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Author Topic: 3D Model Tutorial  (Read 9115 times)

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AirNav 3D Development

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3D Model Tutorial
« on: March 18, 2010, 09:31:13 PM »
Here's my attempt at writing up a little tutorial for creating a 3D model to use in ANRB3D. If anyone works through this and finds anything that needs to be changed, let me know and I will update this post.

Tutorial for creating a new 3D model for use in ANRB3D:

  • By far, the most difficult step in the entire process is modeling a 3D aircraft. Depending on the level of detail you are trying to achieve, this can take a few hours or even up to several days. There are a number of techniques and software packages to create a 3D model (some include Blender[free], Maya, 3D Studio Max, Lightwave 3D and Google SketchUp[free for non-pro version], GMax and many others).

    There are thousands of tutorials on the web for learning how to model in 3D. I find YouTube a valuable resource for learning, but Google or any search engine will be your friend. Here is a great time-lapse video clip of a good approach to modeling an aircraft (this video uses Maya, but most 3D modeling software works the same): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cF9b522LDAM&feature=related

  • After you get your 3D model generated, you need to create a texture map for it. You will want to have a single texture map for your entire model since ANRB will only load a single .png texture for each model.  There are many ways to generate a texturemap, but the way that I recommend is that you use an ‘unwrap’ feature of your 3D modeling software. This technique ‘flattens’ the texture and makes it easier to modify the texturemap in a third-party photo editing program such as Adobe Photoshop.

    Unwrap video example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_sEQyJvZcw&feature=fvsr

  • After you get your 3D model complete with a texturemap, it’s time to bring it into Google SketchUp (assuming you didn’t already use SketchUp to make your 3D model). In your 3D modeling program, save your model (or export it) as a 3DS file format. Be sure to keep your texturemap image in the same directory as your 3DS model file. Open up Google SketchUp and choose File->Import. Change the file type to 3DS and browse to your 3DS file and click ‘Import’. When you modeled your aircraft, you may or may not have been using correct units. If you did, it should import 1-to-1 so your scale should be ok. If not, you will want to use the ‘tape measure’ tool and measure your aircraft’s length or wingspan to see if they are correct (or close to correct). You want your scale to be 1-to-1 (i.e. a A320-200 should have a length of 123 ft 3 in). If you don’t have the units correct, your aircraft could be way too big or so small you will never see it inside of ANRB3D. You can use the 'scale' tool in SketchUp to resize your entire model if needed.

    It is also important to position your model correctly relative to the origin in Google SketchUp. First, make sure the center of the aircraft is very close to the origin in SketchUp (where the green, red and blue axis cross). Also, the nose of the aircraft should be on the green axis and be pointing to the left (see example.skp to see what it should look like). Also, be sure to delete the helper human figure from the scene. If you forget, the little guy will show up with your model in ANRB3D.

  • From Google Sketchup, after you have scaled and positioned your aircraft correctly, it’s time to export it. ANRB3D uses the .dae file type for 3D models and .PNG for the texturemaps/liveries. First, select your entire aircraft in SketchUp, then click File->Export 3D Model. Be sure the Export type is ‘COLLADA File (*.dae) and click ‘Export’. SketchUp will export the model as <filename>.dae and it will also create a folder named the same as your filename and it will place the next texturemap inside that folder (i.e. texture0.jpg or similar).

    The last step is very important to make this .dae work with ANRB3D. First, open the .dae in a plain text editor (i.e. notepad or wordpad). Search for the markup that looks like this:

    <library_image>
         <image id=’xxx’>
             <init_from>foldername/texturename.JPG</init_from>
         </image>
     </library_image>

    Note ‘foldername’ and ‘texturename.JPG’ will depend on the names you have created and will be different for each person.

    Now, you need to change the ‘foldername’ to be the aircraft model code. For example, if you are making an Airbus A320, this needs to be ‘A320’. If you are making a Boeing 747-800, this would be ‘B748’ and so on. Then, change ‘texturename.JPG’ to be ‘texture.png’ (important – it must be ‘texture.png’ even if your texture was a JPG or BMP or any other format).

    Resulting in (assuming an A320 aircraft type in this example):

    <library_image>
         <image id=’xxx’>
             <init_from>A320/texture.png</init_from>
         </image>
     </library_image>

  • Now, you are ready to modify your texture map. You will need to convert your texture into a .PNG format if it’s not already in PNG format. You can do this in most photo editing software packages. You may also need to make many different copies of your texture depending on how many different liveries you wish to create for this model. Always save them as ‘texture.png’ filename, and keep each different livery (texturemap) in a sub-folder named with airline code as the folder name (i.e. /BAW/texture.png or /AFR/texture.png, etc).

