Wings3D test model...

Discussion in 'Software' started by Kugelfang, May 29, 2004.

  1. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Hello all,

    I've been looking around at all the modeling software I've collected trying to find the best Linux solution. The first one to make into the starting gate is Wings3D using its AutoUV plugin to create the model templates. I think its got some real limitations but I'm going to give it a try anyway. Attached is a screenshot of what I've accomplished so far--Not Much! Note that it's not even on Linux (but that's due to a printer issue, not a Wings3D issue!)

  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Hi Jeff, neat!
    Keep us up-to-date with progress.

    Tim P
  3. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Hi Jeff

    You seem to konw what you are doing with the old computor programs.
    Do use all a big service and start at the begining with a tutorial on how to use these programs. As there will be loads of punnters out their like me that are to shy to say they have not got a clue what you are on about.

    You lost me on the second line of your post. I can design or scratch build any model, but putting it on to a computor is another thing. I have two finished models (on paper) that I did three years ago but don't have the know how to put it on to a computor!! The right program could cost hundreds for nothing. Just saying, yes this works is no good, I'am thick with computors but once shown I never forget.

    Give us a kick start PLEASE!!!!!


  4. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Well, well, well...

    The bow section of my little zeppelin went together quite well. I was expecting to find some distortion in my templates but it wasn't there! Wings3d noses ahead of the competition. Now, if I just had a working digital camera. On to step two!


    If you want to try your hand at computer modelling I'd recommend trying one of the free programs instead of spending big bucks (trust me... I tried that route!)

    These programs are all free and work in both Windows and Linux:

    Wings3d (
    Anim8or (
    Blender (

    Another option, though not free, is AC3D ( US$49.00 or so, still well under the cost of most of the big-ticket programs. There are a host of other free/cheap modelling programs too.

    I greatly prefer Wings3d and have a few tutorials for Wings' predecessor (Nendo) at

    Wings is what is known as a 'box modellor'. You start with simple shapes and push and pull the corners, sides and edges until you get the shape you want. This is not the approach of most other modelling programs but I find it much more intuitive and easier to learn. It is remarkably powerful in its simplicity.

    Anim8or and AC3D are much more traditional in their approaches. You typically have a top, side and front view where you create points (vertices) and connect them with lines (edges) to build up the shape that you want. This is a much more CAD (computer aided design) approach. This is also the approach originally taken by 3DSMax and GMax. Most people will advise you to learn to model using 3DSMax or GMax. I do not. GMax is free but has severe limitations on exporting your models to usable formats. 3DSMax is around US$4000 now, and in my opinion, is far too big a program for someone who is just starting to learn.

    Blender is a beast all its own. Frankly, it confuses the heck out of me but it's an incredibly powerful program at just the right price.

    Whether or not any of these programs will produce decent card models is what I'm trying to find out now. I don't think Anim8or is a good candidate for it. Blender has an 'unfold' plugin but I'm not good enough with Blender to be able to use it. Wings may be able to do it but as far as I know nobody's tried it before so I'm making it up as I go. I promise, if successful, a tutorial will be forthcoming. I do know that models made in Wings and exported to .obj format work quite well in Pepakura. Though I've only tried a few things with Pepakura, it seems to be pretty good. It does NOT work in Linux, which is one of my primary goals.

  5. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Cheers Jeff

    I will look at these tonight when all the mob (kids and wife) are out of the way!!

    Thanks again

  6. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Rob, Jeff's suggestions for the freebie programs are good. There are loads of 3D programs from free to megabucks, but the one thing they have in common is that they are all completely baffling until you practise with them. I would suggest choosing one (Wings3D is as good as any) and check out the tutorials, manual, program forums, and get stuck in. It will take a while just to get your head around the basics, and it WILL be frustrating, but stick with it, ask questions, re-read the manual and it will gradually all slot into place! I know it is boring just making cubes, but you will be learning where all the menus are, what the commands do, and most importantly, the 'work-flow' from idea to 3D model. This you will then be able to apply to your own models.

