Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

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Sharkyzero
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Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Sharkyzero » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:13 am

Hey all, my conundrum is thus; I start my models off with the full intent of keeping them nice and orderly, clean. They end up at the very end as something horribly splinted together just enough that I can take a render shot and that's about it. Lines don't match up, walls uneven, windows nonfunctional. But those I'm showing it to are none the wiser. This is not how I wish to do things specifically because I want a catalog of prior works that I can fall back on later for any and all reasons.

I've got 3 months under my belt (started March 2nd, '13) and I'm looking to add this rendering ability to my repertoire and it's been a grind. Are there any workflow solutions (or anything really) that can help me clean myself up? I hate putting hours of work into something that I can't even go back to because it's so jacked up. I end up having to re-do entire buildings instead of just modifying small things to accommodate requested changes.

Did anybody else go through this when they were uber noobs? I am trying my darnedest to push through the frustration, but seeing some of your work out there is more than humbling, it's somewhat crushing. -_-
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Voytech
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Voytech » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:41 am

I feel your pain. My first models were a mess. Any time an update was required, I had to start almost from scratch.

One thing that is a must is utilizing Groups and Components and naming them properly. I know it can get tedious but it really helps when the project grows.

On another note, I find that sketchup gets pretty shaky when large amount of detail is added. That's why I save multiple versions of the file anytime I add another level of detail. That way I always have something to fall back on in case of a corrupt file.

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Bosseye
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Bosseye » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:40 pm

With Sketchup its really, really easy to muck up a chunk of the model without even realising it. Its only an hour down the line that you zoom out and notice something has gone horribly askew. I've found that with Sketchup once you get in a pickle its really a chore to get it back to a sensible model again.

Particularly with Sketchup, you have to make sure you're not grabbing geometry behind the geometry you want to select, so make use of the crossing windows to select correctly, ie dragging a selection box from top left to bottom right only selects entire objects within the window, dragging from top right to bottom left selects everything that falls within that selection - and here's the crucial bit, even if that geometry is miles in the background. This is important for when you're moving geometry around - I made this mistake a few times, selecting my foreground detail and moving it slightly to the position I wanted without realising I'd grabbed a line in the back of the model which promptly skewed everything around the foreground and I didn't notice until I zoomed out of the detail I was working on and found I'd wrecked everything else. A useful tip is to hit 'K' which shows up all the background geometry so you can make sure you're not grabbing anything behind.

When doing general modelling, make use of the axis lock function to ensure you're lines are always straight meaning less mucking about with wonky geometry. The arrow keys lock to X, Y & Z axis. If you have angled geometry thats not on the default axis, you can right click the angle face and select 'align axis' which makes life a damn site easier and reduces the chances of geometry errors as you draw. The arrow keys still work with this.

Also as Voytech says, use groups/components, they can save you hours of mucking about and heartache, especially when it comes to changing textures or repeating details down the line.

And again, as Voytech says, save multiple versions of your file as you go so you can always return to a back up version if things go awry later on. Sketchup does get a bit flaky when you have large detailed models.

Particularly if you're adding in models and textures from the Warehouse, its easy to introduce errors and bloat models considerably. Always have a blank sketchup window open and bring your models in to that, then strip out the stuff you don't need before you copy it into your actual working file. Just helps to keep a lid on contaminating textures.

With regard to bloating of models, there is a 'purge' tool in the menu which will clear out stuff you're not using, especially textures. If you go to WINDOW----> MODEL INFO ----> STATISTICS and then click the 'purge unused' button you can clear things out a little. The only thing you need to be aware of with this is it purges some required textures for some Indigo materials, the stainless steel one for an example, so you'd need to re-import this texture if you're used it anywhere after a purge operation.

When creating textures make sure they're sensibly named. Maybe give them a prefix (for example all my textures are the format 'ACD-walltile, ACD-floortile etc) so all your textures group together, makes them easier to locate in the Indigo material editor.

Its all practice at the end of the day, but I understand how peoples renders on here can be so good its almost disheartening to see when you're starting out and not getting the results - I've been using Indigo for a couple of years now and I'm not even close to the level some people can achieve with it, but I've reached a level that suits me and my clients so thats good enough. So don't worry about it, use the awesome images here as inspiration and then post your work up for crits and comments and you'll find your way :)

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Sharkyzero
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Sharkyzero » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:02 am

You guys are great. Thank you for the strategies you've put forth. Hearing about other people's struggles helps me feel a great deal less inept. I just need to be more diligent all the way around. It appears one of my main issues is that I need to take bites out of a model more and not treat it as a gigantic entity all its own. There is nothing worse than getting into a zone, thinking you've been a rock star for 3-4 hours then realize you've muffed up at around minute 12 and have to do it all over again.

I look forward to presenting my stuff to you guys for critical dis-assembly. I would say out of all the forums I've discovered thus far, this one has helped the most. You folks (from what I've seen so far) know how to pick apart models and lighting without destroying the artist who created it. It's comforting to see.
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Voytech
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Voytech » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:48 am

I like to think that the person providing the critique learns something as well, not to mention the overall benefit to the community. And the Indigo community is a really positive and enabling one.

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CTZn
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by CTZn » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:57 am

I want to second sharkyzero's avatar on your 101th post, Voytech.
obsolete asset

JK
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by JK » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:06 am

One thing I would like to add - it's probably the thing that everyone in sketchup learns at some point - always try to have as many line heading STRAIGHT from one to point to another without any obstacles(like making some "help points"). For example when you have a line that was "cut" many times to do the "help geometry" that you won't use anymore, just erase every part of it and draw it again. Straight from point to point. It may sound stupid but it gave me a headake when I was modelling in sketchup for the first time(especially with "little details" - you catch one point that is 0.001 mm from another and then u cant close up the plane correctly).

