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Aircraft modeling and setting up blueprints

polycounter lvl 4
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grimsonfart polycounter lvl 4
Hi there.

I have a quick question/problem. I am trying to model an aircraft. What is the best way to go trough with this as it's in general a very complex model for the people who has done this in the past.

Also, whats the best way to set up blueprints? Do you mostly rely on the blueprint or should you have a lot of different reference photos.

Do you model each major part apart, like wings, fuselage?

I am pretty mediocre in modeling, and it might be a bit too much for me to handle but i still want to try.


  • Noors
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    Noors polycounter lvl 11
    Well, skills and experience comes with practice and lots of mistakes.
    You try, you fail, you look at what other do, you retry...so on.

    There's not one way to model, but general rules

    -Start with simple shapes/primitive.
    -Don't use crazy amount of subdivision for the sake of it.
    -Try to model the way it is in reality. If it's made of different parts, model different parts.
    -look at other people wireframe. You're not the first one to model a plane.
    -if it's for baking a normal map, you can use floating geometry.
    -if it's for baking a normal map, you want "fat edges", which are more permissive for the topology than very thin angles.
    -Blueprints are helpful, but, most of them are drawn by "hobbyists" and are made after photos, in best case, mesurements.
    Unless you have directly the constructor plans, you'll probably never see a 90 % accurate blueprint and things wont match in 3d. So yeah, use photos as ref to double check. Anyway a front and a side view won't be enough to get the complexity of certain shapes.
  • Anchang-Style
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    Anchang-Style polycounter lvl 7
    There are tons of car modelling tuts that work along blueprints. It should not be too different from planes.
  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia interpolator
    For the F-16 I built at work, I used cross sections and blueprints. If you can find cross sections for your aircraft, you'll find it to be substantially easier to build as you can check almost every angle against the blueprints and it should all come out identical to the real-world aircraft.

    I subdivide my jets and work from the nose and build outward from there with an eight-sided cylinder. If more geometry is needed, I add it in and blend it as best as I can. I'm not the best modeler either but with anything, practice makes perfect.

    I started with this:


    Ended up with this:


    I set up blueprints in what I'd think is the standard method: the front/right/top/bottom/left views are centered along their midpoints and the cross sections are placed at the corresponding spot detailed on the blueprint itself.

    Anything that moves on the plane - such as control surfaces (leading edge slats, flaps, ailerons, flaperons, tailerons, elevators, rudder, speed brake, etc), landing gear, cockpit assembly, and so forth ends up being a separate object to be animated and used in an engine. I don't see a point to separating parts, otherwise, unless I'm adding weapon pylons to the aircraft or anything else that would be easily disconnected from the fuselage.
  • kurt_hectic
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    kurt_hectic polycounter lvl 8
    I recommend to use splines, even if they will be only a guidelines. It will be so easier to catch curvature with them.

    Also this script might help: http://mariussilaghi.com/products/smooth-edges

  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia interpolator
    Hey, kurt, thanks for that link!
  • grimsonfart
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    grimsonfart polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for the answer guys. Great model synaesthesia.

    I am trying to model the lavochkin la-190. Sadly there is very little information/pictres and blueprints on it so it's not easy.
  • Synaesthesia
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    Synaesthesia interpolator

    Is that the one you're referring to? I didn't find any cross sections, but that should be a good starter plane to model. Give it a shot and don't be afraid to ask for advice as you work on it.
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