In the past, producing and using virtual 3D models was the exclusive province of the CGI professional. But in recent years several consumer-level 3D modeling programs have become available that are much more reasonable in the price and easier to use. One popular project is to create a car model, such as a Ford.
1. Take photos of the car for which you want to create a model. You will want photos from the front, back, sides and the top. The angle from the top is most difficult, but can be done by parking the car under a window and taking the picture. Load these images onto your computer, saving them all to the same folder.
2. Open Hexagon. Click on the “Scene Properties” on the right. Select the back grid that is listed and click on the browse button next to it. In the dialog, locate the front image of the car and load it. It will now be displayed on the back grid in the view. Repeat this to place the right side view onto the left grid.
3. Select the “Primitives” tab at the top and click on the “Cube.” Use the tool to place the “Cube” in the view. Change the “Selection” mode at the top to “Faces.’
4. Select the “Surface Modeling” tab at the top and choose the “Extrude Surface” tool. Select the front face of the cube and use the tool to extrude the shape to form the front of the car. Change the “Selection” mode to “Edges” and use the “Move” functions of the “Universal Manipulator” tool to refine the shape to better match the car reference on the grid. Make sure that you keep the car symmetrical from left to right.
5. Repeat step 4 to create the rest of the car. Then click on the “UVmapping” tab and click on the “Head” icon. This will bring up the UVmapping room. Select the edges you want to use as seams for dividing the model. Then click on the UVmapping icon to create the UVmap. Save your work.
6. Select “File” and click “Export.” Select “Wavefront OBJ” as the format and save the file.
7. Open Photoshop CS3 Extended. Select “File” and click “Open.” In the dialog, browse to the Wavefront file you exported in step 6 and open it. You will see that it will come in with a blank texture in the layers.
8. Use the “Rotate” 3D tool to rotate the car so you are seeing it from the side you want to work on. Select “File” and click “Open.” Browse to the image of the car you took from the right and open it. Then use the “Copy” and “Paste” function under “Edit” to place the image in the car model document. In the layers panel, make sure that the image is directly over the car texture.
9. Use the “Eraser” tool to remove all of the images except the part showing the car. Then right click the layer and select “Merge Down.”
10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 to apply the textures for the car. Then select “File” and click “Save” to save your texture Ford car model.