Questions from a newbie

Hello I’ve attached my first attempt at modeling a tractor (semi-truck).
I am very new to Blender and as I’m sure you will quickly see new to 3D modeling of any kind.
I want to eventually import the vehicle into CryEngine using CryBlend.
The vehicle is far from finished but I’ve run into questions that will affect what I do now and how it will impact what I want to do latter with the model.

My concerns are:

Using the least amount of Verts so as to not tax CryEngine more than I must.
Using the UV Mapping (Materials?) to create most of the details.
Doing things now that will help, assist, make possible things I wish to do in the CryEngine Environment

My questions are:

Clean Up techniquesIf you will kindly look at the frame of the vehicle towards the back near the rear wheels up to the fuel tanks. I have gone through and removed every “edge” I possibly could without collapsing the structure shape. Is this something that is advised? Should I do this or should I not remove the edges I feel do not support the structure? The CAB area has not been cleaned up and has many extra edges that could be removed. I’m looking for a general overall handling of what I should be doing.

DetailI’ve noticed that Blender is capable of very very high levels of detail but that detail comes with a price tag of more Verts. Looking to place the model into CryEngine I am seeking to limit my detail when it comes to the framework and fill in much of the detail with the UV Map (Materials?). I’m not sure how the community refers to the overlay of an image matched to the vehicle… UV Map / Materials / Textures? Have I done anything that would hurt my ability to unwrap this model? What should I have done to ease my access to the UV Map?

Making it workI have a great deal of concern on how to set the wheels up to become moving parts in CryEngine. I am sure this will be one of the more difficult things to accomplish as not only do I not know what to do in Blender I am also not educated in what exactly is needed by CryEngine or what settings to use in CryBlend. Under the Scene Menu I have only titled the vehicle “frame” which I believe is most likely a bad thing. Putting aside naming conventions for a moment I believe having only one object is not the best way of handling the model. Should I have made the vehicle with separate parts? Besides the wheels should I have modeled the Cab and Frame in two sections?

So fire away I am ready for some constructive critique, the model does kind of look like a semi-truck tractor and with that I’m very happy with my attempt so far.

Boe

semitruck.blend (756 KB)


Clean Up techniquesIf you will kindly look at the frame of the vehicle towards the back near the rear wheels up to the fuel tanks. I have gone through and removed every “edge” I possibly could without collapsing the structure shape. Is this something that is advised? Should I do this or should I not remove the edges I feel do not support the structure? The CAB area has not been cleaned up and has many extra edges that could be removed. I’m looking for a general overall handling of what I should be doing.

I’m not sure i understand the question, but what i see is that you have many ngons.
ngons are faces made of more than 4 vertices , games can only handles quads and triangles , you may have problem when you’ll export this model into the Cry Engine if the exporter does not automatically triangulate those ngons, additionally ngons may unwrap badly.

To get rid of ngons, the easy solution is

  • on the bottom menu click on Select -> Select Faces by side
  • press F6 (or look in the operator panel at the bottom of the toolshelf, the panel to the left of the screen) and change the Type from “Equal To” into “Greater Than”, this way all the ngons faces will be selected
  • press CTRL+F -> triangulate
    (only do this in the end when you’re finished with your ngons)

The less easy solution if you don’t want triangles is to rework all those areas manually (press K the knife can be helpful) into quads , but it will make more faces, though i’m not sure how much faces a vehicle should be in the cryengine.

DetailI’ve noticed that Blender is capable of very very high levels of detail but that detail comes with a price tag of more Verts. Looking to place the model into CryEngine I am seeking to limit my detail when it comes to the framework and fill in much of the detail with the UV Map (Materials?). I’m not sure how the community refers to the overlay of an image matched to the vehicle… UV Map / Materials / Textures? Have I done anything that would hurt my ability to unwrap this model? What should I have done to ease my access to the UV Map?

as said previously, before unwrapping get rid of the ngons, they’re going to be a lot of troubles for the blender unwrapper.

For the last question i can’t help, i’m not familiar with the cryblend exporter and do not know how kind of that specific engine naming conventions there are to get part of an object like a wheel to be affected by an animation
Within Blender that’s very likely going to be vertex groups that you’ll have to use to affect a model part to a required named property, better find the board in which the cryblend exporter is discussed

[SUP]

[/SUP]
Many thanks Sanctuary for the reply.

I think you answered several questions with bringing up the Ngon Issue.
The frame does have faces made with more than 4 vertices and I suspect other parts are affected as well.
I will look into your suggestions and see what I can do with these Ngons.

Again, my thanks for your help!

Boe

I believe I did this correctly, at least the part of finding and repairing the Ngon issue.
The mesh, which I am still working to figure out, shows some definite changes.
Should I work towards create triangles or rectangles?
As I look around it appears that rectangles are the way to go but I thought I would ask.

