New Directions in Model Making...
For those that know my work in the developer field, usually I make my fuselages with Splines, creating cross sections all lined up to make 'half' of the fuselage in wire that is unjoined. I then apply Cross Section and then Surface to the joined Splines to get the half of the fuselage.
Well, in a project I was doing the past 2 days, the Splines turned into a nightmare and was turning into a LOT of work. I had been seeing quite a few tutorials on YouTube on a new direction in model making, where people make a simple model and then use TurboSmooth to 'smooth it all out' intelligently, letting the computer and program finish the smoothing part. (Usually in the old days, we hand did the model sophistication so that poly counts were low, but these days, our restrictions on poly counts is no longer a barrier, allowing us to make much more elaborate models).
This is an example of such a technique. I created a 'D' shape box and then extruded it outwards to the front and the rear, making a 'half side'. I then adjusted it to the basic shape of the fuselage against a photo of the plane in the background that is on a Polygon panel.
The trick is, you keep the basic level structure as long as possible, and check its shape by applying a 'TurboSmooth' and recheck its shape, over and over until you like it. You can then collapse the stack when the shape is perfect.
Another trick of this type of model making. If you have an edge that needs to be a certain diameter, or a sharp edge, you chamfer that edge, creating one or more duplicate edges. You make the closeness of these edges per how you feel they look when TurboSmooth is active. If the edge isnt sharp enough, go back and bring the second edge closer, then recheck in TS.
With this technique, you are only working on a few Vertices instead of hundreds. 3DS Max manages the end result for you. The only thing though is that just moving a vertex a very very small amount will make a world of difference in the finished TS version model.
I had seen this done with a Mini Cooper in a YouTube tutorial 2 years ago. The model was so horrible, so basic. The wheel arches had perhaps 5 sides on them. But when he make the TurboSmooth level 'active', the model was a brilliant replica wire mesh with such amazing smoothness.
Basic shape that I worked with. Note the incredibly basic complexity. Note the close edges at the base of the front of the perspex and the cowling line and rudder 'edges' where it separates. This is to keep the edge 'sharp' during TurboSmooth states.
This is TurboSmooth view. Note the incredible smoothness.
The wire frame stage of the models exterior is close to done. It will then need paint and mapping, animations, etc.
Some things I did on this also that are interesting. I used 'Hinge' to create the sides of the Elevators. I hanged out the edge of the leading edge shape in Polygon mode, dialed in the amount of edges in the Hinge, then extruded the sides rearward. I then adjusted the teardrop shape via FFD boxes in several stages, then welded up the Vertices.
The main Wings were done from the wingtips inwards. I wanted that perfect rounded edge and was having issues making that. I finally made the wing by making a Spline, visible mesh, dialed in the diameter of the tube, saved as an Editable Poly object. Then I deleted the inner side (facing the fuselage) and extruded that into the fuselage. Next, I deleted the inside area on the outer edge and used Cap to create the flat side. The 'bend' in the wingtip was done with FFD boxes. Very simple, very quick. I was very thankful for the result.
Sometimes we really need to work on ways to simplify our models. If we really work on a direction of how we are going to make something, rather then just diving straight into it, we can find a better approach or tactic to creating the shape and spend less time and energy carrying it out.
That and watch lots of Tutes on YouTube. ;)