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Thread: My All-Purpose Development Screenshot Spam Thread

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebnertra000 View Post
    Good show! I like the idea of alpha-able parts especially. While it might see limited use on a caboose, it will definitely be useful on other models, especially engines.



    I'm looking forward to it even more now. I've got a few things I'm eyeing up and I'd rather not start until I can figure out (and then promptly butcher) your method of doing things
    I took a series of screen caps while I was mapping the caboose that might give some insight.

    The basic process is simple:

    1.) Select the entire mesh
    2.) Add a UVW Map modifier. Select "box" and enter the same size for all three dimensions based on the desired resolution. In this case, I am using a 2048 x 2048 pixel map, and want a resolution of 1/2 inch per pixel, so I use 1024 inches for the length, width, and height.
    3.) We're not actually using box mapping. We only use this style temporarily because you cannot edit the height in the planar mapping parameters. As soon as I have entered my dimensions, I immediately select planar mapping, and view align to whatever viewport I feel is appropriate, usually the left side.
    4.) Add an unwrap UVW modifier. Do not scale anything. We only move and rotate. Move the whole mesh to a place that's good enough to start with.
    5.) Add edit mesh modifiers (you could use mesh select, but edit mesh has more parameters that are useful for making selections) to select areas of the mesh that should be separate "islands," then add additional unwrap UVW modifiers to move these to the desired locations on the map. Normally, I will move these out of the way, then select the whole mesh and add another unwrap UVW modifier so that I can see where the rest of the mapping is in relation to what I am working on. This allows me to create continuous surfaces.
    6.) When finished, select the final mesh, add a final unwrap UVW modifier, and select either the VW or UW view. Use the scale function, but only in the vertical axis, to flatten the coordinates. This should not change the position of the coordinates in the standard UV view. Now, switch back to the UV view, and weld within some small threshold - I use .0001-in ("use bitmap resolution" should be unchecked in the unwrap options menu - right click). This will weld any common vertices, which is a major component of optimizing a model.
    7.) Export the model in Quake (md3) format and import into Lithunwrap to generate a template image.

    Let's walk through it:


    In this image, I have selected the entire mesh. To make it easier to see what is selected, I have shaded selected faces (F2).



    Now I add a UVW map modifier. I have selected "box" as the mapping style, and have entered my desired UVW size in the length, width, and height fields. To determine the optimum size, multiply the texture size by the desired resolution. If I have a 2048 x 2048 pixel map, and I want one inch per pixel, I multiply 2048 by 1 to arrive at a UVW size of 2048 inches. If I wanted 1/4 inch per pixel, I would multiply 2048 by 1/4 to arrive at 512 inches. I have elected to use the same resolution as the GP7, which is 1/2 inch per pixel, so my UVW size is 1024 inches.


    Select the planar mapping style.


    Select the left view - or whichever view you want to start from - and hit "view align."


    Now let's select the things that need to be mapped from the front or rear. Again, shading the faces and ignoring backfacing faces makes this a simple process. If you weren't aware, holding control adds to a selection, and holding alt removes from a selection. Just hold control and click what you want selected.

    To be continued...
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  2. #32
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    Now we're going to milk the unwrap UVW modifier for all it's worth to drastically speed up the mapping process. What we are doing is skipping the addition of unnecessary UVW map modifiers because we have already got a perfectly-proportioned version of our mesh residing in UVW space. All we have to do is select the parts that need to be separated into different elements, and use the different views in the unwrap UVW window to rotate things so they face the right way. We can then move things around as we like. We avoid scaling anything because even the uniform scale only scales in the currently visible dimensions in unwrap UVW, and would throw our mapping out of proportion. Not only is the process much easier to visualize this way, but you can now stratify your elements (or islands if you prefer to call them that) in the VW or UW views to make it easier to make selections when you're unwrapping the entire mesh. Think of it as having layers in your paint program. The elements are stratified "vertically," but you don't see it while you're editing, because you're editing from a "top-down" view. When I add the final modifier that I mentioned in my first post, and flatten and weld my coordinates, it's the same as flattening an image in GIMP or PSP or Photoshop or whatever you use. You gain a lot of freedom when you realize that texture mapping exists in a 3D space. Let's continue:


    I said that things are stratified vertically in my work flow, because it's easier to put it into words that way, but when I am working with UVW mapping, I tend to actually think of the UW view as a "front" view. When I stratify elements into layers, it's really by depth. This is what the selection above looks like. It shouldn't surprise you, as we aligned our UVW plane to the left view. Let's rotate these:



    I am going to select "UV" from this drop-down menu to view these coordinates from the "top." With angle snap on (I usually set it to 11.25 or 22.5 degrees), I now rotate all of these coordinates 90 degrees. Don't worry about whether or not you rotated things the right way. At a later point in the process, before flattening the coordinates, I am going to add text to the texture to make sure everything is in the right place and facing the right direction. We're concentrating on layout first.


