3DSMax runway+taxiways and apron mesh creation

  • Dear all,


    Hope you all had a joyful Christmas with your families and relatives.


    What is the strategy to create the mesh for a runway + taxiways and apron in 3DSMax ? I'm unfamiliar with this tool and the wiki tuto is somewhat evasive on the topic.


    I drew the rectangle for the runway, the closed spline for the outer boundaries, and then another closed spline for taxiways and apron.


    When I use the ATTACH modifier, then QUADIFY MESH, I get an intricate mesh as illustrated below, which I assume is not good.


    What should be the workflow to draw a runway and its taxiways and create the mesh?

    Should I only attach outer boundary and runway, then quadify mesh and keep the taxiway spline as a separate element I can texture? will it be displayed on top?

    Or is there a way to cut away the taxiway and apron area from the mesh and then manually redefine mesh segments just like we do for the runway?

    Should I add also the 1m chamfer around the taxiway?


    [Blocked Image: https://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/343279Capture004referenceimage.jpg]


    Thank you in advance to whoever can clarify the workflow


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Hi


    Try to keep all meshes as simple as possible, by that, I mean no long triangles as per my screen shot. Quadify mesh makes too many polys as you have found out. Whilst its nice to have smooth corners its a waste of polys and when building a complex airport its best to keep them for other objects. Try to keep away from triangles unles they are necessary and then in places where they are not important


    Runways, aprons and taxiways must belong to a single mesh. They can however have seperate materials. The runway material is normally a multi sub object type with a minimum of 3 slots, these 3 are standard materials, they are runway, apron and taxiways. So lets assume you have the multi sub object in that order, select all the runway polygons and assign them to material slot 1 in the edit polytab on the right side (just scroll down and you'll find out where, its with the smoothing settings). Do this for the other polygons but change the number to match their material. Do not assume that a material has been assigned to any polys, even is there is only one material, its always best to select all the polys and manually assign the number 1 in that case to be sure.


    Hope this helps


    Steve

  • Hi Steve,


    Thank you for your help. I fully agree, we should keep the mesh as simple as possible.

    My question is however related to an earlier step: how do I create that mesh?


    In the tutorial, you attach the runway rectangle to the outer boundary and quadify mesh => you get a mesh over the whole surface except the runway. Afterwards you add the chamfer and manually cut the runway into sections.


    I couldn't find a way to do the same for my taxiway and apron. How do you achieve that? Do I need to attach the taxiway to the outer boundary first ? or to the runway? Or should I use another function?


    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Hi


    Here's my method, which is very different than the tut, its also a bit more time consuming but it works for me and gives you more control.


    Make the runway from a plane with the required number of sections, may need to move a few verts around to align up with taxiway entrances. you will need a runway that has enough polys to help out with height problems in FS2. Now it gets interesting and time consuming.


    At the taxiway/runway junction at one end of the runway, select the edges where it will begin, press shift and drag the mouse, a new polygon/s will be made. Drag the new poly verts to where you want the poly to end, carry on this shift drag method to add more polys, eventually you may come down to a point where you only require a single poly for the taxi way so just drag the verts to overlap them (snap is your best and worse friend here, it can snap to the wrong vert so be careful, more so in 3d) weld them and carry on extruding edges by the drag method. I do this for a taxi way that normally runs from one end of the runway to the other. Any extra runoffs can then be made to fit in with the poly structure/ Dont be afraid to use the create poly in the modifier list, snap again comes in useful. I find manually placing polys this way tends to give a nice orderly structure and they are where you want them.


    Aprons can normally be a plane with the required sections, move the verts to where you want them and when satisfied, use the edge drag method to make the polys to attach to the taxiway. For the outside area, I made another plane with lots and lots of polys, only you can decide on how many. Where the taxiway, runway and aprons overlap the polys of the outer plane I delete the polys in the outer plane, ie cutting my hole manually, I then use the create poly command and stitch it all back together but putting polys where I want them, thus avoiding all those long triangles. Automation is ok but it does tend to look for the easiest option with doesn't always produce a nice clean mesh


    Steve


    PS if you have 2 verts ( or more) that you want to combine into a single point you can use the collapse command in the edit geometry tab, be carefull in 3d as they will be at the average point of all the verts

  • HI


    Forgot to add, well it was past my bedtime... :sleeping:


    When making polys using the create method always go in a counter clockwise direction to ensure the poly normal is pointing towards you. And...


    When you attach multiple surfaces, ie apron ( or aprons as your not limited to one), outside or taxiway to the runway, they will need welding, simply select all the verts and apply a weld with a small value, I use 0.001. Any surface that is attched becomes an element of the main or first surface, this is a great way to select all the polys of say the taxiway, just use the element selection method rather than poly selection. You can also detach a set of polys (so they become a separate object) to work on them or alter just their UV's for instance then attach them back to the main mesh (remember to weld)


    Steve

  • Thank you so much Steve for your help, that's highly appreciated.


    I tried out following your hints, without much success yet. Drawing an AFS2 airfield with 3DSMax feels a little bit like trying to catch a mosquito with an AA Flak gun...

    I tried cutting my own mesh manually instead of using the quadify mesh function, but I still don't know how to handle the taxiway and apron.

    How do you attach them to the rest so that the base mesh polygons (i.e. the airport outside area) don't overlap the taxiway mesh sections?


    Mesh sections for the taxiways and apron:

    [Blocked Image: https://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/783379LSGYrwy2.jpg]


    "Airport outsise" mesh sections, they stop nicely at the runway, but overlap the taxiways...

    [Blocked Image: https://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/862535LSGYrwy3.jpg]



    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

    Edited once, last by Trespassers ().

  • Hi


    Base mesh needs lots more polygons, at least as many as the runway so they can line up, you can then use the cut tool in the edge roll out to insert more verts where they are needed prior to adding polys, will upload a screenie shortly.


    Also, taxiways need to have quads not polys with lots of faces. Try to model with 4 sides max and triangles when needed.


    Steve

  • Hi guys,


    there are a few different techniques that could be used here but I feel that the way that I explained in the tutorial was the quickest, easiest way. You should be able to finish up the groundpoly with little issue. The only part that takes a bit more time is adding the cuts in the runway poly and apron.


    When you quantify the 'outside' you can adjust it so that there aren't too many cuts in it. The runway and apron should be holes until you add the poly. In your image above it doesn't appear that this is correct.

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • Hi


    Ok here you go. unless you want to do as Jeff suggested. As I have said before, I think that method produces a mesh difficult to clean up but your free to use whatever suits you


    The oustide mesh would be a plane with somewhere in the region of 65 * 20 polygons


    I believe the runway was a 40 * 3 plane, I moved the verts to give me the 1 metre polys suggested but not sure if they are needed to be honest.


    Far apron is a 7 * 6 poly plane , left verts were moved to align with taxiway. Could probably get away with slightly less but remember FS2 likes a dense mesh to assist with smoothing over terrain. When you do decals if they disappear over long distances this is the reason, so use the edge cut tool to devide it up


    Where the meshes overlap delete from the outside mesh to give the gap as in the second pic, then attach meshes together using the runway as the master mesh and then manually join using create poly. Remember anti clockwise


    If you look at my taxi junctions I have tried to keep to quads, remember no more that 4 sides.


    Outside poly can be trimmed to whatever shape you require, you can combine verts to make triangles as I have done in places to follow the underlying photo (airfield boundry etc)


    Steve

  • The runway and apron should be holes until you add the poly.

    Thank you Jeff,


    That's exactly what I'm trying to do, but couldn't find so far a way to do it.

    If I select my runway, add "Edit Spline" modifier and attach the outer boundary, then when I Quadify mesh the runway is a hole as it should.

    If I attach the taxiway and apron splines too, they won't make a hole in the mesh, unlike the runway.

    That's where I'm currently stuck and, unfortunately, your tuto doesn't explain how to do it...

    Can you please explain how to attach the taxiway to the runway ?


    Thanks a lot Steve also for your help. I know these are way too few polygons in my mesh : I need first to find out a working method before to go too far into mesh detail.

    Your "Shift and Drag" method doesn't do anything in my case I'm afraid - it only draws a selection window... I must have missed a step somewhere...

    Thank you for your patience, I wish there was a tool like ADE for AFS2


    Best regards

    Antoine



    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Hi


    I think you are missing some steps regarding adding polys.


    To learn the process start with a simple 4*4 poly plane, right click on it, go the bottom of the list and convert to an editable poly. In the right hand panel under the modifier list it will say editable poly, click the plus button and make sure you select edge. Now click on an outside edge on the plane, it will turn red. Now shift and drag with the mouse away from the edge and it will add another poly.


    ADE is great but eventually you have to start modelling something


    Steve

  • thank you so much Steve for your patience and your help. Yes I'm totally new to 3DSMax, with limited access only, thus it's difficult to make fast progress.

    Therefore your help is highly appreciated, once I master a few base functions and techniques I'm sure it will be quite easy.


    I did quite a lot of modelling by the past, mainly aircraft in the good old times of FS98, it was a good school to learn the hard way optimize number of polygons since airframe strucures were limited to some 44 kB...

    Anyway this had become too much time consumming and as new FS versions and powerful tools became available I decided to keep away of GMAX and stop designing aircraft.


    What I like in AFS2 approach is that we place a local area mesh, not just a flat runway. Thus we don't need to cheat with cvx slopes to integrate a flat runway to a curvy ground, the runway, taxiways and apron will fit to the ground with some rounding.


    3DSMax is out of reach to most people.

    AC3D is more affordable. Rodeo makes great video tutos - too bad thery're lost in the forum, they should be sorted out in a dedicated, protected thread.


    Looking at the AC3D workflow, it seems however that you approximately fit and rotate a square grid to a runway, then approximately paint segments of this grid to feature the runway, etc.

    Maybe I misunderstood the tuto, but just like the wiki tuto the method only allows to place 1 single runway, but as soon as you start having taxiways that aren't square you're stuck... or another, more flexible method must be found...


    Anyway, back to the initital problem... I'll try out your steps when I have access again to 3DSMax.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • (...) Now shift and drag with the mouse away from the edge and it will add another poly.

    Hi again Steve, that's where I'm stuck. I followed your steps but when I click and drag (with or without Shift, CTRL or Alt, etc.) it just draws a selection window as shown below...

    Either it's a difference with 3DSMax 2017, or something is configured differently on my setup...


    [Blocked Image: https://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/644628LSGYrwy1.jpg]


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • hi


    from the pic it looks as if your still in selection mode, click on the translate icon, the crossed arrows, you should see the axis arrows over your selected edge. then you can shift and drag. Max likes to be in certain modes to work


    Probably best if you have a plane with multiple polys, when i say 4*4 i mean polys not a size, ie 16 polygons. just helps to see the effect when you add extra polys


    I would also suggest leaving your airfield dreams for a few days and just learn max, watch some basic vids etc. Max is too powerful for what we need really and we hardly scratch the surface


    steve

  • Thanks Steve,


    You're perfectly right, the problem is I don't really know where to start since most of the powerful tools and functions in 3DSMax are probably useless for AFS2.


    For that reason, following the tuto was a good start IMO, but now that it's done for the single runway I'm stuck when it comes to drawing a simple airfield.


    If IPACS would provide a way to attach taxiways to the runway, or an alternative method to draw the taxiways/apron, I could go ahead with the tuto. Could anybody at IPACS please provide some help here ?


    Thanks in advance

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • Antoine,


    I tried to provide you help but you jumped right over it. I wrote the 3DS Max tutorial and I actually have around 15 years experience with it, and even taught it over the local college.

    In order to use 3DS Max for this you need at least some basic experience with it.


    Making the groundpoly is fairly straight forward and if you follow the tutorial carefully you will see that it takes around 5 minutes to put it together. You can make as many runways as you need. just use the line tool to make your outlines of each runway. You can also do so with the apron. You should have separate outlines for each section in the end. The main thing here is to make sure each section has its own ID.


    Also, for the AC3D tutorials, they are all in the wiki so there's no need to dig into the forum to find them.

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • Thank you Jeff for your reply,


    Unfortunately, it still doesn't answer my question : how do you attach the taxiway and apron to the runway so that they become a hole in the mesh when adding the quadify mesh modifier?


    You say it's straightforward but I cannot get it to work and there's no hint in your tuto about how to do it. As the case may be I just miss a simple step, but everything I tried so far lead to nowhere.


    Steve's method is probably more advanced, but seems to need the user to really know what he's doing in order to get a consistent mesh. I'll keep that for when I get more experience with 3DSMax, but for now I would like to master the rather simple workflow of the tuto.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.

  • If I'm understanding your question, you do not 'attach' 'the individual sections together. They need to remain separate ID's.

    You just have to get the apron (taxiway) as close to the runway as you can get. You have to use the blend on the runway edges anyway so it will all seam together anyway. Use the vertex points to drag them close to the runway.


    Once you add your runway and apron outlines the quadify modifier will leave them as open holes if done properly. Make sure that they aren't overlapping otherwise they will be filled in as well.


    To practice this, start with just one runway with the 'outside' border. Then move up to adding a simple apron to the mix, then move ahead to your airport project.

    IPACS Development Team Member

    I'm just a cook, I don't own the restaurant.
    On behalf of Torsten, Marc, and the rest of the IPACS team, we would all like to thank you for your continued support.


    Regards,


    Jeff

  • Ah ! That's probably the point: "use the blend" is probably the step I was missing. Also, in order to prevent voids I had set a slight taxiway overlap on the runway, this is then something I should avoid...


    Thank you for your help, I'll try this out and let you know.


    Cheers

    Antoine

    Config : i7 6900K - 20MB currently set at 4.00GHz, Cooling Noctua NH-U14S, Motherboard ASUS Rampage V Extreme U3.1, RAM HyperX Savage Black Edition 16GB DDR4 3000 MHz, Graphic Card Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1080 8GB, Power supply Corsair RM Series 850W, Windows 10 64 bit.