Modeling, Texturing And Rigging A Republic P47 - Part 2: Modeling

deemarie · January 30, 2006 6:12 am

Over the next few weeks, guest columnist Anders Lejczak [bazze] shares his Cinema 4D expertise with the Renderosity community. Anders combines his passion for airplanes and his talent as a CG Modeler to bring you this outstanding tutorial series: Modeling, Texturing and Rigging a Republic P47. This week, Part 2: Modeling!
In this section of the tutorial, I will explain my work process while modeling the P47. I'm writing this primarily with C4D users in mind, but users of other 3D apps should be able to follow the work process. If you are a Wings3D user then you can simulate the hypernurbs with a mesh subdivision trick (select the polygon edges and set them to "soft", then subdivide). You can download the reference setup file (.cd4 & fixed drawings) if you wish to tag along!
Created a reference setup using drawings from Sky Corner. This is an important step that involves some 2D work. It's very important that everything is aligned and in the same scale. I've painted the red lines to make sure that that all planes and cross sections are correctly aligned.
Now we need to start with a suitable shape. The 10-sided cylinder fits this purpose. Its always easy to add polygons if more are needed removing them is much harder. Question: Is the length of the 10-sided cylinder the same as the fuselage length? It's hard to tell from the screen grab. Answer: Yes roughly there is no need to make it exactly the same length because we will adjust the point on both ends along the way.
I've sliced the cylinder vertically a couple of times and extruded the polys where the cockpit should be. Then I have moved polys by hand to create the shape you see in this picture. I'm constantly switching between top view, side view, and free view to make sure that my mesh has the same shape as the drawings. The cross sections are really helpful in this step. Question: I was curious why you chose not to use Loft Nurbs and create the frame splines for it. Answer Wings3D, where I come from, don't have nurbs, so I'm accustomed to working with boxes. This is probably not the most efficient way, but creating splines along the cross sections and profiles takes longer time than shaping the mesh from a box or simple cylinder (in this case anyway). I tried lofting but found out that I have less control over the polys in that way. This probably has to do with my limited skills in that area. I've made the reference setup file downloadable from the top of this page. So if anybody would like to show alternate solutions and approaches I would be more than happy to hear from you!
Question I was wondering at this early stage why you have the whole fuselage instead of a mirrored half? Answer I didn't mirror it since I get "holes" (caused by the hypernurbs object) as you can see in this picture. The shape is still simple and still easy to work with without mirroring it. I however select points on both sides when I'm shaping the mesh to make sure that it is symmetrical. Solution to get rid of the "holes. Select all polys -> Optimize. [Thanks to "theglenster" for the tip!]
In this step I have made a new cut just in front of the tail and extruded the tail fin. I've also put the cage into hypernurbs.
As you can see in this picture I have already begun thinking of where I will cut out moving parts later on. I have therefore aligned the polys around the cockpit and also made a vertical cut near the rudder. Question The point view screen grab appears to have 15 vertical knife cuts. Is this correct? Answer I haven't counted. You can make as many or as few cuts as you like. The important thing is that you have enough cuts to create the intended shape and that your lines/polygons "follow" the shape of the airplanes body. Here I have intruded the part around the engine and propeller. I will come back to this later to adjust this part of the airplane. The holes shape and depth aren't correct and the edges will probably need some adjustments too.
Now let's start with the wings. I started with a box (3 Y-segments) that I flattened, sliced, and roughly shaped as the wing.
Question Are the wings extruded from the body or created from unattached boxes as the tutorial seems to indicate? Answer The wing (it's only one but I have put it into a symmetry object) is created from an unattached box. I have however extruded the wings when I created some of my previous models (the Spitfire, the Dornier and the J29 jet). I don't know which method is the better. It's easier to get a clean cut/transition between the wing and the fuselage when extruding, but I found it harder to shape the wing. When creating the wing from an unattached box it's easier to shape it but you will probably need to work some more with the area where the wing is attached to the fuselage. I rotated the wing (along the red axis) so that the correct angle is towards the fuselage, and then I started moving points to create the shape you see in this picture. I've also sliced in once along the blue axis. Remember that the wing is thickest nearest the fuselage and gets thinner towards the wing tip. It's also very thin along the edge on the backside.
Now throw to wing into hypernurbs, and then into a symmetry object. It's starting to look like something but it still needs some tweaking to get the shape right. "Freeze" your hypernurbs (make editable mesh) when you're satisfied with the fuselages shape.
Question When you "freeze" the HN to get the polygon geometry, what's your Render sub-division value? Answer The sub division value is set to 2. If I notice that the poly count is too low somewhere then I fix it by adding a cut before I freeze the mesh.
I used exactly the same approach when creating the tail wings. As you can see I have also finished the cockpit it's pretty simple actually. I will explain how in the next step.
Select and copy these polys_ twice_. The 1st copy will be the glass and the 2nd copy will be the cockpit cage. Slice them along the diagonal line in this picture and delete the polys to the right. Apply a glass material and to the glass object and scale it down a tad. Use the knife tool again to slice the cockpit cage object so that you can delete the polys where the "windows" should be. Question I'm having difficulty in copying the canopy polygons. I select the polygons, go to the structure manager and insure that I'm in the polygon mode. Then I hit the edit tab and select "copy." I hit the edit tab again, but clicked on "paste" this time. Now I have twice the original number of polygons but the copy is still attached to the fuselage. Any idea what I'm doing wrong? I tried copying and pasting in the point mode and am able to move the group points around freely. I can't do it with polygons though. How did you do it? Answer There are my steps:
  • Selected the canopy polygons
  • Copied the enitire object (new we have 2 objects)
  • Deleted the canopy polys from the _original_ object
  • Inverted the ploy selection on the _new object_ (now everything except the conopy is selected on the new object)
  • Deleted the selected polys on the new object and renamed the new object to "canopy"
  • Changed to point select mode and ran "optimize" on both objects (this deletes all unused points)
Here you see the glass object and the cockpit cage object. I used the "Make thicker" plugin to make the cockpit cage a bit thicker. Now you can delete the corresponding polygons from the airplanes body. Don't forget to optimize (function -> optimize) your meshes or you will end up with thousands of unused points. If you wish you can add thickness to the glass parts too. Tips from Becco_UK "Adding thickness to the glass will provide a realistic refraction and also reflections probably more relevant for large or close-up renders. Glass never comes in infinite thinness! However, if this is destined for Poser it's worth keeping in mind that Poser 4 is very poor when it comes to seeing through transparency objects with thickness Poser 5 and 6 do a great job with glass."

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Message2546580.jpgWe would like to thank guest columnist Anders Lejczak [bazze] for this outstanding tutorial series. Anders has been a member of Renderosity for over 6 years. As a Cinema 4D artist his Renderosity Art Gallery combines his passion for airplanes and his talent as a CG Modeler. Jan 30, 2006

Article Comments

dmpljr ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 02 February 2006

Totally excellent!! Couldn't be clearer.

lovelylady ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 03 February 2006

Your Models are BRILLIANT, Anders, I've got the Spitfire and it is Fantastic!!. Your tutorials are very easy to understand, and also precise!! For anyone remotely interested in this type of modeling...your tutorials are a MUST!! Looking forward to some new planes from you....and MANY THANKS, Anders!!!..:o)))

tantarus ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 03 February 2006

Excellent part 2 of the tut. :)

cryodragon ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 03 February 2006

Nice Work!! I am still trying to figure out how to install the 3 view drawing into the modelling programe. In am trying to due a XB-70a Valkyrie, I use 3DSmax primaraly. Hey how about a bubble canopy for your P-47? a update from a razerback to a P-47D?

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