• Which the release of FS2020 we see an explosition of activity on the forun and of course we are very happy to see this. But having all questions about FS2020 in one forum becomes a bit messy. So therefore we would like to ask you all to use the following guidelines when posting your questions:

    • Tag FS2020 specific questions with the MSFS2020 tag.
    • Questions about making 3D assets can be posted in the 3D asset design forum. Either post them in the subforum of the modelling tool you use or in the general forum if they are general.
    • Questions about aircraft design can be posted in the Aircraft design forum
    • Questions about airport design can be posted in the FS2020 airport design forum. Once airport development tools have been updated for FS2020 you can post tool speciifc questions in the subforums of those tools as well of course.
    • Questions about terrain design can be posted in the FS2020 terrain design forum.
    • Questions about SimConnect can be posted in the SimConnect forum.

    Any other question that is not specific to an aspect of development or tool can be posted in the General chat forum.

    By following these guidelines we make sure that the forums remain easy to read for everybody and also that the right people can find your post to answer it.

FS2004 Sketchup 2020 to FS9 convert using Model ConverterX not working

Hi Gary,
Sorry for the slow reply. I have been busy with work. A good thing these days. I am using FS9 because I could not get FSX accelerator to install. I do have the original discs and all the codes, plus the original FSX deluxe version. It just wouldn't install on my Windows 10 and I worked hard to get FS9 to work. I am willing to try loading FSX if we can get accelerator to work and on max settings, get good frame rates.

As to the Sketchup models, I am inclosing a model I created for the TNCE terminal that has nothing but the rough building. I tried to get some photo textures loaded into Sketchup for it, but even after following (as best I could) Jim's tutorials, I must be doing something wrong because when I try to apply them, they do not stretch out to fit the side of my building, but instead repeat over and over to fill the space. I create the texture as a multiple of 2 in Photo Shop, but do not seem to get the correct result. Also, I am confused as to wither or not to extrude the object to make it 3D or if it needs to be hollow inside. It work a lot faster using extrude.

Please let me know what I might be doing wrong.
Thanks for everyone's help.
Jeff
 

Attachments

Hi Gary,

Sorry for the slow reply. I have been busy with work. A good thing these days. I am using FS9 because I could not get FSX accelerator to install. I do have the original discs and all the codes, plus the original FSX deluxe version. It just wouldn't install on my Windows 10 and I worked hard to get FS9 to work. I am willing to try loading FSX if we can get accelerator to work and on max settings, get good frame rates.
After we get you farther along with making 3D models in Sketchup, save the originals as *.SKP and/or *.KMZ files, then they can be re-imported into MCX for export to FS9, FSX, or P3D as desired in the future.

Both those *.SKP and/or *.KMZ file formats save the mapped texture image Materials inside a internal folder structure, so it is less complex to manage the export process for MCX.

But, Jim's suggestion of using PhotoShop *.PSD files as external master originals for mapped texture image Materials is a good idea as well, as it enables additional graphical enhancements that he describes above, and in his various tutorials in the forums.

It can be useful to prepare one's external master originals for mapped texture image Materials in PhotoShop.

However, when working with an image of an object such as a building intended for a 3D model Face, it is also easy to map the image of that object downloaded from the internet in its existing size, onto a 3D model (if the 3D model is intended for personal use only), and then after that texture image is mapped as a Material, one can modify it inside Sketchup via the Combine Textures feature, and/or the Edit feature via a designated external graphics application using ex: PhotoShop.


We can work on getting your FSX and/or P3D installed later (...unless you wish to do this ASAP).

If you do also want to work on getting your FSX and/or P3D installed ASAP, feel free to open a troubleshooting thread on that topic ...here:


I doubt FPS and performance will be an issue in the immediate future with your powerful computer hardware. :pushpin:

As to the Sketchup models, I am enclosing a model I created for the TNCE terminal that has nothing but the rough building. I tried to get some photo textures loaded into Sketchup for it, but even after following (as best I could) Jim's tutorials, I must be doing something wrong because when I try to apply them, they do not stretch out to fit the side of my building, but instead repeat over and over to fill the space.
Generally speaking, after a 3D model is inside a Group, Select a Face, then Import a texture image intended to be mapped as a Material as "Texture" (not 'Image'); this should allow it to be mapped onto a Face.

