Join Dan Ablan for an in-depth discussion in this video Modeling a bottle with a curve, part of Creating Product Shots in MODO.
I want to show you how to model an object with a backdrop image using just a curve. So here I have a backdrop image loaded, just this sample soda bottle, and it is just the default settings for this. So let's go ahead and select that backdrop item in the Items tab. And then in the Properties for it, you can click the Backdrop tab, let's take the Transparency probably to about 80% I would say, so I can just punch in 80%.
It might be a little too much, let's say 70% just enough to see it. The reason I'm doing that is because when we start building, it actually is hard to see our geometry when it's 100% opaque. For instance, if I press Ctrl+Space, come down at my Front view, and we choose a curve so that's over here in the Pen tool, so I am going to click and hold on the Pen command and then choose my curve, if I start building, sure I can see this, but it's going to be a little bit easier to manipulate this with a little more transparency.
So even if we do it at 50%, it allows us to see that curvature much better. And let's go ahead and delete that. Okay, so the way we are going to do this is we have our Backdrop item, I have set Transparency to about 50%--and again, you can vary this depending on your monitor and your brightness, doesn't have to be this, it makes no difference for your model. What I want to do to is create a new mesh. So I am going to go to Add Item and choose Mesh. Okay, that's a blank container for geometry, for mesh.
Over here in the Basics tab, when you have this Pen command, click and hold on it and choose the Curve tool. You're also going to see here in the Bezier and the Sketch. Let me show you those real quick, so let's choose Sketch. With Sketch, you can actually just click and draw like this, and it will draw just a nice curvature for you. And with that, you could extrude along it, you can create chords with it and things like that. I am going to press Command+Z to undo on my Mac, Ctrl+Z if you are on the PC.
You can use Bezier, and I know a lot of you Photoshop and Illustrator people like Bezier. Bezier allows you to click and then hold the mouse, and you can control the handles. Now, I don't really particularly like this in 3D, I feel it gives me a little less control. So, I am just going to select that and press the Delete key or my Backspace key, and now I'm going to come back again and choose my Curve tool. So the reason I like the Curve tool is because I can control the shape with points, with vertices, I just feel that gives us a lot more control over where we are going to put some sharps areas and where it's going to be more smooth.
So we can start at the top or bottom, I am going to zoom in, and I am just clicking and holding on these top right buttons here. We have the Curve tool selected, and when I select that tool, the properties for it show up beneath. We are in the Add mode, but we also have Edit and Delete if we need, and Close, Start, End and Make UVs. So for right now, we are going to leave all those blank. We just want the Curve tool on. We are going to start right in the middle, and we are just going to click once to create a point, and then we are going to click right about here.
And as I click and hold my mouse, I can drag that line around. Now, when I start making this curve, if I go too far, you can see that my curve swings out, just the way it would if you're drawing in Illustrator or Photoshop or another drawing type program. But if I make these points closer, I get a much sharper curve. So it's a matter of balancing where these points are without getting too many of them, but getting just enough detail.
And you really only need to do this just a couple of times, and you'll get the hang of it. So I'm literally just placing points in order, up along this curve just to get my detail. If I want, I can zoom in, and the quality of my image is important here because of course if I zoom in too far, and I have a low-res image, this is not the greatest resolution image, but it will work for this. A high-res image will actually have more detail. So keep that in mind. Then I am going to click right in here and then make sure when you have little corners like this, that's definitely a place where you would want a control point.
Now if I go up too far, that's going to curve a little bit, so we are going to keep this one little bit tighter down here, and then we can always click and drag right back on this point. Now if you tend to do that, be careful that you don't click from there, because look what happens. You add a point right in the middle, so I might want to come back in and undo that or what I feel is safer is just rearrange these. So we just make sure that you always have that last point selected before you continue on. So we will keep this one down about here. And I will zoom out just a little bit now.
And this one doesn't need to be too close, it could be right about here, and we will click all the way up here. Now if that curvature is not quite enough, I could make another point, but I think I'll do fine which is moving this one point up. Okay, so unlike what you might think, it is better to have less points. You want as little point as possible, and we are putting more in around these sharp corners. Of course, they are not really that sharp, but the tighter curves I should say.
And you can see right in here, this swoop right in here, we are going to want to point right about there, and then we are going to want to point right about there. So we have that nice curve with just a few points. So you could see why I like these Curve command, these Curve tools better than a Bezier. I just we have just basically more control. Now here it's a little bit tight, so don't get confused by that just simply make sure you continue along, and if these start getting a little tricky for you then move them back down, and we will need another control point there.
