|Hello and welcome to this remake of my "Getting Started in Zmodeler" tutorial. As it has been a number of years since the old tutorial was written, it is apparent to me that it is incredibly out of date and flawed in a number of places, which is beginning to haunt me in the amount of time I now spend teaching people on MSN. As a result, I have decided to completely re-write the tutorial, as in the long run it should save me more work. So without further adieu, let's begin.|
|What tools do I need? Part one|
|Good question. A number of modellers prefer different tools, however for this tutorial we will be using tools I tend to use (trust me, they're all user-friendly if I understand how they work) and that they are all free...or at least, easily obtained without much hassle for free. Lets look at what different types of tool you will be needing for the moment. When you get round to putting your model in game, I will do a Part Two to this, as throwing too many tools at you lot at the beginning may get confusing.|
3D Modelling application
These types of application are essential to this project as without them you cannot make a 3D model. There are a number of tools on the market for this job, ranging in ability and of course, price. Popular ones around here are 3DSMax, which is incredibly expensive but is seen as the market leader, and Zanoza Modeler which although limited in comparison to 3DSMax, is free to use. As a result, I will be using Zanoza Modeler v1.07b.
NOTE: I am not using Zanoza Modeler 2 for this tutorial until the latter stages (getting the model in game). This is because Zmod 1 is a lot more user friendly, plus it is what I am happiest using. A lot of people agree that is also handles certain aspects of modelling better than Zmod 2, such as mapping textures, but we will get onto that later.
Zanoza Modeler 1 can be downloaded here. Check out the Zmodeler website here.
2D Graphical Package
Probably the second most important application behind your 3D modelling package, is your 2D graphical package, such as Adobe Photoshop, JASC Paintshop Pro, and Corel Xara X to name a few. They are used for a number of roles from setting up your blueprints to making/editing your textures. Photoshop is the market leader in this field, and just so happens I have a copy of it. Trials for all programs listed can be found on the internet, and student versions are quite cheap to acquire.
A trial version of Adobe Photoshop CS3 can be found here. Although I am using Photoshop 7, it is similar enough for the parts I am showing.
Right, now that you have a way to make polygons and a way to make textures, you're effectively set! Lets jump in and make something!
|Things to consider|
|Wrong. One thing I've learnt, not just for modelling, but for most things in life, is a little think I like to sum up in the 7 "P"s. These are:|
What I am trying to say is, don't go "OMG let's make a Ferrari 599 now!". No, what you need to do first is to plan a subject you want to model. Firstly, and the most important thing, especially when you are new to modelling, is to look for good blueprints. A number of good places to look for blueprints are as follows:
http://www.the-blueprints.com <-- An excellent site full of lots of great blueprints. I actively support this place when I can by leaving prints I find around the net for submission.
http://www.suurland.com/ <-- Nice site with some prints you won't find on others. Usually pay it a visit when on the look for prints.
http://www.smcars.net/ <-- Requires membership but boy is it worth it. A large number of members frequent this place and are determined to make sure this site has a lot of blueprints you won't find anywhere else. An excellent site. If this place doesn't have it, not many other places will.
http://www.google.com/ <-- It does sound silly, but it is possible to find prints you might not have been able to find anywhere else. Don't just try Google images either, you can sometimes stumble across some great sites with an excellent blueprint feautred on it, usually alongside some excellent photos that you can use for reference.
With these sites you can't really go much better. If you can't find what you're looking for then really unless you're adamant to model it and start looking up documentation and ringing up the manufacturers of the car, I'd just give in. There are a number of cars I'd personally like to model but I feel there's too little information on them to try. Still, the more practice you have, the more you can work with bad blueprints, and eventually scrap them completely and just use reference pictures, but trust me that's a long way off. I for one have been modelling 4 1/2 years now.
Right, what you are looking for when you are a beginner, are decent, high-res, large blueprints that ideally have 4-views (Front, Top, Left and Back) of a car that is generally very box-like in conscruction. Whilst this means you're now looking at your Volvos and old cars instead of your Ferraris and Lamborghinis..not quite so glamourous, but I'd rather a nice looking Volvo in my game than a shoddily done Koenigsegg.
For this tutorial I have an alterior motive to just producing a car. I plan to produce a car for the Myriad Islands Total Conversion Modification which you can find out more about here. This means I ideally need a 4-door car that is a knock-off of a real car. As a result my car won't exactly look like the one in the blueprints, but it will indeed be very close.
As a result, I have chosen this model, a Nissan Laurel C33 1990. Looks like this:
Was about the best I could find to fit all criteria, plus it's something a little different. When you're choosing a project, you can either choose this print, or if you fancy something a little different, just look on the sites for good prints of a boxy car, making sure you do a little googling of reference images beforehand to check if you can find plenty of images of the model so you can check how yours looks.
|Cutting up your blueprints|
|Now, just having an image of the 4 views isn't what we need to start off with. The way Zmodeler handles images is that they must be square, and of binary dimensions, for example|
And so on and so forth. As a result, your cut up blueprints must be of these sizes too. Now, to avoid scaling issues and deforming blueprints and so forth, the easiest way to prepare blueprints is to crop the view that you want, then place it in the centre of a square of the size you need. Let me show you what I mean.
First, load up Photoshop or whatever program you are using. Check the size of the print you're using. This happens to be 659x333, so for the moment I'll just open up a canvas of size 1024x1024 to cover it. Now, I'll use the selection tool to choose one of the faces, like so:
Now I'll copy it with Ctrl+C, and go to File>New again and make a new canvas, this one of size 512x512. Now I'll hit Ctrl+V to paste it into the middle of the document. This will now look like so:
Now I'll go to File>Save, and save the image as either a bitmap (.bmp) or a targa (.tga) as Zmodeler recognises these image types and thus will display them.
Now that I have the front view saved at 512x512 but without being scaled at all, it's time to repeat the process for the left, top and rear views. Just go back to the 1st canvas, select and copy another image, and paste this onto another canvas that fits the size of the image...repeat for another image etc etc.
NOTE: When exporting the top image, make sure that the front of the car is at the bottom of the image, and the rear of the car is at the top, like so:
You can do this by going Image>Rotate Canvas, then rotating it how much you need in order for the image to be completely vertical and orientated correctly.
Once all done, you're set to fire up Zmodeler and import them!
A zipped file of all my cropped images is available below, in case you just want to get on with modelling/have any issues.
Right, now that all that's out the way, lets get on with the Zmod side of things!
Edited by GTAuron, 22 March 2007 - 01:19 PM.