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Local TutorialStarship windows with Interior

AcemanAceman0 Posts: 0Member
edited November 2014 in Tutorials #1
Our goal here is not to create a highres replica of the insides of a starship, rather it's to simulate this using a few textures and a few polys.

I turned on the snap toggle and angle snap toggle for this tutorial in Max. (Just FYI)

1. Create a box in the front viewport (Length 100, Width 200, Height 100) that will be used as the inside walls of our virtual interior. The walls will consist of 3 sides - left, back, and right, a floor, and a ceiling. So this means you can delete 1 of the sides all together.

NOTE: Other shapes can be used for the interior walls, for example a half cylinder.

2. To delete the side in 3D Studio Max simply convert your newly created box into an "editable poly" by right click on the object and selecting it from the drop down menu. Now click on the "modify" tab.

3. Now that your box is an editable poly, we will delete a side and refine our shape. I should point out that I'm going to create a room witha slanted exterior wall like you would see on the saucer section of a starship. (I reference "trek" because it's easily referened - this could apply to any space ship). Click on the [+] symbol next to "Editable Poly" and click on "vertex" it should turn yellow.

4. In the left view port select both of the lower vertices of the face that will be deleted. Move these vertices out to create the slanted angle that will match our exterior wall's slope.

5. In the Modify rollout click on "Polygon". Now click on the sloped face or your box and delete it.
You will notice that the **normal of the faces on the inside or your box are not visible. This is because they are facing outward. We need to turn them so they all face inward.
**A normal is a vector that is perpendicular to a surface.

6. Click "ploygon" again from the modifier list to turn the selection off. From the Modifier List drop down select "normal". This will flip the faces of the our 5 sided box. Because this shape will be on the side of our starship (not shown) it won't matter that you can see through them. But you will be able to see the textures applied to the sides when viewing the room through the windows. More on that soon...

7. At this point you could simply place this 5-sided box behind your windows. But I'm going to take a moment to create the exterior slopped surface to better illustrate the effect. For this next section I'm going to
make a line in the left view that will serve as the exterior hull, and then I will cut windows into it, give it some depth, and we'll be ready for the textures.

8. Create a line (like mine or your own) in the left view using a spline.

9. I'm going to refine my line to make it smooth but this step is not required.

10. Because your line will be create at zero.. you'll nee to move it right so that it goes just beyond the right side of your box (in the top viewport). Once moved, from the Modifier List select, "Extrude". I used a value of 340, but this depends on your scale and size of the box for your interior. Use whatever setting you'd like. Because my room will have 3 windows I set the extrude segments to 5 and will use the 3 center segments of that extrusion for my window placement.

11. Now we'll create the window cut outs. These will be simple rectanglur splines with rounded corners created in the right position in the front viewport. My corner Radius is 11 but you don't have to round the corners if you don't want too. You'll note that your orginal placement of the newly created spline is at zero again, so to make things easier and so you can see it.. move it in the left viewport so the spline is beyond the exterior hull surface.

12. Now shift-drag the spline (front viewport) to create the 2nd and 3rd window. Set it to copy and to make two copies. Now we'll attach these two new splines to the orginal. Select the orginal spline window shape and
right-click it and convert it to an "editable Spline". Once done, from the modifier tab, turn on attach, and click on the other two remining splines. This will merge these seperate splines into a single object. Click attach again to turn OFF this function. **I will be creating another set of windows for this tutorial, but you do not have to do this.**

Computer crashed so I had to start over, this is why the hull shape looks alittle different then the previous slide.


14. Click on the hull surface we made from the extruded spline. Apply a "normal" modifier to turn the face normals so they face outward. Now, Right-click on this object and convert it to an "editable poly".

15. From the the "Create" tab (top right of screen) click on the "Geometry" icon (sphere). From the dropdown menu select "Compound Objects". With the Hull surface selected, Click on ShapeMerge.

16. Once ShapeMerge is turned on. Click on "Pick Shape" and click on the window splines. Assuming the faces of the hull are turned correctly you should see the shape of the windows cut into the surface of our hull.
Click Pick Shape again to turn it off.

