Tutorial: Creating Low Poly Car Models in Zmodeler

User avatar
RacingFreak
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:00 am
Location: Taiwan

Tutorial: Creating Low Poly Car Models in Zmodeler

Postby RacingFreak » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:07 am

I decided to make this little tutorial for anyone willing to learn how to make a basic low poly car model in Zmodeler, much in the style of the vehicles in Midtown Madness 2 and Midnight Club: Street Racing. What I will show in this tutorial is how to make the model, however I will not show how to UV map the model afterwards and prepare the textures etc. (at least not now), as I think this is much easier process.

Of course, there are better and easier to use programs, but I want to show a way of making them by using only Zmodeler.

For the tutorial purposes I have used some crappy chinese Suzuki Alto copy because the shape is rather simple. It's good to begin with boxier cars because they are easier to model and once you get hold of it, even the weirdest concept cars shouldn't be much trouble.

Step 1: Prepare photos of the car
In this case I got the pics from some chinese car showroom site which has 180° views of the cars. Generally speaking, finding nice photos (of each side) of a car is not an easy task, but eventually you can find these in car selling sites, car auctions, manuals and so on.

Once you find them, try to bring them in somewhat similar size (accuracy isn't needed). In the end you will need three sides, front, side and back (eventually top if the model is complicated):
Image

Afterwards, open Zmodeler and load the side image into the left side (or right depending on the photo):
Image

Step 2: Creating the basis
Next step is to create a flat surface and  go to Create > Surfaces > Flat; then draw a rectangle in the middle (or wherever you'd like to):
Image
Image
Image

Then, switch to verticles level (keyboard shortcut 1) and go to Create > Faces > Single:
Image
Image

Now just follow some basic lines on the mesh and build it by making new single faces. I would advise to follow some face order like this:
Image
Image

The result should be this:
Image

Fix the normals from Surface > Normals > Calculate:
Image

Step 3: Making the sides
Now the process is by copying the Surface and moving it horizontally:
Image

Then make another copy (this will be for the wheel wells):
Image

However to make it more accurate, load a photo which has wheels visible on it:
Image

Now we have 4 copies of the surface.
Image

Select the 3 inner surfaces:
Image

Copy the default material and set it to transparent and assign them to it:
Image

Make copies and unity them:
Image
Image

Switch to verticles level and go to User View:
Image

Now, in verticles level and we do the same thing as before, just this time we use the surfaces as points to connect the verticles.
Image

Just remember which surface is for the wheel weels and which for the body
Image

Image

Image
Image

Doing the underside at this step is also important
Image

Finished the wheel wells:
Image
Image

The side is completed
Image
Image

Now we go to faces level and select the surfaces we don't need anymore and delete them:
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Step 4: Fixing the Normals, Mirroring and Uniting
Now, in order not to have to deal with a mess like this:
Image

But instead receive this:
Image

We will have to split the bottom this way:
Image
Image
Image

Now we have bottom-less side
Image

Surface > Normals > Calculate:
Image
Image

Apply the same thing for the separated bottom parts and voila:
Image

Afterwards, edit the mesh to resemble the car more.

Then just make a copy, mirror, reorient and unite it
Image

To adjust the top more accurately, I've used the back side because the photo has better perspective:
Image
Image
Image
Image

The mesh is completed.
Image
Image
Image

Well, that's pretty much it. Now you're left with the tremendous task of uv-mapping it with textures done based on the photos. If requested, I can explain how to do this in another thread.

This tutorial has been originally posted by me at GTRCars, I reposted it here as I think it might be helpful.
Image

User avatar
KingAndy
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1113
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:00 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Likes received: 1 like
Contact:

Postby KingAndy » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:21 am

Nice tutorial! It's always good to have new ones with more tips and tricks about modeling work.

P.S.: RIP smartphone users.
Image
Best active member avatar
Best active member MM1 screenshot-er
Friendliest active member

Image
Most helpful active member
Best MM2 car converter of the year
Best MM2 innovation of the year
Author of the best MM2 mod of the year
Best active user's self amatory site


Image

User avatar
sajmon14
MM2X VIP Member
MM2X VIP Member
Posts: 5320
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:00 am
Location: Poland
Contact:

Postby sajmon14 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:27 am

Great tutorial! I'm hoping to see more similar cars released after seeing this :D
RIP smartphone users.
It looks fine on smartphone for me :wink:

User avatar
KingAndy
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1113
Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:00 am
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Likes received: 1 like
Contact:

Postby KingAndy » Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:40 am

I meant if you have slower network or mobile data, it'll take you a while to load all the pics.
Image
Best active member avatar
Best active member MM1 screenshot-er
Friendliest active member

Image
Most helpful active member
Best MM2 car converter of the year
Best MM2 innovation of the year
Author of the best MM2 mod of the year
Best active user's self amatory site


Image

User avatar
sajmon14
MM2X VIP Member
MM2X VIP Member
Posts: 5320
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 1:00 am
Location: Poland
Contact:

Postby sajmon14 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 12:01 pm

Oh, ok. BTW RF do you have any pics of the finished model?

