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AdamAvenali
04-17-2008, 01:29 PM
Hey all,

So, after a few months of working strictly on character stuff (mostly increasing my texturing abilities) I have come to a new project that is more of a hard-edged, mechanical device. I am having some serious issues with getting the basic shape down on this one, and I have no idea why. Some sort of writer's block, but for modeler's I suspect. I am probably just overthinking it and it's totally obvious.

Here's the situation. I have this concept art to work from:

http://www.xgxracing.com/adam/1.jpg

I am starting out with a disk and bevel it up the Y. I end up with a good profile view of the object, so the general shape is fine. The issue I have comes when it is time to create the slice in the middle to create two halves. Shown here:

http://www.xgxracing.com/adam/2.jpg

I would prefer to just boolean it out, but I also want to try and keep everything clean for subpatch reasons (and I am a bit compulsive about my poly flow and edge loops). I just cant seem to find a way to create that slice and have an extra edge loop there to keep the middle slice somewhat sharp and angular. I thought about starting with the middle and working out, but that seems like it would be difficult to keep round.

Also, I should note that the hatch does need to open, so interior geometry is important and will be seen as well.

If anyone can help me on what direction you would think best to start out in or anything at all in general, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Adam

JeffrySG
04-17-2008, 01:33 PM
It would help if you posted a wireframe of what you have so far... but I would probably start with a cylinder with maybe 24-32 sides. Then form it into the dome, then either drill the crease line into it or use the add edges to do it. Then I would bevel out that line, use multishift to extrude it down a bit and then go back and use the add edges tool to create some extra control loops to help control the smoothing around the new 'crease'.

Hopper
04-17-2008, 05:32 PM
Idiot here, so for what it's worth...

Would it not be easier to create the entire sphere, add thickness, boolean out the hole symetrically, then delete half the sphere and flatten it?

Hopper
04-17-2008, 05:54 PM
nm .. <deleted post>

Caveboy
04-17-2008, 06:20 PM
I would build the shell so that you are building the outershell.

Then in layer 2, create a "cutter" object to slice the shell in layer one. This cutter would be a simple 2-point poly shape. Slice down the Y axis.
Or
You could also create a poly shape of the cutter and assign a new surface to it so that this cutter shape creates the cut edge and the covers the region of the shell that makes the second part. In summary, you have the shell, stencil the cut and surface onto the shell so that you end up with the shell in 2 halves. The halves are assigned their own surface.

Hide one shell half and apply smooth shift to it to give it a thickness. Repeat for the other half.

That should work.

Jim M
04-17-2008, 07:02 PM
Edge weights

TripD
04-17-2008, 07:51 PM
The hobbyist takes a crack at it! :)

Surrealist.
04-17-2008, 07:52 PM
I would prefer to just boolean it out, but I also want to try and keep everything clean for subpatch reasons (and I am a bit compulsive about my poly flow and edge loops). I just cant seem to find a way to create that slice and have an extra edge loop there to keep the middle slice somewhat sharp and angular. I thought about starting with the middle and working out, but that seems like it would be difficult to keep round.

Also, I should note that the hatch does need to open, so interior geometry is important and will be seen as well.

If anyone can help me on what direction you would think best to start out in or anything at all in general, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Adam

On the places where you want the sharp corners, you can use a cross hatch pattern. It is really simple and works like a charm in subpatch while keeping the polyflow very simple.

Here are a few screen shots from my tutorial that help explain:

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/0/0a/CrossHatch.gif

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/d/d0/EdgeLoop2.gif

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/e/ec/LogoHatch.gif

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/8/8d/LogoHatch2.gif

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/9/97/Logo2.gif

So what I would do is take the dome you have and stencil in that shape so that you have the thickness (both sides not just a line) but not the depth.

Then you can use Add Eges to create an edge loop around the edge and the polyflow you need for the cross hatch as well as the fill-in polys to complete the flow and maintain the dome shape. Then use multishift to create the crevice.

Here is a screen shot of using this technique to create a very complex series of sharp edges along domed planet surface.

You situation should be a no brainer and you can keep a very clean flow since you really only have a couple of sharp points.

And yes, it took forever to create that planet by hand.:)

jin choung
04-17-2008, 11:16 PM
hey adam,

i think a lot of people would disagree with me on this one but for hard body modeling, i would say FORGET subdivision surfaces.

unless you use a lot of edgeloops near edges, you're going to get "marshmallowy" looking structures and besides the merely "nice" aspect of being resolution independent, there's no over-riding reason to make hardbody objects subds anyway. especially since you've had a stint on doing creatures, i can understand the desire to utilize the same process but it's just not needed on hardbody. just model it so that it is correct at the closest you will ever be to it.

i also understand the desire to make something super "all-purpose" but if it's for a production and not just a hobby project, you can't afford it.

for stuff like this is where NURBS really shine - you can maintain low mesh density but still "slice and dice" on it NON-DESTRUCTIVELY. and you can turn up the res as high or law as you need at all times. nice.

-----------------------------------------------------

but assuming you want to do it in lw, i do all of my hardbody modeling like this:

1. use WHATEVER method you want to create major SHELL shapes. so stuff like the chassis shell of a car or aircraft. forget about things like panels or cut lines. all of those thing will be addressed in another step.

during this step, you can use subds or lathing or lofting or anything you want. just make the shape no compromise, EXACTLY what it should be.

2. after the shell is done, save it so you always have access to it.

3. if it's subds, FREEZE it into polys. yup. i said it. freeze it into polys... make it as high res as you need it so it looks right at the closest res. with something like your inverted bowl shape, you probably didn't even need to subd... just lathe a profile.

4. you "slice and dice" on the frozen polys. your shell is paper thin at this point so if you need to see thickness of metal panels, use something like the THICKENER plugins to puff out the eggshell pieces into thicker pieces.

and all you can do is basically boolean at this point... any movement of vertices can only happen on planar surfaces. otherwise, you're eyeballing and nobody wants that.

5. depending on the pieces you end up with, you may need to do further work by adding microbevels and some time will probably be spend on making your mesh capable of taking such detailing.
---------------------------------------------

that's pretty much it.

for me, with this kinda stuff in lw, step 3 is a point of no return.

luck.

jin

jin choung
04-17-2008, 11:19 PM
oh, and never mind that split in the middle... good luck staying all subds and adding those doors and windows and things.

it's not impossible but just imho, i wouldn't recommend it.

jin

p.s. and all this is in keeping with my philosophy that what you model should look like what it's SUPPOSED TO BE. in NO WAY should it betray the methods used to create it.

it should not look "subdivy" if it's not suposed to. it should not be "faceted" if it's not supposed to... etc.

Surrealist.
04-17-2008, 11:56 PM
OK reread your post. You need it to be in two halves. Same idea but a little different approach.

Here's a quick sample.

Attached Object file has all the steps and in the F7 layers panel each step is descriptively labeled.

Surrealist.
04-18-2008, 12:03 AM
And for all of the holes doors and other detail you can do kinda what I did here.

http://www.newtek.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=57626&d=1208098543

AdamAvenali
04-18-2008, 08:28 AM
hello all,

thank you so very much for all of the information! i really appreciate it. here are a few wires of what I have come up with so far using something from just about everyone's post. it's still not perfect, and i did get a little out of control with the add edges haha (i like to keep things symmetrical and clean looking, which means I will probably give this another try, but keep it a little cleaner). I am having a small issue when I try to bevel in the cutouts, but i'm sure it's just from my sloppy geometry.

Surrealist: if you could please get me the link to your subdivision lesson (i have seen it before but didnt bookmark it), i would really like to read through that again.

http://www.xgxracing.com/adam/Untitled-1.jpg

http://www.xgxracing.com/adam/Untitled-2.jpg

http://www.xgxracing.com/adam/Untitled-3.jpg

JeffrySG
04-18-2008, 09:18 AM
^his tutorial is in his signature... ;)

These are looking really nice so far!

Surrealist.
04-18-2008, 10:24 AM
Yeah coming along. You have some tris in there you can eliminate with a little rearranging and I think you'll need a few more control edges on those smaller windows. They are a little out of whack. But overall you are heading in the right direction. Please keep us updated. :)

JeffrySG
04-18-2008, 12:37 PM
Going a little off topic here but...

I don't know about you guys, but it's usually much easier for me to judge good poly flow on a unsmoothed model. Not sure if everyone is that way or not. Sometimes it's just so much easier for me to see a few points out of whack when it's not smoothed.

AdamAvenali
04-18-2008, 12:40 PM
I see this conversation going in the "clean versus dirty mesh" direction haha i will post a few unsmoothed versions when i get home later.

Surrealist.
04-18-2008, 12:41 PM
Yeah I always leave smoothing off too. Kind of distracting.

EDIT: Oh you mean TAB?

AdamAvenali
04-18-2008, 12:47 PM
i was under the impression it meant Tabbed versus Un-tabbed.

Surrealist.
04-18-2008, 08:24 PM
Jeff....?

Anyway, for me it is not a problem. I almost would rather see the subD version if you are showing wires because I want to see how the polyflow is reacting in this state.

Jim M
04-19-2008, 12:51 AM
I have to agree with Jin.
Probably because I see the relationship between time and money being closely linked.

Another aspect is you can make an accurate version, hard body style, boolean willy nilly, then retopologise very quickly (if necessary). Like ZBrush/Mudbox etc, Lightwave is fully capable of retopologising from a background layer if you have LWCad.

I get the feeling that half of it is about improving your subD work, in which case, looking good m8 !

AdamAvenali
04-19-2008, 08:15 AM
Jim: Yeah, i find that i come across situations like these often, where I am not 100% sure on how to add/remove detail from a subdivided mesh cleanly, so I figured, once and for all, I would start a thread and get excellent advice like i have so far.