    If you learn one program reasonably well, you will be surprised how quickly you wil pick up another. Just becoming aware of 3D space as presented on a screen will transfer to other programs, even if the views and layout are different.

    Sticking with a mesh modeller such as Wings3D is a good start, as a simple mesh model can usually be easily opened up to form a paper cut-out. Mesh modellers work by manipulating points in space and the triangles drawn between them forming the surface of the model. This gets progressively more difficult as the model gets more complex, so keep things simple to start with. Faceted models, ie buildings, tanks, are probably easier to work on than more organic, smoother shapes such as cars and aircraft, but with practice, you can do all these and more, very effectively.

    It just takes practice! And remember, the only stupid question is the one you don't ask!!

    Tim P

    PS Keep us posted. In 6 months, I bet you'll be answering all the newbie questions as our resident wings3d expert!!
  7. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    Thanks Tim

    I'am like a dog with a bone once I get my choppers into something I don't let go until I have what I want. Thanks

  8. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    :D :D
    Thanks boys I could not wait until tonight :lol:

    Oh have I got a new toy to play with, downloaded the instructions as well and even I seem to be able to understand them.

    Thanks very much

  9. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Ditto to what Tim P said. Patience is a requirement when learning 3d modelling. I recall how frustrating it was. Still is at times...

    An up date on my project:

    a) Wings unfolding (AutoUV) process seems to work on symmetric shapes only. Asymmetric parts really get distorted.

    b) Wings will only unfold one part at a time.

    c) No consistency in scale between the different parts when they are unfolded.

    d) I've managed to unfold something in Blender. It seems to maintain the true shape of the polygons, but the order of the unfolding is impractical. If there is some way to indicate where to make cuts (and where not to make them) it may have potential.

  10. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Check out

    Free trial download is very useful! Registered version is even better!

    Wings3D uses arbitrary units of no particular scale, the standard primitive cube is 2 units along each edge, with is centre located at the origin. If you import the data into another program, you can usually tell what units of distance (millimetres, feet, whatever) to use, or scale (shrink/expand) the imported mesh to the size you want.

    In Pepakura, once you have created a development (unfolded your model to a set of flat pieces) you can re-scale the parts, either to make the model a particular height, or scale the model, on the basis that one original unit is 1 centimeter. In the case of our primitive 2-unit cube, scaling it at 1.00 would mean it would end up 2cm along a side. Scaling it to 3.00 would result in a 6cm cube.

    I reckon Wings3D and Pepakura are a good pairing!

    Oh dear, another distraction.....

    Tim P
  11. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Yes, Wings and Pepakura make a good team. The only annoyance is that Pepakura does not work natively or under Wine in Linux. If it weren't for that fact, I'd probably be a lot closer to getting my project done. My goal is to develop a workflow that does not rely on Windows dependancies. Preferably cross platform, but Linux centric if it must be. I'm even thinking about writing my own unfolding program but I want to exhaust the other possibilities first. No reason to re-invent the wheel if it only takes some sleuthing.

    What I meant about the Wings scale issue is not that the model uses arbitary, generic units of measurement, but when using the AutoUV plugin the separate parts do not maintain their scale in relation to other parts. AutoUV tries to use the largest area possible to create the UV map (generally a good thing for UV maps!) and, you can only unfold one part at a time. So, my zeppelin hull development comes out at 1028 pixels (the size of the graphic file). The rudder comes out at 1028 pixels, the altimeter comes out at 1028 pixels--well not really--I didn't get THAT detailed with the model. But you get the idea. I could resize them all in a graphics program but that would defeat my lazy streak.

    Still, though, with the right design parameters, Wings might do most of what I'm looking for. There's always the possibility of writing an unfolding plugin for it too. I might try doing the entire model as a single part and cutting it up in the UV window, but I'm not too enthusiastic about that idea. Hmmm....

