Scott McClellan

Old Dog learning new tricks

I'm in the beginning phases of Blender and going through the Learning Flows. Currently, I'm trying to do the tire/wheel modeling exercise and wondering if I'm being too anal about it. I've got a 'tire' with treads thus far, but to my eye there appears to be bulges where each array begins/ends.

I've essentially taken a torus apart and reconstructed it through arrays, mirror and sub/surf. Everything is good until I go to add loop cuts for treads. Then bulging appears at each array. I've about frustrated my way out of experimenting with anything I can think of. Even made a bunch of mistakes along the way (I guess that's called learning).

So, am I too anal, or is there a way to rid myself of these terrible bulges? On the tire, not my gut!!

Oh, and should I be worried abot what the inside of the tire looks like (because of the treads being extruded to the inside)?

And no "Shade Smooth" in object mode doesn't take the bulges away.

  • Who taught you to model a tire like that ? You already have 141.962 verts. Multiply it by 4 and you don’t even have the car yet. This tire has 7.776 verts.

    Here is the file, maybe you can do some revers-engineering. Tire

  • Yikes!! So much for subtlety. I like that. To answer your first question - ummm, nobody taught me. lol. It's called trial and error(s). I'm guessing it's not necessary to use a sub/surf modifier - just the smooth function in object mode. Back to the drawing board and try again.

    Thanks for the smackdown Dolores. I guess I needed that. Wasn't really paying attention to the Verts. I'll hold off on reverse engineering for now. I'd like to be able to learn this. If I need to cheat (lol), I'll pull up your file.

    I do appreciate the reply. And no I'm not offended. I've too many hash marks in life to get blistered by critique. That's how we learn - well, how I do anyway.

  • Cool :-)

  • crew

    Hey Scott, no worries! You're just starting out so I wouldn't be too concerned, though having a ton of vertices will slow you down. To answer your question, it doesn't matter what the tire looks like inside, so feel free to poke the spokes through. That way you can have a simple torus for the main part of the tire, which will be smooth, and only the treads will have the array. The bulges come from having too many edges too close to each other, which essentially sharpens the shading in those areas. 

  • Holy bejeebers a person can tie up a tom of time tweeking and exploring. Thank you for the heads up Jonathan (not to be confused with Sir Williamson I presume). I did manage to array the entire tire plus treads. And able to keep Dolores happy at 7900 Verts  :-)

    Is it woorth trying to figure out how to add color to this beast? Also, I'm using Cycles rather than Blender render. Much slower as I'm using an underpowered laptop to do this stuff. But hey!! It works.

  • Google is your friend. There is now a rim and color has appeared. Cycles and Nodes are going to hurt my brain, but here it is thus far. The Old Dog might be slow, but I'm catching on.

    Still seems like it takes forever, but from all the tires I've modeled and trashed, I am getting quicker at then. So I guess it's all a matter of repetition.

  • Yip, you’re my kinda guy, pleased to meet you.

    Nice tire, you learn fast man. Looking forward to see the whole car one day.

    Mouse always happy :-)

  • A little late to the game, but I'm glad you're figuring everything out =]  Don't bow down to your age!  You can do anything with some determination.

    When I was first taught modeling (box modeling specifically, where you take a box and turn it into something else), I was taught as soon as you add in an edge loop, you must go around and "round things out" before adding another edge loop.  This will do a couple things: 1. It'll force you to think about the whole form, where it should be rounded and where you should place your sparse edge loops.  Pinching the everloving crap out of your pennies kind of mindset.  2.  It'll stop you from adding too many edge loops too fast and then losing the overall form by getting caught up in the details.  So, start broad, then get narrower in scope with each pass.  Also, don't depend solely on using the subsurf modifier when doing the bulk of your modeling.  It'll lead you astray.  What looks good in smoothed shading can mess up your underlying geometry.  Start with a good foundation first and that should lead you to having a clean smoothed model later.

    I'm also coming at this from a character/game artist mindset, but I still think it's a valuable mindset no matter if you're making game assets (limited face/vert budget) or film assets (much more forgiving on face/vert budget.)

    I'd rather you be anal about something because that'll lead you down the curiosity/learning path, especially since you're learning something new.  You'll build up your skill set, get faster and better at this stuff, and you'll understand what you know you can get away with or not.  You got this.  Keep going!

  • Well.... Finally ahve something to turn into for grading. woot woot. Looking at other ideas, it looks like I could've taken a different route in modeling the tire - involving lattices. I'll try that next. Gotta get comfortable with those too I suppose. Learned by mistake - apply modifiers top down. Had to redo my tire with that mistake (again... called learning)

    Still have to work on lighting.

    Question... now that I'm forced to use Cycles for rendering, is 3-point lighting necessary? or helpful?

    Thank you Dolores and thank you SilentHeart for your words of wisdom. And it doesn't hurt to be late to the party. I appreciate the insight at any time. I always read any comments and try to apply criticsim to what I'm working on.

    Now to try and figure how to submit this. Come here SketchFab. Where are ya boy??

    Why... does the SketchFab render look nothing like the Blender rendered version?? Is there something I'm doing wrong, or is that just the way it is?

