We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Discussion of rolling-stock creation & re-painting.

We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:07 am

OK, so a diesel tutorial has already been done, but how about one for a steam loco? Inevitably, it'll repeat many things already explained in SMM's tutorial (but in my own way). However, once you get to the really interesting bits, there's a lot that will be new.

I'll use a lot of screenshots, but also videos that I'll post on YouTube.

Any ideas about the best way to do this? If I put it all in this one thread, it might get confusing, with the lessons, questions and answers all mixed up together, but it would still be the easiest way for me.
Last edited by mrennie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Tools I'll be using

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:41 am

Here's a list of the tools I'll be using:

    TS2013 with its Asset Editor and Blueprint Editor, naturally.

    3DCrafter 9.2.2 (the most recent build) - I use the Pro version (it's not very expensive). Available from [url]amabilis.com[/url]

    Photoshop (I have version 8.0.1).

    The RW art plug-ins for Photoshop, available here: http://www.railsimulator.com/support.php. There's a link to a download of RailWorks_ArtPlugins.zip.

    Power Sound Editor Free, available here: http://www.free-sound-editor.com/
Last edited by mrennie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Setting up the folders

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:58 am

We need to create the folder structure. There's no hard and fast rule to this, but here's how I've done it (mostly copying the structures I've seen for RSC's own locos). First you need to create a "Provider" folder (give it a personalised name ... mine is Smokebox). Right below your provider folder, create another one for the loco. Everything else will be placed below that one. I've called mine Tutorial Steam Loco. Then create the sub-folders as I've shown below:

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Last edited by mrennie on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Preparing 3DC

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:05 am

We need to set the options in 3DC ready for making something for RW:

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Sometimes, even doing these simple operations can cause 3DC to crash. When you restart it, you'll get this message:

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Always say yes! 3DC is extremely good at recovering a crashed file.
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Preparing the object hierarchy for the locomotive

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:52 am

We're going to build the locomotive and tender in two separate files, starting with the loco.

So, create a new file and call it locomotive001.3dc.

Why the 001 you ask? It's because 3DC is going to crash a lot ... be prepared for this! You need a lot of patience to put up with it. Whenever it crashes, as soon as you restart 3DC, say yes to recovering the unsaved document, and when it's loaded the recovered document, save it to a new file with the next number up. I always keep the last 20 or so saved files. I also save anyway, to a new file, several times a day. That's because sometimes, 3DC corrupts something that prevents it from reloading a file. It's very rare, but when it happens, it can seriously ruin your day. I've learnt the hard way to make these saves to new files (and keep backups of them in various places, on different hard drives, in different computers!) so that I won't lose more than a few hours work at the most.

This is going to be a 2-8-0. It's going to have 2 bogies. In order for the wheels, drivers and pilot wheels (and trailing wheels if the loco had them) to track the rails, they have to be placed in bogies. Our loco will have one bogie (called bo01) for the front, pilot truck (its wheels and truck frame and all other bits attached to the same), and another bogie (bo02) for the drivers.

Important note: As this is a rigid frame loco (not an articulated), everything that's attached to the drivers or the frame will be placed either directly in the bo02 group or into a child group belonging to bo02. That's so that when negotiating a curve, the main frame, boiler, cab, etc. will stay aligned with the drivers.

To create the first object group, drag a cube primitive into the scene:

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Click once on the newly created group and change its name to locomotive:

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Rename the cube to DO NOT DELETE ME. The reason for this won't become apparent until much later on, when we come to optimise the cab view, but doing it now will save a lot of headaches.

Go into top-down view:

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Then constrain the y and z movement, but not the x:

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Note: Constraining the movement in the x, y and/or z axis is something you have to get used to doing a lot, especially when selecting anything (objects, points, lines, faces) to avoid accidentally shifting things. It's horrible when you discover that you shifted a point without realising it, especially if you see that it happened days ago and has ruined something it took you ages to do. I always lock all three as soon as I open a file, and I only unlock them when I really do want to shift something, locking them again afterwards. Even so, I'm forever shifting things accidentally.

Shift the DO NOT DELETE ME cube over to the left, beyond the 10 foot wide grid, just so that it isn't in the way of our model to be. Then lock it. We should never have to touch this object again (but we will need to select it sometimes).

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Last edited by mrennie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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continuing with creating the hierarchy ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:19 am

Drag another cube into the scene, approximately in the middle of the grid, and call it VerticalCentreline. Rename its group to ModelGuides. This object isn't going to be part of our model, but we're going to use it as an important guide to check that things are always aligned properly (this is very useful when you accidentally shift entire parts of the loco a tiny bit! ... it's happened to me many times).

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Select the view where you'd be looking towards to the front of the loco, from the rear:

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Lock your x, y, z movements.

Go to the Point/Edge/Face Selection tool:

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Select the top line of the new cube (move the cursor until the top line turns blue, then click to make it turn yellow). With that line selected, use the Rectangle Selection Tool to select all the horizontal lines of the cube:

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Go to the shape operation panel and click on the Divide Selection button, to split all those lines in two.

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continuing with creating the hierarchy ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:32 am

Click again on the Point/Edge/Face Selection tool, then click in an empty space in the scene (this is to deselect edges). Move the cursor about near the top edge of the cube until it highlights, in blue, a point in the middle of the edge:

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Then use the Rectangle Selection tool to select all the newly created points:

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and click on the Create Edge From Selection button:

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Select the object VerticalCentreline in the hierarchy and draw as solid outline:

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Use the rectangular selection tool to select all the points at the top of the cube, then unlock the Y movement and use the drag tool to drag those points higher (ideally to above what will be the height of the loco). Don't forget to lock y again afterwards.