Anchor the bottom Left corner of the texture image over the bottom Left corner vertex of the Face, then drag up and to the Right upper corner and Anchor the top Right corner of the texture image to the top Right corner vertex of the Face; this should successfully apply the texture image as a Material.

Then use Texture > Position, move the texture image of the bottom Left corner of the ex: building into position over the bottom Left corner vertex of the building Face and set the Red pin there.

Set the Green pin at the bottom Right corner of the ex: building image, and drag it over to the bottom Right corner vertex of the building Face.

Set the Blue pin at the top Left corner of the ex: building image, and drag it up to the top Left corner vertex of the building Face.

Set the Yellow pin at the top Right corner of the ex: building image, and drag it up to the top Right corner vertex of the building Face.

Once the texture image is positioned in this "Fixed Pin" mode, one can un-check "Fixed Pin", fine-tune positioning for any of the pins as needed, then re-check "Fixed Pin" mode ...and finally click Done.


IMHO, after first mastering the initial skill of mapping a texture onto a Face as a Material, and setting pins, etc., Jim's advisement to pre-size imported texture image dimensions to "UV-Map" in the Sketchup Material dialog prior to mapping a selected Material onto a Face is always a good procedure to follow,

I create the texture as a multiple of 2 in Photo Shop, but do not seem to get the correct result.
MCX Material Editor can semi-automatically convert mapped texture image Materials to *.BMP for pre-FSX/P3D, and *.DDS for FSX/P3D (internally using SDK ImageTool), while ensuring they are re-sized to the nearest "Powers-of-2" aspect ratio, and also adding MIPMAPs, so IMHO it is less urgent to do this in ex: PhotoShop.

Other Material attributes and functionality can also be configured by MCX Material Editor as desired, for each individual mapped texture image.

Also, I am confused as to whether or not to extrude the object to make it 3D or if it needs to be hollow inside. It works a lot faster using extrude.
I believe it is best to always 'extrude' a Face drawn on the ground plane of the Sketchup work-space (via the Push-Pull tool) so that 3D models will be "Manifold Solids", then modify that "primitive" object; this is increasingly important when exporting MDLs for use in P3D so shadows work properly and with the full functionality that P3D provides for 3D object shadows.

Please let me know what I might be doing wrong.

Thanks for everyone's help.

Jeff
You are already off to a great start; I like your precision and attention to detail for the 3D models you have posted here so far. :)

AFAIK, there will be some refinements of work-flow required when working with imported 3D Warehouse models and/or other 'components' for building models that we can address as we get some more time available, while doing a 'worked example' with your models posted in this thread ...if you are willing to revisit them. ;)


PS: I made a quick-and-dirty 'test' model using a modified copy of your TNCE terminal building with textures off the internet, which I planned to attach (tomorrow ?) as a 'worked example' for discussion.

GaryGB
 
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Hi Gary, thanks for all your help and kind words of encouragement. I am attaching an updated model of TNCE with just basic textures. I think I did it correctly, but please let me know.

Secondly, you will see I have no windows or doors. I just can't figure out how to "flatten" the Warehouse components for models into a texture that doesn't have so many polygons. I have tried to crop an image of a window in photoshop, but I still end up with the problems discussed in your prior post. I get multiple widows instead of just one place where I want it. Also, I can't seem to open one of the Warehouse components in Photoshop or any other Adobe Product ( I have Creative Cloud - full subscription ) with the intention of saving it as a 2D object/texture.

