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Old 9th March 2012, 10:06 AM   #1
Hans_Petter
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Default Cutting rounded windows

I've been working on an X-Plane fuselage for a long time and have decided to try a different approach regarding windshield and windows. A long time ago I created the windows by means of alpha channel transparency. However, even with partial transparancy along the edges it's not as smooth as I want it to be. Since I did create internal structures by downsizing a copy of the fuselage to 95 percent, flip the normals and work from the inside I know that I can cut the windows by adding vertices, creating new edges and deleting extra vertices / surfaces within the window area. This took long though. So I wonder if there's an easier approach. From the outside view I've got the basic fuselage shape and the windows show as texture transparency. I want to cut out the windows along the edges of the transparent area. Intuitively, some kind of knife should be able to do the job but I've not been able to use anything but rectangles for knife. What I would want is to cut out rounded corners so I tried using a cylinder object as a knife but it didn't work.
Once I get properly cut out window areas I plan to add a flange along the edges and add rivets through texture. Anyway, what I want is to cut elaborately shaped holes in a curved object without messing up its shape. How would the pros approach this?

By the way, one thing that does save time and ensure lateral symmetry is to work on one side of the fuselage only and then mirror it to get both sides when it's finished.
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Old 9th March 2012, 01:32 PM   #2
Stiglr
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Default Re: Cutting rounded windows

1) Windows/glass should be independent/separate objects. Simply select the surfaces, Surface > Cut Away Object and rename it as "glass". Your call as to whether to make all glass panels as one "glass" object (such as for a static "ground object"), or to break up into "cockpit_glass" "turret_glass" "canopy_glass" objects, etc, for a "player-operated" aircraft. Depending on your animation/game system, you can then assign the glass panels as "children" to the [parent] fuselage, canopy or turret objects that house them, such that they move together.

There should be no gaps or seams between the glass and the fuselage. You simply take care to properly "isolate" the glass panel shapes while building the fuselage, then simply follow step one above to make glass items that have overlapping vertices wherever they meet the fuselage.

If you make separate glass objects, you can create different materials, and can make the glass two-sided and transparent, leaving the solid fuselage one-sided and solid.

The lateral symmetry method is very important, and should always be used. Build the aircraft in half, then use the power of the computer to create a perfectly symmetrical 'other side' after you've done the lion's share of your editing. Occasionally, you'll have to add a few odds and ends to one side that aren't on the other (pitot tube, the odd vent or protrusion), but your results will always be better than if you attempt to preserve symmetry by doing the same thousands of edits and operations on the fuselage, wings, etc. twice. That's impossible, if you think about it.
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Last edited by Stiglr; 9th March 2012 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 10th March 2012, 06:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cutting rounded windows

Thanks for the answer I can certainly select the window areas and define them as separate objects even though there's no hinged canopy in this case. However, I was primarily wondering whether there's an easy way to slice with a knife to separate the window areas from the main fuselage. Since slicing with a knife places new vertices where we want the object to be separated it provides the right transition automatically. But then, for this job I'd need a "corer" to punch out the selected area and the knife function doesn't seem to work with multi-surface "knives". Otherwise I'll just go "insert vertices" until I get the ones I need, rearrange the surfaces and delete superfluous vertices and redundant surfaces afterwards.
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Old 10th March 2012, 10:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cutting rounded windows

Yes, you can use a Knife tool (rectangle works best) when creating windows. For "birdcage" canopy areas, you just make a cut on either side of each canopy brace, then flip the vertical rectangle horizontal and get the perpendicular braces.
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