View Full Version : hard surface topology flow?

03 March 2007, 05:06 AM
I seem to be having difficulty understanding how to go about adding detail / when it's okay to smooth and also some general topology issues with curved/organic shapes that have lots of hard edges.

What I'm currently working on is the F-16A and while I feel that I have the basic shape down pat, I'm getting slowed down on adding detail and getting propers smooths. This smoothing mainly is a problem with inserting edgeloops where I need them because this often results in my topology seemingly getting screwed up in certain areas and it looks messy (at least to my eye).

I feel that the last three pics tend to illustrate my point that there is indeed something wrong. I'm sure it's something stupid-simple that I've overlooked (or maybe a combination of things).

03 March 2007, 08:25 AM
Hi! Nice work! Tha shape is good I think, but you rigth, there are some surface problems. The problem is when you chamfer the edges, there are some additional vertexes created, especially at the corners. You have to weld them. I marked some other problems with red on your wire. this kinda points on the middle of an edge also cause some surface problems. You have to extend the edges and/or connect them to the nearset vertex. I attached a wire image from my F16 Block C, maybe you could find some useful ideas from that. Unfortunately, I'm using 3D MAX.

03 March 2007, 02:04 PM
I wouldn't say it looks anything terrible (better than some other 3D models of that particular aircraft), but there are some problem areas as you've said. In general, you want the loops to go around surface transitions. So if you have something bulge out such as a cockpit canopy, you want a the loops to go around it on the surfaces changing direction. (So one loop around the canopy bubble at it's base, and a loop around the canopy on the fuselage surface.) If it's done right, then there shouldn't be too many shading artifacts and subdivision/smoothing will be more predictable.

It also appears that you've broken or redirected a loop on the leading edge of the wing chine that should have gone straight back into another set of edges that was also redirected. Why that happened (maybe there was a reason), I don't know?

04 April 2007, 02:28 PM
the thing you see in the second image is because of the screwed up normals. Just add soften/harden from Edit Polygons > Normals. Probably you will have to check for extra faces or vertices.

I think there are waay too many polygons there. You could get away with half, and everything would have been easyer to manage.

08 August 2007, 01:07 AM
Coming across this was sweet, I was a Load Toad on a block-50/52 version. This is one of the closest to functional ones I've seen. Usually most look like they were modeled off a plastic kit, where details get left out or are based on concept art for the plane such as the nighthawk model kits. On this one it looks close to the real thing with a few issues that seem more to do with your reference than modeling skills. The tailfin looks like all the details are there just wrong depth, ie the base is wider than the fin and control surface should almost be flush with the fin. The leading and trailing edge of the wing move, unlike the horizontal stabilizers at the tail, and the leading edge of the wing is round not sharp. The wings are missing the the little pod that sticks out from the wing at station 2 and 8, ie station 1 wingtip, 2 funny pod, 3 cluster rack, 4 heavies, 5 centerline, 6 heavies, 7 cluster rack, 8 funny pod, 9 wingtip. I can't for the life of me remember what purpose the pods is. The machine bevel/hole is missing, and as dense as you have the mesh that might be a pain to put in. The canopy is all glass(clear surface) except for the band where the canopy opens and the edges that are flush with the surface of the plane. If the canopy does not need to open you probably want to cut an edge around the bubble to smooth the transition between the metal and glass. One trick you can use is the seams on the F-16 are pretty obvious in some of the pictures below where the skin is bolted to the airframe and matching the edge flow of those can't hurt since they are mostly four sided pieces. All in all I can't wait to see it when it is done. They are beautiful airframes that are getting replaced with grease monkey nightmares.

The USAF has images on the public half of the site you can use reference. I hit the page and under the images searched for F-16, I got 48 pages of results, and after looking through the first three pages I copied the direct links below, mostly I use them for desktop backgrounds, but many are really clear images that could be used for reference. I grabbed the links of ones I thought might be useful, but if you want you can simply go to the ( site your self and search for images. Best search would be F-16, as the rest changes depending on who is talking about it. They links are not in any order... Good luck

shows that the leading edge of the wing is not sharp but round to force air to travel at different speeds over the top and bottom sides of the wing.

really big but shows seams you can use

being re-fueled in air

look at the guy under the wing, to give an idea of scale

cockpit open

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