    I have gone back to the default UV view. Now our coordinates are facing the right way, and we can start to do something with them.


    We need to remember two things: first, the coordinates for the rest of the model, while not part of the selection that is being modified here, are still sitting in the middle of the map. Two, we can select the UW or VW views to make it easier to select the walls that we want to select. I started by selecting the cupola walls, and moving them out of the way. Then I moved the end walls out of the way, and made sure they didn't overlap the cupola walls. Finally, I did the same for the walls under the cupola. You can move things out of the map boundaries, the map will just tile. Right now, we just want these elements out of the way. Note that I have only moved them horizontally using the move button's drop-down menu to select "move horizontal." This keeps everything in alignment.



    I then selected the floors and ceilings, including the tops of the steps to the cupola. Again, I have selected a constrained move function from the move button's drop-down menu, in this case "move vertical." Again, I used the UW or VW views to make it easier to select the desired elements, and I have separated them vertically in the UV view for later editing. What I do not show here is the part where I moved everything out of the map area, again using only vertical movement.

    To be continued...
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  3. #33
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    We're further along than you think! Now I select the whole mesh, and add another unwrap UVW modifier, but I then select all of the coordinates but the side walls, right click, and click "hide." We're going to unhide them after we've done a few things.



    All right, we're in the VW view, and you can see that the left and right sides of the caboose are now free of floors or walls that might otherwise hold them together. I select one side and go back to the UV view.




    Now I flip those coordinates vertically. I've decided to map the interior the same way I did the exterior, with the right side flipped vertically, and the whole thing joined together, with the ceiling between the sides, and all common verts welded (you can see a wireframe of the exterior on the texture in previous shots). The next shot is going to look a bit bewildering, because I skipped a lot of the tedious things that happened before it, but I didn't do anything new. I used the UW and VW views to select the cupola walls and move them somewhere out of the way. Then I unhid all of the coordinates, and moved all of the islands where I wanted them. Some of this work was very precise, for example, where a wall and a ceiling join, I want the common coordinates to be right on top of each other, so I had to zoom way in to ensure this. I'll just select the element I want to move, move it so it's as close as I can get to where I want it, then zoom in as far as I can go with both common coordinates in the view. I'll click the coordinate that is part of the selection - to ensure the whole selection moves with it - and drag it so it's on top of the coordinate that is part of the adjacent element (the ceiling, for example). Then I zoom in again and repeat. Gmax will slow down a bit, but you will eventually reach a point where it'll speed up back to normal again. At this point, when you move the coordinates, you'll notice they seem to be snapping to a grid. You've reached the limits of GMax's precision. Get the coordinates on top of each other like you did before, and click zoom extents. Now your wall and ceiling are aligned as precisely as is possible. Those verts will weld without problems later.


    I've settled on this layout. This really only took a few minutes. Now we have to make sure everything is facing the right way. This is actually really easy. First, I export this part to lithunwrap and generate a template, then paste it in my master as another layer. I always have two images open when I'm mapping. A layered master file - think PSD - and the bitmap that I will use in GMax. I only make changes to the master. When I want to see the results in GMax, I temporarily flatten the master and paste it into the texture file. Save and reload from the material editor. You will note that I am not using the MSTS gamepack. Because I use alpha channels extensively in my models, I use the FS2004 gamepack, because I can use an opacity map to see what the end result will look like. When I am ready to export the model, I open it with the MSTS gamepack, save it as a separate scene, and create ACE versions of my textures. I then assign those to the model, and export.



    Not much is visible here, but I did a little fine-tuning to ensure that everything is within the boundaries of the wireframe area.


    I do occasionally make changes to the texture without making them to the master. In this case, I added some temporary text to check if everything is correct - which it inevitably isn't. The cleanup is relatively painless, though.

    To be continued...
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  4. #34
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    Okay, here's the last five images.


    Uh-oh! Our sides (and some other parts) are backwards! Easily fixed. First, I'll select the sides in the VW view - again the advantage of stratifying our islands by depth:


    The problem with the sides was that the left and right sides were swapped. All we need to do is flip them vertically. Here I have selected them in the VW view. I then went back to the UV view, and flipped the coordinates vertically. Alignment was maintained, because these elements were vertically symmetrical, so now everything is in the right place and facing the right way. I then did this with other elements as necessary.