Let me know what I might need to do to tweak the components in Sketchup, and thanks again for everyone's efforts.
Jeff
 

Attachments

Hi Jeff:

The latter TNCE terminal Sketchup 3D model Geometry is, as you may know, much less complex, and would otherwise be compatible for use except for an error, that Sketchup itself reportedly can not fix automatically. :alert:



I will take a more detailed look at this tomorrow to see if I can identify what causes this issue.

Please post links to all 3D Warehouse components used to make this 3D model, and I will try to find a solution.


Depending on what effective resolution / scale you intend the Green and Yellow self-tiling texture images to be displayed at when they were mapped onto your 3D model, they may-or may not- be applied to the Faces correctly.



IMHO, the "proper" way to map such a self-tiling texture image onto a Sketchup 3D model as a Material is:

Generally speaking, after a Sketchup 3D model is inside a Group, Select a Face, then Import a texture image intended to be mapped as a Material as "Texture" (not 'Image'); this should allow it to be mapped onto a Face.

Anchor the bottom Left corner of the texture image over the bottom Left corner vertex of the Face, then drag up and to the Right upper corner and Anchor the top Right corner of the texture image to the top Right corner vertex of the Face; this should successfully apply the texture image as a Material.

Then use Texture > Position, move the texture image of the bottom Left corner of the ex: building into position over the bottom Left corner vertex of the building Face and set the Red pin there.

Set the Green pin at the bottom Right corner of the ex: building image, and drag it over to the bottom Right corner vertex of the building Face.

Set the Blue pin at the top Left corner of the ex: building image, and drag it up to the top Left corner vertex of the building Face.

Set the Yellow pin at the top Right corner of the ex: building image, and drag it up to the top Right corner vertex of the building Face.

Once the texture image is positioned in this "Fixed Pin" mode, one can un-check "Fixed Pin", fine-tune positioning for any of the pins as needed, then re-check "Fixed Pin" mode ...and finally click Done.


Be aware that MCX will convert these Green and Yellow self-tiling texture images to fixed-size non-tiling texture images when imported.

IIUC, even Sketchup default "Colors" are converted to fixed size non-tiling texture images when imported.


NOTE: This is Sketchup Material mapping, which is distinct from the method used by other 3D modeling applications, that otherwise use "Texture Atlas"-type sheets consisting of a composite of multiple images on 1 or more such sheets for each 3D model.

"Texture Atlas"-type sheets consisting of a composite of multiple images on 1 or more such sheets for each 3D model are "UVW-mapped" with pixel coordinates on the Texture sheet for each individual image.



Also, one would not, AFAIK, be able to 'directly' open a 3D Warehouse Sketchup 3D model in Photoshop to access the Sketchup Material texture image in order to save it as a 2D object / texture in a graphics file format.

Accessing the Sketchup Material texture image can be done via a different method, depending on whether the source object itself is in the public domain with permission granted for such intended use or re-distribution as a mapped Material on a 3D model.



PS: Assuming you may have been to TNCE IRL recently, can you tell me if the terminal has now been remodeled and painted white again ? :scratchch

IIUC, TNCE terminal originally was white years ago, then went through a Green and Yellow conversion.

I'm trying to make some sense of pictures I have downloaded from Google Images of TNCE terminal, to verify its current design and color for the quick-and-dirty 'test' model I planned to attach (sometime soon ?) as a 'worked example' for discussion.


BTW: Aidan Chopra's YouTube tutorial on mapping a photo-real image onto a Sketchup 3D model: :teacher:


GaryGB
 

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Hi Gary,
I didn't use any Warehouse components to make this model. All I did was draw the flat shapes, extruded them to the desired lengths, and then added the colors/textures from the material list and color wheel in the standard lists in Sketchup. I did this deliberately so as not to have too many polygons in the model. That is why there are no doors, windows, of anything other then the basic shapes and the colors.

As to your question about the color scheme for TNCE, the last time I was there it was still yellow and green. However, I like you looked around on the internet for clarification, and could not tell for sure. But, the newest photos I found from 2013 were in the yellow and green.

