Blender support group

Discussion in 'Track Modding' started by ethone, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    I'm trying to switch to Blender, which mostly has worked ok so far. A lot of things are different to what I am used to, but mostly I can manage.

    One thing I struggle with is lofting (or using paths/curves and bevelling them, as Blender calls that process).
    In particular I miss the fine control I previously had with splines. Unless I use a NURBS curve, I also have issues with orientation switching mid-path, which makes the resulting mesh entirely unusable.

    Is there anyone who does track modelling in Blender and who would be willing to help out/learn together?
     
  2. raul999

    raul999 Registered

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    i have tried blender to create tracks in rf2 but i leave this software for this purpose.

    In this video i have modified the joesville adding some tracks :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd2asFV9C7s


    but i recommend you use 3dsmax for rfactor2
     
  3. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    Thanks for the video!

    There are reasons (particularly performance/scalability and collaboration) that make me want to make the switch to Blender.
    I haven't yet found any feature or tool that I absolutely need in building tracks that Blender does not provide. Sure, there's plenty of stuff I need to re-learn, or features I don't know how to properly use yet (lofting is probably the biggest of those), but no deal-breakers so far.

    Was there something in particular that stopped you from continuing with Blender?
     
  4. Emery

    Emery Registered

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  5. raul999

    raul999 Registered

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    ethone, in blender you have not the gmt exporter, this is unexpendable to use with rfactor 2. This is beacuse i use 3dsmax to rfactor 2. But blender is very good option to create 3d models, if you can create models in blender and then export to 3dsmax or 3dsimed , ok.
     
  6. lordpantsington

    lordpantsington Registered

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    Kudos for this topic. The more people behind the scenes modding, the better. Blender looks to be a great free alternative to Max, and should help those interested take the next step. I can only see good things resulting from an experienced track maker trailblazing through the learning process.

    As far as direct export is concerned, this looks hopeful:
    http://isiforums.net/f/showthread.php/15616-Blender-I-O-Scripts-rFactor2
     
  7. R Soul

    R Soul Registered

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    I've developed a Blender script that exports all visible objects as a Collada (dae) file. 3DSimed can be used to convert the file into a set of gmt files. The script also generates the text files that go with a track by editing templates for thos files. But I made it with rF1 tracks in mind. I'm not sure how rF2 tracks differ other than there being no requirement for skybox objects.
     
  8. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    I understand the current export situation, I've been doing tracks for ISI sims since F1 2000. :) There are reasons I'm seriously looking at Blender right now.

    Thanks for the link Emery. I checked the approach but it doesn't give me the level of fine control I'm currently missing.
    Still very much appreciate the nudge, reading about different approaches always help even if it's not the exact thing you're looking for.
     
  9. I3bullets

    I3bullets Registered

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2015
  10. Richard E Long

    Richard E Long Registered

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    ethone, I have been experimenting with building track surfaces in Blender for a couple of years while doing some work for another project. I, too, find the native Blender tools to lack the precision desired. Like being able to set sub-millimeter elevation or fractions of a degree for track camber, among others.

    Blender is more than capable of doing that level of precision, but none of the native tools seem to have track surface creation as a goal. However, with some Python coding, new tools can be built and existing tools combined. I have been writing Python (on & off) for years. Recently most of the Python code has been within Blender. I have the beginnings of a script that may address track surface precision. I'd be interested in discussing this further. Would you describe a track surface creation workflow that feels natural to you. That might give me some inspiration to figure out the parts which have my brain in neutral at the moment.
     
  11. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    Thanks for the video links I3bullects.

    Richard, there are two common workflows. a) you define a centerline for the road surface to follow and use a cross-section you drag across it to create the actual mesh (called lofting in most software, extruding from a curve in Blender as far as I can tell), or, b) defining the outer boundaries of the surface and creating the mesh between them.
    The basis in both cases is a spline or curve, preferably with bezier handles for finer control.
    I tried approach a) for a small segment of Le Mans (smoothing the hump on the Hunaudières) and could neither control the elevation (z-axis) enough to get the shape I needed nor make the ends of the segment line up with the existing surface.

    At the moment I'm going back to square one and am trying to build a small track from scratch, making sure it's not the baggage I dragged with me in the form of an existing track that's causing me issues.
     
  12. Alessio

    Alessio Registered

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    Hi Ethone
    Here's a video with a slightly different approach to modify an existing piece of road.
     
  13. ethone

    ethone Registered

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    That's awsome Alessio!
    I thought of something like this as a fall-back, to not re-create the bit of road but to lower the existing one on to a new, lower "terrain" like you did. It saves having to make the new road piece perfect and preserves the mapping as well. I'd still like to be able to properly loft, but maybe that's for a test on a scratch-made track.

    I picked up a couple of small but very neat tricks just from that short video on the first view, very helpful!
    Thanks also for making me not feel so alone in trying to get up to speed with a new piece of complex software. :)
     
  14. Richard E Long

    Richard E Long Registered

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    Elevation experiment 08

    Alessio, thanks for the video. One I have not seen. Some interesting ideas in there.

    ethone, I tracked down an elevation experiment that sounded like it may start to address your method (a) - extruding down the center line curve. It is not complete by any means, but I have posted a .blend file here that lets you try out the concept. There's some brief info about how it works on the site. Anyone with Blender and interested is also welcome to check it. Feedback is most welcome.

    some idea of what to expect:
    View attachment 16354
     
  15. Richard E Long

    Richard E Long Registered

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    yes, I'm reviving an old thread…, but ethone gave it such a great title...

    I've been busy helping get a project out the door, see Traveller's thread here on the forums.

    Part of that activity has been building a website related to Blender/rFactor & Traveller's scripts.

    One of the articles on the site is about a partial solution to lofting in Blender. The link to the site is in my sig. The article and script for my first attempt at lofting in Blender is titled "RaceSurface Lofter". The download link is in that article. The actual name of the add-on is "rsLofter"

    While rsLofter works well in certain situations, it does not always produce desired results. Although, I have resurfaced several rF1 tracks to a higher rF2 poly count producing very satisfying race surfaces.

    It is still based on Bezier curves, which I've never found as controllable as I would like. I'm still looking at other curves that give more predictable results.

    If you and your team are still attempting to standardize on Blender, take a look at Traveller's Import/Export scripts. While he calls them WIP, the parts that are working are well tested. There are some other areas that are not finished - check the associated PDF for a list of areas he considers WIP.
     

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