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Week 43 - Oct 25th - Tutorial - Making a KC-390 Part 2




Yet another late one and still not a Tornado. I'm sorry (hangs head in shame) but the unwrapping is proving to be rather unpleasant and I've been prevaricating about getting it finished so I'm writing some tuts instead. And I'm running later than planned thanks to four bags of gravel, 2 of sharp sand and "Housemaid's knee" (It actually really hurts!). So here I am the last minute again, re-writing (again) a tut I wrote earlier int he week because my Laptop is now on its way to Southampton in the back of my former office monkey's car.

So making a Lifter in O2... well setting it up anyway. Today I'm going cover the basics of setting up to make a model in O2. These days you are probably more likely to make a model in pretty much any other tool, Max, Maya, Blender, Modo. But at some point you are probably going to end up in O2 and some basic knowledge is going to help. Let me be perfectly clear this is not going to be a complete start to finish tutorial for O2. While it is a pretty simple program it does have its dark murky secrets and I'm not sure I have the time to cover everything.

So I'm going to assume you know a bit about CAD/3D modeling but are new to O2 so If I loose you at any point feel free to post a question and I'll try to improve the tutorial. There are a few other things you'll need but I recommend a case of Beer, Stella Artois for preference and a large pack of Jaffa Cakes. Chocolate Hobknobs in a pinch if the jaffa cakes aren't available. Pizza is also acceptable but not anything with anchovies. YURRRGHHHH, evil horrible things.

Back to business, O2 is what is sometimes called a vertex modelling tool. It differs from "polygonal" modeling tools like 3D Studio Max, Maya etc in the way you create objects and faces. In O2 you create faces by placing vertices or points and "joining the dots". Where as in polygonal tools you place a a face or primitive (box, cylinder etc) and sculpt from there. For some it a small distinction but the work flow is different. If you have been formerly taught a poly driven tool then it might come as a shock.

Step 1 - Reference Images.
For the KC-390 I went surfing for pretty much any picture or document I could find. I tend to raid the news sites, Flickr, Youtube and the Manufacturer's website for any and all pictures and info i can. Mostly looking for any high-res 3 view drawing I can. Once you've found something good. You want to ensure that each view is all in the right proportions. I use Photoshop but GIMP or similar should work just as well.


Create a new 2048 x 2048 RGB image. I use 300 dpi since it mipmaps nicely but you can use whatever you want. So we need to make sure the reference image maintains scale and proportion. With most 3 views you will find that they are all the same scale. The trick is keep them that way. I've developed a simple method for doing this.

  1. Find the largest dimension, in this case the wingspan and copy and paste the reference image into the new one.
  2. Scale the image so that the wing tips are at the edges of the image and center it.
  3. Duplicate that layer, and move the image around until you get another view in the window.
  4. Change the transparency so you can see the image below it and line them up on the center line
  5. Duplicate the layer again and repeat the process for your third view.
  6. Change the transparency back to 0 and save each image indiviually as 32bit .TGA files

You should end up with 3 images:

  1. Frontview.tga
  2. Sideview.tga
  3. Planview.tga

Now we've got the reference images we need to get them into O2. Its surprisingly simple.

On your P: drive create a folder for your project. Lets call it MYPROJECT. Now I like to keep things tidy and easy to find so I'm going to create another folder called REFS inside the first folder.




Drop the reference images we created earlier into your REFS folder. So you should now have 3 images like this:

  • P:\MYPROJECT\REFS\Frontview.tga
  • P:\MYPROJECT\REFS\Sideview.tga
  • P:\MYPROJECT\REFS\Planview.tga

Step 2 - Your first breath of O2. (Too cheesy? Meh)
I'm going to assume you've installed O2 and have buldozer etc. There are plenty of tuts on the forums and Biki for that some I'll let someone else take the load. So once you open it up you'll probably see something like this:


Probably a single view, we need a 4 window view to do this next part so if you already have it, good for you. If not, goto your Window Menu and Click the "Four Views" option. And you should get this:

Little tip #1: You can change the size of these windows by dragging the "window frames".
Little tip #2: You make a window active by clicking in it. BUT be aware that you make accidentally move geometry if you use the Left (Select) Mouse button. So use either middle or Right buttons instead.