  • Now you are ready to place them into ANRB3D.

    If you are creating a brand new model/livery, then inside of <ANRB Install Directory>/GE_Models/ , create a folder with the name of your aircraft type (i.e. A320 or B748 for example). Put your model (.dae) into this folder (it should have the same file name as the folder -- …/GE_Models/A320/A320.dae for example). Next, in this same folder, place your livery sub-folders (i.e. …/GE_Models/A320/AFR/texture.png).

    If you are overriding an existing model that was provided by ANRB3D, you will need to place your new *.dae and <airline_code>/texture.png files  in the cooresponding location and delete the *.mod and the *.liv files that you are overriding. If you don’t delete these, ANRB3D will use the default model/livery and not your new one, so be sure to delete this files.


Here is a zip file that contains the source files at four different steps during this process for a Boeing 737-400 - http://www.airnavsystems.com/cgi-bin/ANRB_3D/tutorial.zip.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2010, 09:34:26 PM by AirNav 3D Development »

Netcop

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2010, 08:36:50 AM »
Thanks for tutorial, AirNav.

I have one question. If I just want to add new livery for existing model (for example B738), how I may convert  ANRB3D texture.liv file from 738 folder to PNG format for editing? 
Greetings from Russia, Moscow
20.54 nm NWN of UUDD

SW: ANRB v 3.13/ANRB v 4.03 3D, XP SP3
HW: SkyCentre Quad Core PC for 24/7 operation
Antenna: outside SSE 1090SJ mk2
Amp: Wimo AS-1090
Cable: Draka NK Cables RFF 1/2'-50
RadarBox24 station: Netcop

tarbat

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2010, 09:15:00 AM »
Thanks AirNav 3D Development, just what I needed.  Now that I'm back home, I might have a go at creating that EC25 model later next week.

A utility to be able to use the existing .MOD and .LIV files would be helpful though, so we don't have to start from scratch.

Pinza

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2010, 10:13:21 PM »
Wrote an essay of a reply to this earlier - but computer crashed before I could post it!

So will restart and try to be briefer!

Firstly, which received fields does ANRB 3D use to decide which model and livery to display?

Am confused on this issue - assumed flight ID determined livery - but can't be the case as Ryanair planes on British Airways SHTxxxx flights (during current industrial action) are showing correct livery...

On a similar theme, some British Airways planes fly on a BAWxxxx code one day and a SHTxxxx code the next - only ever show in correct livery on BAW flights - how to rectify?

Finally, just had a Swiss EasyJet flight from Birmingham to Geneva overflying my house but showing Ryanair livery on ANRB 3D - any explanation?

Netcop

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2010, 07:33:07 PM »
Airnav, I will be extremely grateful if you  find a time to answer on my prevoius question:

If I just want to add new livery for existing model (for example B738), how I may convert  ANRB3D texture.liv file from 738 folder to PNG format for editing?
Greetings from Russia, Moscow
20.54 nm NWN of UUDD

SW: ANRB v 3.13/ANRB v 4.03 3D, XP SP3
HW: SkyCentre Quad Core PC for 24/7 operation
Antenna: outside SSE 1090SJ mk2
Amp: Wimo AS-1090
Cable: Draka NK Cables RFF 1/2'-50
RadarBox24 station: Netcop

AirNav 3D Development

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2010, 07:54:35 PM »
Here is a blank B738 livery for you to start with.

Netcop

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2010, 05:13:10 PM »
Many thanks, Airnav
Greetings from Russia, Moscow
20.54 nm NWN of UUDD

SW: ANRB v 3.13/ANRB v 4.03 3D, XP SP3
HW: SkyCentre Quad Core PC for 24/7 operation
Antenna: outside SSE 1090SJ mk2
Amp: Wimo AS-1090
Cable: Draka NK Cables RFF 1/2'-50
RadarBox24 station: Netcop

klm

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2010, 03:32:48 AM »
is theree a limit on the polygons you can use, the more detail in youre model the more polygons how heavier the cpu load.
what's a good reference on the polly's.

Ps. a good unwrapping prg is umwrella

Bob SEN

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Re: 3D Model Tutorial
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2011, 09:00:50 PM »
very interesting read, AIRNAV do you have a blank B77W file please & also which program will convert a .png to a .liv file please

cheers

Bob
1/2 a mile South of EGMC/SEN

MY PHOTO'S http://www.flickr.com/photos/96219572@N07/

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