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Thread: 3D Modeling

  1. #1
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    Default 3D Modeling

    Hi all, just wondering, how did those that create content for Trainz learn how to 3D model? Did you go to school for it or did you learn on your own?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    All on my own with help from tutorials and other content creators, namely Willem2 (Bill), and a few others. Thanks guys!

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    Quote Originally Posted by josefdoc View Post
    Hi all, just wondering, how did those that create content for Trainz learn how to 3D model? Did you go to school for it or did you learn on your own?

    Thanks!
    I learned on my own, starting with Bill Budge's 3D Graphics System on the Apple ][ before 1985 (all shapes had to be defined by a total of 255 vertices and lines between them, no faces... think of "Battle Zone"). Get good software (Blender is fine, and free), set yourself a simple task to begin with, and learn how to accomplish it. Be patient, but improve your game a little with each project.

  4. #4
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    After half an hour's tuition from my son, already a user of TACS/GMax, then trial and error. Still a lot to learn after twelve years!

    Ray
    Dukes Denver Designs (Ray Whiley - Textures and 3d Virtual Models for TRAINZ).
    Member of Trainz Carriage and Wagon Works

  5. #5
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    Less than 2 months ago I had never reskinned a model, trial and error, Paint.net and PEV's tools and I became competent at it.

    I had used paint.net in the past for designing web logos and templates, but stopped doing that when adaptive templates became the norm, I could not get my head around the coding!.

    So wishing to progress, I started to learn blender yesterday, daunting at first but after using a video tutorial on my second monitor and pausing/rewinding I grasped the basics of it.

    Not saying I will be able to produce high tech loco models, but a building or two would make me happy.
    Member of TCWW and Trainz DE.

    Currently bringing the DHR into TRS19 one tree at a time!

  6. #6
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    I started dabbling with 3d modeling more than a decade ago, trying to follow some very old train artisan (defunct MSTS group) tutorials. Much later I tried following some of Phil_C's gmax tutorials on the (also now defunct) World Of Trainz website. There was a lot of trial and error and a lot of input from friends who actually knew what they were trying to accomplish in the software. I think most of the tutorials on both websites are likely still available through use of the wayback machine.

    This space reserved for F units.

  7. #7
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    I started with gmax and a very simple tutorial for dummies by Jytte Christrup . Later I changed to 3DS Max which was relatively painless because it is the big brother of gmax and has so much in common with it. I would however concede that if you are starting out now, Blender would be the way to go.
    T:ANE SP4 (105946), TRS19 SP3 (111951), Max 2009/2012, PhotoShop CS3
    Win10, i7 5820K, 3.3GHz, 32GB ram, GTX 980Ti, 2x512GB SSDs

  8. #8
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    Basically used the tutorials and asked questions in the forum. These days the tutorials are much better and Blender isn't quite so limited as some of the earlier software we used.

    Note we only use about 5% of Blender so trainz specific tutorials are better.

    The wikbook is useful

    https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Trainz#Asset_Creation

    If you find a better tutorial or a mistake you can edit the wikibook directly.

    Cheerio John

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by josefdoc View Post
    Hi all, just wondering, how did those that create content for Trainz learn how to 3D model? Did you go to school for it or did you learn on your own?

    Thanks!
    First off, I had taken mechanical drafting in my freshman year of college so I had a good basis of how to make a three dimensional model. Plus, I had been doing many piping design isometric drawings at work which require thinking and representing all three dimensions on a flat piece of paper. The main problem I had transitioning to computer aided drafting was figuring out the name the program used for a particular action I wanted to perform. Learning how to use the function correctly usually wasn't all that difficult.

    Therefore, before I got into making 3D models for Trainz, I had been using CAD software (both at work and at home) to one extent or another for decades (all self taught). gmax isn't all that different from my CAD program; it's mainly some terminology and the coordination system presentation which are different. I started with the gmax tutorials and then Phil_C's tutorials and through a whole bunch of trial and lots of error I managed to get a simple box into TS09. (What? You have to have "autocreate 1" in the config file?) After I that, it was all uphill !

    I found and bought the gmax Bible online and it's been a great help. I've used the book to figure out how to do something that I knew was possible but didn't know how the program termed the procedure (the same song, different verse). Knowing the jargon of the program (just like I had to learn the jargon of the company where I had my engineering career) is a nesessity and probably the hardest thing to learn.

    I still use my CAD program to make some parts of models as I find it easier (for me at least) to manipulate some elements in the CAD program. I've learned how to correctly import the models into gmax (reduce the point weld distance) and other tricks. Going from one program to the other is rather interesting and can result in some odd mistakes when trying to use one program's mouse commands or a hotkey in the other one (both programs are open at the same time).