    • A quiet word from the Author.


  • Before we go any further, lets clear up some of my preferred language. Vertex = Point = Vert = "thatfeckinglittledotthatimtryingtoselect". Some people get all pedantic about the language used, I dont. I've been making 3D models and working in CAD related areas for 24/25 years now (since I was 15/16) and its always been called a "vert" for short. Don't like it? Tough titty my friends thats what we're calling it in here.

Through out these tuts I use the "pin" and "center on pin" a lot so I'm going to explain this a little bit first. It is important and you will use it a lot. Sooo, look carefully in the last screenshot. In the center you will see a darker + sign. A cross if you like. This is the pin. You can move it and make things rotate around it etc. And when it comes to placing primitives and verts It also has two modes:

  1. The plain + sign is ... well lets call it 'inactive'. You can still pan around the origin (0,0,0) in this mode but when you place a vert/point it will appear where you mouse cursor is. If you have anything in the model window and you press the C Key it will center the pin at the average point between all the vertices.
  2. "Active" - which is signified by the + overlaid by a circle. This is the most useful mode and is turned on by using Shift+C Keys (Also activated from the "EDIT Menu > USE PIN" option). With this mode active, the pin can be centered on any single vert or selection. But will also cause the camera to rotate around that selection.

So if you want to try it, you can create some verts by using your INSERT Key or by going to the "CREATE Menu > POINT".

Anyway... back to setting up references.
If you have created any point or faces, delete them or start a new model.

We're going to create a single plane at the origin 0,0,0. In O2 1unit = 1m in the real world. Well that is the convention anyway, one established from OFP times. but various people over the years have said its not quite true but lets just stick with community convention right now.

Make the FRONT window active by RIGHT CLICKING in it. You'll see a black line appear around the window. This show the active view port. Since we're going to be switching between view ports this is important to watch out for. Next goto the CREATE Menu > PLANE. A dialog box should appear. You are asked for:

  • Size X - Size along the X axis in metres.
  • Segments X - Number of pieces the face should be split into along the X axis
  • Size Y - Size along the Y axis in metres.
  • Segments Y - Number of pieces the face should be split into along the Y axis

For the KC-390 my largest dimension is 35.05m so I'm going to put that in the Size box for both X and Y axis. We only need 1 face, so leave 1 in the segments box for each axis. You should end up with something like this:


The next stage is to add and map the reference image to this face. We're going to start with the Front image.

  • ANOTHER NOTE:I use something called a Namespace for all RKSL projects, its a bit complicated if you are new to all of this so unless you are into island creation or a full mod making it probably wont be necessary. But it is considered "good practice". So you might see an extra folder in the path in some images eg: IAP\IAP-KC390\REF\filename.tga. Don't worry about this for now and just follow the instructions.


So in the FRONT viewport we want to load an image that we can 'background map' onto the face we just created. To do this:

    1. 1. Select the plane/face we just created. It will highlight as red.


    1. 2. Press "A" or (SURFACES menu > Set Background Texture)


    1. 3. In the FRONT view port, LEFT CLICK, hold it and drag a box roughly square over the plane/face we just created. Release the mouse button. You should now have a black edged box with four small black grip boxes at each corner.


  1. 4. Now RIGHT CLICK to bring up the context menu. Then CLICK "LOAD IMAGE" and find your Front Image: P:\MYPROJECT\REFS\Frontview.tga and CLICK OK


    • 5. The image will appear in the view port. (See Image 6) Dont worry if its not the right size or the right proportions. We'll fix that in a second.


  • 6. Now on the top menu and goto SURFACES > "Fit Bgr to Selection" (See Image 7) This will fix the aspect ratio and stretch it to fit our 35.05 square plane.


  • 7. Now we have an image, its the right size. But its not actually mapped onto the face. So we have to stick it on. PRESS B (or Top menu > SURFACES > BACKGROUND MAPPING). This has now applied the texture to that face.

