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Thread: whats the best way to build a highly detailed airplane model

  1. #1

    whats the best way to build a highly detailed airplane model

    I'm thinking of making a lancaster.

    First attempt at building a high detailed aircarft.

    anyone have any tips?

    thanks


    my biggest problem is making curves that are accurate to the plans.

    do i skin it? use splines.
    make a box and mush it into shape?
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  2. #2
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    I'm a fan of making boxes to rough out the shapes, then subdividing, then adding geometry until the subdivided version is beautiful.

    But that's largely because I always end up doing that last step anyway, so at this point I've just resigned to making it part of my workflow

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  3. #3
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    One total airplane guru is a guy called Mike James, but he does use M***, so I don't know how transferable that would be in this project. Otherwise the Lightwave Chevy Impala tutorial from Liberty 3D might give some further ideas - see the chapter list, esp 11 and 39 which seem to show one of your concerns. Good luck !
    Last edited by TheLexx; 01-14-2019 at 01:50 AM.

  4. #4
    Do you have LWCAD?
    If so, then most tutorials that use NURBS, or the like, are applicable. For such a technical item, LWCAD can't be beat for making it an easier build.

    Other than than that, I would look at Sensei's EasySpline. It's a pretty slick collection of tools especially suited for such a task.
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  5. #5
    Super Member Kryslin's Avatar
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    I would get a 3 view drawing of the plane, and then use spline modeling, patching as you go.

    Ideally, for precision work, I'd probably dust off my old installation of Rhino3D, but LWCAD's NURBS should do the job, too.
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    Super Duper Member kopperdrake's Avatar
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    Personally I would start with constructing the actual framework - these old aircraft really do show a lot of the hidden details in their final form. Once you have that in place, placing the skin over the top, which is exactly just that, be it aluminium or canvas, is up to you as to which method you use. For the record, I'd model the frame work in polygons - nurbs would be too much at that level. But the skin could be either nurbs or polygons, depending on which way you decided to go. Either way, the framework would act as a useful guideline.

    Reference material is the way to go though - as much as you can humanly gather. Makes for a great excuse to visit museums though

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  7. #7
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    Otherwise the Lightwave Chevy Impala tutorial from Liberty 3D might give some further ideas - see the chapter list, esp 11 and 39 which seem to show one of your concerns. Good luck !
    You can hardly go wrong with Lewis's tutorials for spline/Sub-D method certainly. I picked up his Chevy Impala one a year or so back. Haven't finished it (yet) but the intro section really covered some workflow tips that are really valuable. This tut was done with 9.6 & some of the Modeler issues have since been addressed but, it's still good to know the background of how some tools came about. Sure wish I'd had these back in the 5.6 days when I attempted a PBY-Catalina.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kopperdrake View Post
    Personally I would start with constructing the actual framework - these old aircraft really do show a lot of the hidden details in their final form. Once you have that in place, placing the skin over the top, which is exactly just that, be it aluminium or canvas, is up to you as to which method you use. For the record, I'd model the frame work in polygons - nurbs would be too much at that level. But the skin could be either nurbs or polygons, depending on which way you decided to go. Either way, the framework would act as a useful guideline.

    Reference material is the way to go though - as much as you can humanly gather. Makes for a great excuse to visit museums though

    https://stage.revell.de/en/service/download-area.html
    https://stage.revell.de/fileadmin/im...DAMBUSTERS.PDF

    This site would work well with this method
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  9. #9
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    This guy does pretty detailed aircraft modeling work, and published a PDF explaining his approach. He demonstrates the full workflow from start to finish for a WII fighter Curtis P40. While the tutorials are done in Blender, the techniques remain valid in any 3d package. It's mainly polygonal modeling what he does.

    The free editions are Polish (English cost a few quid):
    http://airplanes3d.net/wm-000_e.xml

    The actual model file is downloadable here:
    http://airplanes3d.net/downloads-p40_e.xml

    His blog has some interesting posts about specific plane modeling challenges as well.

    If I'd be doing a lot of detailed paneling (actually modeling the hull panels), I would use the Skin modifier technique to keep the geometry perfect without headaches. I am unsure though if Modeler supports a similar workflow.

    Last edited by Rayek; 01-14-2019 at 10:02 AM.
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  10. #10
    Thanks alot for all the advice

    I'll post progress as i go, i found some screen capture software, so i'll try recording it as i stumble through splines and different methdods you all described here. =)

    very helpufl thanks a bunch
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  11. #11
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    Otherwise the Lightwave Chevy Impala tutorial from Liberty 3D might give some further ideas - see the chapter list, esp 11 and 39 which seem to show one of your concerns.
    Lewis is around these forums as well, so asking him directly might be a good idea! His Impala tutorial is great, and I do think there are definite workflow aspects that apply just as well to aircraft, esp. in terms of "efficient" curve-fitting workflows.

    I suspect because of the precision curves involved, you'll want to use spline patches for some key portions of the wings and airframe. Then, once you have the curves sorted out properly, perhaps freeze the patches for further detailing. Trying to achieve precision curves using SDS too often turns into a huge frustrating mess, because you can't really "hold the shape of curves" the way you really need while still working on the underlying geometry. That's where I believe spline patches offer definite advantages -- they allow changes to underlying geometry while maintaining the overall curve shapes.

    Really, that's the kind of project where I might finish in LW or another poly modeler, but I'd probably begin it in formZ or Rhino, just because they have better tools for working with precision curves, etc. If you just have Lightwave, though, I'd still recommend looking at using spline patches or such initially.
    Last edited by jwiede; 01-14-2019 at 06:50 PM.
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  12. #12
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwiede View Post
    [..]Trying to achieve precision curves using SDS too often turns into a huge frustrating mess, because you can't really "hold the shape of curves" the way you really need while still working on the underlying geometry. [..]
    This is where I found the Skin modifier SDS modeling technique excels: a lot of freedom (advantage of SDS modeling) while retaining a perfect curve flow without breaks (one of the advantages of Nurbs/Splines, but more difficult to detail and work with). It mitigates the limitations of SDS modeling in this regard. It's fun to use.
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  13. #13
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayek View Post
    This is where I found the Skin modifier SDS modeling technique excels: a lot of freedom (advantage of SDS modeling) while retaining a perfect curve flow without breaks (one of the advantages of Nurbs/Splines, but more difficult to detail and work with).
    Are you're talking about applying a skin deformer for use while modeling? I believe you'll have difficulty replicating such a workflow in Modeler.

    In a "unified" app, having access to a wide range of parametrically-adjustable deformers and procedural tools allows for some great, efficient workflows. Few of those work anywhere near as well in LW Modeler, though, due to its "destructive workflow" limitations, as well as the limited set of deformer-type tools available.

    It sounded like the OP was asking for an approach that could be done in Modeler. How does a skinned SDS approach fit with that?
    Last edited by jwiede; 01-14-2019 at 09:04 PM.
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  14. #14
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    I was just throwing some ideas around. The OP didn't mention Modeler, so I thought he might be open to alternative approaches.

    Btw, I have a nice cutaway of the Lancaster I. Will post if I am able to scan it properly.
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
    Do you have LWCAD?
    If so, then most tutorials that use NURBS, or the like, are applicable. For such a technical item, LWCAD can't be beat for making it an easier build.
    Not really cot LWCAD Nurbs do not support Booleans and that's one of key parts in NURBS.
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