03 June, 2005

FAQ

There are a lot of nice people on the net, but a lot of not-so-nice one's as well. I believe that I'm becoming not-so-nice. I've dealt with the following questions in many forms and levels and I'm really tired of re-keying the same answer over and over again (lazy, isn't it). Instead of asking me and waiting for me to respond directly, it's very likely the answer (or some semblance of an answer) is available below. Despite this, I'm certain that a great many someones will simply rephrase the questions below and ask again anyway.


1) ARE YOU MAKING THESE FOR A GAME (like Quake,Doom, Homeworld, etc)
Straight out.... No. Nothing I've made will be game material. Nowadays systems are capable of using poly ridden models like the one's I've managed to squeeze out but that's not really what I was planning. This is just a hobby and that's probably all it will ever be.

2) WILL YOU RELEASE YOUR FINISHED MODELS TO THE PUBLIC?
Definitely not. I have no plans to realease any data pertaining to the project. This includes releasing object (.obj) or scene (.lws) files for any reason ("to get a better look at your ... modeling skills", "to use","to animate with", "papercraft", etc). Truth be told, I've seen my share of people stealing credit since first getting on the net and it's pretty weird. Instead of letting anything I've made get out of my personal control by releasing it into public domain, I would rather just keep it to myself to maintain control. This includes scene files, model files (.lwo) and any transformation/iterations/exported items or information relating to those meshes/scenes for any reason. My mind may change in the future if/when the animations are complete or I'm bored to tears of making them, but for now, this answer remains solid. Then again, it's not as if this sort of project is "revolutionary" or "incredible" in any way. There are probably places online where models similar to these may be downloaded.

3) Have you ever thought about making ( name that machine ) mobile suit?
There are hundreds of mobile suits, mobile armor, ships etc that comprise the gundam metaseries. Chances of getting them all are pretty much zero for me. That said, if it's from a Gundam Anime series, manga or photo-novel, I've probably thought about it. If it's some relatively obscure unofficial manga or doujinshi, probably not and more than likely wont.


4) You should make a Transformers/Armored Core/Eureeka 7/Evangelion/Super Robot Wars/Metal Gear...etc/ Mech! That would be COOL!
Interesting that people suggest this even though none of these are part of the "Gundam Development Project". This basically means that I "should not" make them.

5) HOW DO YOU DO MAKE THEM?

Out of every question or email sent to me about building these things, this seems to be the overlying question. Often enough others like, "how do you make 'such-and-such' body part", and ,"I'm stuck on 'X' thing". These all end up relating to the same question, so I'll just stick to this. I don't often have much time to hang out in front of my desk and dump this information out and now is no different so I'll just try to give a brief explanation.

First off, I don't consider myself a great modeler, not in the least. I'm a relatively bad observer meaning that I don't notice things right away. The one thing that I have to say would be the best in helping to model a mobile suit (or probably anything in 3D) is to have a plastic/smaller/whatever version in front of you so you can see it. Obviously this isn't necessary for many people, but it is for me. Trying to decipher proper dimensions from some image that I saw on the internet at a strange angle isn't exactly my forte. Some people are quite good at it (maybe you too), but I'm not. To that end, virtually every 3D model I've made has had a plastic counterpart that I've at least seen or taken pictures of. I'm not saying that "you" have to go get a plastic model to do any of this, however ascertaining whether or not this is the best strategy for you based on your current situation is a good start. If you need a model/toy/physical reference but don't want to pay goo-gobs for a brand new one, options like online auction houses for cheapies are a nice alternative to expensive references that you may never use or build on your own. Do this at your own risk. A good alternative is to search online for photo-novels or hit mechascientific for ninjascience's flickr account -- full of usable images for getting that last bit of detail.

Second, in lieu of the above you may want/need to find some blueprints of whatever it is you want to model -- most people seem to want to do this. Gundam "blueprints"(diagrams) [usually] come from Master Grade 1/100 and Perfect Grade 1/60 plastic model kits. They're a treasure trove of information on the relative scale of each (major) part of the mobile suit, although some kits have better prints than others. Alternatively, some (Japanese) hobby magazines may also publish info and possibly cg prints of the mobile suit in question. For example, the February 2006 edition of Dengeki Hobby Magazine has a an insert pamphlet with details on various versions of the Hazel Gundam... this includes orthographic views of the High Grade kit which may be very helpful. Other sites tend to include secondary information on products so that customers can see what's in the box. Places like dalong.net and 1999 have scans of some of the diagrams from the instruction manuals that I mentioned earlier. This definitely helps if you don't want to purchase the plastic models/toys or don't have a scanner (wish I had one myself).

6) REFERENCES... WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THEM?
...The sites above, on the right side bar, or from actual magazines (Hobby Japan, Dengeki Hobby, Gundam Weapons). They can be had from pretty much any magazine shop in Japan, but I'll have to guess that Amazon carries them for international readers.


7) WHAT "METHOD" DO YOU USE TO MODEL?
Whatever works for the given situation (for any given body part). If there was a singular magical "method" I'd probably knock these out pretty quickly -- so would everyone. But sticking to any single "method" (I don't much like that word) pretty much guarantees that I'm just pissing away time since not every body part is the same shape or build. That said, splines (cages ), poly by poly, box modeling, use of nurbs, beziers, point by point, etc... any are fair game to get the job done, it just depends on what's being built.

8) WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU USE?
Lightwave 3D (8.3 -> 8.5). This answer is available on every page of the blog and still I get this question.

9) WHY DON'T YOU USE ("insert name of 3D software here"). IT'S BETTER!
...It's probably expensive too (and not necessarily "better" for what I want). For something that I consider a hobby, Lightwave is sufficient.

10) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ("insert name of 3D software here") / SHOULD I GET THIS SOFTWARE?
It's up to you. Concerning Lightwave, the biggest reason I'm using Lightwave is because of its low price-point. Since this is just a hobby, I was ill able to justify the cost of purchasing MAX or Maya at the time I purchased Lightwave and I was unaware of C4D, Rhino etc. I ended up giving trial versions of Max etc a shot but stuck with Lightwave because it was what I was used to. That said -- I'm quite sure that it doesn't matter what software you use as long as you are proficient in it. There appear to be some differences in operation and work paradigm, but in general reasonably similar results should be obtainable from just about any (popular) software. If you're still stumped, download some trial versions from the respective distributor's website before you throw down any of your hard earned loot on programs you might not even like/enjoy/stick with. To answer the question in real terms though -- I enjoyed working with MODO, LIGHTWAVE.

11) CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS (CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY MESH)
That's tough: If it doesn't look enough like your target then it's not finished. Really that's all there is to say about that. If you're working with a plastic model as a reference, take more pictures of it to use in modeling. It all comes down to you though. If you think it's done, it's done. If not, then it's not. If you're modeling for someone else, ask them. If they think it's done, ...it's done. Modeling can be seen as an art, where "completeness" is in the eye of the beholder. What someone else thinks about your mesh may not reflect on your personal goal.

Am I writing this so that I don't have to comment on someone else's work?

... yes.

A lot of artists think that giving comments on their work reflects on them personally and become offended by them. Some artists don't think this. But then again I really don't know if you're the former or the latter, so I'll try to dodge the question as much as possible. Next, considering my reply is in text, it's difficult to tell if I'm being a nice guy or a dick -- so even if you ask me to be brutal, I'll just keep from answering at all and let you (or your friends) be the judge of your product.



12) I'D LIKE TO HELP/ JOIN YOUR TEAM...etc
For right now, this is a one person obsession team. This is unlikely to change.



sandrum


Labels:

Back to TOP