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Thread: First Time Building a Model for MSTS/Open Rails

  1. #1
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    Default First Time Building a Model for MSTS/Open Rails

    Hi guys, I've been gone for a few years, but just getting back into the hobby. I almost exclusively run passenger trains, mostly contemporary Amtrak. I own all of the major payware Genesis engines, from TT, 3DTS, and SLI, but I wanted to build something with a 3D cab and more animations in mind. I don't have a ton of modeling experience, and I've never built a model for use in a simulator, but after about 24 hours I've made some decent progress on a brand new, scratch built GE P-32 AC DM for Open Rails. I intend to release it as a freeware model, with a 3D cab, layered templates, and with it's P-40 and P-42 counterparts. I'm using Blender to make the models. I'm kind of stuck around the underbody detail and the trucks, it's difficult to find good pictures of all of the 3rd rail equipment.

    These models are not going to be 100% accurate - I'm working off of ancient, questionably accurate drawings and using photographs. My hope is that it will look a little better than the older MSTS content (the narrow nose on the 3DTS one always bothered me). Comments, suggestions, source material to help with the trucks?







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  2. #2
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    Looks pretty good so far. If you can't find technical documents, I would try to find a decent photo of them and measure off a known reference point. I build all kinds of stuff doing that.

    I've gotta ask, will there be a non-dual mode version for those of us who operate in places without third rails?

  3. #3
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    Good looking model.

    Unless the drawings are from the builders themselves, the 'accuracy' of any drawing is dependant on resources and level of access that the creator had to the original.

    I find drawings useful for the initial fleshing out when building of the model. Then use photo references to tweak the model to the correct proportions while maintaining the known dimensions.

    Trying to get undistorted perpendicular photos, or roof details when most railfans only post the ubiquitous ¾ front view is difficult. Having a camera and ability to travel to the locations that have unobstructed views of your subject is the ideal.

    If you are unable to take your own reference photos then you can always try to contact the photographers who have posted images online and with a polite request advising what you want the images for, ask if they have the type of photos you are looking for. I have found the results for such requests vary from being ignored to photographers going out and getting the images you want next time they are out on a shoot if they don't already have them.

    Applying a photo to an empty object or background in Blender as a reference and scaling to a known dimension will assist in getting the proportions of your model correct. Search youtube for 'blender reference empty' and 'blender reference background' if you don't know how to do this.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Marek.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by superheatedsteam View Post

    I find drawings useful for the initial fleshing out when building of the model. Then use photo references to tweak the model to the correct proportions while maintaining the known dimensions.

    If you are unable to take your own reference photos then you can always try to contact the photographers who have posted images online and with a polite request advising what you want the images for, ask if they have the type of photos you are looking for. I have found the results for such requests vary from being ignored to photographers going out and getting the images you want next time they are out on a shoot if they don't already have them.

    Applying a photo to an empty object or background in Blender as a reference and scaling to a known dimension will assist in getting the proportions of your model correct. Search youtube for 'blender reference empty' and 'blender reference background' if you don't know how to do this.
    Yeah, I found some semi-okay drawings (they have lots of detail, but are a bit low resolution). I think my proportions are as close as they are going to get without super detailed dimensions. I appreciate the help! I come home from college in about a month and will have better access to P-32s/P-42s as I live close by the Empire Corridor in Upstate New York.

    Quote Originally Posted by ebnertra000 View Post

    I've gotta ask, will there be a non-dual mode version for those of us who operate in places without third rails?
    Yes, I plan on doing the P-40/P-42 versions after I complete the P-32 version!

    For what lies beyond the modeling and texturing process - clueless. I'll have lots of learning to do to get the model in the game.

  5. #5
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    Default First Time Building a Model for MSTS/Open Rails

    Hi...

    Seriously nice work for a first attempt at modeling for MSTS/ORTS - are you familiar with parts hierarchy MSTS/ORTS requires ? I’d also suggest slapping a generic texture on it to make sure you can do an export early on in the process - to get the model in game... I can’t help with the specifics of Blender but I’m pretty familiar with generic MSTS/ORTS modeling.... Best of luck...

    Regards,
    Scott

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottb613 View Post
    Hi...

    Seriously nice work for a first attempt at modeling for MSTS/ORTS - are you familiar with parts hierarchy MSTS/ORTS requires ? I’d also suggest slapping a generic texture on it to make sure you can do an export early on in the process - to get the model in game... I can’t help with the specifics of Blender but I’m pretty familiar with generic MSTS/ORTS modeling.... Best of luck...

    Regards,
    Scott

    Thank you Scott! Kind of just dove right in. Not afraid to admit I have absolutely no idea how the hierarchies work. I just registered to Elvas Tower - but are there other good resources to learn how it's supposed to be done? Most of my parts are separate pieces for now, I figured that would make it easier down the line to change the base model to accommodate the differences between the P-32, P-40, and P-42. The other challenge is the 3D cab. I have a lot of it modeled, but that area is still underutilized so finding help will be difficult!

    Thanks for the kind words,

    Kyle

  7. #7
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    Default First Time Building a Model for MSTS/Open Rails

    Hi Kyle,

    Hah - sounds like me - most people would start modeling with something simple - a house - a barrel - not me - dove into the deep end with a steam locomotive - due to animating the running gear - arguably the most difficult to model in this hobby...

    Yeah - a great resource for all things in this hobby - chock full of tutorials - is the steam4me site - they’ve been accumulating data for decades...

    http://steam4me.net/

    Also - since you use Blender - keep Wayne Campbell in mind - he actually started the ORTS project - uses Blender - I believe wrote the exporter for Blender - one of the most knowledgeable guys I’ve ever come across - and still active around here...

    For performance - while modeling - you want to be familiar with LOD’s and Draw Calls...

    I’m sure you’ll have to get more info - but simply - the main locomotive has to be the parent group - each truck/bogie needs to be a subgroup under that and each axle/wheel subgroup under their respective bogie... You want to eliminate any unnecessary groups before export - as they will spawn unneeded draw calls... The groups are necessary and expected to isolate their unique animations - imparted by the sim - no need to animate yourself... You’ll need to name the respective groups appropriately to do this...

    Just open any locomotive in “Shape Viewer” - select the Hierarchy view under Tools - and check it out - keep in mind some modelers are far more efficient than others - but you should see the same basic hierarchy repeated over and over again... Each cube displayed in this view is a Draw Call - a locomotive such as yours should probably have around a dozen draw calls if planned out correctly... Efficient modeling is one of my favorite topics...

    Regards,
    Scott


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    Last edited by scottb613; 03-31-2019 at 12:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    I'll check out these resources - this is immensely helpful. I'll reply back here with more progress updates and questions when I have more specific ones. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Looks good so far! One detail that none of the payware vendors have gotten quite right is that the angle on the side of the nose is actually slightly curved, but everyone's done it as a straight line. The angle I'm talking about is the one that meets up from just about the bottom of the mirror.

    Founder/owner of the California Pacific Railway, NorCal Rail Shops

    Big thanks to all of the content creators out there, both payware and freeware, for keeping this hobby alive!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwyrick View Post
    Looks good so far! One detail that none of the payware vendors have gotten quite right is that the angle on the side of the nose is actually slightly curved, but everyone's done it as a straight line. The angle I'm talking about is the one that meets up from just about the bottom of the mirror.
    I see what you mean, mine was also flat. I put a gentle curve to it - it's not as smooth as it will look in the final model but how's this?




    Also, a (really) early look at the cab interior.


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