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Old 21st January 2013, 01:37 PM   #12
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, OR
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Default Re: Mapping (Frustrated)

I know it sounds hopeless now, but rest easy: AC3D has possibly the EASIEST mapping tool in the category. So, take a deep breath.... and I'll try and muddle you through it.

Texture: by multiple of two, the most common texture sizes are: 256 x 256, 512 x 512 and 1024 x 1024. You can go bigger or smaller, but then you start getting into performance issues with your intended target software. Stick with those three pixel dimensions and you're likely to be OK.

Understanding how to use the TCE requires an understanding of 3D software. The cognitive problem is that you're trying to assign 2D faces to a 3D object. Thankfully, your object is very, very simple, a house. Let's try and take it step by step for a "rough fitting":

1) Open your house .ac file. Start with the "Front" viewport.
2) Select the entire house in Object mode. If your model is subdivided (separate walls, windows, roof, stairs, whatever) then select ALL the objects.
3) In the menus, select Object > Texture> Load texture... then assign all the objects to your 2D file. This will likely produce a jumble of images on your 3D object. That's to be expected (exhale.... that's it...) But what you've just done is to "assign" the entire house to be textured by the same 2D file.
4) Now to fix the mapping. Because your house is probably based on a basic cube, it should be easy to texture. Round or organic objects are much more complex to texture. But this is simple, provided your texture file is already set up to texture your specific house model, and/or the relative dimensions of its walls and roof are roughly the same as your house. If you're trying to, for example, use swaths of various textures, like brick, concrete, wood, shingles, etc. on a 2D map, it will be slightly more difficult to get the effects you want... but only slightly.

Let's assume your texture has been tailor made to the shapes in your house. In this case, it is only necessary to line up the walls and the roof to areas on the 2D graphic. But, the house is in 3D, while the 2D graphic is in cut up pieces, and flat. Let's get them to match.
5) After you've textured the entire object(s), press F10, which opens the TCE. A window will pop up over your viewport display, showing your 2D graphic. There will be some lines and shapes describing your house superimposed over the graphic, but it won't make any sense to you, visually. Again, don't panic. It's just that you haven't yet defined the viewing aspect for any part of the house, and the computer doesn't really know how to display it. So it just fits everything over the graphic.
6) Pick one "side" of the house, or one object in the house to begin with. Start with something on the 2D map that you can readily identify visually, like the front face of the building. Move the TCE window off to one side so you can see the front of the building in the Front viewport. Switch to surface mode. Click in dead space to deselect everything. Then, select only the surfaces that make up the front facade of the house. Next, in the TCE window, find the Remap section. Select the button, front. Notice now that the superimposed shape in the TCE window overlapping your graphic will look more recognizable: this is because you've told AC3D to view only those front faces of the house from the frontal aspect. All the other surfaces of the model are not displaying.
7) Now, you should be able to drag the "front" shape(s) to where it belongs on the graphic, and to reshape it to fit exactly. You can drag the square boxes to resize the entire object in the TCE; or, if you find you need to move any of the vertice points, press the Select by Vertex button and then (after clicking in the dead space to DEselect all the vertices), click or drag to select only the vertices you want, and then move them into position over the graphic so that they align. You can watch the effect it has on the object in your viewports as you work, provided your viewports are set up to view the texture (Orth menu, texture checked; if not, press T to toggle texture display on).
8) If your front facade is made up of multiple objects, you can de-select everything, then re-select only the textures you want to work with in the viewport, returning to the TCE to see the resulting shape and make it overlap the corresponding areas of your texture.
9) Move to a different facade, say, the roof. Select only the surfaces or objects that make up the roof. Make sure you're in Surface Mode. Return to the TCE, and select Remap: Top. That should provide the visual cues you need to drag the surfaces to fit the roof section of your graphic. You may need to rotate your TCE textures to make them display properly: you'll find the Rotate and Flip buttons will help you with that.
10) If you're trying to texture different parts of the house with multiple textures of varying materials (e.g., a wood wall texture, a brick texture, a painted plastic texture, etc.) you'll need to have separate objects for each texture, and assign these individually, as in Step 3). Then, once you select the object or surfaces, you'll need to resize them to get the scale of the material texture vis a vis the object/surface to look right. As an example, if you're using a brick wall graphic, you'll have to make sure that you end up with a believable looking number of rows and columns of bricks displaying on every face... and get these to meet at the corners without distortion. This you'll have to do by "eye" and by trial and error. You can do it a face at a time, an object at a time, however it takes to get the visual results you want. But try to maintain relative aspect scale as you drag the surfaces across your texture. and it may help to use the tile view in the TCE to get a repeating texture: In the TCE, under the View menu there's a Tile texture selection. See how that changes the way the texture appears in the TCE.

I hope this makes it easier for you to understand. You have to "tell AC3D" from which angle to view every object or surface, then align it with an area of the texture. Depending on how well the graphic is set up for texturing, this can be more or less difficult. But the TCE gives you an extraordinary level of control for lining things up with a minimum of fuss.

PM me if this still isn't clear: if you have Skpe, we can arrange a time to meet online and share a screen and I can show this to you in real time. The "light will come on" very quickly.

Let us know how you're coming along!
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Last edited by Stiglr; 22nd January 2013 at 06:06 PM.
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