How The F*#% Do I Model This? - Reply for help with specific shapes

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Alright, so i see time and time again that people tend have trouble doing certain things with hard-shapes and sub-d modeling. So i thought i would try something out here. I'm going to open this up to let people post a reference image of a simple, yet complicated shape(no motorcycles or tanks or stuff like that). And i will try, or maybe some of our other members can help out in this too, to give an example mesh. We'll see how it goes.

I'll make a few simple rules;

First off, if you'de like help with a certain shape all you have to do is this:

1. Post an image, this can be either an example of a model you're struggling with, or simply a reference image of something you dont know how to approach.

And secondly, if you would like to join in:
1. Multiple people can contribute to the same ref, if you think you have a better way, feel free to post. This is all about sharing ideas.
2. Include an image that has a wireframe overlay of the mesh, unsmoothed, and a smoothed shot as well with or without wires.
3. Include the object as .obj. If you do not have webhosting feel free to send me a pm, and I'll put it up for you.


I'll start off with something that i made for Kawe's thread.

shapethingjpg

also http://johnyontehspot.com/pix/shapething.obj

Replies

  • ElysiumGX
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    I'll play along. This is something I attempted recently, for a spaceship I wanted to create in high poly for normal mapping. I find it troublesome to work with subd, as the result is lots of tiny edges too close together on my low poly. Not easy to read, or work down from. My workflow consists of lots of small bevels. For larger shapes, I perform an extrude a small distance to get it started. Extrude the length I want for the shape. And then another small extrude to finish it. I find this to be messier than I expect, which is why I haven't tried more advanced shapes. After this, I decided not to attempt a full ship. What can I improve on?
    booster_subd.gif

    http://willc3d.com/files/objects/booster.obj
  • EarthQuake
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    Ok, interesting, this wasn't exactly what i was expecting(as visually this works fine) but i'll try to help as much as i can.

    You seem to be asking a little more about workflow stuff, so i'll share a couple good rules i try to use.

    First off, to avoid having to deal with very small edges, try and block out all of your shapes before you go back in and add in your edges to keep hard edges, this will make your model a lot cleaner to deal with while you're still nailing down the shape. In addition to that, do not be afraid to remove some of those edges loops when you need to change your shapes up, because often times they are easier to add back in than they are to deal with in a clean fashion.

    Secondly, to deal with the problem of having small parts too close to each other(i assume you mean the seams in the panels here?) feel free to physically break those parts off and throw them in a new layer/object so that you can edit them independently of the rest of your mesh. When modeling i try to use as many parts as possible, especially when it comes down to parts that have natural seams like this. I often split my stuff into multiple objects because i need more or less resolution out of certain areas as well. So i may have a basically cylindrical shape in one area, but it could be 12 sides in one spot, and 64 sides in another depending on what level of detail it needs locally.
  • Tumerboy
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    Cool, good idea EQ.

    Ya, I tend to make my low poly (or A lower poly) version first. Then start adding definition where I want/need it. Often, rather than extrude a small amount, extrude a large amount, then extrude another small amount again, it's easier to just extrude the total distance you want, then select one of the edges, ring it, and use the connect dialog to cut all the way around/through, but allow you to position that cut where you want.
  • Microneezia
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    You dont see a lot of this now with Zbrush ect, but I was wondering about some common techniques that go into organic sub-d modeling. how and what typically is done with orgainic sub-d? Such as, I see a lot of pillar topping ornamentation that is obviously sub-d.
  • Kawe
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    Awesome EQ,
    I'll probably have something more later when I get home :)
  • Microneezia
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    another thing i was wondering is, when eliminating edgeloops, or geometry in max, is it ok to simply weld verts to eliminate face geometry? Are the verts actually gone as well? I know the counts reflect they are, but if there is a way to reverse it, maybe they are not actually gone?..like, not the same thing but, if I weld UV verts I can break them again and get them back, Is it better to delete or weld? a difference?
  • Pedro Amorim
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    this is a cool thread that i think we should sticky. im gonna contribute to it when i get home tonight :)
  • Mark Dygert
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    Another workflow question for the answer man.
    EarthQuake wrote: »
    First off, to avoid having to deal with very small edges, try and block out all of your shapes before you go back in and add in your edges to keep hard edges, this will make your model a lot cleaner to deal with while you're still nailing down the shape. In addition to that, do not be afraid to remove some of those edges loops when you need to change your shapes up, because often times they are easier to add back in than they are to deal with in a clean fashion.
    To define hard edges I toss another Edit Poly modifier on top of the stack. That way it doesn't effect the base shape(s) and I can go back if I need to. The problem with doing this is that it often fudges up the hard edges if I go back down and add/remove geometry (push pull is fine). Is there another smarter way to get around this or is this fine?
  • Pedro Amorim
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    edit: im a dork.
  • Eric Chadwick
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    wrong thread crazy mexican.

    Vig, just commit to your model, do it all in the base modifier.
  • Pedro Amorim
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    oh fuck
    i just realized i trolled the wrong thread!
  • EarthQuake
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    You dont see a lot of this now with Zbrush ect, but I was wondering about some common techniques that go into organic sub-d modeling. how and what typically is done with orgainic sub-d? Such as, I see a lot of pillar topping ornamentation that is obviously sub-d.

    I think there are plenty of resources for zbrush stuff if thats what you're looking for, i want to keep this thread focused on mechanical sub-d stuff. Now as far as modeling something like that by hand, whew, the simple answer to that is its a shit-ton of work. You just have to do it! I just happen to have a corrinthian pillar i did here for work that i can post some images of, i cant post the obj tho for obvious reasons.

    pillar.jpg

    another thing i was wondering is, when eliminating edgeloops, or geometry in max, is it ok to simply weld verts to eliminate face geometry? Are the verts actually gone as well? I know the counts reflect they are, but if there is a way to reverse it, maybe they are not actually gone?..like, not the same thing but, if I weld UV verts I can break them again and get them back, Is it better to delete or weld? a difference?

    In modo what i do is select the edge loop, and hit "remove" instead of "delete". This is really easy and really clean, and can be very useful for other things too(lods because it retains uvs etc). I dont know about max specifically, but i think it has the same features.
  • Microneezia
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    ya exactly, i was wondering about the sub-d organic shapes like this... thats really well done, can you let me know, the elongated loopy-loop at the top of each corner, is that extruded along a spline or a spline that has been turned into an editable poly or how was that shape created?
  • EarthQuake
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    Yeah those twirly bits were extruded along a spline, and then edited a little to merge them into one mesh.
  • Microneezia
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    excellent work, thank you, that helped.
  • Saidin311
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    I was gonna post a picture of an ionic column because I was also having issues trying to create those swirly bits. Thanks EQ for the wire on that! I'm also considering picking up a copy of modo, it seems cheap enough and seems to own in functionality.
  • EarthQuake
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    Give the demo a try its like $25(dumb) but i think comes with a bunch of cool instructional stuff. Also i wouldn't shy away from recommending Silo, it has a lot of similar features that modo has, but significantly less expensive.
  • Illusions
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    Is there any specific tip or trick to have cylindrical or spherical objects stay that way when adding divisions/idents/whatever to them?
  • EarthQuake
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    Not exactly sure what you're asking, maybe what i wrote in Kawe's thread will help?


    Like a lot of solutions to complicated mesh with sub-ds, sometimes the answer is just to throw more geometry at it! since you want to retain those curves you have, the # of sides shouldn't = the inset features, it should be more, in this case i used 3 sides per indent, then added in some padding edges around each indent, then beveled padding edges around the shape, and added edges to retain the shape etc. And then finally, remove the excess loops so you dont have sharp edges every 3 sides. Thus creating NGONS!!! MWUAHAHAHA
  • Microneezia
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    I think this thread would benefit from examples of using sub-d specific, or common modifiers and the pitfalls within using those modifiers. the FFD's and path deform WSM modifiers i believe are pretty common when dealing with sub-d i think. I am pretty sure, but not positive, that these 2 modifiers are crucial when dealing with mapping one shape onto/into another in Sub-d.

    I have a list of modifiers that was listed by Kevin Johnstone's thread, the UE3 gears of war titled thread, he said these were the common modifiers he used when making high poly sculpts.

    Shell
    Bevel
    FFD x2/3/4
    STL Check
    Loft
    Path Deform WSM
    Bend
    Cross Section
    Surface
    CS Slide

    personally I dont understand the functionality/common uses for the following, and the rest I have used but am unaware of potential common uses/pitfalls...

    STL Check
    Cross Section
    Surface
    CS Slide

    I think this has a lot to do with Illusions question as well. I believe that because these modifiers are typically used so well by pros, people think that many objects, are actually all the same sphere or primitive shape, which is of course the intension, but really, these sub-d high poly models are commonly many many objects as EQ has mentioned in the Kawe thread.

    It would be beneficial I think to point out where and how within a mesh or sculpt these modifiers were used, and also where someone can end up in trouble if the modifier was used in a rookie way. Can you ruin the CoG of an object, or get undesired future results by using the modifier inaccurately.
  • Funky Bunnies
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    Illusions wrote: »
    Is there any specific tip or trick to have cylindrical or spherical objects stay that way when adding divisions/idents/whatever to them?

    He's probably wondering how to retain form on your curved objects when adding more divisions. I'd say just start from the beginning that way if you can, but for purely round edges, sometimes you can use a spherify modifier on a selection of the edges in Max.
  • Microneezia
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    sometimes you can use a spherify modifier on a selection of the edges in Max...

    Yes, exactly!, some examples of how to practically use modifiers in Sub-d would help immensely. I understand what you mean by saying the quote above, but specific examples where you used it to create the specific shape you created, like EQ has done, would be great! And it would show where people such as yourself have used this technique for success. The fact that it is possible, is one thing, I can use any modifier on any object for example, but showing where this is typically used would go much further to new users of the modifier, and help people realize a practical use for it.

    I think that seeing these examples will show people common uses for the modifiers so they can use it in the same way, to start, then later, once they understand a successful useage for the modifier, they will be able to find more uncommon uses for themselves.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    yo, good thread, would like to see some more ways of gettinfg by certain shapes.

    im gonna jump in with some maya action if you peeps dont mind, seas a little to max orientated at the mo.
  • fr0gg1e
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    If you want to remove edges / optimize a model without breaking your UVs it s easy.
    CTRL+Backspace is max default shortcut to remove edge and get rid of vertices.
    click me
    I use Q for edge loops , W for edge ring and CTRL+ALT+C as collapse for shortcuts (just to let you know as it might be confusing)

    STL modifier highlight / select holes of bunch of 'errors' on your mesh...many options, try it.

    CSSlide is to slide edge loops...altho I use max's edge constraint and move them to the top, they collide to other edges and stop (that is what I like about it). and then I move them back a bit (that if I want to have the shape of the edge loop above wich is not always the case).

    Cool thread!
  • EarthQuake
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    SHEPEIRO wrote: »
    yo, good thread, would like to see some more ways of gettinfg by certain shapes.

    im gonna jump in with some maya action if you peeps dont mind, seas a little to max orientated at the mo.

    Feel free man, i'm trying to keep the stuff i talk about as application-independent possible, so anyone willing to translate specifics to specific apps will be well appreciated.
  • MoP
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    I would have thought that all this stuff is app-independent - it's just polys which get subdivided... and all the major apps subdivide polys in the same way. If you show a control cage in Max then it will have pretty much the same results in Maya, Modo, LW, Silo, XSI, whatever.
    Everything has a bevel/extrude/remove/cut/slice/constrain tool these days, right? :)
  • pior
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    Well yeah I thought so to ... but actually getting that one wireframe done can be much faster in one app than in another - especially with modifers. I will try to post some videos soon.
  • SHEPEIRO
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    cool, heres somit of what ive learnt and some Qs for peeps who know more

    ive been learning mayas "propper" subD modeling tools not the proxy mesh stuff (or smoothmesh) which is a poor relation to maxes modifier based subD in both terms of functionality and in speed (just a simple mesh smoothed to a decent degree will slow down after just a couple of edge insertions)

    basic operation of this has two modes which is waht im having problems with at the moment.

    proxy mode in which you alter the mesh add loops add extrusions etc

    standard mode which you use to crease the mesh, a complete crease is like using maxes smoothing groups and a partial crease is half way in between, pulling the shape into a more prescise corner (like adding edgeloops in max but without doing so

    one real good thing about using this method is that you end up with a much more consistent mesh in terms of the poly grid it produces, which is much better for using in sculpting programs for 2 reasons
    1- less discrepency between a flat surface and a sharpened edge means less polys are needed to get detail on those flat surfaces
    2- less stretching and warping when a stamps details crosses between a flat surface and an edge

    heres an example of shape made in this mode, making edge loops sharper by going up the display levels and partially creasing.

    subD.jpg

    now if i made a similar shape using just a proxy mesh, added edge loops to tighten corners you get something more like this (on left, creased subD on right)

    subD2.jpg

    now this is all well and good, but Im having some workflow issues with it,

    most major one at the moment is that i cant select edge loops in this mode and switching modes requires you to go to object mode thus getting rid of your selection. and selecting edges while having both meshes on screen can be painfull to see whats going on etc. this is especially true when selecting edges a few levels up.

    any ideas and tips on working in this mode would be great, as im quite enjoying it but find it frustarting at the same time.

    ps if any/all of this is bollox feel free to put me right, im pretty new to SubD in maya
  • SnowGhost
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    I'm working on a futuristic space fighter and have ran into a problem that I cant seem to get my head around. I'm trying to model in two or three "holes" where a weapon will be mounted into. This is similiar to how many modern aircraft have machine guns mounted in their skins. The photo here is exactly what I'm trying to do. (By the way if anyone knows what these "holes" are called technically please let me know.)

    Keep in mind that all the while that this is going to be modeled into a curved surface. Everything I've tried results in really bad geometry.

    ist2569831machinegunjeteg7.jpg
  • perna
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    Snowghost:
    Typically what people do wrong with shapes such as in your image (for hipoly models) is they don't use enough geometry, which breaks subdivision. It would help if you post an image of your attempts.
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