. Make sure that the Angle Snapping is enabled. This makes rotating evenly with perfection faster without typing.

Now that we have angle Rotate Snap engaged, lets start out by defining what we will move. Go to the right Pane, or the Settings/Modifiers Pane and click on Hierarchy. It should look like a box with three smaller boxes attacked to it. Make sure the very top left button named "Pivot" is highlighted. Then go down to where it says "Affect Pivot Only" and press it so that it is highlighted as well. This way when we enter the rotating and moving edit modes, we will only move the point. See how much easier this will be in 3DSMAX. For my examples I have used a box, but lets pretend that this box was simply an elevator or moving part that you wanted to edit.

When we go to set Pivot Points, as mentioned earlier, it is important to know that the X axis rests along the leading edge of the surface, centered, touching both the Moving Part and the Aircraft Wing, Vertical Stabilizer, Horizontal Stabilizer, or Fuselage. The X Axis should lay where a Hing would go in real life. So image how that should be, then set this up so that it looks similar to such a hing. It is also important to keep the Y Axis of the Pivot Points facing forward along the Global Y so that everything rotates Perfectly.

Now that we have our prerequisites set correctly, we always first want to move the axis to the correct location. Start by going into the Move Edit Mode. Then simply click and drag on the arrows to move the Pivot Point. Notice that there will be Boxed Out arrows. This represents the TRUE formation and direction of the Pivot. Those other arrows that look alike for anything else in 3DSMAX are Moving Arrows and do not represent the actual Pivot Point Orientation at all.

Now that we have moved the Pivot Point, we now need to rotate it. So now we go into the Rotate Edit Mode, by pressing that button. Notice that a B=Globe with colored Lines on it appears. The Colors match that of an Axis. So if we CLICKED AND DRAGGED on the GREEN Circle, we would rotate the Axis' Center Point on the Y Axis. Due to the fact that we have Snap On, we can make perfect 45 and 90 degree angle rotations (which we will do in the simulator 90% of the time for all surfaces) without typing or fiddling around.

I have included some screen-shots to show how this is done on another post. If you are confused, please refer to them for additional visual help.

It is recommended that we go into a Front,Left,Top View to do this. You can make small errors in the Perspective View that can cause time and hassle.
 

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Neo

New member
Screenshots For 3dsmax Pivot Editing.

Screenshots For 3dsmax Pivot Editing.
 

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Neo

New member
I have recently added the Setting Pivot Points in 3DSMAX and added some General Object Mode Shortcuts for Blender. I will eventually get around to updating the Screenshots and I plan on adding some more mapping techniques today as well.
 
Last edited:

nkerns

New member
Wow...this is an impressive amount of work you did here! Though I'm not an airplane modeler yet, I also very much appreciate the effort you put into making this, as I'm sure many others here do. :)
 
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