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Truespace Tutorial - Modeling 101

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Tutorials, Reference, & Guides' started by Bjornlo, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    This mini-tutorial is based on Truespace 3.2.
    Because so many people on this forum use Bryce, Poser and similar tool which support primitives and in the case of Bryce Booleans with Primitives, I will only talk about Boolean modeling in Truespace with the specific goal of creating Content for either Poser or Bryce. If you want to know more, please use Google.

    The Program:
    Truespace 3.2 version is available for free from:
    http://www.download.com/TrueSpace/3000-6677_4-10298420.html After installing it you go to http://www.caligari.com/ and get your free serial number. In exchange for the serial number they will send you a "super colossal, never before this good, act fast" blah blah sales flyer every 2-3 weeks.

    I am not a Truespace guru. I just use it now and then for modeling bits I use in 3d images or in units for Civ3.

    File Format
    It is important to note that Truespace 3.2 will only save objects in COB format (ok a few other useless formats too). The scene files are called SCN files and the object files (COB) can both read by both Bryce(v5 and above) and DeepExploration(v3.5 and above).

    If your 3d application can not import COB or SCN files, you must do one of the following:

    1. Upgrade to Truespace 4.3 (wait for a sale and you can get it for 20 bucks). Although, there is very little difference unless you are working with just Poser.
    2. Get a format converter. The best low cost format converter is Deep Exploration. For students (or the parents of students k-12) the price is 29 http://www.studica.com/RightHemisphere/ or http://www.academicsuperstore.com/market/marketdisp.html?PartNo=753686. For non-students the price is 149.- Or, for the next few days you can get Bryce 5.0 for free. In addition to being the tool responsible for more units than any other 3d app, it is a decent format converter. It can save any format mesh it imports into any of the mesh formats it supports (including COB, OBJ, 3ds, LWO, etc). This offer end Sept 6, 2006 so act fast. http://www.daz3d.com/program/bryce/bryce5free.php?trid=446713850&trid=919467712


    On to Truespace.

    Note: Most of the images here can be enlarged by clicking on it. This will open a large version in a separate window. A few of the screen shots were actually smaller than the thumbnail, so for those what you see is what you get.

    Please follow along carefully and closely. I show screen shots of every important step, but I only show them once. After that I expect you to be able to read along and do it on your own. If you want to download and read this tutorial

    Open the app.
    Along the bottom you will see a tool bar.
    Right click (and hold down the mouse button) on the peach colored SQUARE near the left hand side of the tool bar.
    This will bring up a list of 5 available primitives. (Torus, sphere, cone, cylinder and square)
    Move your mouse cursor until it is over the circle and let go of the mouse. The default primitive shape is now the circle.


    Close all the small windows which may have opened by right clicking in the upper right hand corner of these windows.

    Left click on the circle to bring up "new circle settings":


    Play with these settings and create and delete a few circles.
    Delete all the objects you created and change latitude to 16 and longitude to 32
    These will now be the default settings for this session of Truespace. You need these numbers to be high enough so the object has the right shape, but not so high as to give your PC problems due to the polygon count. If you have a lower end system, just use smaller numbers there.

    Go ahead and create a circle.

    Next mouse over the arrow gadget. This allows you to change the size, location, and orientation of the primitive.


    Mouse over the circle gadget.
    Left click and hold down the mouse button.
    Change the default primitive to a torus. You can tell you succeeded here if the circle gadget on your toolbar has been replaced by a torus.
    By default the "default torus settings" window should have opened. If it did not open it now by left clicking on the torus gadget. The change these settings to latitude 32, longitude 32 and inner radius of .2

    Now right click on the torus gadget to create a torus.

    In the object info screen,
    Change the torus location to 0 0 -19
    Change the torus size to 180 180 390


    Click on the circle mesh. You will know you have selected it when it goes from blue to white.
    The object info screen will now contain info on the circle.
    Change the circle to
    Location 0, 0, 180
    Size 120, 120, 420



    Now with the circle selected (white) go to the Boolean operations gadget. The available Boolean operations are subtraction, addition (or merge) and union.
    Set it to subtraction.

    Right click on the gadget (if you ever click on this by mistake, a 2nd right click deselects it).
    You can tell you have made this operator active if it changes color.


