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Using backdrop images for reference

From: Creating Product Shots in MODO

Video: Using backdrop images for reference

When you're working in 3D, the number one thing you need to have is reference. You have to have something to work from, meaning as much as you think you know what a television set might look like or a mug, the best thing you do is actually have a picture of that or the real object in front of you. modo makes it pretty easy to model from existing references, and in this case I have got a simple bottle I'm going to show you and how we can model from that image. If you go to the Add Item dropdown in the Items tab, click that, up at the top there's something called Backdrop Item. If you click that, you get this nice little gray box.

Using backdrop images for reference

When you're working in 3D, the number one thing you need to have is reference. You have to have something to work from, meaning as much as you think you know what a television set might look like or a mug, the best thing you do is actually have a picture of that or the real object in front of you. modo makes it pretty easy to model from existing references, and in this case I have got a simple bottle I'm going to show you and how we can model from that image. If you go to the Add Item dropdown in the Items tab, click that, up at the top there's something called Backdrop Item. If you click that, you get this nice little gray box.

Now this doesn't render, this is different than having an actual box that's actual geometry. Notice in the Items list, it's a Backdrop item, it's not a Mesh, it's not geometry. With that Backdrop Item selected, the Properties for it will come up, you can see that we have the Transform Properties, Rotation, Scale and Position, we can just click on that to close it, but then the Backdrop itself has its own menu. And for the Image, we can hit the None button, and you will see that we have got a little panel here that pops up, and from this, we can say Add Clip, we'll click on that and then in there is Load Image, and when you load an image--I have one in the assets file in the images folder for this course, it's called Bottle_Reference--and when I select that, and it could be any image as well, it'll pull that in and place that in the Backdrop Image.

I'll press the A command to Fit it to View, and what we end up with is a Reference Image. So how is this different than loading a regular image onto a polygon? Well, first thing first is that it's not actual polygons. For instance, if I jump over to Render tab, and you can see that nothing renders, it's not really part of my scene, it's a reference. modo understands this is a Reference Image. The other advantage is that this Backdrop Item has some controls, allowing me to make it easier to use and build over, and that biggest thing for me is the Transparency, so I can actually make this transparent, and that way I can see through it, and the reason I am doing that is because if I press Ctrl+Space on my keyboard, I get my Pie menu, and I can jump down to the Front view, and then I can actually select some tools and build over this.

So notice that it's just a ghosted image now, just a reference file. And the reason I had wanted to do that is because, see these little contours in here, all of those are pretty intricate, and as much as you think you know what this soda bottle might look like, without an actual reference this area might be a little too large when I build it, or I might have a little too much of a straight line on the end here, and the curve might not be right, things like that. All of it would be little details that would make your model not quite look right.

For instance, it might come out okay, people would see and say, oh, and that's the soda bottle, okay, I get it, but it'll look a little off, and with the power of modo's tools why not go to the maximum realism and get this as accurate as possible? Let's jump back here to Backdrop Item again and then click the Backdrop tab. Notice also in these tools aside from Transparency, I have Uniform Size, so I can actually scale it. I also have a Brightness depending on your image and it may be too bright or too dark, and I can play with the contrast.

Now this is just a PNG image. You can use a JPEG or TIFF or whatever you want. Another way to do this--I'm going to just clear all this out--is that if you have your image from somewhere else and in this case I have it on my Desktop, I'm literally just going to drag and drop it in, and it kind of saved me the whole trouble of going through the loading and everything else. But that's just an option for you, just another way to do things, you can drag and drop that right from another folder right into the screen. I can actually add multiple images. So, there I just dragged it in again, and now I have two, but of course, it's right on top of each other.

So, if you take a look underneath where it says Image, there is a Projection Type, so let's do this. This Backdrop Item, this first one here, let's right-click on it and Rename it to Front, and the second one, I'm going to right-click and Rename and call it Side and for that Side Backdrop Image, the Projection Type I'll change to Right, one of the sides, and look what happens, I'll hold the Alt/Option key to rotate around. I actually have a side view of this, let's say you are going to the next level, and you're building an airplane or you're building a car or building, having those orthogonal views, the Front, the Top, the Side, all of those will help you model more accurately, so I can come down to my Front and start building some shapes, then I can come to my Side, and I can use that as a reference to see how far I can draw something and so on.

And again, each one of these have their controls over Transparency and Brightness and Size and everything else. So, there are a number of websites out there that have blueprints of cars, airplanes, ships, things like that, things you would use multiple backdrop images for, and modo allows you to load multiple backdrop images, either from the Add Item dropdown, like I showed you earlier, or just dragging/dropping into your view. Using Backdrop Images is an excellent way to model your geometry accurately with detail, allowing you to get the right proportions and scale.

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Creating Product Shots in MODO

30 video lessons · 3043 viewers

Dan Ablan
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