Tutorials and such

Discussion in 'Everything else' started by Ashrunner, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    I didn't want to hijack the Rhino thread I first mentioned this on, and I didn't want to leave the post I made regarding tutorials the way I did. So read on if you are interested in what an old fart of an ex-sergeant has to say.

    I didn't, in anyway, want to sound ungrateful or the like for the tutorials which abound regarding Rhino or any of the other 3D programs folks use. I know Rhino has become the de facto program for model design by folks in this forum, even at its price. And I have learned a lot about Rhino from the tutorials and questions I have asked users. However, I still produce simple models of aircraft which look more like a chewed sausage than a fuselage.

    I get frustrated, as I mentioned in my other post, when during a tutorial something is mentioned and not explained. I am just anal enough to get so side-tracked with wondering why it wasn't explained if it was important enough to mention, that I loose track of where I am in the tutorial, or forget what I am doing. This comes from my military days where I was often tasked with writing or rewriting SOIs, or Standard Operating Instructions...basically, tutorials for various jobs. I had developed a system for writing them which was adopted by one of the major commands I was assigned under.

    As for 3D modeling, I spend much of my free time (which is almost all my time) playing with AC3D now, and before programs such as Metasquioia and Rhino's demos. I find the terminology of the 3D world confusing and hard to make memory associations with...and that makes learning hard. I also find a lot of things I don't need "hanging around" confusing me. I am sure those things are needed by someone, but it was like when I wanted a word processing program. I searched and searched for one which did nothing but word processing and not word processing with desktop publishing and graphics and whatever else the programmer thought someone would want. I finally found one and even though it is a 10-year program, I still use it to this day to do my writing.

    When I first started in card modelling, I thought I have the time and it seems it wouldn't be hard to design modellings (boy was I wrong), so I started searching for programs to do it. I wanted a program that allowed me to design aircraft, but I found programs with things which I wouldn't use or didn't know how to use. Then I found a program which allowed me to design aircraft. It didn't do a good job on the rounded tips of wings and tail planes, but it worked well on fuselages. That program was RCCAD and I was able to design many aircraft with the program. But it didn't produce a model I could use Tenkai (Pepakura's forerunner) to easily unfold.

    Personally, I am looking for that one great program which I can use as easily as I did RCCAD to design an aircraft that will easily unfold in Pepakura. I know a program which will do this is possible and may someday be designed. Until then, I will continue to play with, and slowly, very slowly, learn more and more about AC3D, and maybe Rhino 4 when its demo is released. And maybe someday I will be able to design a fuselage which does look like a fuselage. And I will continue to cuss out tutorials which confuse me and loose me, but I will also try not to make my frustrations with them public. For that I apologize to all the wonderful tutorial writers out there and hope I haven't smoothered any further work on any of them.

    Ready on the left?....Ready on the right?...With one twenty round magazine, lock and load...Find your target and fire at will! or in this case...Ashrunner 8v)
  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Ash, thanks indeed for moving this to a new thread. I am sorry if I sounded a bit ticked, it wasn't what I intended at all! However, my point remains that, as you are no doubt finding with the other programs you work with, you have to get at least some of the basics as a foundation, before you try the more complex stuff. I love to help people out if I can, and to learn from others who are further up the path than me, that is what I find so attractive about this site. But I can't do it all for them! As my old grandad used to exclaim, ' Oh, sit on my lap while I walk about!'

    Perhaps I am over-defensive of Rhino. I have used it quite a bit for over 5 years now, and still it surprises and delights me. But as with all new programs, at the beginning you just have to sit down and struggle with it, until you understand how it interacts with your design work flow. But it upsets me when it is implied that the program is incapable of doing something, when it either IS, or that something is nonsense anyway! So, I am sorry again to anyone who thought I was too forceful, but guys, you just gotta learn this stuff! Do the tutorials that ship with the program. Spend an evening or two browsing through the command listing (on the Help menu). Practise making a few simple models based on household objects. Get them RIGHT.

    Then, and only then, will the more advanced tutorials make any sense. Whether you pay for them or not! Probably by then you WILL be able to design your own models, because it really is not rocket science! Start with something simple and practise, practise, practise. Make mistakes, sure. Ask questions, sure. Solve your own problems, and tell the world! But you have to put the effort in yourself. No amount of tutorial reading will make up for a lack of effort here. Add to it, of course, but never replace it.