The other thing - always remember, when you prepare an object to render specially for indigo save it as a separate file(skp). Create your own library. It benefits at some point. You can spend hours on making a chair, texturing it(which is a pain in the ass in Sketchup, even with great plugins that for example Whaat produces) for one particural scene, then when you're making another you just try to open a detailed scene which usually takes some time to load and rotate. Which leads to another "sketchup help solution" -> when you get a very detailed geometry, which is already textured etc., use it as an external mesh. That doesn't refer only to trees and bushes - sofas, detailed chairs etc. also included. Poly count is a bitch in sketchup. Create a representation object that has lower poly count or just has a similar repesentation that will let you feel the space.

I know these are really for beginners. Hope this helps. Ah btw, knowing something more than the basics of 2d geomtry really helps(I believe this is "descriptive geometry" - sorry english is not my native language so I just used an internet dictionary, if it makes any help you can try to translate "geometria wykreślna" from polish ;) ), espcially when you're contructing roofs.

Cheers,

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Bosseye
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Bosseye » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:24 pm

JK wrote: It may sound stupid but it gave me a headake when I was modelling in sketchup for the first time(especially with "little details" - you catch one point that is 0.001 mm from another and then u cant close up the plane correctly).
+1

Ha! Its so easy to do that in Sketchup, just accidentally shuffle a line an tiiiiiny amount and then you can't close the plane and then you find yourself subdividing diagonally in increments trying to find the error and close things off. The less lines you have dividing stuff up, the more sketchup seems to like it! This is why making sure you're locking lines to the axis is important I find.

And whilst we're on the subject of terrible models, I made one a year or so ago of a big retail park with lots of angled land and sloping roads everywhere - and I thought I was being terribly clever doing it all with a TIN and smooving landscape features about and so on, the putting my buildings in etc, until the client changed their mind once, twice, 3 times, 10 times and I had to keep moving buildings and changing the landscape to accommodate retaining walls and so on and it just became the biggest nightmare and I cursed myself for not keeping it simple at the start.

Voytech
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Voytech » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:51 pm

CTZn wrote:I want to second sharkyzero's avatar on your 101th post, Voytech.
:D
JK wrote: The other thing - always remember, when you prepare an object to render specially for indigo save it as a separate file(skp). Create your own library. It benefits at some point. You can spend hours on making a chair, texturing it(which is a pain in the ass in Sketchup, even with great plugins that for example Whaat produces) for one particural scene, then when you're making another you just try to open a detailed scene which usually takes some time to load and rotate. Which leads to another "sketchup help solution" -> when you get a very detailed geometry, which is already textured etc., use it as an external mesh. That doesn't refer only to trees and bushes - sofas, detailed chairs etc. also included. Poly count is a bitch in sketchup. Create a representation object that has lower poly count or just has a similar repesentation that will let you feel the space.
Great point! I need to start doing this more.
JK wrote: I know these are really for beginners. Hope this helps. Ah btw, knowing something more than the basics of 2d geomtry really helps(I believe this is "descriptive geometry" - sorry english is not my native language so I just used an internet dictionary, if it makes any help you can try to translate "geometria wykreślna" from polish ;) ), espcially when you're contructing roofs.
It is descriptive geometry, although I honestly never seen it in any school's curriculum save for maybe hardcore architectural studies. I would take that class in a heartbeat.

Also, nice to see a fellow Pole here :)

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Pibuz
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Re: Models start off clean...then devolve. I can't stop it!

Post by Pibuz » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:06 am

Yes, we usually take Aeuclidean Geometry classes at high school: descriptive geometry is REALLY a mess (I followed a class during University), but indeed really useful while modeling with sketchup!

+1 to what all my fellow sketchuppers here have already told you. Me myself am adding this: don't know if it's a 100% correct technique but for architectural purposes I tend to model everything on layer 0, and basically one huge complete model with no architectural sub-parts grouped or anything (no grouped walls, no grouped slabs..). This mainly because I usually model brick and plaster architecture. Total different approach you should follow when modeling metallic or wooden structures..

You should ALWAYS consider what you're building up (it's what in my lessons I call "critical modeling"), to guarantee yourself the future possibility to make arrangements easier, but also to better understand the criteria which constitute the architectural will. Try using components only for absolutely identical parts (ei metallic beams and pillars), but also consider that some objects instead have same geometry but different texturing (wooden beams, for example), so you may want to start modeling the basic geometry and after the early stages of the modeling part you may want to split the components into unique objects to allow a different mapping (a row of perfectly identical textured beams lead to a dreadful rendering effect....).

Use layers to let you rapidly hide objects in scenes: typical case is when you want to try the lighting of a scene using the monochrome feature. Glasses aren't excluded (ATM) so they'd block the light coming from outside: just make a "glass panes" layer, but the glasses on that and save the scene. Layers can be also very useful to simply manage all the "added objects" (furniture and stuff), always to make the scene navigation more fluid. One useful thing to know when working with dummies and layers is that if you use dummies to substitute in-scene more complex geometry, to have a more light model to navigate you can HIDE the complex geometry, but you can't put that in a hidden layer because it won't be exported and you'd loose the link with your lighter dummy.

Last thing would be: add extreme detailing ONLY WHERE NEEDED! There's no need to have rounded or beveled edges everywhere, also because you never know if you'll have to modify again and again that specific geometry! So, when everything is OK and well-defined, THEN you add some more small details.

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