OK, first thing is first. Don't attempt to use any of these tutorials without first completing a car using the first tutorials. I can't make that clear enough. These lessons are for someone who has the understanding of what those tutorials offer.
What is offered here is theory on how to use Max to get the most out of what you can with low res polygons. Each of these Tips and Tricks tutorials should correspond to the release of it's predecessor. So you can read just that one, then come back to each of these, and see if what you are doing can be modified.
OK, not much was said about where you can do your research. This can be the simplest of all things, do some searches on the web. Yahoo for a specific car name. Motorcities for various cars. Hell some of the first cars that I did were off of models and Hot Wheels cars. Some, I invented.
My research for this one, is the 2001 Saleen S7 from Motorcities website. It looks very nice, and sleek. Below is a small picture of it. Notice that the image has white space at the top and bottom, This is the first tip. Any Image made for import into Max, Make it square. The original is 550 pixels by 550 pixels. We will get to why in a minute.
Lets change the beginning just a little, and make a box which measures 300x300x300, created in the center of the Left Viewport. This means go to the Creation Tab, Click on Box, then open the Keyboard rollout. Right click on the Left Viewport, if it is not already selected, and Enter in 300 in the height, width and depth fields, then click create.
OK, next we go to the Tools dropdown menu, and select Material Editor. You get a window that looks a little like this, 'cept there is not a red circle on it. That red circle is the button you should click to get to the next window, so click it.
The next window looks a little like the one below. Double Click where it says Bitmap (circled), and it will bring up an open dialog. Here you need to go get the picture of the car and open it.
OK, next we tell max that we want to see it in the Viewport (Press Button 1 from like below). Select the box, and click the second button in the Material editor, that will put the material on the image. Now for all you guys out there, This whole part right here is how you get an image onto an object, not mapped mind you , but there, so I wont repeat this part any more, but I will refer back to it.
Now, in the Left Viewport, you need to make sure of some things. Right click on the Left, in the Left Viewport and you it will bring up a small box. Here you need to select Smooth + Hightlights, that will allow you to see the map in the viewport. Then go back and select Texture Correction.
OK... now I only have one problem, The car is supposed to be facing right, so I have to flip it. I could do that in photoshop, but there is a much easier way. While still in the Left Viewport, if I click the mirror button . It flips the right way.
OK, next, in the Top Viewport, Use the Select and Move Tool . Drag the box right, till it is all past the black center line. You will know when this happens cause the image in the Left Viewport will show a grid in front of the image. You can then get rid of the grid by left clicking on the Left in the Left Viewport and pulling down to Show Grid (which should be checked).
Now we can go about our Merry way and make the lines that are in the original tutorial. Except now, we have a guide to go by to make them. Below is a series of pictures as I make the line which will eventually be the body of the car.
Basic Line Shape: I used the Pictre as a guide to place
Line Verteces in the
original line so that I could see the main curves. Note, only the front
end is started, so I can concentrate on a small area.
Refine, Refine, Refine: Here I started refining the Line to make the front wheel well.
Doing the Back: Started adding a line to the back of the car. Still just a basic shape.
Completed Line: This is basically the completed line.
OK, with the completed line, try to notice some things here. I did the wheels wells, and placed vertices roughly where I wanted more detail. Namely the scoops and vents this are very prevalent in this car. I placed vertices around where I figure the head light cover would be and around where the door would be. Now, all this is future thought, cause If you made a car with the original tutorial, this part will help you pan out where detachables will go. This car will roughly have the doors fenders, front hood, rear hood, rear spoiler, mirrors, and maybe a rear bumper that drops off, so when I make the lines that will be the car, I try to keep that in mind. Also...... another note, I tried to keep the vertices in places where I could make natural squares, this is very important, as the next part will play on that very heavily.
OK, now all this part was really steps 2 and 3, without moving anything out from the center, next that is what we tackle.
3 Editing your First Line
OK, so it really is past editing, because I had to edit the heck out of it to get it into that shape to begin with. Now we concentrate on moving that line out to where the car will actually be. Right Now it is in the center. So you want to edit it, then select all the points and move them out a little ways. Like so:
It really doesn't matter how far you move it, just as long as you do it under the Vertex sub-object. At this point it would be real helpful to have a front, rear or top view of the car we are working on, you could make another box, and align it to the first one, and know exactly how far to move it out, but alas that wasn't part of the images I got off of Motorcities, so we are going to do a trick to see it. First in the Front or Top Viewport, click the Mirror Button , in the window, make sure that you click the Instance button under the Clone Selection section.