    I'm going on again, aren't I!?

    Tim P
  3. keith

    keith Member

    the problem is there isn't a program that will do what you want.
    There isn't a single 3D program that will do everything.

    The solution is to use these programs and part a process of design.
    I've used nearly every cad system there is, i even wrote my own, each program had something the others didn't have.
    I use several Free cad programs for model development, softcadLite, metasequoia and Blender. On their own they can all do simple models, but when you use all of them to create a model you can do more, alot more....file format convertion is a must however if you use these 3 together.

    I don't think you need to learn a everything in single cad program, you need to learn what cad is and to not be affraid to play with your models in order to learn.
    You also have to understand that even with 10 years cad experience i still have to look at the reference manual when i don't know how to do something, everyone does. It's not about how good a program is, it's how well it's documented.
    Also you will find that after you put your model into pepakura, you will probably have to change it because you did something wrong, or you need to break it up better.

    Might i suggest using Rccad to design your aircraft.....
    Then export it to dxf using the plugin and load it into something else to process it into a paper model.
    I'm sure we can all help you develop a process which will allow you to do more modelling. Whichever software you decide to go with.

    So look for software with good documentaion, tutorials and has a good community of users to turn to when your really stuck.
    Blender has really bad reviews but it can do alot, so try programs for yourself and don't be put off by negative comments, you never know you might be good at something others can't handle.
    You'll probably need a program that can do booleans as well, from looking at the rccad site.

    My suggestion is rccad, metasequoia, blender, anim8tor, wings3D, marbleclay, easy3D, rhinocad, turbocad.......

    oooops i've nearly typed as much as you, and i cocked my gun as soon as you said ready...now i'm in trouble :)

    downloading rccad......on dialup.......to see what you need.....
  4. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    RCCAD is an easy program to learn and handles parts of aircraft design in manner I wish I could do in a better 3D program. The DXF file it exports produces an unfolded model of nothing but triangles...or polygons...or whatever they are. I have tried using other programs to "fix" the RCCAD model, but figure it is easier to do from scratch than to fix the old. Hence my dilemna. I am good at making designs which look like they hit a brick wall at 100 mph. Not a thing that looks like a fuselage. I sometimes wish I could reformat my brain and learn anew. But I find these days what I forget is not being replaced with something new...that area of gray matter is probably lost to me forever. Maybe someday I'll be able to do a good aircraft. It would be a crowning achievement for me these days...hehe.
  5. barry

    barry Active Member

    triangles by the dozen

    Are you outputting to pepakura for the unfolding ?
  6. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    The original model I refer to was unfolded in Tenkai, the precursor to Pepakura. Quite a surprise for a first time unfolder to see that happen...hehe
  7. keith

    keith Member

    i downloaded and tested. Thats a nice easy program for making things fast.
    Hey Barry it can do boats :) And trains! and tanks!
    I can't load anything, i can't afford $50 :(

    1st. your lots of triangles(yes they are polygons) is a simple problem, in metasequoia you would do a 'join closed vertices' command to solve it (yes thats all), i'm not sure what the command is in Rhino, i'm sure it has one.

    2nd. you will need a boolean tool in your software, as the wings go through the fuselage.

    3rd. This software is great for either making models from, or for using the models in another cad system and detailing/texturing them.
    The problem with using a standard cad system and modeling from scratch is that you can more your vertices(points) around too easily and if you haven't got the hang of it you can make messy models simply by not understanding how to line things up.
    It is easier to fix the rccad triangle problem than to start from scratch!

    i think you ought to stick with rccad, it's a nice modeler, we just need to get you sorted out with these minor problems. You can always use the models from rccad as templates for more complicated versions. In cad you always start with primative shapes or formers drawn against background images, using rccad gives you head start since most of the model is already there.

    If you have the money to spare i'd get Rhino.
    If you don't have the cash or are reluctant, you can solve these problems for free, it just means using lots of programs....
    (got a computer you can reformat every 25 saves? it might be worth it!)

    What software do you have?

    Keith - still playing with rccad
  8. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member


    Currently I have TurboCAD which I use primarily for 2d drawing and AC3D 5 for 3d modeling, and Photoshop Elements 2 and Paint Shop Pro 8 for painting. I use Pepakura for unfolding. I also have a version of metasequioia which currently isn't installed.

