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n4gix

3DSMax for bitmaps

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I've been experimenting using 3DSMax to create bitmaps for gauges and their components. It may seem like using a slewdge-hammer to crack a nut but, as someone short on artistic/drawing ability, I've found it very helpful.I simple build the bezel, switch, lever, etc, and add a material. I light it using an omni light directly over it, with another omni light roughly to the north west to get the oblique lighting effect. I render the appropriate view, possibly adjusting the material and lights until I get a satisfactory effect. I have R3 which renders to a jpg only, so I then use Photoshop to make any final tweaks and save as a bitmap.The following image was built up from a box, cylinder, torus, and geospheres for the brass attachements, and two omni lights. It took about 10 min.http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/141830.jpg

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Isn't that how everybody does it? It would be the way I would do it if I could draw anything better than a stick figure :-)

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>I'm slow off the mark - it's my age :(That's very nice work though. It's amazing how quickly you can build up 3d parts, add some texture and lighting....Setting up the 'photo studio' takes the longest time, but if you save your "photo studio" as a .max file, building the next part is even quicker... ;)

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After rendering with 3D Max, do not use its jpg function. For some reason that program saves its rendered drawing with less than desirable quality. You spend all that time boolean holes and applying textures and moving lights about to set the tone of the image only to have a jpg mess it all up. Instead, download a freebie called ScreenHunter 4.0 (my version anyway). It sits in the tray awaiting an F6 keypress which activates it. You can set the program to copy the bitmap data inside any rectangle which you draw around an image, in your case, the rendered gauge. That places the Max bitmap intact and undistorted on the clipboard ready to paste in Photoshop. My advice is to stay away from jpgs as much as possible, although not always easy to do. Glenn

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That's helpful. I have R3 which gives me no choice - it's a jpg or nothing!

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Must be nice to have a spare $4k lying around to purchase 3DSMax.

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>That's helpful. I have R3 which gives me no choice - it's a>jpg or nothing!Max8 give me many, many formats from which to choose, including .bmp, .psd, .jpg, .gif, .tga, etc.

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>Must be nice to have a spare $4k lying around to purchase>3DSMax.My thoughts for sure! :-lol I used a spreadsheet to calculate the start and end points for all the tick marks. Used Paint Shop Pro to actually draw them. This process is a little tedious to be sure, but given that you know, to the pixel, where the lines have to go, it's not quite as bad as it might seem.Doug

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Well, why not simply draw the scale in GDI+ and then take a screenshot! ;)

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As a Gmax kind of guy I read this with interest, and did a quick experiment to see if this was workable. I made a rim for a gauge, added some lighting, and then made a screen capture(shift+print screen), which I pasted into PSP and edited into an existing gauge I created a while back. Did it work?I have some gauges to update...:-) Robert

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Let me show an example of what I meant by "obeying the laws of 3D".http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/142355.gifThis is a 3D simulation of round, interlocking rings created in XaraX. Each ring is flat as evidenced by the cast shadows on the white background.3D Max cannot build this scene as shown because it is a three-demension program and coded to obey the rules of objects in the real world. Even if you can interlock the rings as shown using Max, they would not lie flat. And if you make them lie flat, they would not appear as shown here. The limitation of working in 3D lies in the building of objects, not in their rendering. In XaraX, you build objects as they will appear in their final form. Rendering is not necessary.Glenn

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Oh ok, thanks for that. I can clearly see what you mean. Would be harder to do in MAX indeed! :-smooch I totally agree there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to do things.What part of a panel would that apply to for example, though?>The limitation of working in 3D lies in the building of objects,>not in their rendering. In XaraX, you build objects as they>will appear in their final form. Rendering is not necessary.Sorry for my broken English, my bad. Was talking about gMax not being able to render, in comparison to 3DS. Sure, in 2D programs you work directly on the 'final output'. Makes sense. :)BTW: Just checked out the xara web site. Looks quite promising.

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Whoa! Now that Xara Xtreme is one amazing program! Thanks for bringing that to my attention... Having a ball reworking my nighttime gauge faces now... ;)

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Look through the four Gauge Graphics tutorials here at AVSim on using XaraX and you won't have to reinvent the wheel. The series starts with tutgg_p1.zip. You will soon discover more uses for this program than you have time to fiddle with. It is one incredible piece of software, graphically speaking.Glenn

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>Look through the four Gauge Graphics tutorials here at AVSim>on using XaraX and you won't have to reinvent the wheel. The>series starts with tutgg_p1.zip. You will soon discover more>uses for this program than you have time to fiddle with. It is>one incredible piece of software, graphically speaking.>GlennThanks, I will.Here's one of my night time 'lighted' gauge faces. This a/c has LED "rings of light" around the gauge bezels:http://img209.imageshack.us/img209/9991/xl...htmaskxara9.pngHere's the 'daytime' version:http://img49.imageshack.us/img49/9263/xl2a...eterface9sy.pngAll I need now is to add some "reflections" to give the illusion of a glass face. ;)

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I like the glow effect. I can imagine a panel full of those. Reflections are pretty hard to pull off without making the gauge harder to read. I played with glass covered faces and reflections for a while but gave up. All they did was make gauges harder to see properly. Now, if I can get all essential items on the face of a gauge and keep text readable at reasonable gauge sizes, then I'm a happy camper.If you get into XaraX, you'll find the ticks around the face of your gauges (like the one you have shown here) will be a snap to do. That's covered in one of the tutorial also.Glenn

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Well, I do need to make the 'greenish-blue' a bit more pronounced around the circumfence of the gauge face, and reduce the light in the center a bit more, but compared to what I had managed to do in Photoshop 8, this is light-years improved as well as drop-dead easier... ;)My usual approach to 'reflections' is to take a screenshot in the VC from the gauge face's perspective, then flip the image, and apply a LOT of transparency in an overlayer.

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