    Next right click on the torus.
    The Boolean operation will be preformed, and the gadget will be deselected.
    Your object should now look like this:


    Side note:
    The CTRL key has the following standard copy & paste in windows.
    +c = copy
    +V = paste
    +c = cut, the same as copy, except the original object is deleted.
    The other most common CTRL keys are:
    +a = all, select all of a active window's contents
    +s = save the current document to disk (works in almost all windows applications, even if the

    application is having problems (such as a mild crash)
    +n = create a new document
    +o = open a existing document
    +p = print
    +q = exit
    +w = close the current window
    +z = undo, or go back one step
    There are others, but those are the ones you are most likely to find in any application.

    Make a copy of this item by having it active, and using CTRL +c and then CTRL +v

    Now the object info window will contain the coordinates and size of your copy of the object.
    Change the Z location to from 180 to 178.
    Select the original version of the object.
    Perform a Boolean operation and erase the contents and of the copy from the original.
    Your object should now look like this:


    Change the z position to 1 and the y position to -40, just to get them out of our way for now.

    Set the default primitive to cylinder.
    (Right click and hold the mouse button down on the torus and scroll up to cylinder)
    Change the default Cylinder properties to:
    Latitude 2, longitude 32 and top radius of 1

    Create a cylinder

    Set the default primitive to sphere.
    Check that the properties are Latitude 16 and longitude 32.

    Create a sphere.
    Change the sphere to size 300 300 300
    (Right on the white arrow gadget)

    Change the cylinder to size 200 200 400
    To do this make the cylinder active and right on the white arrow gadget

    Change the Boolean operator to union (also known as Object Intersection)
    Perform this operation on the cylinder and the sphere.

    Your new object should look like this:


    Change the settings of this (pill) item to:
    Rotation 90 0 0
    Size 100 100 20

    Change the first (horn) item to
    Location 0 195 100
    Rotation 90 0 0

    Now select the "pill" item again and hit ctrl+c and ctrl+v
    Change the settings on the “pill” copy to
    Location 0 -10 65
    Rotation 0 0 0
    size 20 20 100

    Set the Boolean operator to merge
    Merge the two pills and let’s call this the horn back

    Make a copy of the horn back and change the settings to
    Location 100 -10 65

    Select the horn
    Make a copy of it and change the settings of the copy to
    Location 100 170 100
    Rotation 90 0 0
    Size 80 80 190

    Now select the Boolean operator, make sure it is still set to merge
    Use the operator to merge the two horns
    And use the operator to merge the two horn backs
    Do not merge the horns and the horn backs as they are likely to receive different textures, and texturing them separately will help. But, merging the two items that will receive the same texture as one item just simplifies things later.

    Now select the horns and change the names to Horns,
    And select the horn backs and change the names to hornbacks

    Your item should now look like this:


    Rendered in Bryce


    Now go to the file menu and select save as and save the horns and hornbacks. They will need to be saved separately. If you decided to have them be a single color, you can merge them and save it as a single object.

    These horns were used in this tugboat I built for my son.

    The entire ship, and all of the little bits, detailing elements, etc were all modeled in Truespace using only Boolean modeling.



    This image was rendered in Bryce

    Random notes:

    Save often, and in incrementing file names. Save both the indivual objects and the scene as a whole. ie: horn1.cob horn2.cob and horn1.scn and horn2.scn.

    Truespace as a bug with some boolean operations. Sometimes it will just refuse to perform an operation between two objects. To work around this, try and keep your booleans at around the same detail level. Keep their longitude and latitude settings more or less the same per object. If your object requires both addition and subtraction, experiment with different sequences. Change which is the base object (for merge). Change the boolean accuracy. (right click on the boolean gadget and you can vary it from 1 to 1000, the default is 50. I typically try one extreme than the other, when there are problems) Avoid object with too few polygons. For example, a square with only 1 poly per side is more likely to give you a problem than one with 4 to 16. Avoid too high a polygon count on screen at the same time. If you have to, save off the objects and load them only as needed. Finally, try and avoid boolean operations between very complex objects, as this seems to give more problems. Instead do it as a series of simple ones.

    Take small steps. Don’t begin by trying to model a 100% accurate anything. Just have a basic object in mind. Try a chair with out any negative booleans. Now one with no merge operations.

    If you are modeling for Poser, you need to get a mesh format converter if you use Truespace 3.2. I suggest either get Bryce or Deep Exploration. Or, you can upgrade to Truespace 4.3. I did this upgrade for 19.95. It allows you to skip the format converter for Poser. It can and write 3ds files and read in OBJ files. This allows you to load the poser character so you can size and position the prop for easier importation and use in Poser. Plus you can write out in 3ds format which poser can import.