    I still have my registered version of RCCAD I can use, but would prefer to figure out the problems I have with what I currently have. This image is the latest model I have attempted. The white areas on the sides of the fuselage are the parts which make it look bad, like a chewed sausage. It is my fourth or fifth run-through of a video tutorial on aircraft design I found the net. So far I only gotten as far as you can see here.


    I have a lot of work to do on the model, such as fillet around roots of the flight surfaces, which I have no idea of how to do...figuring out exactly what the landing gear looked like on the crafts first flight...and then coloring it. Probably have to do a lot of work making sure the wings and tail plane and stabilizer all fit properly, and figure out how to make a spar with the proper dihedral. It has taken me a week just to get this far. Sooo much to learn only to forget...hehe.
  9. keith

    keith Member

    well AC3D seems to have nearly everything you need, boolean, align vertices, remove duplicate vertices('optimize'), a texture mapper and an import/export function.
    As for taking a week to produce that, i'm impressed, really, 3D modeling is time consuming.
    Your white bits in your sausage..ahem...it depends on how you constructed the model(it could be a number of things)....but i can say its probably because your vertices don't meet at the edges of the surface.
    where the white bits show at a surface, can you tell if there are actually 2 vertices close togther that should really be a single vertex? That would be easy to fix.

    Tell us how you made the fuselage, it will shed some light on it.

    Do you need an explaination of vertices/lines and surfaces with respect to modelling for pepakura? wouldn't take too much to explain and you don't have to remember it for too long :) and you won't find it on the net.

    ok i'm downloading ac3d to have a look at what commands it has.

    Possible to send me your file? or a similar file that contains the white bits?


    If you haven't got the latest shareware version of metasequoia, get it now, even if you don't install it for use just yet, the programmer will be taking a very important switch out of the software which will make it difficult to use in the future...the idiot.
  10. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Okay...quick list of steps taken to build the current model...

    After aligning the drawings I used the cross sections I placed on the Front image to draw the cross sections. I drew each cross section with 14 points. I had six cross sections to work with. After each section was drawn using object polys, I placed them in side view according to the position the cross section was drawn from. Then in the top view, I made sure the sections fit. Once all the sections were placed, I extruded from A to B, B to C and so forth. At each end, I would move the ends of the Vertex box in the side and top views to match as best I could the cross section at that position. For the front nose, I moved each vertex to its position. Wings and tails and stabilizer were drawn in object poly mode and after entering vertex mode, extruded and move and shaped to proper fit. I didn't worry about the number of poly-things in them as I was extruding from one point.

    Basically, that's how I did it.

    In your reply, you mentioned the command Align Vertices. That sounds like something I need to learn. Could it be that will eliminate my protruding points, or white bits. on the fuselage? Also, the relationship of things to Pepakura would be a good thing to know...not only for me, but for others. I have gotten to the point where I print out important information and tape it up somewhere to refer to when I need to. My desk here (and nearby wall) are filled with notes at times...hehe.
  11. keith

    keith Member

    I thought thats what you did.

    Ok i've run ac3d to see what commands you have, the best thing you can do is go to the menu->help->manual->and look at the vertex commands.
    The menu ->vertex->snap together will join selected vertices. easier than aligning them with the align vertices. read the docs to see what align does.
    You also need to see the vertices...menu->ortho(or 3d) vertices.

    You select vertices that should be joined but aren't and then join them, being careful to check your model to make sure you haven't joined a stray vertex from another part of the model. Should take you an hour maybe to do the whole fuselage. Make a backup of your file before you start. It's usual to have lots of files all in different stages of construction, that way you can't loose a weeks work.

    Once you have joined the vertices you will get rid of the chewed sausage look, but you still might get white lines where the faces meet, this is because the display is showing the faces you used to extrude to form the model.
    These faces will have to be moved to another object for pepakura, i'm assuming you want them in as formers, but you need to leave them alone until you finish the model. You'll just have to put up with the white lines for now.
    So you could tidy the model up and make sure all the fuselage points are where you want them after you have joined the vertices.

    I'll do a webpage that shows you what pepakura requires to make a good model.

    Hopefully you can do the vertex joining easily, you will then have to let us know what you next step is going to be. wing roots?


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