User avatar
RacingFreak
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:00 am
Location: Taiwan

Postby RacingFreak » Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:27 pm

Oh, ok. BTW RF do you have any pics of the finished model?
Yes, but I didn't really go any far as I mainly modeled it for illustrative purpose of the tutorial. Anyway here is a pic of where I stopped for now:
Image

I might eventually release it, but perhaps not right now. I might actually uv-map it in the second part of the tutorial where I will explain how to edit the textures and so on.

As for viewing this topic on a smartphone, the forum system itself is not very suitable for smartphones, and my pics are in big resolution, so sorry about that.
Image

User avatar
mm2mm1fan
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1208
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 2:00 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Postby mm2mm1fan » Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:53 pm

Doesn't seem too hard, I'll give it a try. :wink:
Mostly retired from modifying Midtown Madness games. Nowadays mods Crashday Redline Edition.

Image

User avatar
pibraclab
MM2X Newbie
MM2X Newbie
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2015 2:00 am
Location: Haute Garonne (31), France
Contact:

Postby pibraclab » Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:46 pm

The problem in your nice tuto is you use photo for blueprint with perspective. Blueprints are never in perspective. it completely distorts the 3D.

User avatar
RacingFreak
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:00 am
Location: Taiwan

Postby RacingFreak » Wed Jun 22, 2016 7:51 pm

The problem in your nice tuto is you use photo for blueprint with perspective. Blueprints are never in perspective. it completely distorts the 3D.
You can't use the blueprints as textures. When you use the photos as "blueprints" and use them as textures later on, the UV mapping will fit like glove because you based your mesh on the textures. But if you use drawn blueprints instead, you will have more trouble getting the uv-mapping correctly. I have done a lot of tests, this is what I find the best and it's proven to be effective. Blueprints are more useful for high poly models which would require more accuracy and will not use photo-textures.
Image

User avatar
Franch88
MM2X Admin
MM2X Admin
Posts: 15708
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:00 am
Location: Italy
Likes received: 1 like
Contact:

Postby Franch88 » Wed Jun 22, 2016 10:03 pm

Impressive work with this tutorial, it's very well made! :D It's interesting the use of copies of the flat side to make the rest of the car sides, must be really perfect for low polygons modeling. :wink:
Fiat 500 = Italian motorization. Franch88, MM2 eXtreme forum and website Administrator.
|Franch88's MM2 Releases|

User avatar
Fuyunyan
MM2X Occasional User
MM2X Occasional User
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:00 am
Location: Farbanti, Erusea

Postby Fuyunyan » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:41 am

Just what I need! I'll try making a Fiat Panda!
Thanks for the tutorial :D

User avatar
RacingFreak
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:00 am
Location: Taiwan

Postby RacingFreak » Thu Jun 23, 2016 10:01 am

Impressive work with this tutorial, it's very well made! :D It's interesting the use of copies of the flat side to make the rest of the car sides, must be really perfect for low polygons modeling. :wink:
Yes Franch, that way, once you built a frame you can make perfectly centered mesh, unlike if you build the mesh in the other way (extending the initially created surface), which would likely produce uncentered mesh.
Just what I need! I'll try making a Fiat Panda!
Thanks for the tutorial :D
Glad to know! The older model Panda is perfect for starters :wink:
Image

User avatar
BUGATTIMAN253MPH
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1295
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 1:00 am
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Postby BUGATTIMAN253MPH » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:08 pm

This method is unstoppable, RacingFreak. I thought I would never be good at scratch modelling low poly cars and would be stuck converting cars, until I followed this procedure and re-modelled my own scratch car from about a year ago.

Image
Image
Best Midtown Madness 2 car converter of the year
Best Midtown Madness 2 car converter of the year
Author of the best Midtown Madness 2 car add-on of the year
Best active member Midtown Madness 1 screenshot-er

Image
Best active member avatar
Best Midtown Madness 2 breakout of the year
Funniest active member

User avatar
RacingFreak
MM2X Very Active User
MM2X Very Active User
Posts: 1061
Joined: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:00 am
Location: Taiwan

Postby RacingFreak » Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:25 pm

This method is unstoppable, RacingFreak. I thought I would never be good at scratch modelling low poly cars and would be stuck converting cars, until I followed this procedure and re-modelled my own scratch car from about a year ago.
Glad to know that :)

It will be cool to see it when it's ready :D

I really hope more people start modelling low poly cars (in the style of AS) rather than just converting, honestly I'm getting tired of seeing these quickly done high poly car converts making up the front-page of MM2X, whereas scratch-made cars are not getting enough exposure :cry:
Image

User avatar
Fuyunyan
MM2X Occasional User
MM2X Occasional User
Posts: 286
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:00 am
Location: Farbanti, Erusea

Postby Fuyunyan » Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:18 am

Oldish topic, but I don't have panda pictures but i have Carlton pictures.. Boxy enough i guess :lol: