|Free Form Modeling in
Carl E Schou
June 31, 2002
We Come In
A lot of 3D modeling programs require the user to
work through a non-intuitive interface. While they may allow
you build whatever you have in mind, they don't feel natural enough
to allow for experimenting, the way you would when modeling a
real-world object in clay. One program that is highly
intuitive is Amorphium Pro, and that's the topic for this month's
foray into the 3D domain.
In this tutorial, we're
going to do some Free Form abstract modeling in Amorphium Pro to
build the two alien spacecraft models used in the above picture,
which was textured and rendered in Bryce. First though, let's
get an overview of the program and examine some of its pros and
Aside from free form abstract
modeling, Amorphium Pro is also useful for projects where you're
intuitively modeling something by eye, and don't need to be
mathematically exact. Some features of Amorphium Pro are:
Masking - you can select or deselect
areas of a model by painting on it to control which part are
affected by the tools.
Mesh Quad - you can increase the
polygon density of an area that is going to be stretched so you
still have enough of a mesh to work with.
Hot Wax - You can create a Wax object
and paint on extra mesh to rough out the shape you want, then
convert it to a regular mesh object to use all of the other tools.
Composer - You can combine different
mesh models into a single, grouped model, with independent control
over the size, position, and rotation of each part. You can
also apply Boolean operations to combine different meshes into a
single continuous mesh.
BioSpheres - Metaballs, that glom
onto each other, can be arranged to produce the desired mesh
Morphing - You can use Amorphium Pro
to produce Morphs for Poser models.
Height Shop - you can use a gray
scale image to control the shape of a model.
There are also options for Rendering,
Painting, and Animation.
Amorphium Pros and Cons
Amorphium Pro is an
intuitive polygon modeling package with rendering and animation
Pro is great for free form organic modeling, either improvised or
Pro is probably not the best choice if you want to make an exact
scale model of some detailed object like a battleship.
Low cost - Amorphium Pro
is currently going for $119.
We're going to make our models from
simple spheres that are modified using the tools in the FX window.
When you start
up Amorphium, the Composer window starts up by default.
Create a sphere by clicking the 5th icon down on the left side of
the screen and clicking the sphere in the pop-up menu. Click and drag right in the workspace to create the sphere.
You should see something like the image below.
Now click on
FX in the top tool bar to switch to the FX window. The front
view is default and we'll be using that view point for the next
several steps. This is important because the way Amorphium
applies effects is dependent on the view point. Select
"Button" in the Effects menu on the right side of the
screen. Left click in the center of the sphere and drag left
twice to indent the sphere as shown below.
"Cogs" in the Effects menu. Set the number of cogs
to 7 using the Edit pop-up window for Cogs. Left click
in the center of the object and drag to the right to produce the
effect shown at below left. Repeat to produce the effect at
Give it a
Select "Twirl" in the
Effects menu. Left click in the middle of the object and
drag to the right to get the effect shown below.
Still in the
Front view, select "Button" in the Effects menu.
Left click the center of the object and drag right 5 times.
Switch to the left view and you should see something like the
image below. If you need to increase or decrease any of the
effects already applied, remember to return to the front view
before doing so.
satisfied with the model, save your work. If you plan on
using the model in another program such as Bryce or Vue, you'll
need to export the model as a 3DS or OBJ file.
Model the Scout Craft
Going back to the front view, another
model was created as a variation on the first. This one
started with a sphere which was modified with Button (drag right),
followed by Waves, Twirl, Shear, and Button (drag right).
This second model is shown in the quad view below.
The Rest of
The picture at the top of
this tutorial, "We Come In Peace...", was rendered in
Bryce 5 using the two models that we just created. The first
model built, the mother ship, was made huge and placed far in the
background. For a material, "Mech Map" from the
Miscellaneous Materials was used. In the Deep Texture Editor
(DTE), the scale was set to 272 for X, Y, and Z. The second
model built was replicated to produce a total of 9 scout
craft. The "Warm Gold" material from the Simple and
Fast Materials was applied. A bump channel was added based on
the DTE settings for the Gilded Cage material from the Wild and Fun
Materials. The star field was generated with StarBits, a
program you can download using the link provided.
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Copyright © 2002,
Carl E Schou, All Rights Reserved