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Old 7th December 2021, 06:52 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 4
Default Is there an "XPlane specifics" tutorial for AC3D?

Right now most XPlane users wanting to make airplanes or scenery are told to use Blender, but it seems Ac3d has a historical track record of heavy use in XPlane and unlike blender it seems Ac3d has round-trip obj8 format read/write, whereas Blender has only a one way (export) and an experimental import that doesn't quite work at all.

However, on the other hand AC3D is a very old-school 3d drawing program that reminds me of using maya 1.0 circa 1998.

A bit of an orientation for people who have at least used Blender would be useful, as would a tutorial on how this program differs from other programs.

My biggest complaint so far is with the hiearchy and object properties.

1. Open a large airplane (XPlane) obj8 format file, and it imports, which is something you can't say about Blender, but then open the Hierarchy and Object properties. There's no scroll bar in the hierarchy view, the hierarchy does not scroll to where the selected group or object is, no way is provided to sync the content of the hierarchy view to the selected objects, verticies, polys in the model views. The selection mode does some odd things that I don't understand that don't seem to be covered in the manual.

2. There are selection modes (group, object, surface etc) but the hierarchy model does not show the surfaces on a poly. I see a world, group, and poly level only. So the hiearchy doesn't let me see the polys, textures, or anything. The hierarchy view that doesn't scroll and doesn't even have a visible scroll bar seems useful for a 4 poly drawing of a flower pot, but not for the 20k poly world of airplane models.

3. Selecting an item inside the group does not update the Object properties.

4. You can't dock the object properties or the hierarchy to the main window. Serious apps started using docking even in the late 1990s. The lack of docking and of docked hierarch or object inspectors is really quite shocking to me.

5. I can't see any find feature.Suppose I want to find bits of a model that use bits of a texture, or somehow, want to find among 10k unnamed objects/groups, the particular one I want. The reverse is not even possible. Clicking a surface or poly with the texture co-ordinate editor window open, does not show me where the texture is mapped. Not only is this a super old school way of UV mapping (with no previews on my model), I need a second program to render me a preview with the texture in it? Very odd.

6. For reasons that make no sense to me, every single object is named 'ANIMATION' with data 'animated=1', or named POLY_OS=0 HARD= BLEND=yes with data similar to it. This was probably something due to the workflow of the person who had the original airplane model, which I do not know about. All I see in an obj8 formatted .obj file is text vertices in this form plus some uv map data, and animation data at the end.


TEXTURE fuselage.png
TEXTURE_LIT fuselage_LIT.png
ATTR_shiny_rat 0.3000
POINT_COUNTS 11316 0 0 31842
VT 1.464127 1.364792 9.604584 -0.000046 0.053757 -0.998550 0.133621 0.950287
VT ... (11315 more times)

I must admit the program has me lost and the manual is no help on this.
"Clicking on one of the items in the list can select or unselect objects. This selection is sensitive to the current select mode being used. In Group- select mode, for example, it is only possible to select top-level groups. To select individual objects, switch to Object -select mode (using the main AC3D control panel)."

One probable good idea is to get the original model (in whatever program the original XPlane author was using before they exported to obj8).

ONe question I have is how are the object names/data related to the obj file and are they exported again, and thus they matter when exporting to obj, or only the data area of the object/name data important, that is, could you save your work in an .ac file and export to obj8 (xplane) format, and use the name to organize your own modelling work (Cessna_Fusellage_Side_Spar_1_of_8)?

If the names are auto-assigned during import, an auto-naming system like poly_30surf_90vert_material3 would be much friendlier.


This video is pretty useful for XPlane

Last edited by WPOSTMA; 10th December 2021 at 01:03 PM.
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