Finally, I am ultimately hoping to avoid the use of Photo textures since most of them would be copyrighted, and also, I rather enjoy creating all the aspects of the buildings, not just the shapes.

Thanks again for all your help and your patience with me.
Jeff
 
BTW Gary,
Just wondered what version of Sketchup you are using? As I stated in previous posts, I am using 2020 Pro.
Jeff
 
Hi Jeff:

Thanks for clarifying that you had not used any components from the 3D warehouse in construction of the latter model attached above.

I had inferred, perhaps this time incorrectly, that you may have used components in the construction of your model based on the description of method you had used on the original model in your OP above.

There is a remote possibility that Sketchup 2020 may have a bug, however this is unclear as there have been prior reports of the same type of error that Sketchup itself reportedly can not fix automatically occurring in earlier Sketchup versions, involving identical naming of components relative to the name of the overall project file:





When I get some more free time available, I plan to test this with 1 or more Sketchup plug-in Ruby scripts that iterate through all levels of a 3D model, converts all components into uniquely named elements, and then also offers the option to convert those components into groups.

This may also solve a potential issue with MCX not currently being able to accommodate this Sketchup 3D model error which may impact both the import and export process involving *.KMZ files, resulting in a failure to generate a MDL which renders with all 3D model parts intact and visible in FS at run time.

When I find a solution to this issue which reportedly works in all numeric versions of Sketchup, I will post that information here (...sometime soon?).


I do ultimately reduce the original complexity of 3D models created in newer versions of Sketchup for use in FS, and my final output is always through Sketchup version 8 which has no restrictions whatsoever on use of the application for commercial work; however I may utilize a newer version of Sketchup or another 3D modeling application (and/or a GIS application) for certain aspects of intermediate work prior to export as a Google Earth *.KMZ format 3D model export file for processing via MCX. :idea:

AFAIK, there are no substantial differences to 'routine' 3D modeling workflow (to create models which are intended for use in FS), in any basic or Pro version of Sketchup since version 8, although there are some slight enhancements to workflow efficiency due to the fact that version 2015 onward offers a 64-bit compiled application option.

However, Sketchup 64-Bit coding apparently still relies on a single CPU core main work-space rendering loop with ancillary data loader tasks which run on other cores ...somewhat like FS does.

Thus, the same system optimizations we do for FS may incidentally yield the benefit of better performance in Sketchup.

Furthermore, nearly every feature now offered in newer versions of Sketchup is available for Sketchup version 8 via the use of (free !) plug-in Ruby scripts .

Regardless of the numeric version of Sketchup one is using, while initially mapping texture images as materials onto 3D models, until one utilizes the Make Unique Texture and Combine Texture features, and then purges the unused original source texture images not currently mapped onto the 3D model, the full extent of such texture images (which continue to exist inside the project file) may be so large that models can easily approach 256 MB, at which point Sketchup begins to slow down considerably.

This slowdown also occurs in models which have made extensive use of Groups and Layers, so obviously there are pros and cons to utilizing highly complex 3D models during the production process.

FYI: I routinely turn off the thumbnail feature inside Sketchup project files, as this also may sometimes lead to performance issues and delays in being able to conduct work on a model while larger texture images are being processed to generate an incremental thumbnail update when the auto-save function kicks in.

I do not, however, turn off Sketchup error reporting and validity checking, as failure to detect and fix such issues ASAP, can result in un-resolvable flaws within 3D models. :alert:


While Sketchup 2017 offers some slightly enhanced features when working with pins in the texture position mode, that version still suffers from a major bug which was never fixed to my knowledge, wherein vertically aligned objects are unable to use the Combine Textures feature, so when I need to use a 64-bit version of Sketchup I tend to use Sketchup 2016.

I have yet to work extensively with Sketchup 2020, so my knowledge of that version is more limited thus far.


