One full days work so far.
Now you might be thinking that this helicopter will be ready in a few days. hahaha nope, sorry. What you can see below is the actual There.com model, no textures, just some lighting added (3050 polygons and the limit is… 3050). It has been tested in world and all looks OK so far 🙂 No feet poking through the bottom and stuff like that. Next up is unwrapping, which is every 3D artists favorite thing to do in all the world, no, nope hahahaa it’s really not and especially when you have to split the unwrap into 10 textures (Due to restrictions). After that I will create a highly detailed model and texture it (Normally when designing for games you would make the high detailed model first, however due to certain restrictions and testing required for There.com, it’s better to start with the low poly final model). Once the high polygon (High detailed) model has been unwrapped and textured I will project all that detail on to the low detail model (The one below). It actually all sounds pretty simple when I put it like that, however during the course of doing all of this I will throw myself out of the window a minimum of 6 times, smash my face against the desk at least 22 times and swear approximately four million, seven hundred and forty two thousand times. If you scroll to the bottom I’ll give you some quick tips on how to start a model like this 🙂 I’m nice like that lol
With any new design your starting point will either make things go pretty smoothly or thrust you into a world of “OMG NOO, please someone make it stop, how did things go soooo wrong?? HELP ME *&ck This S*&^”. True story!
As this model is based on the AH 6 Little Bird, the first thing to do is to collect as much reference material as possible, pictures, video, measurements and blueprints. Make sure you get as much as possible, speaking from experience, there’s nothing worse than finding new and better reference material half way through a design. You’ll realize that you have maybe got a few things wrong or left things out and at the half way point you really don’t want to go back and start re doing sections of your model.
The image below is after just a few minutes of modeling, it has pretty good edge flow and is all quads (Quads – Basically put, all squares with 4 sides no triangles. It’s a little more complex than that, but I’m going to keep this easy to follow for my non design friends).
As you can see from my images above the front of the helicopter is almost a sphere so therefore a sphere seems like a great starting point.. WAIT!! Don’t even think about it! This is exactly what I would have done years ago and it’s going to leave you in a world of hurt. A normal sphere in 3dsmax, Gmax and so on has all of the edges meeting at 2 points, one at the top and one at the bottom. Look again at the image above that I created in a few minutes and then try and picture a normal sphere (see below) at the front of the helicopter… See the issues? Well even if you can’t see the issues, trust me they are there and they will hurt you 🙁 . In order to get around the mess that is a normal sphere in 3d programs we need to use a cube. Yup just a normal box and set it to cube, add a TurboSmooth with 2 Iterations, or 2 TurboSmooths if you’re lazy like me hahaha (Meshsmooth in Gmax), then you can add a Spherify modifier from the modifier drop down. Once you have your all quads nice sphere you can add an FFD modifier to adjust the overall shape (I used an FFD 3x3x3). Once I had the shape of the nose of the helicopter I deleted the rear half of the sphere, selected the open border and just extruded that back a few times adjusting the shape as I went. And that is how I was able to model the whole thing in a day, if I had started it badly, I’d have been chasing my tail trying to put things right for hours. Thus endeth the lesson – Start well, end well, be well, adios, adure and until next time, Enjoy 🙂