    Truespace is a decent modeler. It is not as good as the 1500.00 – 10,000.00 modelers (Lightwave, 3d Studio Max, etc).
    If you are looking for a midlevel modeler I suggest you look at Cinema4d v8.5 or 9, Carrara v5 plus Hexegon v2, Truespace 7.0. Expect to spend 500-800
    If you want a high end one, look at Lightwave v8 or 9, 3d Studio Max v7 or 8, Softimage XSI or Maya. Expect to spend 1500 to 10,000.
    If you are an educator or a student of any age (or sometimes just the parent of one) you can typically save 20-90% of the price. Well worth checking out.
    One thing to remember, that the higher the price the more options, the greater the learning curve.

    I own several modelers. I enjoy the various options each brings to the table. I have had the good luck and good timing to buy a few as a student. And a few from others who bought them as a student and then changed their mind (yay!).

    There is no one best modeler, at least not that I have seen. I really like Truespace (3 & 4) for their simplicity. I really like Cinema4d for its ability to split a mesh. Although, you can achieve the same results in ANY modeler with just a few more steps. I also like C4d’s simple Boolean operations (though it is not as fast nor simple as Truespace, but the results are sometimes more accurate). I do not like Carrara because of how awkward it was to do any Boolean operations, though it is VERY popular. But, I also haven’t seen version 5.0 which is supposedly much better. But, there is a separate modeler (Hexagon) which can be used standalone or with Carrara and has gotten rave reviews.
    I find Softimage, Lightwave, Maya and 3d Studio Max and Softimage to mind boggling complex. Simple operations aren’t simple. These can be mastered by anyone, as there are some real chowderheads out there using these.

    I own and use the following:
    *Lightwave 8.5
    3d Studio Max 6.0
    Carrara Pro 4.0
    Cinema 4d 8.5
    *Truespace v3.2 and v4.3
    *Poser v5 and v6
    *Bryce v5 and v5.5
    *Daz Studio
    *Deep Exploration v3.5
    *Photoshop CS2 (and several older versions)
    PaintShop Pro v9
    UVMapper
    Plus some bad purchases… like Microsoft’s Digital Image Suite, PhotoDraw, VistaPro, DarkBasic, TurboCAD, HomeBuilders CAD, etc…. live and learn, eh?

    * = recommended.

    I am most interested in getting (and will probably eventually get) Bryce 6.0, Hexagon 2.1 (and maybe Carrara v5pro), Vue6i, ZBrush. Maybe DeepUV or something similar.

    I suggest:
    1st modeler = Truespace 3.2
    2nd modeler = Later, if you still like modeling let your wallet decide. I like Lightwave or C4d.
    1st 3d app = Bryce
    2nd 3d app = Poser or Daz Studio (I prefer Poser, but DS is compatible, supposedly easier and free)
    1st 3d utility = DeepExploration. Simply a must have if you ever wanna have control over your downloaded content, or wish to publish your own.
    1st paint program = photoshop if you can afford it, Paintshop Pro otherwise.
    2nd 3d utility = Animation Shop. Comes with Paintshop pro, or can be bought seperately for around 29.00
    3rd 3d utility a UV mapper. For now, I am using UVMapper it is free and the super one built into Lightwave is hard to use, but I would love to find a better one that was reasonably priced (married with kids now and no longer able to buy those student versions :( ).

    By the time you get far enough along in this hobby to have more than a few of the things I detailed above, you will also have firm ideas on what you like and what you want to add to your 3d tool box.

    I hope you found this useful and that it might help you have a little fun with 3d. Now get busy and make us some cool stuff for Civ3 :)
     
  2. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    Click here to download
    The zip file includes the tutorial in word.doc format. It has all the graphics.
    It also includes the meshes for the horns in the tutorial, as well as the meshes for the tugboat that the horns were used as a detailing element.
     
  3. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    The tugboat rendered in Bryce for my son.


    In this post, and in most of the images in the tutorial, you may click on the image for a larger view.
     
  4. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Thanks for this, Bjorn. It looks very handy and I shall be going through it as soon as I get a chance. These Boolean operations look very cunning - I would never have worked this sort of thing out left to my own devices.
     
  5. TopGun

    TopGun 258 kills

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    Bjørn, are you reading my mind? :lol: ...scary thought!
    Anyhoo, thank you for this tutorial, it will be very helpful when I start modeling the Dassault Ouragan...
     
  6. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Is there no way you could make such a thing using Bryce alone?