  12. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Sorry Jeff, my misunderstanding. I see what you need now.

    I am going down the vector route, I just registered my copy of Pepakura 1.1b so I can export in eps format, for export to and colouring in Coreldraw.

    Tim P

    PS I might regret asking this, but why the downer on Windows? Other than the usual reasons, of course!! :lol:
  13. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Oh, you're teasing me. Tempting me to go off into a rant, aren't you? AREN'T YOU!

    Must resist...

    Must... re...


    They're not 'computer viruses'! They're vulnerabilities in poorly designed applications. And those applications almost all come from Microsoft. My guess would be that 98% of spam originates on computers running MS e-mail software.

    My OPINION (right or wrong) is that MS deserves its spot in the history of technology. It brought the GUI to the masses. MS bettered human life by propelling computers into every-day life. But they no longer entice customers to (continue to) use their products through offering better products. They no longer innovate. MS's goal is to now prevent users from using other products by making the choice painfully expensive, labor intensive and frustrating. The use of MS products no longer adds to the betterment of human existence. In fact, just the opposite. I very seldom use MS products at home. I'm a fully paid/licensed MS users. Yet I do not trust the security, stability or reliability of their products. I can not tell you how many hours I waste eliminating spam sent from MS machines. I value my time much more than I value the 'convenience' of MS products. For most of what I want a computer to do, I can find a better solution at a much better value than MS offers me.

    Must gain control...

    Almost there...

    AAARGH Licensing issues... AAARGH

    Must... put... back in box..
    Too long...



  14. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Jeff, well done! But the sense of a bottled-up volcano came through very clearly! I promise not to tease you again!

    Being a lazy so-and-so, I just keep my firewall and anti-virus stuff up-to-date ( jeez, hourly sometimes!!) and stick to the few programs I know and have got used to, but Word gets my back up big-time! I reserve all my anti-Windows invective for that overblown dollop.....

    Back to the grindstone!

    Tim P
  15. jrts

    jrts Active Member

    Tim and Jeff

    I have had a good play with the Wings program, started simple and have even been able to print out simple shapes in an unfolding program. The point I'am getting at is if I can do it then anyone can. Its a good one for me as it is so simple to use.

    Thanks to you two it looks as if I will be able to put my models in to a model format on my computor, always had trouble before as a lot of other programs use mumbo-jumbo computor terms that I don't understand at all. The instructions give it step by step what to do.

    Thanks a again and keep the advice coning for all of use.

  16. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Hey Rob, keep at it and show us a screenie every now and then. One word of advice... 'save incrementally'. Well, that was two words... Also, 'insert image plane' with three-views is your friend. Another three words...

    Meanwhile back in the batcave, der Fangster has given up on using Wings3d to unfold models. Just too many gotchas. So I decided to build one of Ralph Currel's airships to get the hang of things. I really appreciate his design decisions.

    But I also think I've found the mother load, the goldmine of cross-platform unfolders:

    So far this looks extremely promising. Looks like there are some file saving issues in the stand-alone application to overcome but given a bit more time I might be able to find a work-around. I don't see any reasons that I can't unfold a model, save the flat developments in *.obj format and then write a perl, rebol or ruby script to convert *.obj to *.svg. Should be easy, no?

  17. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    Hi Jeff

    Still battering away at it, Is that second one a word I'll look it up.

    There is so much in it but i will get there in the end. so far it's the only one that I seem to like to use as the instructions are easy to understand.

    Thanks again


    P.S just because I don't post to much don't think it's not being taken in !!
  18. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    You're welcome! That's what this site is all about! Don't forget to let us see a model or two in your gallery, when you have finished them. I am sure that will inspire others to have a go.

    Tim P
  19. marc

    marc New Member

    im working on a chinook in wings3d. been going for about two hours so far
  20. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Good start. I promptly clicked on my middle mouse button and tried to rotate your model.... How sad is that??

    Tim P

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