  • Sometimes materials can get lost in translation.... I'm still trying to figure out how the hell to get materials from Blender into Sketchfab.  From what I understand, you need to bake out all the different maps, zip it together with the scene file, and then you can apply them within Sketchfab (if you want utmost precision.)  This is one possible route.  Were you using the plug-in or uploading directly from Sketchfab?  Those could have different possible outcomes.  I'm still trying to figure out Sketchfab, too.  Some of the tutorials don't make sense to me, but maybe that's because I haven't found the right tutorial talking about baking things quite yet.

    For 3-point lighting, it's a very flattering type of lighting, esp. for things like portraits or characters.  What happens is you have the key light (main light) casting the bulk of the lighting.  Then the fill light (secondary, weaker light) is to help fill the shadows or make them less intense to see the detail better.  The third light (same strength as the fill) is pointed at the back to create a rim light that helps separate the form from the background.  I believe that's what it does.  A general rule of thumb for intensities is a ratio of 2:1:1 for Key, Fill, and Rim.  You can choose to have 3 point lighting, or you can use something called PBR in Sketchfab to light the object.  I think it's on by default, which is probably why you're seeing different lighting compared to what you see in Blender.  I don't know what PBR stands for, but I think it's an HDR (high dynamic range) type of lighting where it uses a picture's lighting information.  HDRs are better than "normal" pictures because they contain more precise data about the lighting so you get smoother, more realistic lighting.

    I hope this helps =]


  • In Wisconsin PBR stands for Pabst Blue Ribbon - a cheap horrible beer. Thanks for the lighting tips. I'll just keep plugging along at SketchFab like everybody else.

    Baking? I thought they didn't make cookies here. lol. I've got a long ways to go to think about baking methinks. We'll see. Maybe I'll just poke around a bit.

    Thanks again SilentHeart

  • Silentheart summed things up, i'll add that regarding lighting on a scene you'll have to think what you want mood be, what the final render will convey. After that it comes to choose what you need.

    PBR, Physical based rendering, in short having materials that act like their real world counterpart, a path to make realistic looking renders. Using HDR's is also for better reflections, you'd still want to have extra lights in the scene to change the outcome.

    doing great! keep it up! :)

  • Can you post the file Scott, need to have a closer look.

    Mouse is European, CTZ +7 hours :-)


  • Thank you Kaj.


  • If I knew how to imbed the file as you did, I would. Sorry. I'll work on that


  • I have seen one youtube that looked as if it had an 'add-on' for SketchFab. Where does one obtain that? And each time you upgrade Blender, do those add-ons get brought along with? Yikes!! There's alot more going on than meets the eye.

    So much for only learning modeling and then moving on. lol.

  • Oh my?!? When it comes to baking, did I screw myself in applying all my modifiers to the objects - as far as unwrapping UVs is concerned?


    And am I getting ahead of myself? Or should I just be happy learning what I need to "at this time"?

  • Scott, here's a link to a guide for getting your Blender project on Sketchfab: https://help.sketchfab.com/hc/en-us/articles/203057528-Blender

    I don't know if you actually have to bake anything to make it work. I don't think I had to, but it's been a while since I've put anything on Sketchfab. So I can't recall! (Oh wait, the guide said you do need to bake...oops)


  • Thank you Jasmine. I shall give that a read through too. CG Cookie LIED TO ME!!!!

    There is baking involved; although, I guess I ain't cookies.

    Off to learn some more.

  • Sorry for the late reply.  Nothing like Turkey Week, eh?

    Yes, you can get the plugin here: https://sketchfab.com/exporters/blender  I think you do have to reinstall it for each (probably major) update of Blender (like going from 2.7.x to 2.8.x)  Shouldn't be difficult or long to install each time.

    I could go for a cookie right now..... But yes, baking maps is a way for you to save out data about various things (diffuse, specular, ambient occlusion, etc.) in a 2D image so the renderer/game engine doesn't have to take time to render everything over and over again.  It's an optimization process.  It's used a lot in games because you need to balance good frame rate against the computations within the CPU.  You move the camera a lot in games, and it's difficult to do a raw rendering call (or real-time rendering) every frame, which slows down the overall game, especially in 3D games.  Graphics cards in computers are getting better, but it's a whole different ball game on consoles.  Baking maps is just one way to fake visuals and have much lower impact on the overall performance.  But for things like film, they may not necessarily bake maps because they split the rendering process between lots of computers called a render farm.  They'll still look for optimizations, but they want realistic lighting and hair and skin shaders, etc., so I don't think they'll use maps for that.  Again, I'm coming from a game developer standpoint, so I'm not very familiar with the film industry.

    The 3D pipeline is complex.  So many things go into the final product.  But hey, you'll never get bored and with technology constantly changing, you'll learn really neat and awesome things.  There's research all the time.  SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics) has some really interesting research they've done, like programming locomotion for different sized characters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgaEE27nsQw.  Fascinating stuff!  But, one step at a time lol.

    If you need to, you can skip around a little bit on the flows.  I've been scratching my head about creating maps and baking maps that I just left my current flow and jumped to the cross discipline game dev flow because I knew my answer would be in there.  It's like learning calculus and going, "When will I ever need to know how to read a curve?"  Then you learn about animation curves and you're like, "Oooh, this is really useful."  Maybe not the best analogy, but hopefully it'll work.

    Anywho, Happy Thanksgiving!