Monday, October 15, 2012

3DC to Railworks - Locomotive: Detailing Part 3

3DC to Railworks - Locomotive: Detailing Part 3
by Jerry "SMMDigital" Conaway

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181. A tilted cylinder and three simple cube shapes are used to simulate the handbrake chain-guide.

182. Because we are on a poly budget, I did not make the sanding pipes and applicators when we made the bogies, but we can go ahead with that now. I start out with a cube (cylinders for pipes are to expensive) and elongated it to the length of the truck. We are going to use the background Template as a guide but probably not be able to get an exact match for it.

183. We will place the pipe into position and run the Piper plug-in on it. Remember that the larger the Bend Radius and Unit Length numbers, the larger the pipe sections will be. The numbers shown in the photograph will make a curving arc downward away from the pipe.

184. At the bottom we will make an applicator nozzle. It's a simple cube that has had the edges pushed and pulled ("2", mouse-select edge, pull/push) and Chamfered to the desired shape. The nozzle is then placed on the applicator pipe on the other end of the truck. After you finish this sand pipe assembly, Duplicate it to the other side of the bogie and to the bogie on the other end of the unit. You will need to Group these together with the Bogie that they belong to.

185. Throw a few elongated cylinders under the frame to simulate the usual maze of pipes and wiring that runs under the deck.

186. There are many more features that we could add to this locomotive, but we are low on polys. As a matter of fact, we are over budget. This model will not show up in the Asset Editor when it comes time to export the Locomotive Blueprint. But, we won't concern ourselves with this right now, as there is more than one way to skin the cat when the time comes for it.

187. One more feature to add to this locomotive that is optional per the builder are auto numbers. This will enable the locomotive to choose from a pre-defined set of road numbers when placed in the simulator.

NOTE: If this were a simply a unit that were going to use four numbers in it's auto numbering, we would be using just four planes and the "primarynumbers_4" grouping. However, we may want to use a two or three digit number as well, so we will put all of the planes in to accommodate this.

Make your first auto-number by pulling a cube out onto the scene. Select the cube, then right click on the "Duplicate" button in the right Edit Toolbar. From the "Duplicate Options" box, put 1 into the Y-Position field. Close the box, select the front face of the cube, and click on the "Duplicate" button. This will make a flat plane in the air above your cube. Delete the cube.

188. Place the plane against the side of the cab, about 1/2" (.05) out from the surface.

189. Now we need to run the Duplicate option and make 3 more planes next to the first one.

190. Two at a time, select a plane, then hold down CTRL and select another plane, then click on the "Shape Union" button in the right edit toolbar. Do this until all four planes are one one shape. Name the group that this shape is contained in "primarydigits_4" and the shape itself "face4".

191. Next, select and Duplicate one of the faces of the number. Use that face to create a shape with THREE planes, just as we just created the last one with four. After you create it, center it "over" the four-place shape.

192. After this shape is joined together, you should name it's group "primarydigits_3" and the shape "face3".

193. Use the same procedure we just described to produce the 3 digits to produce the 2 digits...

194. ...and 1 digit placeholders.

195. Your finished number groups will look like this, and your Groups in the Scene Hierarchy should look like what is shown in the lower right corner of the picture.

196. Duplicate the numbers you just created to the other side of the locomotive and flip them 180 degrees. If you choose the whole group of placeholders, they will copy under one group, and that will make things easier later when it's time to consolidate shapes.

197. Using the same procedure, make the place holders for your front and rear number boards.

198. The way these placeholders are consolidate is very important. ALL "face4" should be joined together under one "primarydigits_4" grouping. The way you do this is select one "face4", then hold down CTRL and select another "face4", then choose "Shape Union" from the right Edit Toolbar. You keep doing this until there is only one part named "face4". You do this with the other faces as well.

199. Now place a box in the scene. Give it a position of X-0, Y-12, Z-0, and name it's group "primarynumbers".

200. We just needed this box to group all of our placeholders together. Put all of the placeholder groups in the group with the box, then delete the box. This group of placeholders will stay outside of the other groups to itself.

201. Now we need to finish up our Grouping. To get our lights and numberboards to light up, we are going to need to separate them into specially named Groups. These groups will be called upon by the locomotive script when you flip the light switch in the cab. For the forward headlights and numberboards, we need to select the "Lit" shapes we made earlier and put them all in one group. That group needs to be named "lights_fwdhead" (revised 2012.0620).

202. The same for our rear boards and lights will be "lights_revhead" (revised 2012.0620).

203. Our ditch lights, front and back, will be Grouped under the names "lights_fwdtail" and "lights_revtail" (revised 2012.0620).

204. Our final groupings involve our cab driver and conductor windows, which will be movable, and our windshield wipers. You can have each part as a separately grouped item, as you can include multiple groups in each animation.

And with a bit more grouping, for all intents and purposes, we are finished with detailing the exterior of our locomotive. Before we move on though, we should do a little tidying up. First, go through your hierarchy and make sure that no two Groups are named the same. If they are, the model will not export. Second, select the entire model by clicking somewhere in space around the model and then dragging a blue box around it. From the Plug-Ins menu, select "Create Unique Shape Names". This will give each part in the model a unique name (unless you would like to go and rename each one yourself). And last, select the entire locomotive again and run the "Normalize Groups" plug-in on it. This will make sure that all of our axis are pointed in the right direction.

Next, we can move on to making the Cabview.

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Published with permission from Jerry Conaway, 2012

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