PS: Would I be correct that your work is intended to be distributed publicly, and thus your concern over whether downloadable texture images of TNCE terminal are copyrighted ? :scratchch

If your work is not intended to be distributed publicly, IMHO, there need not be any concern over use of copyrighted images on your own computer, provided they are not distributed publicly. ;)

Use of custom texture images with color tints may be an alternative for 3D model Faces, although graphical edits of such texture images to emulate realistic shadows etc. may be desirable enhancements.

Use of photo-realistic rendering and AO on such custom texture images may yield an even more realistic appearance to ones 3D models.


I agree that creating full detail models in Sketchup can be rather enjoyable, and again I must say that any modern computer likely now can render with little or no performance issues, a much more detailed 3D model scenery object in FS at run time than we were able to on hardware available years ago.

And again, because of the extreme high performance of your particular computer hardware, you are unlikely to see performance issues with FSX / P3D / MSFS 2020 When using reasonably detailed scenery objects, so IMHO feel free to have fun with the creative process in Sketchup to create initial project files, then as needed, you can downsize them later. :)

GaryGB
 
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Hi again, Jeff:

Plug-ins offering workarounds for the issues reported above when components are involved 'may' include:

thomthom: Fix Component Names v1.0.0
Iterates all component names and ensures they are all unique



Matt666: Component/Group tools v1.1
Adds various extra component/group tools to the context menu



When I get some more free time available, I'll see if these may resolve the issue in Sketchup 2020, even when components are not involved. :scratchch

GaryGB
 
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Hi Jeff:

I have now verified that there is actually no internal Geometry issue with the latter TNCE terminal Sketchup 3D model you attached above, and that there is instead an issue with feature set changes in Sketchup 2020 when compared with earlier versions. ;)

Import of the latter TNCE terminal Sketchup 3D model into Sketchup version 8 (32-Bit) threw this error:




However, Sketchup version 8 Menu > Window > Model Info > Statistics > [Fix Problems] ...yields this result:



In this case it appears that the 3D model is intact and free from internal Geometry errors, so one can ignore the initial *.KMZ validation check error report.


Import of the latter TNCE terminal Sketchup 3D model into Sketchup 2020 did not throw the error above.


Sorry I was initially misled by a quirk of Sketchup processing *.KMZ file import among different versions; thanks for providing a 'worked example' of how Sketchup 2020 may have changed *.KMZ processing. :oops:


PS: I hope to have a more complete quick-and-dirty 'test' model using a modified copy of your TNCE terminal building with textures off the internet, to attach as a 'worked example' for discussion of photo-real texture image processing methods ...some time soon. :)

GaryGB
 

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Hi Gary,
I wanted to post these 2 screen shots of what I see in Sketchup 2020. They show no errors and very few polygons.
Thanks for all you are doing to help me. I am working on a more detailed model of a different airport terminal to see what you and Jim think, and how I might be able to reduce the number of polygons.
I have still not figured out how to "Flatten" (my term) a component so that it doesn't have so many hidden polygons and can be used in my construction. When I look at some of the free files created for programs like EZ object library, their hangers and things seem to have many polygons, but I do not know what program they were created in.
Again, thanks for all your help.
Jeff
Screenshot (156).png
Screenshot (157).png
 