Next you want to freeze the new line, so you cant touch it any longer. Make sure you click the sub-object off and go to the Display Tab, to the Freeze Rollout, click Freeze Selected.
Alright, basically what this does, is any changes you make to the sub-objects of the first line you made will repeat themselves in the Instance object. So we will go back to the Perspective Viewport, and make sure it is in Wireframe mode. Select, but don't move the original line, and click the Vertex Subobject button under the Modify Tab. and now, when we move all the points in or out (in the Front or Top Viewports), the other line will move too.... Give it a try, impress your friends. Once you are done with the jubilation, it is time to get back to work. In the Front or Top Viewport, Move the line in or out, until it is close to what shape the car is in the original pictures, If you don't have an original that clearly shows the vehicle's width, estimate. Remember, if you are ever asked to Weld the Coincident Endpoints, say no.
OK, now basically you have the car, and know about how wide it is supposed to be, and don't worry, you will have an option to change the width at just about any point in time, until you make objects which are supposed to match the vertex location of the final mesh.
OK, now basically we are back to the tutorial, Move the points in, or out until they actually form the shape of the car. Here is what the Saleen looks like after this is done, note that the Instance Line is deformed as well.
4 Adding More Lines
Here is the point where I say, Go back to the tutorial and do it that way. Well yes and no, there is a tip here to be had. It is called building a straight body. So you don't get confused later, we are going to lay out the basic frame work for the car, and we are going to think as much in squares as possible. In the Left Viewport, you need to add lines to your initial one, just like the tutorial says, but in this case we are going to think in squares, Below is an added line to the Saleen. Notice the placement of the new vertices. This is so that later I can add a mesh to it, and make it smooth.
I followed the top line in vertex location. Making sure to account for the shape of the door, now it is a simple matter of moving this line out to make the car shape, and continuing and doing the next, then the next after that.
OK, basically I went through steps 5 and 6, over a 30 minute Period and came up with that. I tried to make the lines as smooth as possible, using all the viewports at once to maintain shape. In the end, I made the car a little wide, so I just selected all the points and moved them in. Aside from just the side as was shown on the Bugatti_Veyron, I have placed lines for the edge of the hood and trunk. I hid the box with the original Saleen so I could take that picture.
7 The Making of a Model
Ok... here is the easy adapation of what I did before. First, Clone the model (i.e. Select it, go to the edit dropdown menu, Clone. Who cares what it is named, but it should be a Copy.)
Freeze the copy. (look through Step 1 of this tut). As in the Original Tutorial, Select the Original Line and Convert it to a Editable Mesh. (i.e. in the Modify Tab, click the Edit Stack Modifier and choose Editable Mesh)
OK, now you should have just a bunch of gray lines. No mesh, but you have something selected. Notice that the Instance Line did not convert to a mesh, it is still a line, so you will have to repeat that process, but that is later, for now.....
8 Creating Polygons
OK, basic polygon creation, follow the original tutorial with one exception, use the Polygon's Sub-object instead of the Faces Sub-object. You will have to double click when you end the poly. Only use 4 sided or 3 sided polygons. If you get much more then that you will have a mess. Also, the first 3 points you choose make a triangle, regardless of how you wanted them to be, remember that, so that you know where the faces are. If you built your lines smooth enough, that wont matter in most cases, but always keep a vigilant eye in the perspective window, and rotate the veiwport to see it as good as you can. If you are unsatisfied with the placement of a particular face, redo it.
Below is the completed steps 8 and 9. Step 10 is not truely nessecary using this method, but making a dummy for the wheel can be very helpful, so I do it anyways.
5 Minutes to generate that, it is taking a pretty good shape so far. Some of the areas are left out, those are the ones where I forgot to make a line here or there or was a vent.
And here it is after some tweeking. Door is fixed, Dents are pulled, Junk like that.
Now After the final part of the Tut, not needing the flip copy anymore. This is after about 3 hours of adding the vents. Friends, Think before you start a car as detailed as this one.
And here is the final 320x240 for my Updater Bar. This is after about a half an hour of working with lights, and lens flare.
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