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Construct Models


Constructing models is the second step and perhaps the most labor intensive. Not all of your buildings have to as carefully modeled as the one below. Simple buildings with a flat roof are easily constructed from a box while buildings with more complexity require a more delicate treatment.

You construct your models in a modeling package. Three of the most popular modeling packages on the market for real-time design are Maya, MultiGen Creator, and World ToolKit. Additionally, Cosmo Worlds and Vizx3D are more simplistic packages and less expensive. A copy of Maya is available in the GCUDV lab, in the basement of CUPPA. Maya and Cosmo Worlds are available in the NewSpace (Passion Pit) lab in the Art and Design building. Creator and WorldToolKit are available in the EVL lab located in the Engineering building.

Partly textured model of 400 56th street, Kenosha, Wisconsin constructed in Maya.

A Simplistic Approach

The most simplistic modeling package of the above mentioned software is Cosmo Worlds. Cosmo Worlds has been discontinued for purchase but has remained very popular among interactive designers. It is available in the NewSpace lab and is appropriate for design to output to both VRML and the CAVE. If you are not going to attend AD 409 at UIC, or any other subsequent modeling class, then you should start by learning Cosmo Worlds.

In Cosmo, you can construct simple boxes and apply textures to them. The image below shows a series of boxes with PNG (pronouncedping) textures applied to them. The actual geometry appears in the second image, which shows the boxes rendered without the photographs applied to them. The third image below shows a wire frame of the buildings.

Cosmo Worlds Tutorial
VRML Modeling Tutorials

Cosmo Worlds is a modeling tool as well as an interface for programming interactivity in VRML. If you are designing for the CAVE or any other projection system other than the web, then you will only utilize Cosmo for the modeling aspect of your project. Construct each building separately in Cosmo and export it as an .iv (Open Inventor file). You will then import each model separately into YG. The most efficient way to load your models into the CAVE is to convert them to pfb after you have exported them from the modeling package. Perfly each model after converting them. Export each model as one the following formats from the modeling package for the CAVE:

pfb - IRIS Performer fast binary format
.flt - MultiGen OpenFlight format
.iv - SGI Open Inventor format
.wrl - VRML version 2.0 format
.obj - Wavefront Technologies data format
.3ds - AutoDesk 3DStudio binary data
.dxf - AutoDesk AutoCAD ASCII format
.lsa - Lightscape Technologies ASCII radiosity data
.lsb - Lightscape Technologies binary radiosity data

If you are designing for VRML to be shown over the web, you will construct your scene in Cosmo and utilize the interact graph within the software package.

Boxes in Cosmo Worlds with textures applied to them.
The same boxes above without any textures applied.
A wire frame view of the boxes above.
For more complex geometry, you will need to turn to a more complex modeling package. Maya, WorldToolKit, and MultiGen Creator are well suited for these tasks. When you construct a model in these packages, you can export them to VRML. This will enable you to import the model into your scene in Cosmo. Entire scenes can be constructed in the complex modeling packages and exported to VRML.
For simplicity, this manual does not cover MultiGen SiteBuilder 3D and Model Builder 3D. These programs are plug-ins for ESRI ArcView and require all the data be in GIS and in workable form. Workable form means that the data in the GIS consists of closed polylines and polygons appropriate to three dimensional extrusion. These programs also require advanced knowledge of ESRI GIS.
Computer Graphics & Urban Planning
  What is Virtual Reality?
  What is a CAVE and why use it?
  VR & the Web
  Current & Future state of VR
  Ongoing projects
Overview of Classes & Program
  Newspace versus EVL computers
Project Fundamentals
  Collect Data
  Construct Models
  Apply Textures
  Program Interactivity
  Output to Display Device