If I can suggest something, where you're modeling for FS9 and the SDK/gamepack is readily available, and you're not too far into it, you should give gmax a look. It's a hell of a lot easier to texture something than it is in sketchup. I did this quick & dirty copy of your last model in 1 hour and 27 minutes. That's the difference between the file date/time for the .3DS I exported from MCX and imported into gmax to the last save of the gmax file I exported to a .mdl. It's completely mapped/textured, baked, and ready to place in the sim. I used none of your geometry, it was messed up, no fault of your own, it's just the way sketchup handles things - polygons where it makes no sense to have polygons (hidden/buried inside the model where you'd never see them in the sim), etc. I made a few boxes "snapping" the corners to your model to get the shape & dimensions the same, then I deleted all your geometry and textured my new geometry. I baked an occlusion map with xNormal, it's freeware, works well with gmax models, doesn't work with sketchup models unfortunately because the mapping is always off. xNormal burns the outline of the model onto your texture sheet so you know where the edges of each panel are and from there you can add color and highlights to turn it into something while leaving the occlusion intact in a "multiply" layer above all your artwork giving you the baked shading. I've used both, and to prove a point it is possible to pull something like this off in sketchup but you almost invariably need to adjust the mapping in gmax, it's much easier to just build the damn model in gmax from the start. In the end my gmax model consists of 94 triangles and one drawcall, your.kmz export from sketchup is 289 triangles and 5 drawcalls which is a huge improvement over the church model you uploaded @ something like 226,000 triangles.

TNCE_terminal.jpg


Jim
 
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Many thanks for posting this excellent worked example, Jim. :)

This looks like a very practical way to enhance one's 3D models. :wizard:


I'm now remembering you had mentioned xNormal a few times in the past, but I had to refresh my memory on just where and how; looks like I'll be doing some more Google searches this weekend ! :scratchch

My first successful query:




BTW: Would it be possible to see a 'non-proprietary' / "live link" version of your AO_for_gmax_using_xNormal_part1.zip tutorial made available again ...for study by the FSDeveloper Community ? :teacher:

I wrote a proprietary tutorial on baking occlusions with xNormal a few months ago but most of our devs are using 3DS Max so it wasn't of much use to them. Maybe it will help you, the .zip contains an example model and instructions which should pretty much show you what you need to do:

http://www.cat-tamer.com/flightsim/atchmnts/AO_for_gmax_using_xNormal_part1.zip

Part 2 was intended to cover multiple texture sheets, but when I started writing it I found there wasn't really much to add. Basically when rendering occlusion for sheet #1 you have to move all the UVWs that apply to sheet #2 off the square that represents the texture sheet in the UVW editor and export a temporary model just for the purpose of rendering. Render sheet #2 the same way, moving all the UVWs associated with sheet #1 off the square. xNormal doesn't tile textures when the UVWs are off the square like MCX, Sketchup, and the sim does, if they're off the square they are invisible to xNormal.

Jim
GaryGB
 
BTW: Would it be possible to see a 'non-proprietary' / "live link" version of your...
Hi Gary, I found it, it's dated Nov 2013 and I noticed the links I'd embedded in the .pdf to a youtube video and to the xNormal download page itself are dead now but I was able to find new URLs for both. I'll have to update the tutorial, and I'd also like to add my workaround process for models that use multiple texture sheets. The tutorial was "proprietary" because I was in Orbx when I wrote it and I'd added it to one of the resources threads in the (non-public) developer forums specifically for another dev that was also using gmax. I got kicked out of the dev forums and stripped of my "developer" credentials when I posted the Inverness freeware thread so I'd already deemed the tutorial "no longer proprietary" when I posted it in the thread you linked above, lol.

I'll see if I can update it, then maybe I'll upload it to the Resources area on the site here.
 
Hi Jim:

Glad to see that your tutorial will once again be available for the FS Community to study in an updated form, which I anticipate will inspire more FS Developers to further enhance their scenery, and make the FS experience "As Real As It Gets". :)

Many thanks again, for sharing the insights from your extensive experience here at FS Developer, where your "developer" credentials have IMHO, always been intact for your exceptional generosity in helping others to 'think outside the box' with their projects by objective analysis, practicality, and innovation. :teacher:

GaryGB
 
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Hi Gary,

I wanted to post these 2 screen shots of what I see in Sketchup 2020. They show no errors and very few polygons.
Thanks for all you are doing to help me. I am working on a more detailed model of a different airport terminal to see what you and Jim think, and how I might be able to reduce the number of polygons.
I have still not figured out how to "Flatten" (my term) a component so that it doesn't have so many hidden polygons and can be used in my construction. When I look at some of the free files created for programs like EZ object library, their hangers and things seem to have many polygons, but I do not know what program they were created in.
Again, thanks for all your help.