    The forums have also be very useful especially when I manage to put in the correct search words. I've found the solutions to some major frustrations (inverted normals for one) on the forums and there always seems to be someone with a helpful suggestion or two.

    The funny thing is that I know I've spent way more time during the last couple of years on a program I got for free (gmax) than on any program (or game) I've purchased. Intersting that.

    All the above is the long way of saying that I'm self taught but with a basis formed in college and work and a whole lot of help. And I'm still learning.

    Take care,
    Don Bennett Evanston, WY USA Windows 10 T:ANE Deluxe 94829 TRS2019 100240

  10. #10
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    I learned using 3ds R4 DOS and later used Max 1.0. I was lucky I worked with one of the foremost 3d-modelers and 3ds trainers, Michele Bousquet who wrote books and did training seminars and still does today. She taught me a lot on the fly while she was consulting with the company I worked for at the time. This was back in the mid-1990s.

    My patience for 3d modeling isn't there anymore so I prefer to enjoy the hard labor of others who make the awesome content.
    Last edited by JCitron; September 30th, 2018 at 01:26 PM. Reason: typo
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  11. #11
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    Like the PC world in general, those of us who start long ago had a much simpler target so it was relatively easy. Many really smart people posted tutorials and so it was not too difficult to get the basics.

    Being a real life civil engineer, I knew how the objects were supposed to look and behave so it was only a matter of replicating that in the 3D model, along with a few cheats like anti-gravity that allows a multi-ton beam to be supported by the flimsiest of supports and not have the whole thing collapse. The whole texturing process was also much simpler. with some exceptions, it didn't really look that great either but back them we were happy to just have something show in Trainz.

    Now everything has to be more than photo-realistic with the minimum of polys. 3D modeling has grownup and you have to bring a lot more skills to the table to make a credible object.


    70337:
    TRS19 Platinum, build 110491 SP2, Win10 Pro 64 bit, i7-7700 3.6GHz 16 GB, GTX 1070 Ti

  12. #12

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    I started using Train Sim Modeller for MSTS then later switched to 3D Canvas. Self taught as in following tutorials and reading the manual. Was never really much good at it, mainly used for creating signs and very simple objects.
    Building In TRS19, Driving Trucks In Snowrunner

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by martinvk View Post
    Like the PC world in general, those of us who start long ago had a much simpler target so it was relatively easy. Many really smart people posted tutorials and so it was not too difficult to get the basics.

    Being a real life civil engineer, I knew how the objects were supposed to look and behave so it was only a matter of replicating that in the 3D model, along with a few cheats like anti-gravity that allows a multi-ton beam to be supported by the flimsiest of supports and not have the whole thing collapse. The whole texturing process was also much simpler. with some exceptions, it didn't really look that great either but back them we were happy to just have something show in Trainz.

    Now everything has to be more than photo-realistic with the minimum of polys. 3D modeling has grownup and you have to bring a lot more skills to the table to make a credible object.
    Yup simple bump maps and texture mapping went a long way back then. My first big projects were some mill buildings in which I put some machines. I was so excited that the light source (sun) cast shadows through the my skylights I put on my building models.

    I later did some printed circuit boards and went as far as to scan the IC chips I wanted the labels from, along modeling other components such as cylindrical capacitors, tantalum capacitors, resistors, LEDs, chokes, potentiometers, and other parts. I also carefully modeled the leads and circuit traces on the boards, and the solder joints in the back as well My circuits were used in a training video on PLCs and CNC controllers and both front and back were used.

    In the old days the biggest drawback of modeling was the render time even to test a model or scene. Back then we didn't have on the fly rendering so a test image could take 30 or 40 minutes, or more just to give us a preview. I suppose if I had the gumption to do it I probably could, but my level of concentration on projects like that isn't there anymore.
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 109641

  14. #14
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    I started with Paul Hobbs' original Blender V2.49 tutorial on building a loco literally from the first vertex. Paul subsequently updated the tutorial to Blender 2.56 after the interface changed. Unfortunately, the tutorial stopped at the material creation stage which is where it starts to become difficult.

    Nearly all my tutorial examples in the TrainzWiKi are cubes. A cube is the easiest mesh to make and it is a great object for demonstrating Trainz materials.
    Last edited by pcas1986; September 30th, 2018 at 05:12 PM. Reason: missing word

    Paul


  15. #15
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    Had some very limited experience in various other 3d programs such as anim8or, Train Sim Modeler, and Gmax. Learned Blender with some of the fine tutorials out there and by studying various models in PEV mesh viewer.

    Guess you could say I'm learning by watching you. And you and you, too.

    So.....Thanks!
    Toujours Prêt!

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