Thanks!
Boe




semitruck.blend (761 KB)

The benefit of quads (rectangles) is that it’s just easier to work with in term of visualisation (as you can see you loops much easier), and many Blender tools work better with them.
Additionally, many animators work with quads because apparently they are supposed to deform more predictably.

That said for a vehicle, having quads isn’t required, your vehicle will not deform during animations.
Additionally, making a model full quads will require more vertices, and usually the less vertices the better for games performance
(though some engines can take a lot higher polycount than other, it’s something to check by giving a look at existing vehicle polycount under that engine)

Finally, for a graphic cards everything is triangulated when processed, a quad is made into 2 triangles internally.
But on most game engines, the normals of a quad are still kept so if you have a nice curvature with quads, even if the graphic card will triangulate the object, the normals information will still be kept and the curvature will still look good.

Hi Sanctuary,
Thank you again for the information, very helpful.

I decided to start again and try and apply some things I learned from the Porsche Tutorial by Jonathan Williamson and keep in mind creating in quads and avoiding the Ngons.

Cheers!

Boe

tractor.blend (484 KB)

Back again with more questions.

I’ve been working hard to use only quads and to watch for Non Manifold parts but it has become increasingly difficult to model different sections and then connect them.

For example I completely recreated the bumper after making every attempt I could think of in attaching the separate bumper I had originally made.


Now my bumper has shading on particular parts that I’m sure means I’ve done something wrong.


Here is another view of the bumper and the round about way I went to try and connect it to the rest of the model.

Should I make sure everything is connected?

Another example are the stacks, which are not connected to the back of the cab in any way.
Should I figure a way to connect them?

I feel like I’m missing an important piece of information, does a model have to be one continuous flowing quad mesh without manifold issues?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Boe

tractor.blend (515 KB)

The darker shading means that you have inverted normals , select all and CTRL+N to recalculate the normals should work good.
Unless you have non manifold/internal faces problems in which the normal calculation will be unable to correctly find with way is interior and which way is exterior

On your model, you don’t have non manifold/internal faces at that location so the normal recalculation will fix it.

Now before you ask, you did nothing wrong to end with inverted normal, Blender does NOT really calculate the normals in the best way while you extrude and model, it’s a very weak point of Blender, i even reported a simple way to obtain inverted normals on the tracker but the dev just replied it was actually how it works
https://developer.blender.org/T40745

So a reflex to have while modelling in Blender is to select all, and CTRL+N to regularly recalculate the normals

For your other question, no you can make a model with several separate part, you don’t need to merge everything.

What is important is that before export the model is a -single- object (select all the objects in object mode and CTRL+J to join them as a single object) even if it is not a single mesh when you’re in edit mode.

Now if instead of a game asset you were modelling something for printing, the end model should always be a single mesh (and a single object too) meaning everything would have to be connected, even if using booleans

Sanctuary and JA12,
Thank you both for your outstanding assistance!

As you advised Sanctuary the Normals were indeed inverted and it was delightfully simple to fix, thank you again for your help I have a new thing to watch out for along with the dreaded Ngons. Combining your answer with JA12’s answer I have a very good idea about the separate parts approach.

JA12 I have wanted to model in pieces for the longest time, but for some reason I had in my head everything had to be connected to one huge mesh. I have managed to separate my model into sections.
This model I hope to eventually export into CryEngine, I have no 3D printing intentions for the future.

I did want to ask how to include the modeling sheets into the .blend?
I do have a couple views set up with the background image, but I am not sure these are saved by blender. (Ortho / front / top / right)
I’ve included my modeling sheet below to give an idea of where I hope to end up.

My thanks again to you both it is very helpful having experienced modelers like you both donate their time.
Boe.

tractor.blend (544 KB)


1 - you can pack the images into the blend , for the background images, press N and for each different images you have click on this button to pack it :
http://i.imgur.com/oVBvJps.jpg

this way if the image is deleted from your harddrive, it’s still in the blend

usually you can pack every images a blend is using by going to File -> External Data -> Pack All into blend
But i’m unsure it works with background images and i’ve not tested, so you have both method.

2 - in the case of Background images, to have them displayed for each further load of a blend, you need to have “Load UI” enabled when loading your blend
http://i.imgur.com/dL4DsVL.jpg

By default it is enabled, but as “Load UI” load the UI that is saved automatically with each blend, sometime you don’t want that (often when loading a blend from someone else, as his interface may look very different from yours) and you may have disabled the option (you can disable it in File -> User Preferences -> Files panel and disable it there) , but for background image that are saved in a blend, you need Load UI enabled to have them displayed in further load of that blend.

Thank you again Sanctuary and I’m sorry I did not think before I posted, this is most likely something I could have found easily if I put forth some effort. I do try to avoid posting for help before I have at least tried to figure out the answer, this time I just didn’t think.

Many thanks again and if you get a moment I’ve attached my most current version, any suggestions or thoughts please feel free.

Thank you,

Boe

tractor.blend (859 KB)