Jeff
Hi Jeff:

I had thought we might discuss one of your existing 3D models as a worked example in Sketchup to practice the basics of how to reduce complexity of Geometry.

As you may know by now, "some" amount of reduction in complexity of Geometry is important to do after having used Components, and is generally important as well, to optimizing FS run time performance after processing for output via MCX.

If you have a particular 'new' 3D model you would prefer to use as a worked example in Sketchup, please feel free to attach a copy in *.KMZ export format, and we can try to answer some specific questions you may have. ;)


I'll also try to allocate some time for posting info on how to use plugin Ruby scripts that may assist with reduction of complexity of Geometry, conversion of Components to Groups, and on how to export a Sketchup 3D model as a *.X file (for anticipated future use in testing Jim's work-flow for enhancing the realism of textured 3D scenery models). :idea:

GaryGB
 
...and on how to export a Sketchup 3D model as a *.X file (for anticipated future use in testing Jim's work-flow for enhancing the realism of textured 3D scenery models).
Here's the problem with that Gary, this is what I meant in my post above by "doesn't work with sketchup models unfortunately because the mapping is always off". More correctly the mapping isn't really "off", the UVWs just don't always end up on the main square of the texture area. This is I believe the first model I successfully built in sketchup long before I ever started playing around with xNormal, I just found it on a backup disk and exported it from sketchup as a .dae. Then I opened it in MCX and exported a .3ds that I could import into gmax. I put a UVW Unwrap on the stack and this is what the UVWs look like:

sketchup_mapping.jpg


That's not a problem for the sim (or MCX) because both understand the concept of tiling textures, the sim sees something like this, when the texture tiles, the UVWs end up on a part of the texture sheet they were intended to end up on:

sketchup_mapping2.jpg


xNormal on the other hand has no idea what to do with this, it sees the "front" uvw that landed "on the square" and that's all, none of the uvws "off the square" are factored into the render. That's actually the basis for my multiple textures workaround - when you bake an occlusion for ie: texture01 you move the uvws associated with texture02 off the square so xNormal can't see them. The geometry is still there, walls and protrusions associated with texture02 are factored into the render for texture01, but without moving the uvws off the square xNormal will try to burn both sheets onto one occlusion map and it comes out a mess. You then re-open the gmax file and move the uvws associated with texture01 off the square and export another .mdl so you can bake an occlusion for texture02. Convoluted process but it works. and it's a lot cheaper than 3DS Max.

Maybe there's a way to make sketchup's uvws always end up on the square but if there is I haven't figured out how to do it and I've mapped and re-mapped until my fingers bled trying, lol. I've always had to export a .3ds for gmax and re-adjust the uvws to render a sketchup model with xNormal. That's basically why I don't model in sketchup anymore unless I'm just playing around, it's just easier IMHO to go start to finish in gmax, everything about it is easier, but it takes a while to become "one with gmax", lol. (13 yrs so far!)
 
Thanks, Jim, for that clarification as an advance teaser on your forthcoming updated tutorial; I'm looking forward to learning that workflow with an open mind. :)


I'm naturally interested in seeing if there is a way that we can possibly maximize existing and familiar productivity on the front end with 3D modeling in Sketchup, prior to "post-processing" in GMAX / xNormal.

But I do greatly appreciate how thoroughly you study and test things, so I plan to give it a thorough test. ;)

Perhaps I will also incidentally find ways to use plugins to make Sketchup 3D models more ready-to-use by GMAX / xNormal ?