17. Righ-CLick on the hull and convert it into an editable poly. You can also hide and or delete the window spline shapes you used to cut the hull.
18. Once the hull us turned into an editable poly again, click on "Polygon" from the modifier window. The newly cut shapes should highlite. Now you could just delete them, but we're going to use them for a bit to
give your hull alittle depth.

19. With the window faces still selected click "Extrude" (small box to the right of the words). This brings up a window. For this example I used a value of -10. Click Ok.

20. Now simply delete the still-selected faces.

21. You should really start to be able too see where I'm going with this tutorial. Now that our scene is setup properly let's move onto the texturing portion. BTW - for this tutorial I'm not going to texture the
hull or put glass into the scene. I think you can figure that out on your own.

22. Now to create a nice texture for the interior we'll need photoshop or some sort of image editing software. so start that up. We'll come back to max in just a few minutes.

Got my images from: Specification deck A starship Enterprise NX-01

23. Because the texture will usually only be visible in a fleeting moment. It's not important that your image be perfect. Just interesting to create the illusion. I found a sickbay image and simple doubled the width and extended the walls outward.. the black wall will have most of the detailing. I made 4 textures: backwall, sidewalls, floor, and ceiling. (my texture).
24. Now back in max, I think we should refine our box just alittle more to make sure we create what appears to be a seamless walled room. So I'm going to chamfer the back two corners from the open area to give it more
of a rounded shape.

25. Once your done we need to apply our 4 textures (backwall, sidewalls, ceiling, floor). Simply select the face and detach it and then apply a UVW Map to each an apply the textures normally. You will need to probably
tweek the map for the walls.

26. I grouped the room-box and replicated it.. flipped the back wall image.. and placed it by behind my upper window set.. then grabbed the entire structure, group it.. then replicated it a few times to simulate a
series of windows. That about wraps up this tutorial. You can expand on it as you see fit.. add windows, people, small objects..etc. Have fun.

Final Image.

Watch an animated flyby: HERE (300K wmv file).


PS: I may update this tutorial as I have more time with alittle tweaks. Please post questions if you have any and I'd be happy to see if I can help you.
Post edited by Aceman on


  • TovetteTovette5 Posts: 13Member
    That's awesome I was just looking for something like that.
  • chronochrono0 Posts: 1Member
    Good stuff Aceman.

    An additive comment on windows.

    Remember when cutting your windows into your hull that the hull's angle/curve will distort the windows shape on the hull. So it's easiest to place the window cut out perpendicular to the hulls surface to keep the windows planned shape.
  • SGA-3DSGA-3D0 Posts: 0Member
    Great tutorial Ace! I used this exact method when adding the windows on my Prometheus.
  • slimdimslimdim171 Posts: 0Member
    Good tutorial. But, dose anyone know if you can do something similar in Maya? (The projecting spline shapes onto the hull mesh that is)
  • chronochrono0 Posts: 1Member
    With Maya's NURBS yes.
  • TrojanTrojan0 Posts: 0Member
    Great tut.

    One stupid question tho: as perfectly suited for close-ups as this is, would it be beneficial for long shots?

  • chronochrono0 Posts: 1Member
    More then likely not due to render times.
  • ChanurChanur191 53.33° N / 10.00° EPosts: 305Member
    Cool stuff Aceman, thanx for that :)
  • JedilawJedilaw0 Posts: 0Member
    Great stuff, Ace.

    Now all we need are those lovely tuts on rounded gun ports...
  • efritschefritsch0 Posts: 0Member
    Damn Ace, that's awesome! I just saw this tut now and it looks spiffy! From a distance it looks good but the rooms does seem a bit empty, that could be my only crit.
  • Forcemaster2000Forcemaster2000171 Posts: 0Member
    13. SAVE YOUR PROJECT. :lol:

    Great tutorial with really nice looking results Aceman! Although I don't use MAX, I think I can use some of that inspiration from you in TS!
  • JeffrySGJeffrySG315 Posts: 472Member
    Very cool tutorial AceMan!!! thanks for sharing with us all!!
  • jpgauvinjpgauvin0 Posts: 0Member
    Great tutorial Aceman :thumb:

    I have one question,

    it may sound stupid, but why is it not working when the hull surface is on the right side of the perspective view and the windows are on the left side ? :confused:

    is it because of the shape we're made in the front windows ?
  • AcemanAceman0 Posts: 0Member
    To answer your question jpgauvin - I believe that's because the window glass has specular on it.. so the light source I have in the scene is reflecting off the glass, from the other side the specular reflection can't be seen.

