Author Topic: [How-To] Use all the tools in ZModeler  (Read 4110 times)

Offline Rubber

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[How-To] Use all the tools in ZModeler
« on: June 25, 2013, 22:38 »
Tool Selection
The tool selection area of ZM contains all the tools you will use to edit models. It is comprised of the following tool types: create, display, modify, select, and surface. Each of the tool types and their respective tools are explained in greater detail below.

IMPORTANT: I will not be covering ALL the tools right away. I will cover the important ones first, and fill in the non-important ones later when I have time.

As the title suggests, the 'Create' tools are used to create things.

Copy: Creates a copy of an object. To use this tool, select it and right click on any object in a viewing window. A copy of the object will be placed in the exact location of the parent object. Notice in the model tree that there is a new layer with the same name as the object copied.

Polygon: This is used to create polygons on existing objects!!!! There are three types of polygon creation: fan, single, and strip. The polygons created are ONLY ONE SIDED. This means you will only be able to see them from one side. You can use this tool to fill in unwanted openings, or create surfaces where there are none.
     Fan Polygon
     1. Click on 'Create', 'Polygon', and 'Single'.
     2. Left-click on the Vertex Selection tool (refer to Editing Levels Toolbar to see which one), then left-click on the object you wish to add a polygon to.
     3. Left-click to start the first polygon point and click several more times to create more polygons in a fan shape.
     Single polygon
     1. Click on 'Create', 'Polygon', and 'Single'.
     2. Left-click on the Vertex Selection tool (refer to Editing Levels Toolbar to see which one), then left-click on the object you wish to add a polygon to.
     3. Left-click to start the polygon. Click 2 more times to finish the polygon shape. You can move the points around later, if you wish. You can also texture this
     polygon just like any other polygons.

     Strip polygon
     1. Begins the same as the first two types of polygons.
     2. Left-click to place polygon points. This type of polygon creation is best used for creating flat rectangular sections (although, there is an easier way).

Surface: As with polygon, it creates surfaces which can be used to create parts. Unlike polygon tool, however, the surface tool creates a new object instead of requiring a base object to add to.They are also one-sided, so you must make sure you are creating the part in the right view for it to show up. Surfaces can be textured after they are created. There are three types of surfaces to create: Grid, loft, and revolved. I have never needed to use the latter 2, so I won't bother explaining them. If you click the little box to the right of the surface tool, it will give you more options for creating surfaces. These options look like this:

If 'triangles' is selected, the surface will be comprised of triangles. If 'quad' is selected, the surface will be made of quads (quad means four-sided). An example of the differences can be seen below (Triangles on the left, quads on the right):

Grid: A grid is a rectangular-based surface. If you click the little box to the right of the grid tool, you will get these options:

The two inputs required by the user are columns and rows. The number of columns is the number of vertical sections that will be created. Rows specify the horizontal number of sections. An example of these differences can be seen below. The one on the left is comprised of 4 columns and 2 rows. Likewise, one on the left has 2 columns and 4 rows.

To begin creating a grid, set up your options and left-click in a window. Move the mouse and click again. And voila, a grid is created!

The display section contains tools and options for changing display variables.

The only tools that are important in the Display section are 'Disable' and 'Enable'. These tools allow you to disable and enable the ability to select and modify points/edges/polygons on objects.

Let's say for example there are two objects that are overlapping and I need to edit just one of them (but can't differentiate between the two...can't select which one I want to edit). If I disable the one that is blocking the object I wish to edit, I will not be able to select or modify that object, but it will still be visible. It is pretty useful when you need to adjust one object relative to another, but don't want that object to get in the way of things.

The modify tools do exactly that; they modify objects or parts of objects.

Align: There are three types of alignment tools: Axis, line, and plane.
     Axis align: Aligns points (verticies) of objects with one of the three axes (X, Y, or Z). In order to do this, follow these steps:
     1. Select the point manipulator on the editing levels toolbar and click on the object you wish to modify (you MUST be in the point editing level to use this
     2. Click on the align axis tool.
     3. Select the axis you wish to align points with. Take note of the coordinate system in the lower left corner of each window. The points you select will be put
     into a line that is perpendicular to the axis you select.
     4. Be sure 'Auto' is on (found in the lower right-hand corner of ZM).
     5. Select the points by holding shift to select multiple points. Let's use this next example to prove the point. I drew a standard 8-sided tube, but I wanted
     one side to be flat. I began by selecting the points on the inner diameter first (points 1, 2, and 3 on the first image). Note: I chose X axis to align to. In this
     window, X axis was left/right.

     6. Now that you have the points selected, make sure the 'Selected mode' is on (in the lower right corner).
     7. Hold down the Control key and left-click on one of the points you have selected. The outcome of my example would look like this so far:

     8. Since I want a flat side of the tube, I have to apply steps 5-7 on the outer diameter (points 4, 5, and 6 in the next picture).

After applying step 7, the final outcome is this:

     Line and Plane alignment tools are not really used and are basically self-explanatory.

     Screen alignment aligns all the selected points in the same plane as the view window. For example, I created a cone, but I want it to be flat. To do this, I
     selected the top view and selected all the points on the object like this:

Now, hold Control key and left-click on one of the points that are selected. The result should look like this:

Notice how the object is now flat. This is an easy way to flatten objects very quickly.

Attach: Attach is used to join multiple objects onto the same level on the model tree. I'll use an example to demonstrate.

