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Car making guide - How to create a car from scratch - Part 1
Go forward to Part 2
Which tools / files will you need?
  • The free car editor of Juan (download here).
    Check out his other cool stuff.
  • A template of a blank car (download here).

First steps

Start the car editor, choose <Load> and open the Blank X.car file for editing. You will find lots of values in the table - don't worry yet ;-) they will be needed and explained later.
Start your car creation by giving it a name: MyCar
After this you should save your car to a new file named MyCar (click <Save>).

What are we going to create?

A car! Who guessed that? Nono, you can also create planes, boats, helicopters, skateboards, bicycles etc. but we just want a simple car which should look like the one in the left picture (very simple).

Click on <Model> in the upper right corner to open the Edit Model window. The window is divided in 5 parts: a toolbar at the left, 3 two-dimensional squares (front, side and top view of the car) and a three dimensional square.

The four blue circles are the wheels of the car. The easiest to understand is the top view (lower left quadrant). You are looking at the "car" like a bird. The car front points southward.

The Model window

To make this a bit less mathematical or geometrical, you should think of building a car in this editor like building a real car model with pieces of cardboard. You would assemble those cardboards in a way, that the result looks like a car. Here, you can only use triangular pieces of cardboard. You must put triangle after triangle together to form a car-like shape. The triangles are called polygons (poly).
We will begin with the front of the car. Let's fire up the model by adding a new poly to our empty model (see left picture: click on that button, results in right picture).

A poly (triangle) is made of three edges called Vertexes (or Vertices). You can see the number of the currently chosen Vertex in the toolbar (see right pic).

If you point the mouse at one of the edges of the poly, you can see the number of the corresponding Vertex in the status bar at the bottom of the window. Choose Vertex 0 in the top view window (lower left quadrant).

We will now pull this Vertex to the front of the car to make it the lower front edge of the car. Pull it in front of the front wheel like shown in the right picture. The X value of the status bar should be about -1,0, the Z value about 1,8. In the top-view quadrant it looks okay now. 

From the front-view quadrant (upper left) you can see that the edge is far above our wheel. Since we do not want to build a monster truck, we should get this edge down to a more street level.

Choose Vertex 0 in the upper left window (front-view) and pull it down to the middle of the wheel (Y value should be about -0,2, the X value should stay at about -1). You may have noticed yet, that there are three dimensions X, Y and Z. X is the horizontal value, Y represents the height of a Vertex and Z is the depth.

Now pull Vertex 1 in front of the right wheel the same way to X=1, Y=-0,2 and Z=1,8.

An easier and more exact method is to double click on the Vertex (edge) and type in the values in digits. Let's put Vertex 0 to X=-1, Y=-0,2 and Z=2 (see right picture).

Vertex 1 should be (X/Y/Z): 1 / -0,2 / 2 and
Vertex 2 should be (X/Y/Z): 1 / 0,4 / 1,8.

We have finished our first poly.

You can now take a look at the car's front by using the 3-D quadrant. Left click and hold the mouse button in the lower right window and move the mouse to the upper right, you will rotate the car this way. Right clicking and holding results in zooming in or out when moving the mouse up or down. Try to find the view which is seen in the right picture here.
There is something very annoying about polys, and that is that they have only one visible side. In our cardboard example, imagine that the cardboard has one ugly underside and a nicely painted upper side. You would only want to see the upper side at the outside of the car, otherwise the car would look ugly. Here at GR, the ugly side is transparent. You must always keep an eye on turning the nice side of the poly outward, otherwise it is not visible. To see the direction of our poly, you have to change to the Polys mode by double clicking in the 3-D quadrant a few times until you can see the word Polys in the right corner of the status bar.
The fact that our Poly (triangle) is only an outlined shape of blue indicates, that the invisible side is turned outward, which we would like to change. Flip the poly around by clicking at the <Swap Vertex> button (see right picture).
Now our Poly should be a nice dark blue triangle, indicating that the nice side is pointed outward.

Continue with Part 2 >>>

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