And I will put this one here, and then we can come back up, and that straightens that out. Now, the cap, how would we do that? Well, you could build it separate. But what I like to do is keep this part of the model. It depends, though, if you are building something for a client and the bottle has to have the cap pop off, you will want two separate objects. In this case, we are building one solid object. So I am just going to come up very tightly, right in here with a little point, another point right here, another very tight little point right here and just come up around.
It's very easy to make this cap look like it doesn't match, like it doesn't fit just by doing it separately and having the proportions not right. So, we always want to make sure that we do the cap as well and keep that consistency. All right, so we have this, and I just added an extra point by accident, but that's okay. So let's say I want to get rid of that point, I am going to come here to delete, and I can just click on the point and delete it. And now I'm going to move this back out, and we will take a look at what have here and press the A key to fit.
I am going to turn of my Curve tool, and I'm going to save this, and we can just save it as CurveSoda. And I will save that in the Assets file. The mesh itself, we can rename as curve if you want, it's not necessary, but just to keep organized. And then when I do that, I have made a change to my scene so notice that there's an asterisk now. So I will hit Command+S or Ctrl+S again to save.
So we have the curve, what can you do with it now? Well, I am going to turn off the Backdrop item, I don't need that anymore, but now I have got a really great reference that has helped me shape this. I want to use my Lathe command, my Revolve, so Ctrl+Space to get to your Perspective view, and you can see that I built this right along the 0 axis. I can see that 0 Y going straight through. But I can probably tell you that the 0 is not 100% for these endpoints.
So what I'm doing is in Vertices mode, select the two endpoints there. Now when you select, if you click and let go of the mouse, and you go to click again, you will end up getting all of it or you might deselect the other one by accident. If you let go of the mouse, hold the Shift key, and you can add to that selection. If you accidentally select too many, hold the Ctrl key and click back on that to deselect. And if you are not sure how many you have selected, always reference down here on the bottom right corner, two vertices selected. And I could see them top and bottom.
Now I will go to Vertex Map and choose Set Value. Okay, now what this allows me to do is set a value for my selection. Earlier I told you how if you select something, you can choose a tool and then apply that to that selection. If nothing is selected, whatever you do applies to everything in your view. Well, in this case, I have got just two points selected, so I am setting a value for those two selected points. And what's the value for these two points? Well, I want to change their position on the X, which is left and right, and I know that because I can see my legend down here, with my work plane, X is left and right.
And I want to set that value to 0. Notice that it's at -2. I just want it at 0, and I will click OK. Now it doesn't look like much happened, but now I know for a fact that those are specifically right at the zero axis, and I can save my scene again. The last thing we need to do is come here to Duplicate, and we are going to use Radial Sweep, which is like a loft or a lathe depending on which program you have used. The Count is set at 24, we want it around the Y axis which is up and down, we are going to loft or lathe or Radial Sweep around that Y axis, starting at 0 degrees, ending at 360 degrees, looks pretty good.
So we are just going to click in the interface there. And I want to keep an eye on these axis controls just to make sure because it's very easy to offset that and have a little bit of a hole in your object. So if I zoom in to the bottom, you can see that I have got just a little bit of a hole right there. And if I move these values here, you can see that that hole changes where I am using my Radial Sweep. Okay, so we are going to make sure that that's zeroed out, and that's zeroed out, and then we can pull back out and rotate around and make sure that there's no overlapping, and I will turn off Radial Sweep, press the A key, and now we have got a very nice detailed bottle, nice soda bottle built, very accurate in terms of its curves, its cap, and everything else.
But we don't have a ton of geometry. Let's quickly jump over to Render tab, press the A key, and now you can see that that view in the Render View shows a very nice, very clean bottle that renders fast. And we now we know it's very accurate as well because we built it off the background image. So I am going to save this now, something different. I am going to go File > Save As, and instead of CurveSoda, we will call it SodaBottle_Blank, and the reason I am going to say Blank is because it has no textures yet.
We are going to do that a little bit later in the course. I'll show you how to put some glass on here. So building with a backdrop image gives you specific control over your curves and your proportions, allowing you to create very clean but very usable 3D objects.
This course was created and produced by Dan Ablan. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
- Who should use MODO?
- Adjusting the workflow settings
- Using backdrops images
- Creating models with curves
- Creating materials
- Setting up basic materials in the Shader Tree
- Replicating traditional lighting setups for 3D product shots
- Rendering a 3D product shot