The tunnel - or "how to repair a model"

Started by DocCharly65, January 14, 2019, 01:59:09 am

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some days ago I spoke about expensive and low cost models and the sometimes big quality difference.
Meanwile I played around with a 20$ model and invested very much time into making it suitable for a TG animation scene.

It started with this "Sci Fi Tunnel VR by alekrazum" I found on CGTrader. I just fell in love with the design, had instantly several ideas for animations:

What was offered on CGTrader:

Then the disillusionment came first after a first test in TG:
No textures... but in principle still a nice model.

After some hours work in Poseray the bigger disillusionment:
A mixed trouble with flipped normals and some other problems with faces, verticals and subdivision...




At this point I decided to repair this model with my primitve blender-, wings3d and poseray knowledge from scratch  ::)

... to be continued ...


January 14, 2019, 02:13:39 am #1 Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 02:43:02 am by DocCharly65
I disassembled the model with Blender into its individual parts and put each model into its own folder to be able to properly label and save the textures.

Then the real work began: Subdividing especially pipes tubes and railings and so on (worked better with wings3d than with blender). Remapping and searching for suitable textures...

First: some pipes:

A few wires and brackets later:

Working on wall elements:

The new pillows were a big effort but a big step too:

The first steps were rendered with 4 suns (two in front and two in the back). Now I added selfilluminated lamps:

Some elements later:


Now it was time to delete the 4 suns and replace them by the final light sources :)

... to be continued ...


January 14, 2019, 02:26:02 am #2 Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 02:39:34 am by DocCharly65
The first 15 lightsources... ;D
I did some experiments with using only the selfillumination of the lamp models but it looked shabby. Shadows were wrong and in animations the lighting gets extremely wrong whwn an object is leaving the image section of the camera. so ... light sources placed in the center and a bit down under every lamp:


Now I could adjust some texture settings like brightness reflection and more... and add final parts like the door, the floor and some more lamps:

A bit fine adjustment and I had almost the final as my new base for the planned animations:
(not to forget the rigged and animated astronaut by QuintenPillen on CGTrader...)

Startframe of the first animation

Endframe of the first animation:

Important hint after all: Though I had almost 3 weeks work with this model, I think alekrazum did a good job for the money he/she took. All the details, all the parts had to be built. What I did was only optimizing for my personal wishes.

... to be continued ... but not today ;)


That's a lot of work. But you're right; better models take more time and need to be more expensive. So sometimes it may be more efficient to buy a dear, but perfect model made by someone skilled enough to do it quite fast, or spend an awful lot of your own (maybe less expensive, but far more) hours.


A lot of work but then aren't all good pictures!

j meyer

Well done Nils.
A 20$ template to work from, it seems. ;)
Next time you will be faster fixing things up.


Nice fixup!

Otherwise I disagree that after paying 20 bucks you have to do all of these. I can understand no textures but flipped normals and stuff?? I would write to the guys and ask him to fix the model. The modeller should have a vested interest to have a good product under his name. Otherwise people won't buy his stuff.

I bought recently a model from the same place and the seller told me if any modification is needed he will do it. So I asked him kindly if he can modify some stuff for me and he did it. Now this is what I call service and correct exchange!
Dell T5500 with Dual Hexa Xeon CPU 3Ghz, 32Gb ram, GTX 1080
Amiga 1200 8Mb ram, 8Gb ssd


Thanks all :)

The fixing of flipped normals is something I quite often have to do but I guess some of these happen while exporting or converting the models.

Additionally sometimes I have the impression that these normals- or verticals problems are not visible in every case. I had models where even flipped normals were rendered perfectly in TG and in Poseray you didn't see any mistake too.

In case of this model I also did very much subdividing and smoothing because I wanted no visible polygons even with changing light situation and camera position within an animation. Most models are quite lowpoly even when they are looking good in the e.g. Cry- or Unreal Engine. But that doesn't work with my variations of (sometimes extreme) camera settings.

So I'm often torn to accept on one side that I am abusing models that are just not made for Terragen or on the other side to insist on perfect model quality and service... They could also stop offering *.obj- file conversion - Only 3Dmax, c4d or mb (or other stuff I can't handle). Then the choice of available models would be much lower.


Holy jumping Jehosaphat!  I cannot even imagine the work you've put into this.  Me - I'm more "point-and-shoot" with anything Terragen, let alone objects.  Must say, though it's impressive!
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows...


Brilliant work, Doc. The final renderings just look great. Love the lighting. Great to see your process and impressed by the time you invest to get this kind of quality. You have high standards.

I've found that some meshes that render OK in mental ray or Arnold may not render at all well in Terragen. (Don't know about Blender.) TG is pretty finicky about modeling sins like flipped normals, nonmanifold surfaces and ngons. I appreciate that and it's made me a better modeler.

Agree with archonforest here - the original author should fix these things.


Thanks :)
I'll talk with the original artist... I won't need the original model any more now but perhaps he makes me a special price for some models later (of course with clean faces and normals ;)  )

Here are some new detail shots and a shot not from this model but to show you, why I wanted this tunnel and where it will go within my film...

The 6 (12) core is already at frame 89 of 300.
I found the walls a bit empty and added some speakers and I urgently want a little hommage to the speech of an old friend.. ""I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that" ;)


Meanwhile I was searching for a special midi file from Richard Strauß if you understand... and I thought about a special scene: A small tribute to my old JBL Control One speakers who still serve as undefeated winners as surround speakers.

(Intentionally dark and red ambience for a sleep mode view)


For the exterior views of this scene I worked on an old model of the 2001 Discovery (free from Celestia Motherloade). I deleted the front window and one pod bay door. The bridge is just a cut cylinder with a projected selfilluminated photo of the Discoveries interior. Works ok for me.

The pod bay was a bit more work. I seperated and deleted the middle bay door and a part of the hull. Then I inserted a model of the pod bay (free from Alvatar on ShareCG) as good as possible.

I am satisfied (for the moment ;)

Jo Kariboo

The work is impressive on artificial light sources. Very beautiful images, a lot of work and textures!


You put a lot of work into this. Looks great!