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Thread: So much to learn with Blender

  1. #1
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    Default So much to learn with Blender

    What is slowing me down now?

    Texturing. A side effect of being flexible is complexity. That complexity is available in numerous quantities of options I still don't fully understand. Even a simple test model is difficult. I'll eventually figure it out... but not so far today.

    Last edited by pwillard; 06-29-2020 at 09:11 AM. Reason: spelling
    http://www.railsimstuff.com
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwillard View Post
    What is slowing me down now?

    Texturing. A side effect of being flexible is complexity. That complexity is available in numerous quantities of options I still don't fully understand. Even a simple test model is difficult. I'll eventually figure it out... but not so far today.
    What problems are you having with texturing?

  3. #3

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    I gave up and went back to Sketchup. Maybe if there's a good current tutorial, I'll take another stab at it over the winter.

  4. #4
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    My issues stem from not fully understanding the concepts behind materials, unwrapping, and how to properly use the shader nodes yet. The concrete pad in my model was supposed to have a concrete texture... it didn't work. Still figuring it out.

    This was far simpler, albeit very crude, in 3dCrafter/Canvas.
    http://www.railsimstuff.com
    3D Canvas/Crafter and Blender User
    formerly The Keystone Works (All Permissions Granted)
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  5. #5
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    If you are using my MSTS exporter you shouldn't need to do anything with shader nodes. Just choose your texture and lighting options in the MSTS Materials panel. It will create the shader tree for you. But you still need to do the UV mapping for things to look right. Keep at it - success is near!

  6. #6
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    Oh yeah, I'm not beaten... I'll get this worked out. It's such a better tool overall than the one I've been using.
    http://www.railsimstuff.com
    3D Canvas/Crafter and Blender User
    formerly The Keystone Works (All Permissions Granted)
    In IRC at freenode #msts

  7. #7
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    I feel your pain. This was not as intuitive as I would have liked but once you know how......

    You have probably worked it out already, but Blender cannot use/display ACE files in the program. You will have to create a texture file with a format that Blender can use. I normally use TGA as I export from GIMP to TGA and use that TGA file in Blender and convert that same TGA file to ACE for use in MSTS/OR. Whatever file name you use for the TGA you use in Blender, the MSTS/OR exporter will use the same file name when writing the .S file but with a .ACE extension.

    Here is a quick and dirty overview to hopefully get you up and running. This is what I use 99% of the time.

    Create a texture file and save it in TGA format.

    Open Blender so you have the default box, light and camera.

    There is a row of vertical tabs to the right of the main panel. Second from the bottom should be the 'Material Properties' tab. It has a picture of an sphere with a checker pattern on it. Select that and scroll down that tab and you should see the 'MSTS Materials' section. Click on the folder icon to the right of 'BaseColorFilepath' and browse to your TGA texture file and select it. Leave the Transparency drop down as Solid Opaque for the moment but this is where you would select other shaders that support transparency.

    This should apply your texture to the box object.

    Note that when you create a new primitive in Blender, Blender will generate UV's for that primitive by default.

    On the top row of Blender there is a 'UV Editing' tab. When you select that tab, the screen will split into 2 panels. The user perspective view on the right and the UV Editor view on the left.

    In the perspective view the box object will be in 'Edit mode' with all the faces on the cube selected and you should the the unwrapped box on your texture 3in the UV editor.

    Now the fun begins.

    With the object in Edit Mode, press the '3' key on the top row of the keyboard to go to face select mode and start selecting faces on the cube. You will the the corresponding mapping of that face in the UV Editor window.

    In the UV Editor window you use the same hot keys that you would use when editing the geometry to unwrap the model.

    Select a face or faces in the perspective view and then in the UV Editor view:

    Use 'B' key to box select.
    A to select all.
    Double tap A to deselect all.
    1 to use vertex select mode.
    2 to use edge select mode.
    3 to use face select mode.
    G to move selected vertices, edges or faces.
    S to scale selected vertices, edges or faces.
    R to rotate selected vertices, edges or faces.

    If you have a face/s that you want to flip horizontally use the following key sequence:

    S X -1

    If you have a face/s that you want to flip vertically use the following key sequence:

    S Y -1

    If you want to rotate a face/s 45 degrees clockwise use the following key sequence:

    R 45 Enter

    If you want to rotate a face/s 135 degrees anti-clockwise use the following key sequence:

    R -135 Enter

    If you have a row of vertexes that need aligning vertically, select them and use the following key sequence:

    S X 0

    If you have a row of vertexes that need aligning horizontally, select them and use the following key sequence:

    S Y 0

    The following I use quite often. Select 3 faces on the cube in perspective view and rotate the view so you are looking towards the 3 faces. Now press the 'U' button and select 'Project from View'

    In the UV drop down menu in the UV Editor is the option to 'Snap to Pixels' to make aligning easier.

