Astronomy Portal to the Heavens, Deep Sky and Universe

OrbiterSim | FAQ | Acronyms | Add-ons | Screen Shots | Orbiter Tutorials | >>Developer

Texturing Anim8or Models for Orbiter

Materials and Textures

Materials and textures should be added to each segment before joined to the rest of the model. This allows you to change the materials at any point latter, even after joined or grouped without separating.


Prepare the textures ahead of time by converting them into bmps which are no larger then 256x256. A good practice for textures is to give them a meaningful name to be easily identified later.

When applying textures in anim8or be sure to turn on the Texture UV first.

With the Texture UV on you will be able to strecth or move the texture on the selected mesh group by holding the left or right mouse buttons. I have not been able to apply a texture to a single selected face with anim8or even though I believe you are supposed to be able too.

Below Greg Burch presents his techniques in texturing.

*** break the model down into separate meshes that are textured separately as part of the assembled whole model.

*** Make the shape of the individually textured components as simple as possible.

*** If you're using Animator's texture function (which I've begun to master now), it's easier to apply the textures with the individual mesh piece you're working on centered on the grid origin. (I can't emphasize this tip enough -- it was the breakthrough for me).

So, an outline of the tutorial would go something like this:

** Make your model -- it can be as complex as you like.

** Cut pieces out of it and save them as separate files. Animator saves the components at the proper location relative to the overall model. This is key for a later step

** Make your texture. Since DXTex needs BMP, go BMP all the way, if you can.

** Open the component you want to texture as a file in animator, select it with the "object" tool (upper-left arrow), and click "Copy". Paste another instance of it and then move the copied piece to be centered on the origin with the menu commands Edit -> Locate -> Center Around Origin

** Open the texture tool in the tool bar. Double-click the "New" area. Click the button on the "Diffuse" line. Click "Load texture" After it loads the texture, select it and click "OK". Then, click OK again and you'll be back at the top of the texture tool command level. Click "Apply". You should still be in the "object" toolset. Click the UV button and experiment to position the texture more precisely. This is the trickiest part. You may find that you need to go back and restart at the previous step (making the texture) to reposition or reproportion the graphical elements of the bmp file to be able to make it come out right on the actual mesh component -- there's only so much you can do with Animator's UV tool.

** Once you've got the texture located, use the original, untextured instance of the mesh in it's original location (i.e. not centered on the grid origin) as a guide for relocating the textured piece back to where it out to go. Delete the untextured piece and save the file.

You now have a textured component. Using this technique, when you reassemble the components, you'll have to manually reapply the texture in the main component-assembly file that you build up by copy-pasting the pieces into a single scene/file. But this is easy because the texture coordinates carry over. (This is magic -- I don't know why this is.) Now all you have to do is save the whole thing as a .3ds file and run it through 3ds2msh. 3ds2msh will carry the proper mesh names and references into the .msh file. Remember that you have to also use DXTex (in the Orbitersdk utilities) to open the .bmp files and then just save-as into .dds format. There's no manipulation -- just a simple file conversion via "save-as."

One tip -- do use the "f=v" call in you 3ds2msh command line entry to make the textures come out with the right orientation.

Related Links:

Vinka Page (spacecraft.dll )
Radu's Page (mesh converter)


Search WWW Search

Space Exploration DVDs | Space Exploration Books | From the Earth to the Moon | Earthlight: NASA - Spectacular Views © All Rights Reserved
Mail to:
Eugene Harm  | About me

[ Site Map ]