Model the threads on a bottle in Softimage

Create a single polygon
Once broken down to individual steps the procedure for creating the thread for the bottle, or any thread for that matter, is essentially a no-brainer. Rather than adding thread onto the existing geometry, you’ll create the tread as a separate piece and then weld it together with original object. The first step is to create a flat polygon with the same length as the circumference of the neck of bottle and with the preferred height of one revolution.

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Illustrating a Dandelion Clock


Start by opening the scene dandelion_clock.scn from this issues CD. For your convenience the scene already contains a stem and a seed object, so all you have to do is to add a bit of fluffiness to the seed before placing it on the stem and your done. Easy enough, right?
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Symmetric modeling

Step 01
Clone your object
While there are a number of ways to (at least partly) do so, none of them are completely without flaws. However, don’t let this stop you from setting up one of your own. Select your (half) object and from the Edit > Duplicate/Instantiate menu chose Clone Single. Any changes made to your original object will automatically propagate to the clone but changes made to the clone object will not affect the original.

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Modeling a bottle cap

Regardless of the task at hand, the importance of good reference material can never be stressed enough. So, the only responsible thing to do in this scenario is to visit the closest pub for the ungrateful and cruel duty of gathering reference material.

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Realistic Grass

Step 1

Growing grass
From the Get > Primitive > Polygon Mesh menu chose Grid. Press [Ctrl] + [2] to switch to the Hair Toolbar. From the Create > Hair menu chose From Selection. In the Hair PPG, set the number of Total hairs 13000 or so. The lawn is still way to sparse, but using the Strand Multiplier will be more efficient than further increasing the Total hairs, so set it to 2. Next, set the Splay at tip to 0.5 and the Splay at root to 0.25 to separate the strands.

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Create Duplicates from Animation

Scattering or placing a large number of objects by hand is not only a tedious task but also a quite tricky one, at least if you’re trying to maintain perfect spacing, angles, etc between all the objects. Fortunately enough, there are several ways to automate the process, though some of them might not be self-evident for the newcomer. A very handy feature in XSI that is easily overlooked is the ability to create duplicates or instances based on an objects animation.

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Modeling a Tire

The first thing to do is to get hold of good reference material; such can easily be obtained by searching Google or any of the manufacturer’s WebPages. Once settle on what type of tread pattern to create, either load it as a Rotoscope image in XSI or use it as it is.

Start by creating a Grid and lower the Y Length to 1.5. Increase the U Subdivisions to 19 or so and the V to 2. Select the middle V edge row and, in the top viewport, move it downwards so its just above the end of the grid. Move each of the U edge rows to form the proper gaps between the treads (additional screenshots can be found on the cover CD). Next move the polygons so you get sort of a V-shaped pattern. Select all the polygons that are to form the height of the tread, press [CTRL + D] to duplicate them and move them slightly upwards. With the polygons still selected, from the Modify>Poly.Mesh menu choose Bevel Components.

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Modeling a Phone Cord

While the phone cord itself isn’t necessarily that complicated, it does show the importance of thinking through the modeling phase before pulling and pushing points around in 3D space. If the deformations are applied in an incorrect order, we stand the risk of getting unwanted distortions in our geometry or in worst case not even achieving the desired result at all.

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