    In complex models I sometimes see a UV Unwrapped face but I don't know what part of the geometry it's from. In the UV Editor view there is a 'UV Sync Selection' button that has to opposing arrows on it. With that selected all the faces of the object will be displayed in the UV Editor. Select a face or faces in the UV Editor and the corresponding face/s will be selected in the perspective Window. If you cant see it in the perspective window, press the period button on the numeric keypad and that will centre the view on the selected faces.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

    Marek.

  8. #8
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    Hey Pete, you can give me a holler ([email protected]) if you're having issues with Blender, I can help you some: here's my gallery site: http://allaboardrails.com/graphicwebsite/index.html

    I believe I understand your frustration with textures versus materials because I had the same confusion when I first started working with Blender, about 3 years ago. Especially with our older programs materials made no sense to use. It was just a color. Why would we ever want to use a flat color on anything I would ask. The difference with Blender is because those nodes (shaders) can affect the flat color miraculously. Most of my models on my gallery are using basic materials. I don't use textures as much but I do use them.

    What Blender does is it opens the world of professional graphics to us "regular joes'". But here's the key to understanding Blender. Don't ever try to learn Blender yourself. It just can't be done. There are a million videos on Youtube done separately or in series to get you up and started. I've purchased a ton of videos from udemy.com for instructionals (if that is even a word) that follow a more sequential approach to whatever it is you're interested in learning. The prices are ridiculous but they're usually on sale at $9.99 to $11.99 if you follow them at all.

    I don't talk Blender usually because it's too hard for someone to follow. The texture/material issue is one such example. The early days allowed us to get our feet wet but most of those programs didn't really even give us a fundamental understanding of graphics. Graphics, I learned, gets real technical real fast and the stuff will make your head swim.

    The other part which makes learning Blender hard is Blender does a lot. There's a tutorial on Youtube about that and you can watch it and even if you know Blender you're saying, I didn't know Blender could do that too. It's like the swiss army knife of graphics. And with the newer versions they have so elevated their game that I don't think it won't be too long before it becomes the de facto standard.

    And if you ever find a group that actually talks about how to do stuff in Blender, I would like to know that myself cause I haven't found any yet myself.

    Anyway, good luck and holler if you think I can help you with something. Best use my email cause I don't frequent the forums much for a long time. Still an active train enthusiast though!

    Rich

  9. #9
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    Thanks to you both. (Marek and Richard) Detailed discussions about changing over to Blender are far an few between. In the past, I dabbled a bit.... and then just went back to Amabilis products. I keep hoping to find the same discussions as well, because "surprise", that's how I learned how to model with 3D canvas Starting back in 2002. (Though back then Amabilis had a forum that wasn't written by a 3-year-old monkey with 9 fingers. Not to mention that Richard has been AWOL for years) In the past year, I have had more and more issues with my OLD way doing things and I just need to finally cut the cord.

    I've considered writing down what I'm learning so 1) I remember it next year 2) can share what I learned because I found it very hard to find anything online that was geared to *our-kind* of audience. "Hard Surface Modeling" and "Game Assets" are good Google Keywords to use, but you end up with a lot of "How to model a gun" or "Let's make a sword".

    And Marek, Seriously great stuff there... thanks.

    I have found a few useful ADD-ONS that I like to use. I'll make a list:

    1) HardOps
    2) BoxCutter
    3) Extra Objects*
    4) LoopTools*

    Another good one when you get more comfortable is "Machin3Tools"

    * Built-in Just turn them on.

    Anyway, as you might imagine... my head nearly exploded when I started seeing terms like ALBEDO, NORMAL, DIFFUSE, AMBIENT OCCLUSION, DISPLACEMENT, ROUGHNESS, and REFLECTION Texture maps. GAH... I have lived a sheltered life! This is where I am now.

    I agree about tutorials and I have a few "affordable" Udemy classes. Both Andrew Price and Josh Gambrell are worth following as well.

    Oddly enough, if you are a more recent TRAINZ enthusiast, The current release of Trainz seems to now natively support FBX model and PBR textures directly with no unique exporter tools required. In the back of my mind, I imagine it might be a smart direction for ORTS as well. The Trainz Content Manager natively imports what Blender can generate.

    And let's not forget Wayne Campbell for giving us the Blender 2.8 Exporter! You rock!


    Also, My toolset includes AffinityPhoto which has some understanding of PBR materials. (Sadly, the $24 sale price went away yesterday)
    Last edited by pwillard; 07-01-2020 at 09:53 AM.
    http://www.railsimstuff.com
    3D Canvas/Crafter and Blender User
    formerly The Keystone Works (All Permissions Granted)
    In IRC at freenode #msts

  10. #10
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    Another very useful plugin is the built-in "Vertex to intersection" tool (V2X for short), which I use very often. It lets you place, for example, new vertices at the intersection of two edges, which makes it useful for slanted faces and such.

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