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Blender UV Workflow for repeating objects in the scene

Vitus

Resource contributor
I am still figuring out a good workflow for Blender and hope you guys have some ideas. The tools I currently use are Blender 2.82, Photoshop and Substance Painter (OMG, Substance Painter!!).

Ideally, my workflow would be something like this:
1. Creating all the geometry in Blender
2. Create the UV maps in Blender
3. Import the fbx of the model to Substance Painter
4. Do Substance Painter Magic and generate the texture files
5. Modify the textures for use with P3D/FSX
6. Import the FBX with the new textures to Blender
7. Export.

However more often than not I find myself in conflict between steps 1 and 2, specifically with repetitive objects like screws, nuts bolts, but also cylinders of an engine, seats in the aircraft etc. I would like to have the same UV coordinates for all objects with the same geometry. But so far the only way I can do that is by modeling one part, then UV map that one part and then copy it. So, I'd like to ask the pro here how you solve this problem? Also, more in general, is my workflow practical or am I missing something?
 
We are gonna need some short video tutorials for for the new tool set, specially around the material setup before exporting, Is it possible to make one?
 

spotlope

FSDevConf team
BTW, in general if I have a bunch of objects that will be copied, I do exactly what you said; I make one and unwrap it. If it's going to share the same UV space as all the others of its kind, I do my AO bake first, then duplicate the object. That means doing your AO bake in Blender and not SP, by the way. Only after it's unwrapped and baked out do I duplicate and place it wherever an instance will go.
 

spotlope

FSDevConf team
By the way, you can set up Substance Painter to export to the FSX/P3D format, so no tweaks necessary. I use a P3D exporter in SP that I set up, and the resulting textures can be plugged directly into Blender and used. I export as TGA files from SP, so I can quickly batch-convert them to DDS using ImageTool from the FSX/P3D SDK.
 

Vitus

Resource contributor
BTW, in general if I have a bunch of objects that will be copied, I do exactly what you said; I make one and unwrap it. If it's going to share the same UV space as all the others of its kind, I do my AO bake first, then duplicate the object. That means doing your AO bake in Blender and not SP, by the way. Only after it's unwrapped and baked out do I duplicate and place it wherever an instance will go.
To me, that is a grievance since starting 3d modelling some 16 years ago. I would love to split up all those tasks and not mix and match. First model everything, then UV everything, then texture everything. But the repeating elements make it very difficult. The only way I can see this works is by using instances, rather than duplicates in the scene, but that also comes with drawbacks. Oh well...

By the way, you can set up Substance Painter to export to the FSX/P3D format, so no tweaks necessary. I use a P3D exporter in SP that I set up, and the resulting textures can be plugged directly into Blender and used. I export as TGA files from SP, so I can quickly batch-convert them to DDS using ImageTool from the FSX/P3D SDK.
Aaaah thanks for that tip! Can you setup the exporter in a way that it inverts the gray values of channels as well? Or do you use the ImageTool for that too?
 

spotlope

FSDevConf team
Aaaah thanks for that tip! Can you setup the exporter in a way that it inverts the gray values of channels as well? Or do you use the ImageTool for that too?

You can. I've attached a zip with my P3D exporter preset. Just unzip it to your Documents\Allegorithmic\Substance Painter\shelf\export-presets folder.
 

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spotlope

FSDevConf team
Actually I re-read your post. I don't find it necessary to invert any gray channels as part of the export process. If you set the alpha channel of the metallic to smoothness (as in my exporter, included above) SP automatically inverts the roughness channel and applies it.
 
Dont know if this helps but what I do with scenery with repeating models is. Say for example I have a carport shade net model that is going to be used in multiple places I do the following.
1. Model the Element (all one object)
2. Go Object > apply > scale. This will ensure the faces on the UV map are all to the same scale.
1585930606512.png

3. I then copy, but Use ALT+D instead of Shift + D. (you will know it works when in edit mode and the selecting one edge or face select them everywhere.
1585930568787.png

4. Next UV map only the duplicated objects. I usually drag it of to the side witch makes packing my UV maps a lot easier.
Remember to make sure no common materials are shared between UV maps. This totally messes with Painter.
1585930747882.png

5. In Object mode select all objects that you want on one UV map. (I build collections and name everything, witch makes it a lot easier).
Pres Tab to go into Edit mode, Whilst your in UV editing. Pres Ctrl + A to select all. And then use your preferred UV unwrapping method.
Pack til your happy.
1585931295648.png

1585932038034.png


6. Export , I prefer Colada as it splits materials and UV maps corrector in Painter. (FBX has given me so many issues.)

7. I bake within Substance and All my UV maps and Materials are set up correctly. I Usually split Metal, Non Metal and Glass into different UV maps, so when I export to Model converter X , PBR settings are correct.
1585931579999.png


I hope this helps, it took me a lot of research and trial and error to get this work flow correct.
If you need any more information, just ask.
 
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Vitus

Resource contributor
Thank you so much for writing this up and add screenshots for illustration! Greatly appreciated! I'll try your technique and see how I can incorporate i t into my workflow.

The one problem I see with this is the baking process from within SP. I had this problem before when trying to export my R-1340 engine. Just to illustrate it better, this how it looked like a few weeks ago:
H0NfGXd.png


I prepared the UV of cylinder 1 first and then duplicated it. The same for all the screws and other repeating parts.

However, when importing this into Blender, I can't get thing like the Smart Material or Particle Effects work properly and I think it has something to do with the SP maps. Because all the maps that SP generates will be off in one way or another - position maps, world normal and AO since the different cylinders for example would have different parameters.

To fix this, I could export a model with all the duplicates stripped, but in that case the AO map of the cylinders will be off. Any ideas how to proceed?
 
Thank you so much for writing this up and add screenshots for illustration! Greatly appreciated! I'll try your technique and see how I can incorporate i t into my workflow.

The one problem I see with this is the baking process from within SP. I had this problem before when trying to export my R-1340 engine. Just to illustrate it better, this how it looked like a few weeks ago:
H0NfGXd.png


I prepared the UV of cylinder 1 first and then duplicated it. The same for all the screws and other repeating parts.

However, when importing this into Blender, I can't get thing like the Smart Material or Particle Effects work properly and I think it has something to do with the SP maps. Because all the maps that SP generates will be off in one way or another - position maps, world normal and AO since the different cylinders for example would have different parameters.

To fix this, I could export a model with all the duplicates stripped, but in that case the AO map of the cylinders will be off. Any ideas how to proceed?

If you don't mind sending me the model I can play with it and see if I can find the Problem.
 
[...]

3. I then copy, but Use ALT+D instead of Shift + D. (you will know it works when in edit mode and the selecting one edge or face select them everywhere.
View attachment 56092

[...]

I had no idea about this, thanks so much! I too have been struggling to figure out how to deal with repeating things. Thanks for posting this extensive explanation!
 
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