Table of contents

       The first run is necessary to let ZModeler init it's profiles and enable Z3D files double-click open.
       Make sure you have properly installed ZModeler. You can find helpful info about it in
ZModeler full documentation
Well, after you have started ZModeler, allocate all float bars and toolbars, like on the image:

      If you run at 1024x768 or higher resolution, then I recommend to dock Objects float bar just under Main toolbox. You can customize visible tool- and float-bars through View/ToolBars.../ and View/FloatBars.../.
       Quit ZModeler and start it again to make sure that everything is OK.

       Now we shall customize ZModeler for newer project. In fact, customizing is just adjusting Direct3D settings.
       In Options/3DView the options should be marked like on the image:

       Especially, make sure, that Force Software is not checkmarked and Shade, Fill modes/Wire (and Solid) are checkmarked.
       Now choose Options/3D View/D3D Settings to activate Direct3D settings dialog box:

       There the following options should be adjusted like on the image:
- Shadows level
- Wireframe color
- Background color
- Default material color

       Hit OK. That's the all customizing.

       It doesn't matters where you think that you know ZModeler basics and fundamentals, I strongly recommend to study this chapter as precise as only possible, since you might find the following parts not too precise as you expect. Also, you should practice everything from this and Basics chapters.
       If you are using Internet Explorer then you can adjust it for opening sample files just from this tutorial: After you click on next link, in dialog box choose Open form it's current location and uncheck Always ask...:

THIS LINK for that purpose.

       Well, lets start.
       ZModeler has the following hierarchy of elements:

       This images shows that Object has a set of Vertices and a set of Faces. NOTE: Faces are the same as polygons, but in this tutorial I'll write faces. Each face refers to three vertices of the same object, thus, on the image, Face #1 refers to vertices 1,2 and 3; Face #2 refers to vertices 2,3 and 4.
       Here you have to notice several things:
- Objects can't share vertices.
- Faces refers to 3 vertices and only triangle-faces are supported.
       Object has a virtual edges. Virtual means that there is no set of edges. The edges comes as part of faces: for example, the Face #1 refers to V1 (vertex #1), V2 and V3. That means, in object there are the edges: < from V1 to V2 >, < from V2 to V3 > and < from V3 to V1 >.The following image illustrates this:

       Objects, Vertices, Faces and Edges are called LEVELS. Thus you can work with objects (on objects level), with vertices (on level of vertices) and so on.
       To indicate ZModeler to work on proper level there are buttons in Main tool bar:

       Splines button works with other and makes combinations of spline levels.
       Now open This File. This file contains two objects, that we shall use for practicing switching objects to different levels.
       The active view is, by default, the upper-left. It has a blue boundary. Move mouse over the left object's edge (just over any line of this object) and it will turn blue. It means, the object is activated and you can operate with it.
       Suppose, you need to switch this object to vertices level:

  • - press vertices button in toolbar. (or hit '1' key).
  • - Move mouse over this object to activate it.
  • - Click on this object and it will switch to vertices level:

           On the image above the left object is switched to vertices level. When you move mouse over the vertex, it is activated, since now you can operate on vertices. NOTE: the vertex is drawn in blue as well as faces that refers to it. Thus, on the image, the upper vertex is activated and upper face (the only face that refers this vertex) is drawn in blue.
           To switch the same obeject from one sublevel to another sublevel you simply press the button in toolbar. Thus, you can press Faces button to switch this object to Faces Level.

           NOTE: To activate the face you need to move mouse over the dot in the center of that face. On the image, the dot of inactive face I've bounded with red.
           The same way you switch object to edges.
           Well, when you find in this tutorial words "switch object to level ..." it is supposed that you perform the steps: press according button, activate an object and click on it.
           The most expected question for now is "how to switch to another object when you are on sublevel?" There is nothing hard in it: you can simply press Objects-level button in toolbar and then switch your object to according level. But there is shorter way to change object:
  • Choose new level by pressing according button in toolbar (current object will switch to this level)
  • Hit Backspace button (ZModeler will temporary turn into objects level)
  • Activate another object (activate: like on objects level)
  • Click on new object (since according button in toolbar is already pressed (by step 1) - new object switches to according level)
           You can try this on current example by switching right object into edges level:

           Now you are ready for ZModelers' basics.

           This chapter is also very important before we start with creating the car. It describes Selecting and Hiding, that goes through the all process of cars' creation.
           First of all: Selecting is one of the most recent used features of ZModeler. It stands for forcing ZModeler work with selected group of elements. For the instance, you might need to delete some vertices: you can delete them one by one, but you should use selecting instead:

  • Select the group of elements
  • Switch SELected mode ON
  • Apply tool
  • Switch SELected mode OFF.
           It's real easy and takes several seconds to intermediate steps. Lets study small example: You might need to Move several vertices.
    This File. You will see the simple terrain. Suppose you need to move several it's vertices - like on the image:

    That stands for moving road (gray) few higher. To perform this you will use selection:
  • Switch ZModeler to SELection mode by pressing SEL button (or hitting spacebar):

  • Switch object to vertices level.
  • Choose tool: Select\Quadr:

    NOTE: ALL Select\ tools work with right mouse button!!!
  • Right-click and, holding right mouse button down. bound these vertices with a rectangle:

    After you release the right mouse button, you will see, that all SELECTED vertices have been activated, like they activated when you move cursor over the vertex:

    Now ZModeler will apply modifications to these selected vertices!
  • Choose tool: Modify\Move:

    Notice, that Select\Quadr is still active, since it is applied to right mouse button, while Move tool applied to left mouse button.
  • Click and, holding left button down, drag mouse up to move selected vertices up:

  • Choose tool: Select\None and right-click ones in the active view. This will remove selection:

  • Unpress SEL button, since we done with selection.
           I recommend to practice a bit this example. You should also practice deselecting groups of vertices. To deselect you perform the same operations as you do when selecting; But you hold CTRL key when releasing right mouse button. Most of Select tools uses CTRL key as deselector. Exceptions: All, None and Single. As for Single - when you right-click it changes selection: it selects if the vertex isn't selected and deselects if the vertex is selected.

