So you want to create your own 3D objects? Well, its not impossible, but I won't say that it isn't hard. Its like getting to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice. But that's not to say you can't do it, with a bit of help. This is going to be the first in a series of tutorials on Wings3D, a free 3D model program that you can find at Wings3D.com. Even though I don't know half of what it can do, I can help the beginning modeler start creating his or her own masterpieces.
After downloading and installing Wings, I'm sure the first thing you do is open it and wonder where the heck the controls are? All you can see are some pyramids and a few confusing menu commands. AH! Tools! That must be….no, not there. Where are the controls???
Would you believe the old saying was right? They were under your nose all the time, or actually under your fingertips. Just Right-Click and you get what I call the mouse menu! On it, you'll find all the commands for adding the 3D shapes you need for your artwork. I won't go into detail about all the shapes, they're pretty much self-explanatory, but I will talk about a couple of the commands.
First of all, I use a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel/middle button. Whenever I press down on the scroll wheel, I gain control of the camera and can move around the environment. When I scroll with the wheel, I zoom in and out. If you don't have the same setup, you can still have the same amount of control, but have to use a bit of keyboard action going on.
First, go into EDIT/PREFRENCES and tell the program that you have a two-button mouse, and then press and hold Ctrl+R and RIGHT-CLICK. You know have control of the camera. If you look down at the bottom of the screen, you'll see other keyboard hotkeys that you can use.
Ok, now that you know how to look at around, its time to make stuff! I have always believed that the best way to learn is to do. So lets make something!
The first step is deciding what to make. Since this is the first tutorial, lets keep it simple, um….a candlestick will work!
Ok, the first thing we have to do is figure out which shape closely matches our finished product. DUH, Cylinder. Ok, first we right-click and choose cylin…wait, what's that little symbol? Well believe it or not, there are also submenus that you can only get to from the mouse menu. For an example, if you click the submenu symbol for cylinder, you get a cylinder menu that allows you to set how many segments, or in this case, faces that your cylinder has.
Lets set it at twenty and click OK. There is our cylinder….but its stuck in the floor!
Ok, we don't want our model to end up in the floor, so its time to figure out what the pyramids at the top are for. These are the various selection tools for your models. The three pointed one is for vertices, or points, the red-lined one is for edges, the outlined-red one is for faces, and the solid red one selects the entire model. Lets pick that one and get our cylinder out of the floor.
Once the “Body” pyramid is selected, just click anywhere on your model to select it. It will turn red so you'll know for sure. Now that you have a model selected, you can access yet another mouse menu! This one is for model manipulation, not creation. Check it out.
Now I know all those commands look a bit confusing, but right now all we want is “Move.” When you mouse-over that command, you get a very straight-forward command menu. When you pick one of the options, the model will move in that dimension as you move your mouse.
Since we want to move our model up, pick Y and move your mouse until its cleared the floor, then Left-Click. There, that wasn't so hard was it?!
Ok, here we go. If I don't explain something well enough, PLEASE send me a PM and I will go into more detail. I'd hate for anyone to feel lost.
Alright, first things first, our cylinder is too fat for a candlestick, so lets shrink it. Right-Click and mouse-over the SCALE command. This is the command that lets you change the overall size of ANY object. Since we want a skinny cylinder, choose Radial Y, that means the cylinder will shrink along its Y axis.
See, that wasn't hard, maybe you can do this after all! Ok, now for some real fun. Our candle-stick needs a base, but if we try to shrink or grow the cylinder, the whole thing will change shape. What we need is either a new cylinder attached to the main cylinder, or more perhaps an easier way would be to change our present cylinder. Like a living thing, our cylinder can grow new parts.
Watch close now. First manipulate the camera until your looking at the bottom of the cylinder. Use SPACE to deselect the cylinder, and then choose the “FACE” selection pyramid at the top. You can now select individual faces of the cylinder. Click just the bottom of the cylinder and it'll turn red. Then change the view till your looking at the side of the cylinder. We are now going to “grow” a base plate for the candlestick.
Remember the menu that allows you to manipulate your model? Well its time to learn a new command from it. RIGHT-CLICK and choose EXTRUDE/Y. What this will do is allow us to “grow” a new section of the cylinder along the Y Axis. After selecting the command, move the mouse until it looks right to you. Just look at the picture to get the idea.
“But its still small.” you say? Yep, we need yet another command. You may have noticed that there were several extrude commands. The one we need is the EXTRUDE REGION command. This will extrude every selected face, AND keep them connected as a solid whole. What this means is that…well just do what I say.
You should still have the bottom of the cylinder selected after our EXTRUDE, I want you to hit the “+” key ONCE. What will happen is that the little section we just grew should turn red. Click the bottom of the cylinder again and it should turn back to gray, but leave the rest. We now select the EXTRUDE REGION/NORMAL option and move the mouse. The bottom section that we grew should become larger without effecting any part of the cylinder.
Now for the candle-cup. Hit SPACE to deselect everything, and then hit R. This will reset the camera. While still in “FACE” mode, select the top of the cylinder and hit Shift + A. You'll zoom in to the top of the cylinder. I want you to do everything we did in the last step, just don't make the extruded part as large. Stop when you get this.
Now, hit SPACE to deselect everything, and then select the central circle, then hit “+” one time to select the entire upper face, and finally select the central circle again. You should end up with the results in the picture.
Ok, we're almost there. I want you to select the EXTRUDE REGION/Y command again and grow the selected area up until you get something similar to the first picture below. You have finally finished the rough modeling of your candlestick. Looks kinda childish doesn't it? Well that's because there is still one more step that is needed.
In order for your candle stick to look finished, it must be SMOOTHED. What that means is that when you go into “Body” selection mode and select your candlestick, you can tap the “S” key a couple of times. This will take every face and cut it up into two faces, and those two into four and so on. BUT, the faces CANNOT take up any more space that the original face, so the object must deform, and SMOOTH out, giving everything a better look and feel.
Well, that's all for now. I want you to go into “FILE” and choose “EXPORT AS” and choose Wavefront Obj. Save your candlestick somewhere and in the next tutorial, Modeling in Wings 3D II, I'll show you not only how to UV Map your obj in Wings3D so it can be textured, but how to add a few jewels to it, not just painted ones!