Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

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JS1
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Joined: 28 Jun 2013 14:48

Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 08:32

Hi all

Started modelling a GAUI X7 for use with HELI-X and thought to make a build log here to keep you updated on the progress (and for the modellers to give inspiration maybe ;) ).

What it shoud be:
- A progress log showing the current steps that I am working on or just finished.
- A photo story of the modeling without much words to explain.
- Showing the difefrent aspects and stages in modeling a heli, just the way how I approached it.
- Platform for inputs & tips to consider in a next helicopter model.

What is not intended:
- It will not be a detailed tutorial or explaining every step. (but ofc you can ask if you are interested)
- It will not be a best practice example as I still consider myself a beginner in modeling.

Keynotes to consider when modeling for a simulator:
- The more complex the geometry (the more vertices), the bigger the object file will end up. To load and run smoothly, the goal is to keep the vertices count as low as possible. Therefore I do not build models with focus on great accuracy and detail but try to find a good compromise, e.g. by faking details with textures etc.
- Next to economy of vertices is the economy of my own effort and time. I have to balance effort and time I put in with the result of heli you get out of it. Satisfying every wish is not possible. Some small detail that is for me very difficult to do, I may just put aside for more visible and easier features. Unfortunately I am no seasoned expert in modeling and have only limited spare time :? .

Main programs I use:
- Blender 2.6x
- Some very old version of Photoshop
- Inkscape
- Simple Wordpad
- HELI-X obviously :)

Stay tuned, first pictures will be here shortly...

Regards
Jan
Last edited by JS1 on 18 Jul 2013 08:36, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 13:40

1st entry: Preparations

First step for every modeling I make is getting good hi-resolution pictures or blueprints, all as orthogonal (no perspective/widelens distortion) as possible:

- Side views both left & right (exactly 90° shot, not at an angle):
. . . * Canopy only (for modeling and texture) -> see example below.
. . . * Frame fully ready to fly without canopy (for modeling and assembly)
. . . * ideally some blueprints of flat parts like frame plates, fins etc. (for modeling with extrude) - can be found in manual or spares dealers.
- Side view of whole heli with canopy or without
- Front view of canopy
- Top view of canopy and if available whole heli

Thanks Michael for taking excellent pictures at helimasters!

Example of perfect side shot (reduced size):
Image
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 14:45

2nd entry: Modeling the canopy

Usually I start a heli with the canopy. It gives me a better feeling of the overall domensions of the heli and is the most characteristic looking feature of each heli I think.

Image

Modelled canopy shape:
- Note the vertical circle lines, centerline and outlines as basic structure I build up first for modeling.
- The boolean cutting of top and bottom openings is not state of the art modeling but was just convenient. The cut-away objects are still visible here before cut.
- The cleaner way to create holes (but more difficult) is by modeling them with vertices as here for the small holes & air-intakes in the nose of the canopy
Last edited by JS1 on 18 Jul 2013 17:40, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 14:51

3rd entry: UV texture of canopy

Texture file made with photoshop with overlays of mesh from Blender unwrap (by view from sides):
Image

- selected each side in edit mode by selecting one side vertices for first unwrap, then inverting selection (Ctrl-I) for other half.
- Alternatively you can of course also make 2 half-shapes, e.g. by duplicating and mirror first half.

Completed Canopy with texture (yes, this is actually the fully modeled 3D canopy in front of the picture :) ):
Image

So far inner canopy with normals pointing inside is not yet added (to make canopy visible also from inside out). Maybe I just duplicate this and flip normals.
Last edited by JS1 on 18 Jul 2013 20:44, edited 3 times in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 15:02

4th entry: Main frame 1/2

Preparations (made from pictures and drawings from user manual):
Image

- From this I made SVG drawings by following the lines in Inkscape.
- Then I imported into Blender, extruded a bit and added more prominent features very simplified.
- Converted curve objects to mesh (Object menu) to apply UV texture.

Mesh of main frame plates with some parts modeled:
Image
Last edited by JS1 on 19 Jul 2013 13:10, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 18 Jul 2013 17:53

5th entry: Main frame 2/2

- Added UV texture to each frame side
- Assembled the two side frame plates with other plates, parts, pins, servo mounts, shaft brackets etc. as in the manual
- extruded the battery shapes to have the right size

Textured frame sides:
Image
(here the frame sides are different and have side-specific textures and parts added. When having identical flat sides with plain carbon textures, I would only make one side and then duplicate it)

Assembled main frame (withot drive mechanics, servos and motor etc.):
Image
Last edited by JS1 on 19 Jul 2013 18:33, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 19 Jul 2013 10:49

6th entry: Servos and drive

...whoa that went easier than expected 8-) .

- Servos: One with UV texture duplicated 4x
- Motor: simple cylinder shape and UV texture
- Main shaft
- Gears: No real cogs ('teeth'), would need high number of vertices. Faked with UV texture on outside cylinder unwrap ;) .
- some other parts added like canopy holders

Image

-> Faces/Vertices count so far (all objects incl. canopy): 2100/2405 without triangulation. Think that is quite low...
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 20 Jul 2013 00:37

7th entry: Skid

- Quick vertice modeling in edit mode, then mirrored one side to get symmetrical skid

Side:
Image

Front:
Image
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
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Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 20 Jul 2013 00:52

8th entry: Tail structure and fins

For tail structure I have set a new background reference image first, showing the whole heli. Then on to building the parts - mostly cylinders in difefrent sizes and materials:

- Tail tube & servo-shaft to tail rotor: Simple cylinders, righ lenght and thickness was key.
- Brackets: Modified vertices on cylinders around tail tube
- Supporting struts & fixtures: angled cylinders - tricky part is the correct positioning by rotating on 2 axis. For end-pieces I just modified some vertices for where the screws go.
- Tailfin: SVG import extruded, drawing from side photo. Carbon fibre textured.
- Horizontal fin: SVG import extruded, drawing from spare part photo. Carbon fibre textured.

- Tailrotor mount: This was a very tricky part with a complex geometry. Built it from a cylinder, extruding and placing some vertices on a reference cube:
Image

Complete tail structure:
Image
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.

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JS1
Posts: 167
Joined: 28 Jun 2013 14:48

Re: Modeling Log: GAUI X7 for HELI-X

Postby JS1 » 20 Jul 2013 22:41

9th entry: Main body structure completed!

Image

With the main body structure completed and before moving on to the rotors, it is time for a quick review:

- Total Faces/Vertices by now: 2826/3430 - without triangulation. Think that is still pretty good.
- Total time spent: roughly estimated 20h
- Having good photos from Michael is absolutely fantastic and saved me at least 5-10h in search of decent material or to compensate in modeling.
- Maybe a bit too many details on the frame that are then hidden by the canopy. Ah, so what :-). It's good excercise for me and doesn't add much vertices... maybe someone will notice later in Heli-X 8-) .
Last edited by JS1 on 23 Jul 2013 12:11, edited 1 time in total.
Modelling helis for Heli-X! See model build log here.


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