    Another way to make the room appear LESS empty is to simply use a curved surface behind the window with a texture of a furnished room. I found this method doesn't work well for close-ups.

  • RicomanRicoman0 Posts: 0Member
    slimdim wrote: »
    Good tutorial. But, dose anyone know if you can do something similar in Maya? (The projecting spline shapes onto the hull mesh that is)

    Yes it is possible. Simply create a CV Spline on the Y-Z plane and copy it. Then move the duplicate spline away from the original, select them both, and do a LOFT (in the Surfaces menu). That should give you the face. Then do an Extrude command on the face and that will give you a 3D of the spline shape.

    EDIT: I found some errors in here originally, edited to reflect accurate instructions.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User]2 Posts: 3Member
    i cant find the picture of the room?????
  • ChanurChanur191 53.33° N / 10.00° EPosts: 305Member
    Yanko, there's a link in the first post, where you can find several interior pictures.
    You also could make your own screencaps ;)
  • crazyjayloc2003crazyjayloc20030 Posts: 0Member
    another way to use the cutter is to cut the windows out with the plane perpendicular to the surface. then grab the back of the indentation (the faces) pull them out pretty far (like an inside out sock) with the move option. and then select all the outside vertices from the end of the extrusion, and click remove. the window surface will be perfectly matched to the original surface.
  • nahinnahin0 Posts: 0Member
    It's plenty useful for me...striking creation of yours. Helps me a lot dude. Thanks!!
  • Nell 3DNell 3D178 Posts: 88Member
    long ago I saw this tutorial and liked it. now back to him and no image appears, are the broken link ... to do?
  • ChiefBrexChiefBrex254 North CarolinaPosts: 109Member
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread, but, I was wondering how to do starship interiors without high res interiors, and came across this tut - however, none of the images work. Is there another tutorial that's just as effective? Or does anyone have the images from this tutorial?
  • GuerrillaGuerrilla521 HelsinkiPosts: 2,723Administrator
    Those images didn't make it to the new server unfortunately. I think @MadKoiFish has a good window tutorial on his site:
    Comco: i entered it manually in the back end
    Join our fancy Discord Server!
  • MadKoiFishMadKoiFish3497 Right in the plumsPosts: 4,514Member
    my tut sort of bypasses the interior part as many do this differently depending on preference or rendering tool. In using Mental Ray I create them like a balloon off the window geo in of itself. So as your extruding in the jamb just bevel it at 0 ext and something like +2ft (this depends how you have units set up in max) inset this will create the inner wall or the start of it then you need to use box modeling tricks to bridge remove edges etc to connect the window insides and then drag out the room interior off this now inside wall of the windows. One way to think of it is to make a empty blackhead >_< You can then detach that room to ease mapping etc. Another way some do is make a open faced flipped box and position it behind the windows. In mental ray this leads to lum bleed and strange edge lighting as light leaks. But if you do not use lum lights in the rooms it works. Just make a box behind make it a editable poly and delete one face then select all remaining faces and flip them. Adjust the open end to align with the hull shape ring or loop the length to give edges needed to warp it to fit.

    I really forget what aceman had as this was a while back but I think he did the boxed room style.

    maybe I should update it to show how I do it. I just do no t think max is going to be around much longer in a hobby aspect.

    if your willing to sit through it about 3 min in I start modeling windows and interior for a room, it is more complex than windows in a side of a hull but same ideas.

    Image of some for example if you do not want to watch a old video,
    None of this should be app specific in a geometry aspect
    Each day we draw closer to the end.
  • ComcoComco299 Posts: 1,272Administrator
    Great stuff. Thanks for taking the time, MKF. :)
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