## A simple building in GMAXI recommend the gmax Bible as the best GMAX resource available. Click here to purchase from Amazon.
These tutorials are made possible through your support of 'Real New Zealand' scenery available from the Godzone Store.
Ultimately, we will be making this building: There is no particular reason why I chose this building, except that I have already modeled it for an existing scenery, and I had the texture handy. It is very simple, but has some interesting modelling features. It is also quite distinctive, which means that you will be encouraged to make your own textures, rather than use mine:)
For each of these three methods we need to create a box.
We'll start with a box 5.2 metres long by 3.3 metres wide by 2.1 metres high. 'Long' and 'high' are non-technical terms here:) In GMAX these are called Length, Width & Height. Length and Width can represent any side of our building -- for practical purposes I normally like the Width to represent the front of the building, and the Length to represent the depth. These terms are somewhat fluid, so don't get too hung up on which is which. The secret is to pick whatever works for you and stick with it. Why these dimensions? Well, that's the size of the real building. Determining the actual size of the building you are working on can be tricky -- normally we don't start from accurate plans, but from photographs. How you determine the size is up to you -- you may measure the object when you photograph it, or use the Measure tool in Google Earth, or some other method. The idea is to get the dimensions accurate from the start.
I tend to use the Panels for much of my work with GMAX. For those who have yet to get acquainted with GMAX, Panels are normally located in the right-hand part of the screen. If you don't know what a Panel is, then it's time to press 'F1' within GMAX. So, using whichever method you are comfortable with, create a box of 5.2 x 3.3 x 2.1 metres. Now we want to divide it into two width segments. Use the Modify Panel for this, as shown here: Now we have a box with two segments, but to manipulate these segments we need to convert the box into something which we can play with. In this case we want to convert it to an Editable Poly. Right-click on the box, and choose Convert to... Editable Poly. Now it doesn't remember that it started life as a box, so we can't access the box parameters again. Therefore it is important to plan ahead, and make sure our box has the right number of segments before we convert -- this'll make life easier down the track.
(If you don't see the Transform Gizmo, it may be turned off. Pressing 'x' on the keyboard will toggle the gismo display.) Now, again using the Modify Panel, we can select 'Vertex', select the two top centre vertices, and drag them up to make a peaked roof. We could instead choose 'Edge' and drag the single edge upwards -- see, plenty of choices of how to do things.
One drawback with this method is that it does introduce smoothing problems -- GMAX will apply smoothing if you do this. To fix this, choose 'Polygon', select all the polygons, scroll down the the Smoothing Groups box and press 'Clear All'. So here we have a simple building with a peaked roof. As I said, this is simply one way to make this shape. Here's method number two. We are going to start with the same box (hey, it is a different colour though!), but instead of using two Width segments, we'll start with two Height segments. This time, we are going to change the Height to 3.2. This is because in the previous building, the original height represented the height of the eaves -- the pitched roof was raised up further. In this case, the height needs to represent the total height of the building, including the pitched roof. Now we'll convert to Editable Poly again. Now we want to select the Top Right two vertices, and Collapse them.
Then do the same with the Top Left two vertices.
Using this method we won't need to remove the smoothing. However note that the side of the building is different this time -- rather than two symetrical sides, it has a rectangular face and a triangular face. One more method, for luck. We'll start with a simple box again, this time with just one width and height segment. Now, though, we use our original height of 2.1. Convert it to an Editable Poly. Now we want to choose a 'Polygon'. We select the top polygon, and click on 'Extrude'. Now we can drag the poly up to extrude it, or type a value into the Extrusion box. We want to extrude it 1.2 metres.
Now we can collapse the vertices as before, to end up with the same shape. So why have I shown three different methods here if one would do the trick? Well, each method introduces another technique which gives you another useful modelling tool. You can move vertices, edges, or polygons to change geometry, you can start with a multi-segmented box and move elements around to make a complex building, and we can extrude polygons to add geometry. Starting with a good set of vertices, moving them around, extruding polys to add geometry, and collapsing vertices are all good basic techniques which we can combine into very complex buildings. Here's a building which is almost exclusively made up of these techniques: Much of it started life as a single box. |