To begin, you need several objects you wish to combine. Here, I have a sphere, a box, and a cone that I want to join into the same layer. Note the layer tree. There are 3 object layers shown here, before we attach:

Click the small box to the right of the attach tool. You will see a menu that looks like this:

Click on 'Attach multiple'. A menu like this pops up:

To the right of the 'Attach to' section, you will see a 'Change' button. Click on this. The object that you select in this menu will determine which object will be used as the base layer (this is the object that all other objects are attached to). In this example, I selected the Box to be used as the base layer, as shown here:

After selecting 'OK', you will now see this updated menu:

The objects in the list on this menu are the objects that can be attached to the base layer ('Box'). Note that 'Box' is not on the list. This is because we already chose it as the base layer. By holding Control key, you can select multiple objects to be attached. As shown here, I have selected both the cone and the sphere:

After you have your objects selected, click 'OK'. This attaches all the objects that were highlighted. The result is this:

The main thing to note here is the fact that there is only ONE layer in the model tree. That layer is 'Box' because we selected that as the base layer. Also note, now all the objects are combined into a single object, as evidenced by the blue highlighted object on the left screen.

Use this tool when you need to attach parts to a car mod. Let's say you have a new muffler that you made and want to attach it to a car mod. You would choose the chassis as the base layer and attach your muffler to it.

Break breaks verticies on objects. Rarely used.
Connect: Connect is the opposite of break, it connects verticies on objects. Rarely used.

Delete: As the name states, it allows the user to delete objects or parts of objects, depending on which editing level you are in. You can delete verticies, edges, polygons, or whole objects. Also, you can use the delete key for a shortcut. When deleting multiple objects (or verticies, edges, etc.) be sure the 'Selected Mode' is ON.

By using flip, you can fix wrong mesh or texture problems easily. Basically, 'Flip' flips the side of a surface that gets textured. Let's say, for example, that I have a license plate that is textured on the back side, instead of the front side. Simply click the 'Flip' tool and click the license plate and the texture will be on the correct side.

Mirror: As its name suggests, the 'Mirror' tool mirrors a part around a given axis. To use it, be sure to select the right axis you want to flip the part around. To demonstrate, here is an example. I have a cone that I want flipped upside down. This is a side view of the cone before:

To begin, select the 'Mirror' tool. The box to the right of the tool displays these properties (I usually leave them the way they are):

Now, select the axis in which you want to mirror the object. In this case, I selected the Y axis to mirror it vertically. Now click on the part. You should end up with something like this:

The 'Mirror' tool will become very useful when getting into the UV Mapping of parts.

Move: Move is probably the most commonly used tool on ZModeler. To use it, select the 'Move' tool on the list. As with many of the other tools, it can be used on objects, polygons, lines, and points. Be sure to check the 'Editing levels toolbar' to see which level you want to edit. Also check 'Auto' and 'Selected Mode' features to make sure they will provide the right function. Keep in mind you can move objects in certain directions (X, Y, or Z), refer to the Coordinate System section if you forgot this.

Rotate: Another commonly used tool is the 'Rotate' tool. This is used just like the 'Move' tool. You can rotate objects, polygons, edges, and points. I use the 'Rotate' tool most commonly when UV Mapping (explained later in this section).

The main thing to remember when using the 'Rotate' tool is the center about which it rotates. This center point shows up as a little purple X on the screen. This next tutorial should prove the point. Let's say I want to rotate this Box around the lower left corner of it:

Notice the little purple X on the screen. Use the 'Move' tool to move it to the lower left corner of the box. This will make the box pivot around this corner. It should look like this once you move the Purple X to the right location:

Now hold the left mouse button and click on the object to rotate it to the required angle. The result is this:

Scale: By using the 'Scale' tool, you can make objects bigger or smaller. This tool is pretty easy to use; Just select the tool and hold left mouse button and drag the mouse over the object. Keep in mind you can scale in any direction you want. This tool is an absolute MUST for UV Mapping.

There are a few different tools under the 'Submesh' category. The most important is probably the 'Detach' tool. There is a pretty good example of detaching a part here:,39431.msg227020.html#msg227020

Selection tools give the user options for selecting objects, polygons, edges, or points on objects. A lot of these tools are extremely useful and should never be forgotten. They may not be used very often, but some of them will get you out of a pinch.

There are only a few tools from the list that I use on a regular basis. They are: invert, polyline, and [By Material].

Invert: It selects the opposite of what is currently selected. Let's say you have an object that has 500 polygons and you want to select all but 5 of those polygons. It is faster to first select those 5 polygons then use this 'Invert' selection tool to flip the selection so the other 495 polygons are selected.

Polyline: By using 'Polyline' selection, you can draw a complex shape around the points, edges, or polygons you want to select. Here is another example. Here I have a cone like this:

I want to select only the 3 polygons in the upper right side of the cone. To do this, select 'Polyline' selection and right click multiple times to create the selection pattern. Be sure to close off the selection by right clicking back to the start point. It should look something like this (the blue dotted line is the selection line):

[By Material]: This tool lets you select polygons by the material in which they are textured. The main thing to remember is that you MUST be in the polygon editing level in order to use this tool. To begin using the tool, enter polygon editing level and click on whatever object you wish to edit. Next, click the '[By Material]' selection tool. A menu will show up with a list of all the materials that are used on the mod. Select the material you wish to select on the object, and select 'OK'.

This tool is extremely useful in retexturing a mod.

Unfinished section!

The surface tools all pertain to texturing of objects in ZM.

Unfinished section!

« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 07:35 by Rubber »