    That is a very pleasant looking boat :)

    Originally i thought that your "son" was an abbreviation for a project (spending too much time in cfc) ;)
     
  7. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    No I have 3 boys, the oldest of which is 6, and wanted a tugboat picture.
    I had promised to do a modeling tutorial, so I did both at the same time.
    Because I had to stop and write as I went along and make screen captures, and so no, the horn took nearly 1/4 of the total time.
    You can not make such an object using Bryce alone.
    The horn includes using a boolean object as part of another boolean object . And this is used more than once.
    This can be made using Bryce:

    But you could not use it as part of a another boolean because in Bryce 5 and 5.5, you can not collapse the boolean into a mesh. It remains the sum of it parts... so the above image would not be a new shaped object (like it is in Truespace) but it would remain a sphere and a torus, even though you could render the club shaped object.

    The hull is made by using two spheres and a cylinder.
    You elongate the one (the bow) and not the other.
    You than merge these three things.
    ---- end of what Bryce can do.----
    You than use a cube to slice the top off the pencil shape.
    You than make a copy of this shape and move it slightly to the side and perform a union boolean, where the new shape will only include the space where the two objects overlap. This type of boolean is not even possible in Bryce, because it again uses object that have already been booleaned as new boolean objects. This nesting is a nono. In truespace it works because the boolean operation collapses the meshes into a new mesh.
     
  8. polyphemus

    polyphemus join the long blue line

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    this has been added to my library...well done!!
     
  9. Wyrmshadow

    Wyrmshadow Deity

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    4 quick TS tips:
    #1. When you do booleans, the new center of gravity is still the old center of the 1st object, not what you added or took away. So if you grouped together a massive object in bryce that was once a sphere but is not a long chain, then bryce automatically moves the center of gravity. Not so with truespace. This is important if for some reason you need to rotate. What I sometimes do is make a small cube that fits in where I want the center, and I use that to add onto when doing booleans in Truespace.

    #2. Won't let you do booleans? Or its subtracting/adding the wrong shapes, things improperly dissapearing. Try changing the relative positions just a teeny bit. Like 1/1000 of a meter at a time. Or, right click onthe boolean button and a new boolean window pops up. Fiddle with the identity and try again.

    #3. Can't move your object? "Z"

    #4. And always remember to CTRL Z to undo a mistake. You can only do it once.
     
  10. odintheking

    odintheking Lighting the way...

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    Hmm... interesting modeller there. Since you seem to be a master at this program, Bjorn, you should start up a prop thread like Utah. I have a feeling (seeing the stuff you've made) you probably have alot of cool props people would love to use, :).
     
  11. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    I'm not a master at this program. Wyrmshadow has been using this one longer than me. I was complaining how long it took to get stuff done in Lightwave, and he suggested I check it out. I did and liked it.
    Once I get more into poser and poser props, I will probably share more of them. It is just that I am still learning on Poser, and so I'm not the best prop maker. I shared the gunbelt, pitch forks, and maybe some other props I've forgotten because I could help someone out. But, for now I don't even have enough props to make sharing them worth it. Most of my "props" are bryce stuff. Little things like tow-hooks, railings, and other things the various units have needed to be complete.
    If you need something and can't find it, you can always ask. But, rather than try and set myself up as the supplier of the props, I wrote this tutorial so both Bryce, Poser and other unit creators could make their own. you know, the whole teach a guy to fish, vs. just giving him a fish....
     
  12. rifleman

    rifleman Varangian Guard

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    @ Bjornlo - Thanks for the tutorial

    I got through it with only a few difficulties (I think my settings were different from yours). Now I've tried making some things, converting them in Deep Exploration, and importing them into Poser for use as a prop with Kinboat's paperdoll.

    I haven't figured out a few things, tho. I started small, with a simple Viking style shield with a rim and boss. I imported it with no problems, but of course it's all one material, limiting its color options.

    Making a texture map for it isn't the right thing to do, so I've tried to figure out how to separate the elements. Looking at your tutorial, you have us save objects separately in order to color them separately - so I did this, but what then? Converting them into individual 3ds files and importing them into Poser means that they each have to be sized and placed individually, which is a bit more messy than in Truespace.

    The props Kinboat made, such as his Knight's Shield, have separate elements, such as the rim and the quarters, even though it is one prop. How can I merge the parts into one prop, keeping the elements separate for coloring, and save it as one file? Is this some thing that has to be done in Poser, or can it be done in DE or something else?

    Also, how can you turn your props into 'smart props' that open at a given size, color and placement (even on the paperdoll)?
     
  13. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    Congratulations for getting through the tutorial. Sorry for the inconsistencies. Prior to making the tutorial, I uninstalled and re-installed the application to blow away my settings. I guess some of them were left behind.

    To answer your questions on:

    Texturing

    Several methods work. I use two.

    Best method.
    Do as Utahjazz does. Make a single object and UV map it with the free utility (UVMapper). This has the advantage of a single location to change all the elements and colors of an object and the lowest poly count.

    Alternative method.
    Do as you are asking. Make the object components but do not merge(bool together) them all. For the viking shield, this would be a boss (center cap), rim, arm straps and wood round. Make them all in the modeler, keep them aligned and sized to each other. Then save the SCENE not the object. Both Bryce and Deep Exploration can read the scene and save it as a 3ds (or better still OBJ) group. This will give you exactly what you are looking for, but the price is complex texturing is going to be very difficult and the poly count per prop will typically be 4-5 times as high. Not a big deal for beefy machines. Kinda a deal breaker for modest ones.


    Scaling

    I do not smart prop my props due to my limited skills in poser (I bought a book to learn more, but have not taken the time to read through it).
    What I do to get the location, size, and so on correct is use Bryce. I import the prop and PDM into Bryce. I size, orient and so on the prop to the PDM OBJ file. I then export out ONLY the prop. It will save the orientation, size and so on. And it will import into poser correctly located and sized. if you want, you can even export Bryce textures for use in poser. But, I do not do this. That is what paint programs are for.
     
  14. rifleman

    rifleman Varangian Guard

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    Thanks Bjornlo,

    I've gotten used to texture maps for things, it just seems to look better on relatively flat surfaces.

    I made the prop as an .obj file, like you suggested, and it worked - but with some quirks. The prop was all one material (although going to the Grouping tool first highlighted the 'wood round' part. It then wouldn't select the others, except by doing it the hard way). Did I miss a step? I also made the prop into a .3ds file. This was wierd, it didn't even allow the Grouping tool to separate the elements.

    I'll try your suggestion with Bryce as well. I have the free version 5, I know you have later versions, is this good enough to do what you're saying?

    Last, why do you prefer .obj over .3ds? When I did the two, the .obj was rounded at the edges. This didn't look bad, but I definately wouldn't want that effect on everything I do. What's the drawback with .3ds (aside from the grouping problems I metioned above)? Isn't that what Kinboat used for his props?
     
  15. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    3ds works fine most of the time. But I have had occasional problems with a variety of apps which are unable to read 3ds files correctly. The problem is typically not in the geometry but in the relative locations and sizes of the component parts.

    What I suggested works just as well with Bryce 5.0 as with 6.1.

    There is no reason that textures of whatever kind you prefer will not work with either method. Flat vs. curved does not really change this. I have used procedurals and image files interchangably on complex shapes and simple shapes. The best results are from a UV map, no matter how that object is created.


    I have not seen the rounded edges issue. what are your steps to repro this?
    Did you use Bryce or DE to create the OBJ? If you used DE, which version and what settings did you use?

    As for the materials grouping... I suspect that it is Poser being a bit fussy about the materials and the lack of an MTL. Suggested work around (untested, since I have never had this issue).
    Open the SCN file in Bryce 5.0
    Size, and position the group.

    Apply simple colors (need not be images, just colors will do) to each part. Taking care to not use the exact same shade on any two parts. This way if poser does a group by materials import (some older apps used to) then it will see the individual parts.

    Export the entire group from Bryce as a OBJ (and/or 3ds). Again, not sure if this will solve it or not.
     
  16. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    rifleman, don't forget that you can apply different colours/textures to different parts of a prop by using the Grouping tool in Poser. Just create a new group, select the facets of the prop that you want to be in that group, and then assign a new material to it.
     
  17. odintheking

    odintheking Lighting the way...

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    Bjorn, after all of this tutorial, smartpropping should be a breeze to you, man! It's easy. All you do is position the prop how you want it, with the correct size and everything. Then you open up that little sidebar where you get props from, and click the "+" button. Then you have a friendly, textured .pp2 file.
     
  18. Stormrage

    Stormrage Ever Present Taskmaster

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    I have no idea what you people are talking about but it sounds exciting! :goodjob:

    I might be getting some RAM next month, so this might still be relevant for me!

    BTW - when did i pass 7k posts? :hmm:
     
  19. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Super Moderator

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    Probably just after I did. I'm scared by how high my post count is getting.
     
  20. Bjornlo

    Bjornlo Deity

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    Time savers are cool. Thanks for the handy tip. I found Bryce got it 90% of where I wanted it, and so I just was doing the last few adjustments every time. As you can probably tell, my focus is not POSER but 3d. Of which Poser is but one of many tools I enjoy.
     

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