Creative Thinking Tutorial w/AM8.5

©2002 By Jeff Cantin aka TinCan on IRC

Work-arounds to get what you want

I started a new project for fun and learning... BOY! Was I in for a surprise! I wanted to model a music mechanism from a music box I have and I wanted to animate the drum turning, gears whizzing, and note pegs striking the tine harp and to do all this with matching the sound I recorded from it.

The basic modeling was easy for me, although it may look complex, most parts are easily done with AM, and copied, scaled, and tweaked. My problem was arranging the "peg strikers" (yellow arrow) to be in the correct position on the cylinder to match the sound file (music).

My music box plays 2 songs, but I only wanted one (start easy, I always say, so I took my own advice). I fiddled, moved, adjusted and I just couldn't seem to get the pegs into the right place. "If only I could find a reference point, I could map out where each peg should be," I thought. Then it hit me, I could cut a strip of paper and make an impression by pressing my thumbs over the paper to force the pegs to leave a mark. It worked! I scanned the paper, created a new layer in Photoshop and painted black dots where the impressions were. And to make aligning it easier I added some color arrows and stripes. (See image below)

I took the new layer and made a TGA file of just that part (no underlying paper from the scan). Made a new projection map in 8.5 and applied that to the cylindar group of my model. (See image below)

Now I know where the pegs go! I'll just turn on shaded mode with decals and move the pegs! At least thats what I thought... Well, AM does not treat a projection map as a decal in the real time shaded mode! Man! What now!!?? OK, I'll copy the cylinder, make a new model and paste it there, save it and work out how to do this outside of the main project file.

First I tried flatten, but that only uncovers 7/8ths of the cylinder because the 8th section kinda disappears... Bummer! Ok, I'll do it like I modeled the globe model I put up at AnimationPitstop, I can do seamless hatches, heck I wrote a tut on that once... I flattened it by hand in a pose, then applied the decal (same image I used in the projection map). So I overcame that, and now the shaded mode looks like image below left. I also decided to add more guidelines to my placement decal.

Now, it was easy to position my pegs, as you can see.... (And I didn't have to ask the list once... LOL)

Even though this "tutorial" covers a specific example that you may never need, I decided to write it up to help people to think out creative solutions. If there is a will, (normally) there is a way... Good luck on your projects, too.

If you learned something from this tutorial, please drop me an E-mail at Jeff Cantin
This is an important step, I track the number of visits to "thank you" notes, I need to know my time and my web space is well spent.

I have other tutorials linked from my hobby homepage. Give those a try too when you are ready.