    And this was the end result.


    I have vertically scaled the coordinates from the VW view so that I can weld any common coordinates.



    Here I am testing coordinates at the boundaries of different elements to ensure that they welded. I do this by grabbing a coordinate, moving it, and then undoing the movement. Notice that, when I drag this coordinate at the boundary of the wall and ceiling, it pulls the wall and the ceiling along with it. If the coordinates at this boundary hadn't welded properly, we'd move this coordinate, and find another one hidden right under it. With all common coordinates welded, we have eliminated a lot of wasted texture vertices. Every little bit counts.
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  5. #35
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    Anyway, back to the spam. I finished the interior on Monday. Now the real work of actually drawing the textures begins.







    I took the day "off" yesterday. I decided that I missed my 3DTrains F-units, so I migrated them from my old MSTS installation. I spent the day adapting my GP7 include files and my new 567 sounds to those. This had a fortunate side effect: I finally built an include file for the 16-567C (the LTV demo units are F9s).

    I really should pick up the OR version of the ATSF set one of these days. Speaking of F-units, I dug up this unfinished hulk earlier today:



    You can see that I didn't get very far, and it's obviously built with GP10 parts.
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  6. #36
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    I am presently rendering shadows. I'm doing it at double the resolution to avoid some sharp lines on the roof. Because of the way the roof is mapped, I am rendering the raised portions in a separate image (because the raised portions are built on top of the roof, which is otherwise flat, POV-Ray would otherwise just render a shadow here, like you see in the image). I will then combine the two images, and reduce the resolution. This should smooth out the areas where the raised portions meet the rest of the roof a bit.



    For those of you who use GMax, you may be interested to know how I am doing AO renders. FS developers have long been familiar with a program called middleman. What middleman does is interrupt the MSFS export process, allowing you an expanded range of export options. One of these is to save the output .x file without compiling it. This is precisely what I have done, and is one of the other reasons I only use the MSTS gamepack for final export. I then import the .x file into 3DCrafter and use its bake function.

    3DCrafter users might be wondering how I am baking at 4096 x 4096 pixels, since the maximum resolution available from the bake extension seems to be 2048 x 2048. I created a 4096 x 4096 pixel render preset in POV-Ray, which is, of course, useless to 3DC. Next, I began the baking procedure from 3DC - any resolution is fine, because I then aborted the process. The trick is that 3DC won't overwrite the temporary .pov file it creates to bake textures until I try to bake something else. This allowed me to open POV-Ray, navigate to the 3DCrafter 10.2 folder in My Documents, and open lm_work.pov to render at whatever resolution I like.
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  7. #37
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    I've been pretty busy cleaning up the shadow render this last couple of days. I'm getting there, though. I've been experimenting with specular highlights on the roof, since the first few orders of cabooses had unpainted roofs.



    Without highlights.



    With highlights. Because some may want to repaint this caboose, and painted roofs may be appropriate in some cases, I will probably issue two versions of the model. One with roof highlights, the other without.



    I am left with an interesting conundrum though. There sure is a lot of empty space on this map:



    And I am not sure what to do with it. There's probably enough for a whole freight car there - say the flatcar, but that would mean that every caboose would need a flatcar to go with it, or that space would be wasted. What I will probably do is this:



    Obviously, the second caboose would use the same textures as the first for most details, which may not necessarily be desirable, but I think it shouldn't be a huge issue. So there would be four models, one caboose mapped to the first location, one to the second, and a version of each without specular highlights on the roof. This sounds workable.
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    Last edited by Erick_Cantu; 07-14-2018 at 10:03 PM.

  8. #38
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    Also, some folks may want a version with no roofwalk or ladder, you may want to make sure they can be tran's out.....if they want a version with no ladder or roof walk.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/mackinacmark/8908350776

    Great job by the way.....
    Last edited by Rick-MONON; 07-14-2018 at 11:37 PM.
    Rick
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  9. #39
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    You can alpha out anything on this model, as it uses 32-bit alpha textures. The roofwalks and ladders are no exception, although you may have to use a freight shape to span the handrail extension that would be required to bridge the gap left by the ladder, as well as the vertical member it would attach to. Note, however, that the caboose in your photo is a different style from a later order, and was delivered without roofwalks or ladders. It also has a lowered cupola (I erroneously said higher earlier - I got the two types backwards) and different roof reinforcement. Most of the early cabooses seem to have kept their roofwalks, but I have a photo of 17 that shows them removed.

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