Adding Detail to Spaceships (Part 2)

Share this


In the previous lesson we looked at the basic techniques for creating details on flat surfaces that are perpendicular to X, Y or Z.

Now we will start to look at how to detail surfaces that are not so conveniently oriented.

1) Previous Step | Next Step

If it's not already loaded, open the object we worked on in the last lesson. In this lesson we will be adding some detail to the rear of the object.

our object so far

We will begin by adding a little detail right on the surface of the object, using existing polygons.

2) Previous Step | Next Step

Switch your view to show Layer 1 and select the main polygon on the rear of the object. Now bevel this polygon with an inset of 4m and no shift.

rear polygon bevelled

Activate the Drag tool by pressing Ctrl+t and drag the points of this polygon along the X-axis by either 2m or -2m, so that they more towards X=0

points dragged
Now apply the following bevels to the polygon:
Bevel Number Shift Inset
1 -0.5m 0.5m
2 -2.0m 0.0m
bevels to be made
Finally, apply the Details Panel surface to the polygon left at the end of the bevels.
new surface applied

This inset polygon will form the base for our details.

Cut this polygon out of Layer 1 and Paste it into Layer 4.

3) Previous Step | Next Step

To make the details for this panel, we will be making extensive use of the Stencil tool, as it would be very tedious to align all of our details to the slope of the panel.

layer 4 in the background

Select Layer 5 and make Layer 4 the background layer, so that we have an empty layer with our Details Panel polygon showing through.

We will begin by creating two boxes in the face / front view.
new boxes
When the boxes are created, look in the side view and ensure that they do not intersect with the background polygon. If they do, move them away in the Z-axis.
check position

Swap the background and foreground layers by pressing the apostrophe key on your keyboard.

layers swapped

Now select the Drill tool (Tools \ Objects \ Drill) by pressing Shift+r and enter the following settings, then press OK.

our object so far

Due to the nature of the Drill tool, you may find that it doesn't work exactly as you want it to. In my case, only one of the stencilled polygons was assigned the Main Details texture, instead of both. This was easy to fix however, by selecting both of the newly stencilled polygons and manually applying the Main Details surface.

back view: stencilled polygons

Make a habit of carefully checking the results of any Drill, Solid Drill or Boolean operation, as nasty errors that need personal attention often creep in.

4) Previous Step | Next Step

I will now add a few more stencilled boxes to the Details Panel polygon using the same techniques descibed above.

back view: new stencilled polygons

For some reason, Modeler 5.6 seems much more reliable when it comes to performing Drill operations, so I exported my polygon in Lightwave 5.0 format from Modeler [6] and performed the drill operations in the older version, then I brought the object back into Modeler [6] and integrated it with my main object.

5) Previous Step | Next Step

Using the same techniques again, I am now going to use the Pen and Disc tools to add some more stencilled polygons.

back view: new stencilled polygons

Once again, I performed these operations using Modeler 5.6 on account of its more reliable Drill tool.

6) Previous Step | Next Step

It is time now to do some bevelling on these stencilled polygons. One great advantage of using the Stencil technique to add detail that is actually attached to the main object is that we can bevel outwards and inwards.

stencilled polygons bevelled in and out

Select each of the stencilled polygons in turn, except for the disc, and bevel them in and out in ways that you think will be good.

A great advantage of the bevel tool is that the bevelled boxes are bevelled in the direction that the main polygon faces, so the details cling nicely to the main polygon.

7) Previous Step | Next Step

Now let's do something with that disc. This time we will not create a bevel that follows the direction of the main polygon, but rather, this bevel will point straight out, down the Z-axis.

Select the stencilled disc polygon and press q to assign the polygon the Main Details Smooth surface.

Now bevel this polygon with a 1.0m shift and a 1.0m inset.

disc bevelled once

Right-click to confirm the last bevel, then simply right-click again to create a new bevel with no shift and no inset.

Finally, press Ctrl+v to set an absolute position for the still-selected polygon, and enter a Z value of -76.5m.

polygon set value

This will have the effect of both moving the polygon out along the Z-axis, and also of cancelling the original slope that the polygon had.

8) Previous Step | Next Step

With the disc polygon still selected, apply the following bevels:

Bevel Number Shift Inset
1 0.0m 0.5m
2 3.5m 0.0m
3 0.5m 0.5m
4 0.0m 0.5m
5 -0.5m 0.5m
6 -25m 0.0m
bevels to be made

This will leave you with an exhaust-style outlet pipe.

outlet pipe

9) Previous Step | Next Step

We can now start to add a little extra detail to the large polygons that we have previously bevelled.

First, create the following small boxes.

new detail polys created

Next, swap your layers and select the following polygons:

new detail polys created

Press + to hide the unselected polygons on this layer, and then Stencil the smaller polygons in the background layer onto the selected polygons in the foreground.

Finally, I bevelled all of the newly stencilled polygons with a shift of 0.5m and no inset, then pressed the \ key to un-hide all the hidden polygons.

stencilled polys bevelled

That just about wraps it up for detailing the rear panel of our object.

10) Previous Step | Next Step

As a last step, Cut away all the polygons in our current layer, and paste them into Layer 1.

Now press m to merge all points (Modeler should report that four points have been elimintated) and we are finished.

rear panel completed

© 2000 Kier Darby and Alternate Perspective 3D Ltd.