Jim_C
04-19-2008, 08:20 AM
fwiw (which ain't much)

I loudly applaud the lengths many of you guys go thru to help others here.
The length and detail of many of these posts take a great deal of (free)time to create.

Freetime ain't cheap....

carry on... sorry to interrupt

Nangleator
04-19-2008, 09:04 AM
I'd have to say on a paying gig, I'd go with Jin's philosophy. I'd love to be able to do a whole complex thing in subD's, but I'd be way slower learning as I go than the old fashioned method.

In fact, I may just practice on making cool machinery parts in my free time, for education. But I wouldn't try it when I'm on the clock.

JeffrySG
04-19-2008, 09:10 AM
Jeff....?

Anyway, for me it is not a problem. I almost would rather see the subD version if you are showing wires because I want to see how the polyflow is reacting in this state.

yeah, I meant 'tabbed' vs. 'untabbed' versions of the wireframes.... srry for the delay.... ;)

JeffrySG
04-19-2008, 09:15 AM
As far as subd or not subd, I think it all depends on what you're trying to achieve. I don't really think there is a correct method or not but whatever works for you and whatever will be most efficient for each project. There are definitely times where each method has it's own benefits.

BUT, I do know that if you don't try to push yourself, especially with subd modeling, you'll really never learn and then your only option will be to poly model it.

JeffrySG
04-19-2008, 09:18 AM
Jeff....?

Anyway, for me it is not a problem. I almost would rather see the subD version if you are showing wires because I want to see how the polyflow is reacting in this state.

I just know for myself, sometimes the 'tabbed' version looks really nice, and then when I untab I see that there are many points that could be aligned better and I find that after I make it look 'cleaner' untabbed once I go back to the tabbed version it usually looks a little bit better also.

Some of that could be due to my poor modeling skills, though! hahaha

Surrealist.
04-19-2008, 09:52 AM
Jim: Yeah, i find that i come across situations like these often, where I am not 100% sure on how to add/remove detail from a subdivided mesh cleanly, so I figured, once and for all, I would start a thread and get excellent advice like i have so far.

There is a science and an art to it for sure.

God I know I always sound like I am oversimplifying but there are really only 4 things you need to know.

1) Edge Loop

2) Cross Hatch

3) 3 or 5 Poly point to connect remainder of the outer (5 poly point) or inner (3 polly point) mesh.

4) Keep everything in quads and avoid more than 5 poly points if possible except on flat surfaces.

This is really all you need to know.

1) The Edge Loops create smooth curves (inside and outside) and sharp inside corners.

Smooth contours can be created with edge loops.

2) Cross Hatch creates sharp outside corners.

The Sharp edges of boxes and other shapes can be created with the cross hatch.

3) The connections are always going to be at least the 3 or 5 poly point.

4) Don't use triangles and keep it to 5 poly points and you are good to go.

The bottom half of this page (http://www.lightwiki.com/Fundamentals_of_Subpatch_Modeling_Part_Two) of my free :) tutorial explains this theory.

All you have to do is look at your shape. Is is a smooth curve? Or is it a sharp inner or outer corner?

The rest of it is really only the art of applying this very very simple science to the object at hand.

And there are a few other things to observe like the editable edge in this example:

http://www.lightwiki.com/images/a/a3/EdgeLoopExample2.gif

And the theory about movement of vertices's and so on that will help you plan your polyflow.

But the practical work-a-day solutions are just those 4 things and nothing more.

The rest of it is just like working a puzzle. How do you connect all these things and adhere to these simple rules?

If you take a look at this WIP thread (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82909) you wont see anything else than what I just described. There was never a thought in my mind to do anything than the 4 things I laid out here. There was some experience applied. There was a plan and some artistic sensibility. But it was not complicated.

Well I hope this helps kind of bring these things home a little bit. I just love seeing great modeling. I am still learning the art of applying these things very much in the same boat as everyone else here. There are many many great modelers who are far beyond where I am at. But these are some things I found to be true even in the great works of the people better than I, and so I don't mind sharing - especially if it means seeing more great models out there :)

Surrealist.
04-19-2008, 09:53 AM
I just know for myself, sometimes the 'tabbed' version looks really nice, and then when I untab I see that there are many points that could be aligned better and I find that after I make it look 'cleaner' untabbed once I go back to the tabbed version it usually looks a little bit better also.

Some of that could be due to my poor modeling skills, though! hahaha

No no. For working I am in polymode. I thought you meant image displays here on the forum for checking out the polyflow.

AdamAvenali
04-19-2008, 06:20 PM
thanks again everyone for all the advice/techniques! i am home from work for the weekend, so i get to take a little break from the model. i will be back to posting wireframes and stuff on monday or tuesday! and as far as being "on the clock" this one really isnt, it's more of a side project right now (kinda working on it over lunch break on my own time). thanks again everyone!