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That object is our centreline guide, and everything that should be centered in the loco we will aligned with its centre. I usually change it to be drawn as a wireframe. Lock this object and make sure you never shift it!
Last edited by mrennie on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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continuing with creating the hierarchy ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:55 am

Drag a cylinder primitive into the scene and change it to be drawn as a wireframe. Go into the forward-looking view and with only the X axis allowed to move, zoom in as far as possible and drag the cyinder until it is perfectly aligned with the VerticalCentreline. The centre lines of each object should merge into a single line on the display.

Then constrain only the z axis. Go into top-down view mode and drag the cylinder to just beyond the top (front actually) of the grid.

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Copy and paste that cylinder. Important note: Before pasting, click in an empty space in the scene, to deselect your current selection. That'll make sure the object is pasted into a new group at the top of the scene hierarchy.

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Select the newly pasted cylinder (do it from the hierarchy tab) and, with only the z axis enabled, drag it down to just below the grid (that is, towards what will be the back of the loco).

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Now rename the groups and objects as shown:

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Then, in the hierarchy tab, drag bo01 and bo02 (starting with bo02 so that they'll be in a user-friendly order!) into the locomotive group.

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That's the main bogie groups ready. Next we'll add the groups for the axles (wheels). You'll notice that we aren't worrying much about the precise positions of the objects along the z and y axis, only the x axis. That's because the x axis is the only one that matters for now, to ensure that everything is aligned with the direction of travel. We'll deal with the y-axis when we have our wheels, to ensure that they sit properly on the rails, and the z-axis will be handled once we know exactly how far apart the axles should be and where the pilot truck should pivot.
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:31 pm

jpetersjr wrote:I can't wait.

I know it's not from the 1930's, but it will be a very good starter engine, so I think I'm going to build the American 4,4,0 from 1885.

It should be simple enough for me before I try anything else more complicated.


Umm, not sure about "simple enough". Don't underestimate how hard it is. Making any loco for RW is difficult. A steam loco has the added difficulty (compared to a diesel or electric) of the motion and valve gear (the "monkey motion" as they used to call it in the States, according to a book I'm reading), the synchronised chuff sounds and smoke effects, extra controls and animations like the firebox, water sight gauges, injectors, blower, damper, whistles and blowdown valves with steam ...

Then there's the need to make a tender too, with its trucks, and with coal that fills up (if you go the whole hog). It's going to take many months.
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby PapaXpress » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:29 pm

JP, et All please wait until the tutorial is done before asking questions.

Thank you.
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:29 am

Continuing with the initial set up, we'll block the x,y, unlock the z, and shift our centreline object in the -z direction, so that it will end up behind our loco.

Before
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After
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We should also resize it, by stretching it wider across the x and narrower along the z:
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:41 am

Next, we need another "modelling guide" to mark the position of the rails, when looking at the loco from the side. To avoid it getting in the way of the loco model, we'll place the guide off to one side.

Drag another cube into the scene, viewing the scene in "top down" mode. Usually when you drag an object into the scene, this message pops up:
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Just click on OK.

Now drag it somewhere convenient over on the right-hand side of the scene.

Now we have to resize it and display it as a wire-frame, so click on it in the hierarchy with the RMB (right mouse button) and go to draw > Wireframe:

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To resize it, remember you can do it roughly by dragging in the dark shaded area of this icon:
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Here it is, resized:

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The next step is to align its top edge with the group centre of the loco ... see next post!
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:54 am

Before we position our rail guide, rename it it to "RailHeightGuide" (double-click on its name, slowly).

In the scene hierarchy, select DO NOT DELETE ME, click the RMB and select Draw Translucent.

Also make sure that "show group pivot points" is selected:
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Allow only the y axis to move. Go to the view mode where you look at the model from the right:
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Make sure you've selected only the object RailHeightGuide. Then zoom in as far as possible so that you can see the DO NOT DELETE ME cubes centre as well as the top edge of RailHeightGuide.
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Next, slide RailHeightGuide downwards until its top edge is aligned with the centre of DO NOT DELETE ME. You'll need to zoom in closer and closer, up to the maximum zoom, focussing on the intersection of the edge with the blue horizontal axis of the centre of DO NOT DELETE ME, until you can see that they are overalapping perfectly.

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Select RailHeightGuide in the hierarchy, bring up the drop-down menu - RMB click - and select lock:
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 11:57 am

At this point, I'll just mention that in these early stages, I'm assuming that the reader has a scant knowledge of some features of 3DC, but as we progress, I'll spend less time explaining where are the various buttons and menus, and how to do basic things like dragging and resizing, so that I can concentrate on the specifics of creating a steam loco.
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Re: We shall build a steam locomotive ...

Unread postby mrennie » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:14 pm

Going back to out RailHeightGuide object, to keep things tidy, we should select it in the hierarchy and drag it into the ModelGuides group. It makes it easier to select and hide the guides when we want to.

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Now we need to set up a side view background image of the loco. I don't normally use them, because I work from enormous 1/8th scale drawings on sheets of paper that cover the dining room floor. Instead, I make another guide object with horizontal and vertical lines t mark the important measurements. But for this tutorial, we'll use a line drawing. It'll be good enough for our purposes.

This is the line drawing we'll use (thanks jpetersjr):

Baldwin Ten Wheeler blueprint.jpg
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I put this image into a folder called Reference Pictures:
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Make a note of the dimensions of the image file, in this case, 800x358. Staying in the "looking from the right-hand side" view, we'll create another cube in the scene, with dimensions 8.00 along the z axis, by 3.58 along the y axis. Name the new cube "SideElevationLineDrawing". To size it, go to the Shape Operation Panel and select the Scale Selection button:

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Go to the Parameters part at the bottom of the Construction panel and select Scale To:

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Enter the values for y and z (3.58 and 8.0).
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