Personally, I've 'resisted assimilation' into the "GMAX Collective" for years; I'll hopefully find an effective way to still use Sketchup on the front end, and other such applications on the back end. :scratchch

GaryGB


PS: A jovial reference to the challenges inferred by the task ahead ? :laughing:

 
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Guys,
Thanks for all your insights and input. I just have a couple questions.
  1. Gmax appears to no longer be supported by Autodesk (the makers), so how does one get updates and such?
  2. Since I am not really familiar with Gmax's inner workings, does it have components and the like to expedite creating windows, doors and such? And does it do things like extrude and follow me to create shapes? - the only experience I have with Gmax was the free version that came with FS2000 and I had little success getting it to work.
  3. Jim, you mentioned 3DSmax. Would the use of that program allow one to use Sketchup without issues for xNormal and MCX or would you build directly in 3DSmax?
  4. Have either you or Gary tried using Autodesk, and if so does it work directly with xNormal or MCX?
Lastly I just wanted you guys to know that in the TNCE file that I posted, the biggest reason for the smaller number of triangles was that I used no components in the construction of the building. That is why it had no windows, doors, or anything else that would create additional triangles.
I have been using Sketchup in our Church Organ Repair business for years to draw facades that we build and are used in our clients churches and homes. That was why that Sketchup seemed the logical choice for making these models.

Thanks again for all your help and efforts!!!!!......…..I don't see how anyone could get into this without all the invaluable knowledge you guys bring to the table.
Jeff
 
Gmax appears to no longer be supported by Autodesk (the makers), so how does one get updates and such?
You don't, lol. Mine is the same as the version on your FS2000 disks most likely. it seems like there was an update released at some point while I've been modeling but I can't remember when. At any rate my copy came off my FS9 disks IIRC and I added the gamepack for FSX to the same installation later.

Since I am not really familiar with Gmax's inner workings, does it have components and the like to expedite creating windows, doors and such? And does it do things like extrude and follow me to create shapes? - the only experience I have with Gmax was the free version that came with FS2000 and I had little success getting it to work.
There's no component warehouse like there is with sketchup. There's a few free models scattered about the web in .3ds format which you can import, most of them have the same problem as sketchup components - too many polys - which is why this topic exists. One thing you can do is merge objects from other gmax scenes, so if you have a gmax file that contains a fire exinguisher and you need a fire extinguisher for the current project you can merge it rather than building it all over again. Where it starts paying off is when you've been modeling a few years, you can almost always remember something you built in the past that might have a part you need. On the other hand there's always the problem of that old junk not meeting the standards you're shooting for today but maybe assign a new material, copy the layers from an existing photoshop file to the new one, spruce it up a bit, and you can usually make it work.

Gmax can definitely extrude, chamfer, bevel, etc. Not sure what replaces the follow me tool, I suppose you could do a line with bezier curves and "display mesh" to get a similar result. Also it has "soft selection" where you can select a vertex or several vertices and set a "falloff" distance which soft selects the vertices around it, then you can pull and tug nice curves in things. Think about a skylight on a roof, select the vertices in the center of a plane, set the correct falloff distance and pull a perfect bubble/dome shape that looks like it was done with compressed air from the inside on heat-softened plexiglass. Texture it first (or not) and the texture will stretch right along with the surface. RE texturing: I like to show off this one, don't think anyone will ever do this in sketchup, it's an animated .gif and it's slow from slide to slide so you have to watch for a while:

gmax_texturing.gif


Jim, you mentioned 3DSmax. Would the use of that program allow one to use Sketchup without issues for xNormal and MCX or would you build directly in 3DSmax?
Last I checked the full version of 3DS Max was about $5 grand. That's been a few years. You'd still have the same problems with the uvws on sketchup exports. Max can do it's own rendering and from what I've seen it does a much better job than xNormal so if you buy that you throw sketchup, xNormal, and gmax right out the window and never look back. :)

Have either you or Gary tried using Autodesk, and if so does it work directly with xNormal or MCX?
Max with the correct gamepack can export directly to .x I believe which MCX can import and save as .mdl or you can compile to .mdl directly with XtoMDL from the SDK. I think you'd probably need the latest P3D SDK to export stuff from the latest version of Max.

Jim
 
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