           Second: Hiding is also very important, since the more you create, the harder the work becomes. The more detailed shape you create, the more lines you see in the view. To avoid this chaos you can hide all unnecessary elements and show them when they are needed.
           You can hide the whole object or any part of it: from single polygon up to most of polygons. You can also hide vertices (and, of cause, all neighbor faces).
           To perform hiding of a single element you follow the steps:
  • Choose tool Display\Hide.
  • Make sure ZModeler is NOT in SELected mode (SEL button is unpressed).
  • Click in the view ones.
    As a result the active element disappears.
           To perform hiding of multiple elements you follow the steps:
  • Choose tool Display\Hide.
  • Make sure the SELected mode is ON(SEL button is pressed).
  • Select group of elements using a branch of Select\ tools.
  • Click in the view ones.
    As a result all selected element disappears.
           The backward operation can be divided into two situations:
  • Unhiding of the Objects.
  • Unhiding of objects' elements.
           The first one is simple enough. You switch to objects level and then choose tool Display\UnHide. And in the dialog box you selects an object to unhide and click OK.
           When unhiding elements you have to know, that ALL hidden elements of THIS object will be shown. To unhide elements of the object you switch this object to according level (to level of vertices); then you choose tool Display\UnHide; then you click in the view and all hidden elements of this object appear.
           Open This File. You will see two cubes. The left one has hidden vertex (and hidden adjacent faces), the right one just shows what faces are hidden.
           Switch the left cube to level of vertices and unhide invisible vertex. Then switch to objects level, choose tool Display\Unhide and click in the view. In the dialog box you will see the name of hidden object: cube-invisible. Select it and hit OK.
           As a result you see, that there are three cubes and the left one doesn't contain hidden vertices.
    There is more simple way to operate on objects, especially - on hidden elements.
    This is a Objects float bar. If you run on 1024x768 or higher resolution, then it is strongly recommended to keep this float bar available and docked under main toolbox:

           This float bar contains list of objects names. When the item is select - the object is visible. You can simply click on unselected line (cube-invisible) to unhide that object.
           There are also four buttons to operate objects. I think it's all clear with them.
           The thing should be noticed that you can right-click on first object in the list (cube) and a small popup menu will appear:

    As it is shown you choose Vertices...\UnHide and all hidden vertices appears. And I think it's very comfortable and you will find it very useful later.
           One more mode that is worth been described here is MULtiple Mode. You might have noticed that only one element can be active at the same time, but it always happens that some (two ore more) elements should be modified at the same time. The following image illustrates that situation:

    Suppose, you need to move this pair of vertices. On the front view, when you move mouse cursor over them only one of them activates:

    Of cause, you can select them and use Selected Mode, but since this situations is very frequent, there is a MULtiple mode for that purpose. To switch this mode ON you press MUL button in the main toolbox or hit / key (on the left from the right SHIFT key):

    When you move mouse cursor over that pair, you see that both vertices can be activated:

    and you can use Move tool to move them.

    Well, the last topic in Getting Start chapter brings some understanding on dependences. It will be also refered in this tutorial.

           There are two types of dependences. The first is Modify Axis. Suppose, you need to move object vertically and only vertically. Can move mouse cursor up or down that the object moves exactly vertically? I suppose, it's real hard. For that purpose there are several types of Modify Axis in ZModeler. They are:

  • X - horizontal modify
  • Y - vertical modify
  • XY - both horizontal and vertical modify (default)
  • Z - depth axis modify (toward the viewer and out from the viewer).
    The first three can be illustrated on Scale tool, when you make object 2 times bigger:

           The last one (Z axis) will be used VERY OFTEN, especially with Move tool. There is small note about it: Before you start dragging an element in Z-order, you should click ones on it.
           You can practice moving toward the viewer and out from the viewer on Open
    THIS Example. In the side view there are two objects. The left one is for practicing, the right one is a desired result.

           The second type of dependences is Axis Center. It is used in two ways. First, it's a PIVOT point and describes center of modification. It ZModeler it is shown as "X"-style cross in all views.
           The following images illustrates how Rotate and Scale tools depend on Axis Center:

           The second way, how the Axis center is used is the Depth coordinate source.
           Suppose, there is a tool that creates a triangle, when you click in the view. Like on the image:

    now suppose that axis center was placed not in the plane of front view - it's lied in 3D space:

    if you will use this abstract tool in that case, the polygon will appear not in the plane of the view (black and light-blue lines), it will be placed (in Z-order) where the axis center is (red lines):

           I suppose it's all clear with it. The only will be mentioned is how to change dependences.
           To change Modify Axis you can use buttons in toolbar:

    or Tab and Shift-Tab to change them sequentially.
           To Place Axis Center you can use tool: Display\Place Axis and click in the view ones. Or move cursor into the view where you want to place axis and simply press (.) key (twice left from right SHIFT).

           Hope you have studied all suggested examples.

  • Table of contents