Now we have to create 2 more faces for the Side and Top/Plan views. We could just repeat the whole process, steps 1 to 7 again for each face but that takes time. There is a quicker way ;)

    • 8. With the face still selected, copy it to the clipboard (CTRL+C or EDIT > COPY)


    • 9. Paste it straight back in. (CTRL+V or EDIT > PASTE)


    • 10. Now we have two faces ontop of each other. So we have to switch viewports now. So RIGHT CLICK in the "TOP" viewport and check its active. Look for the thick black edge around the viewport.


    • 11. The face you pasted in should still be active, so got the top menu again. Click POINTS > TRANSFORM 2D > ROTATE from the menu.


    • 12. You'll get a little dialog box appear. Type "90" into the box. This will rotate the face through 90 degrees and it will now become our SIDE view.


    • 13. Go back to the FRONT Viewport and make that active again.


    • 14. With the 2nd face still active, copy it to the clipboard (CTRL+C or EDIT > COPY).


    • 15. And again paste it straight back in. (CTRL+V or EDIT > PASTE)


    • 16. Again the face you pasted in should still be active, so got the top menu again. Click POINTS > TRANSFORM 2D > ROTATE from the menu.


  • 17. Your little dialog box appears again. Type "90" into the box. This will rotate the face through 90 degrees and it will now become our TOP/PLAN view.


You'll end up with something looking like the pic above. Three faces all mapped with the same image. Well we dont want that so we need to change the image mapped to each face.

    • 18. Make the PERSPECTIVE viewport active.


    • 19. Make sure the "SELECT OBJECT" tool is active - this will select any geometry connected to the vertex you select. Its just an easy way of grabbing bits you need.


  • 20. With the mouse select the TOP/PLAN face in the PERSPECTIVE viewport. It will turn red.


    • 21. PRESS the "E Key" (Top Menu > FACES > FACE PROPERTIES) and the Face Properties dialog box will appear.


    • 22. In the TEXTURES & MATERIALS section, at the end of the TEXTURE box is a little folder icon. Click it.


    • 23. Browse to the texture you want, the top/plan view in this case. Then when its highlighted click OK. You will return to the Face Properties dialog. Check your file path in the TEXTURE box and then Click OK.


  • 24. Repeat the same procedure for the SIDE view's face.


Eventually you will end up with 3 faces and 3 unique textures. One per face. SAVE THE FILE NOW!!!! :o

If you turn on the DX Render and the Face culling etc on for the active view port you get a view like this:


Finally...close down O2. Open it again and load your refs P3D file. You'll notice that the images are no where to be seen. DON'T PANIC! If you have followed the tut properly restoring the background images is very very easy.

Select the face you want. start with the Front Face. Goto the Menu > FACES > BACKGROUND FROM FACE


Repeat for each viewport and there you have your reference images.


Next we need to create a new LoD and start modeling...but not today. Maybe next week :mrgreen:

I'm not going to go much further today. I'm tired and its late, my leg is killing me and i ate the last jaffa cake about 2 hours ago so I'm going call it quits soon but just to round off this part of the tut let me explain why setting up the reference images this way is a good thing.

First of all. You can leave this reference object in the background of your model all the time and reload the images at will. O2 is not the most up to date tool out there. The Viewports don't automatically refresh or scale on the fly. So every once in a while its better to reload your background image to ensure you are working to the right scale and proportion.

Secondly, it means you only ever have to set up your images once. If you hadn't mapped these images to a face next time you come back into O2 you would have to set them up all over again. It saves you time but it also ensure that your references consistently stay at the same scale and proportion over the duration of development.

Two pretty good reasons to do it this way i think.

Anyway, I hope this helps some of you. As The tut proceeds/grows/evolves etc I'll get more into the nitty gritty of making models. I am going to skim over the laborious bits of making faces and creating complex shapes and bits but I hope to give you a good foot hold into O2 where you can jump off from to either more advanced packages or more advanced projects.

OK thats if for today. I'm off to cry in a corner this has taken about 6 hours to write and I ate about a week's supply of Jaffa cakes. I feel slightly sick... :oops:

Have Fun



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