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Old 22nd August 2011, 02:36 PM   #1
texasranger
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Default Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

I am a serious noobie to AC3D. I have created a couple of planes for X-Plane using only Plane Maker, and I am now interested in taking them to the next level with 3-D panels, cockpits and airframe objects.
I read an old post that was extremely helpful:

http://www.inivis.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4211

This was way back in 2006 - do the instructions that Don provided in that post still apply with X-Plane 9.x and the newest version of AC3D? If so, there's some great information there!

I've been searching the 'net for the past two weeks looking for beginner's guides to using AC3D with the X-Plane plugin. I'm not so much after specific techniques - more needing some conceptual info such as:
* texture mapping - I'm good with PaintShop Pro, and I understand layers and transparency. What I don't understand is how a single PNG file "maps" to objects in AC3D. I've played with the AC3D texture mapping tool, but I still don't get what I'm doing with it.
* 3-D Cockpit Panels - I've seen a tutorial that says to create a "square" in AC3D in front of the pilot's position, then run the TCE tool to place a texture on the square. Umm, shouldn't the "square" actually be in the shape of the panel? Can I create a panel object shape in AC3D using a polyline, then extruding it?
* Objects in X-Plane - I've managed to create several interior objects for a cockpit in AC3D that I think are positioned correctly (I loaded my Plane Maker aircraft.obj into AC3D, and everything kind of fits). My question is, "what do I do now"? How do I get that collection of objects (rear deck, left and right seats, center console) into Plane Maker?

Sorry for the beginner questions, I just can't seem to find any tutorials suited to the total beginner!
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Old 22nd August 2011, 05:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

ad * texture mapping:
The x-plane object file format only supports one texture file per obj.
If your .ac model uses more than one texture file you need to export those parts which share a texture into sep. x-plane objects and attach them in planemaker individually. If you select parts of your mesh and load a texture you should be able to do the UV mapping easily.

ad * 3-D Cockpit Panels:
don't bother with creating a single polygon panel like this tutorial seems to imply.
Build a 3d cockpit that looks like the real thing and texture active instruments from the Panel.png (the one in aircraft folder/cockpit3d/-PANELS-/).

ad * Objects in X-Plane:
Planemaker -> Standard -> Misc Objects (define 'lighting interior' in the pop-up if appropriate)
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Old 23rd August 2011, 10:16 AM   #3
texasranger
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

Thanks for the reply, Cap'n! I'll spend some time playing around with it this week.
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Old 14th November 2011, 02:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

I have successfully created a group of objects for the interior of my Remos GX project, and they show up just fine when in 3D cockpit mode (CTRL-O). However, none of them show up in exterior views. I have all the Viewpoint options selected properly (I think):


In case the image doesn't show up above, I have the entire top row and bottom row of the Aircraft and Panel Visibility checked ON.

I tested out another airplane (the Tampico T9) that uses misc objects in Planemaker for the interior, and its objects show up just fine in external views. I further tested by swapping a couple of the Tampico's misc objects into my Remos objects folder and attaching them in Planemaker - they show up! I then did the reverse, and put a couple of my objects into the Tampico objects folder and attached them in Planemaker. Mine do NOT show up!
Leads me to believe that I am exporting my objects from AC3D improperly...
Any suggestions? Is there something I need to change about how I'm exporting the objects? Maybe something I'm missing inside PlaneMaker? Other?
Thanks!

Last edited by texasranger; 14th November 2011 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 15th November 2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

Well, I answered my own question - my misc objects were not visible because they were "inside" the PlaneMaker fuselage. Apparently, even though you could "see" through the windshield and windows in the Planemaker fuselage, it is not truly transparent. The only object visible through the transparent glass of the PM fuse is my cockpit_OUT object. To test out my theory, I edited my RemosGX_paint.png file, and made the entire fuselage mapped textures transparent. When I ran PlaneMaker, of course the fuselage was missing, but all of my interior misc objects were visible.
So, I am now modeling the fuselage in AC3D to replace the default PM fuselage. The trick will be to figure out how to make the AC3D fuse have truly transparent glass.
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Old 15th November 2011, 03:54 PM   #6
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

One thing you haven't yet discovered about AC3D is the role of the part hierarchy.

If you look under the Tools menu, you see the Hierarchy menu. Items/groups higher in the list have visual priority over items below them in the list. So, even though it's set as transparent, all your glass and see-through items/groups should be placed at the very bottom of the list. If the glass is in the list above another item, that item won't be visible through the glass.

Try it out: select an object that is not showing up through the glass. Move it to the Top of the list (or find the glass and move it to the Tail of the list). Voila, the item will magically appear from the exterior of the aircraft in the 3D view (and the orth views too, if I recall correctly).
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Old 16th November 2011, 08:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Just bought AC3D (a noobie!) - X-Plane User

Excellent advice Stiglr! I will play around with the hierarchy as soon as I make my glass objects. I have one more "hole" to poke for the skylight, then I will create the glass for the windshield, side lights and skylight.
Thanks for watching the thread!
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