Castlemania Stage Ten – Floating & Water
The pace of the castle building has increased to the point where a faster way of receiving large amounts of material is needed. In 1275, when this castle is being built, that means ships! The castle site was chosen largely because it is at the juncture of two massive rivers. Now substantial docks are needed to handle the flow of stone and other goods.
Having easy river access to the town also provides an opportunity for attackers, so the town wall is undergoing a major expansion around the new docks. Anything coming off of each vessel must first pass inspection in a large open area surrounded by three towers and the gatehouses. The towers are closer together here than anywhere else in the town wall, and there is a large garrison close by to provide reinforcements as needed.
There are a lot of horses helping with just about everything that needs power in the town and castle. That’s why we have so many blacksmith shops and why it is important the horses have plenty of places to get water. Providing the animals with water troughs gives us the opportunity to explore arcs, fillets and tangent lines.
Watching the video How To Create Tangent Elements is a good starting point.
To start the trough I’ll simply use the “Rectangle” tool to draw the outline on the ground (left image). Troughs were quite often made from solid stone, so keeping it on the ground seems like a good idea. Next, I’ll use the “Push n Pull” tool to make a box (right image).
Now I’ll select the “Deform” tool and then the top surface. Then I’ll pick the green “Modify” mode (red ellipse, left image) and pull on the circular handle (red ellipse, right image) in the direction of the red arrow to make the top of the trough a little bigger than the bottom.
Now I want to put rounded corners all the way around the top to help keep both horses and humans from banging their shins. First, I draw a line from any of the corners out to the length of the radius that I want (red ellipse, left image). When I finish drawing the line, I’ll have a Sketch Point where I want to start my arc. If you don’t want an exact distance, you can just double-click on the line to create a Sketch Point.
Check out the video How To Use Sketch Points for more details about Sketch Points.
Now I select the “Arc” tool and click on the Sketch Point I just created. Then I move across the corner to the other side and move the mouse along the line until the blue line (red arrow, center image) appears. The blue line tells me I can now make a rounded corner that is tangent (the curve blends smoothly into the straight line) on both ends.
As soon as the blue line appears I click the line and move the mouse along the line back towards the corner. I see a curve that changes as I move along the line. When the arc turns blue (red arrow, right image), I know it’s fully tangent and I click the mouse again.
Now that I have one tangent arc, I can use it to help me locate the other three starting points for those tangent arcs. When I select the arc tool again and move the mouse over a corner of the first tangent arc and then away from the corner (red ellipse and red arrow, left image), a yellow dashed line will appear that guides me to where I start the next arc. I follow the same steps for the other three corners.
I use the “Advanced Push n Pull” tool to pull that tangent arc down to the ground. First, I select the “Push n Pull” tool and hover over the corner. The “Advanced” tool will appear, and I’ll first select the tool and then the corner edge of the box to determine how the corner is cut (red ellipse and red arrow, middle image). You may need to change your viewpoint in order to select the “Advanced” tool.
Then I pull the corner down to the ground (red ellipse, right image), click the mouse and then delete the remaining corner. Then I repeat these steps for the other corners.
Next I use the regular “Push n Pull” tool to raise up the top of the box (red ellipse, left image). Then I select the “Offset” tool and click on the top surface. When I move the mouse, the offset will get bigger or smaller and all four corners will automatically re-size too. When I have the right size, I just click again.
I haven’t shown it here, but I’ve used the “Push n Pull” tool to push the top surface back down. This will become the surface of the water after I add a color to it.
Since I want the trough to have a coarse surface, I’ll select the “Paint” tool and then a texture from the choices below the “Concrete Cement” drop-down list (red ellipse, left image) and apply it to one surface of the model (red ellipse, right side of left image).
Then I’ll select the “Edit Position” tool (small red ellipse, lower left in left image). After I select the textured surface the wheel of tools will appear (right image). I’ll select the round handle in the middle (red ellipse, right image) and pull it (red arrow, right image) to make the texture even more coarse. Now it looks more like it was chiseled from stone.
Now that I have a texture I like, I can apply it all over by selecting the “Paint” tool and then the “Pick” tool (small red ellipse., lower left in left image). Then I select my texture on the model and apply it to the rest of the model surfaces. I can draw a box around the whole model to make sure I’ve selected everything or I can select each surface individually.
Finally (right image), I apply a blue color to the top of the “water” and the virtual trough is ready for a virtual horse to have a virtual drink.
Many times I’m not sure what size to make my circles, so I’ll start with a guess and then need to go back later to change it. It’s easy to do, although you do have to be careful about how the change will affect the geometry around it.
Watch How to Change a Radius to get more details.
Here I’m going to change the inner diameter of the well to be smaller than I originally made it. In order to make it easier to see, I’ve removed the man, the top parts of the well and the textures.
First, I use the “Deform” tool to select an edge of the inner well.
Then I select the green “Modify” mode (red ellipse, left image).
A yellow handle will appear, and I can pull or push it to make the diameter larger or smaller. Note I only had to select 1/4 of the the diameter, but the change was applied to the entire diameter.
If it doesn’t work with one edge on your model, select a different edge of the same circle and try again. Changing your viewpoint may help too.
Another common problem is that I’ll end up with models floating in space. How do I put them on the ground or onto another surface?
How To Put an Object on the Ground is a good introduction.
The simplest way to get my floating man (red arrow) onto the ground is to select him, use “CTRL +C, CTRL +V” (copy and paste), then move my mouse close to the horizontal surface I want him to be on and click again (gold arrow, left image).
Another way is to follow the same steps, but hit the Space bar after “CTRL +V” to show the anchor points available, select a point and then match it up with the point on the model you want (gold arrow, right image).
Sometimes you want to be absolutely sure your model is really on the ground, since the green grid can sometimes fool you.
To do this, I draw a little rectangle of ground (red arrow, left image), select the man with the “Deform” tool, click on the “Show Reference Point” triad (green ellipse, left image) and then move the Reference point (gold ellipse, left image) to an edge on the bottom of the man’s foot (red ellipse, right image).
Then I simply push the yellow arrow down (red arrow) and move the mouse onto the piece of ground. The man will then “Snap to Face” (red ellipse) and now I’m sure he is on the ground.
You can try the same steps to snap him so he is standing on the edge of the well or another horizontal surface in your model.
We made some major progress on the town this week. The horses are happy, the docks are ready and I don’t see anything floating around anywhere in town.
If the weather is good and the keel and other timbers arrive at the shipyard, next time around we’ll work on building a typical 13th century merchant ship. Then we’ll really start moving the goods!
Links to previous Castlemania Stages: