Create high-quality models in no time at all with these comprehensive, full-color, techniques and tutorials from Antony Ward and David Randall. These step-by-step tutorials walk readers through the creation of a high-quality female model while teaching you the basics and principles behind 3D modeling in Silo - including modeling the face and clothes, creating textures, and posing the character. The companion website includes all of the tutorial and project files. This book is officially endorsed and co-written by...

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Modeling in Silo

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Create high-quality models in no time at all with these comprehensive, full-color, techniques and tutorials from Antony Ward and David Randall. These step-by-step tutorials walk readers through the creation of a high-quality female model while teaching you the basics and principles behind 3D modeling in Silo - including modeling the face and clothes, creating textures, and posing the character. The companion website includes all of the tutorial and project files. This book is officially endorsed and co-written by the creators of Silo, Nevercenter.

Features include:

• See how to create three main models - A base mesh, a detailed female base mesh and the final cover character, Jade Raven.
• Covers both organic and hard surface modeling techniques.
• Introduces the reader to more advanced Silo tools like Paint Displacement and UV Mapping.
• Full of bonus material and information to make you a more efficient 3D artist.
• The techniques featured can also be applied to other 3D applications, making the skills you will learn easily transferable.
• Get money off Silo with the discount code available on the book’s companion web site.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781136132056
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/12/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 330
  • Sales rank: 862,461
  • File size: 22 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Since the days when stipple was king, Antony Ward has grown with the game development and computer graphics industries, adapting his skills to match its increasing thirst for polygons. During the past 14 years, Antony has led teams, developed workflows, and trained staff in some of today’s leading game development studios, all while sharing new techniques as he did with his first book, Game Character Development with Maya and the eagerly anticipated sequel Game Character Development. His website is http://www.ant-online.co.uk/index.php.

Nevercenter Ltd. Co. is a private company based near Salt Lake City, Utah. We are a small team devoted to the development of 3D software and content. Our goal is to make 3D graphics more accessible to a wider variety of people, with an emphasis on speed, appeal, and ease of use, while maintaining a high-end product. Their website is http://www.nevercenter.com.

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Read an Excerpt

3D Modeling in Silo

The Official Guide
By Antony Ward David Randall

Focal Press

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-81482-7

Chapter One

Getting Started with Silo

In this chapter, we discuss how to view, select, and manipulate models in Silo. If you are not familiar with Silo or polygon modeling, make sure to read the "About Silo" section at the start of the book.

We recommend having Silo open and running as you read, as most of the actual learning will co me as you try things out for yourself. Allow yourself to play, have fun, and make mistakes; you will get comfortable with the software much more quickly. If you do not already have Silo installed, a free 30-day trial is included in the free downloadable content, and you can always find the latest version available at www.nevercenter.com.

Viewing Objects

Working with a 3D model requires seeing the model from all angles. Changing anything on the model to get it looking right from one angle has the potential to negatively affect the way it looks from another. In Silo, you can easily zoom, rotate, and pan the current viewport (i.e., the window used to see the model) to make sure you are getting things right from all angles. It is important to understand that you are not moving the model with these commands, just changing the camera position. Basic viewport controls involve holding the Alt key along with different mouse buttons as follows:

• Rotate = Alt + Left Mouse Button

• Zoom = Alt + Right Mouse Button (or scroll with the scroll wheel)

• Pan = Alt + Holding Down the Scroll Wheel or Middle Mouse Button

You can customize all of these controls, but in this book, we will assume you are using the default configuration that ships with Silo.

• To get a feel for manipulating the view in 3D space, create a new Silo file and add a basic model by selecting Create > Custom Primitive > Base Man With Feet from the top menu (more on custom primitives in Chapter 2).

• Now try rotating, zooming, and panning to see the model from all angles by holding down the Alt key and clicking and dragging with the different mouse buttons or scroll wheel.

Viewport Cameras

So far we've been using the default viewport camera called "Free Perspective," which means it is a camera with perspective correction (i.e., objects further away from the camera appear smaller) that is free to move in all directions. Silo also includes nine additional viewport cameras to make sure you can get a good sense of your model from all angles. The most important of these, besides Free Perspective, are the fixed orthographic camera views, which fix the viewport camera from the top, bottom, left, right, front, and back of your scene. Orthographic views do not use perspective correction, so objects further away from the camera do not appear smaller than objects close to the camera.

Working from the various orthographic views feels more like working with flat blueprints, although the model is of course still 3D. They offer greater technical accuracy, a quick way to see what is going on with the model from various sides, and (as you'll see when we start modeling our main subject) you can place images in these viewports to exactly match your model to reference material.

The easiest way to switch between viewport cameras is via the right-click menu (under Viewport Camera), or use the number keys (0 through 9 are each assigned to one view). As you try manipulating the view with different cameras, you will notice that panning and zooming in the fixed orthographic views work similarly to the free perspective viewport camera, but using the rotate commands with a fixed camera will just spin your view (like turning the blueprint) rather than rotating in 3D to the far side of the model.

Viewport Layout

To get the most comprehensive view of your model, you also have the option to divide your workspace into multiple viewports, each with its own camera. Depending on the size of your screen and the project, this can be very helpful. You can right click in any viewport to change its camera, or left click to select and start working in that viewport. (Whichever viewport is currently selected is known as the active viewport, and is the one that will respond to your input.)

• Press the Down Arrow to switch to a four-viewport layout.

• Use Spacebar to quickly expand the selected viewport in a single view layout.

• Press Spacebar again to toggle back to the previous multiview layout.

Other viewport layout options are available from Display > Viewport Layout.

Take a minute to get a feel for the various cameras and layouts. Don't worry about mastering them all; the important thing is to know they are there to use when you need them.


As in most 3D graphics software, models in Silo are made up of components known as vertices, edges, and faces. The vertex is the most basic unit of 3D graphics—a point in space with no actual size or shape. An edge is a line created by connecting two of these vertices. Together, a web of these edges and vertices is used to outline the structure of a model, much like scaffolding (often referred to as a wireframe). It defines the shape, but isn't solid. Faces, or polygons, are used to fill in spaces bordered by edges, like pieces of glass in a stained-glass window, and make the model look solid. These components are all interconnected—you can move a vertex directly, or by moving any edges or faces it is part of. 3D modeling is simply the creation and arrangement of these components.

Learning to think of your model in terms of vertices, edges, and faces all at once is essential, as some tasks are impossible with one component type but easy with another. This kind of thinking comes quickly with practice.

Selection Modes

Selection Modes are a way to tell Silo which type of component you want to work with. There is a separate selection mode for faces, edges, and vertices; a Multi-select Mode, which lets you see all three at once; and an Object Mode, which we will get to in a moment.

Silo's selection modes let you work in terms of these components—in Face Mode, you will be manipulating faces; in Vertex Mode, vertices; and Edge Mode, edges. Multi-select Mode is sort of a shorthand that lets you see all three kinds of components at once. Often the key to good modeling is recognizing which selection mode is best for a given task. Many tools are context-sensitive, and change behavior based on the current selection mode.

Silo contains a fifth selection mode, Object Mode. Objects are a useful, if surprisingly complex, concept. For now, it is best to think of each separate part of a model, which is not physically connected (e.g., each of a character's shoes), as a separate object. In Silo, you have to make sure the object is selected in Object Mode before trying to edit it in other selection modes. Many models will only contain one object, in which case it will be selected by default.

Selection Styles

Optimizing a modeling working workflow often involves selecting multiple elements with some precision, and to ease the process, Silo has three selection styles: Paint, Area, and Lasso (Figure 1.5).

• Paint Style allows you to hold down the Left Mouse Button and paint over additional elements to select anything that comes under the path of the mouse cursor.

• Area Style creates a box as you hold down the Left Mouse Button, and all visible elements in the box are selected (to select through a model, just hold down the Middle Mouse Button or Scroll Wheel instead).

• Lasso Style works similar to Area Style, but allows the user to draw a shape around specific elements while holding down the Left Mouse Button (or Middle Mouse Button or Scroll Wheel to select through and model). Everything within the drawn shape will be selected.

You can also add to a selection regardless of the style by holding down Shift and selecting additional elements (Shift + Ctrl to deselect).

To get a feel for the various selection modes and styles, load a custom primitive (Create > Custom Primitive > Base Man With Feet) and a cube (Create > Cube) into a scene and try selecting objects, faces, edges, and vertices with each of the selection styles.

Getting comfortable with selection and memorizing the keyboard commands is a very important part of working quickly in Silo.

Manipulating Objects

With a feel for how to see models from all angles and how to select the various elements, you are ready to start some actual modeling using a mainstay of 3D software: the manipulator. In coming chapters we'll learn about more freeform ways to work with polygon elements and objects, so don't get discouraged if working with the manipulator feels a little too technical. Regardless of your workflow, however, knowing how to use the various manipulators is crucial to your 3D modeling success.

A manipulator is a small 3D object with handles that appears next to the current selection and lets you interact with it. The three handles of the basic manipulator point in each of the dimensions of a Silo scene's space. The colors on the manipulator match the red and blue on the Silo grid and represent the X (red) and Z (blue) directions. The green side represents the Y or vertical direction. To start, the manipulator will align with the Silo directions on the grid, but as you work with a model and adjust the manipulator the orientation will likely change.

Three single-function manipulators in Silo allow the user to move, scale, and rotate objects and polygon elements. Each manipulator has outer handles and a center handle that you can click on and drag to perform its functions. There is also a Multi-use Manipulator with handles for all move, scale, and rotate operations; and a Snapping Manipulator that allows for precise movement and rotation. With the exception of the snapping manipulator, buttons for all the manipulators are in the bottom center of the screen, and hotkeys are on the Q row of the keyboard. You can access the snapping manipulator in the main menu via Selection > Manipulator Tool > Snap. Figure 1.7 is a breakdown of each manipulator and what the various handles do.

Once you have had a chance to review the chart of the various manipulators, it is time to start playing.

• Open a Silo scene and create a primitive base bust (Create > Custom Primitive > Base Bust).

• Try selecting each element type and using each of the handles on the various manipulators to modify the bust.

For those just starting with 3D, do not be surprised if modifying the bust to look a certain way is harder than you anticipated. We have just started to scratch the surface of what Silo can do and how it works in a real-life modeling situation. In the next few chapters, you will learn about various modeling rules, Silo tools, and workflows that give the modeling process a much more organic feel.

Chapter Two

3D Modeling Basics

Learning the Language of 3D

Working in 3D is part art and (unfortunately for many artists) part math. The art elements can be easy to understand and very translatable from other artistic endeavors. The mathematic concepts will, however, likely be new and at first unintuitive. Therefore, before we jump into learning the Silo tools that will help build and define our model, we will pause in this chapter to talk about the important conventions of working in 3D.

This chapter is geared toward the inexperienced modeler. While most of the rest of this book focuses on the "hows" of creating and manipulating geometry, this chapter attempts to cover the "whys." Those familiar with 3D or coming to Silo from another 3D package might want to briefly review this chapter, or just reference it throughout the modeling process if questions arise. The concepts we will cover include subdivision, using quads and face loops, avoiding poles and holes, maintaining appropriate polygon density, and working with references and primitives.

While perhaps not strictly a creative endeavor, understanding these technical basics and creating models that look good and are well put together have some valuable benefits, including:

Efficiency. Modeling smart means modeling faster. Following conventions helps to provide standard solutions to common problems, and avoid mistakes that can result in hours of reworking.

Versatility. 3D objects will often have a life in other 3D programs and formats, and subdividing, posing, painting, sculpting, rigging, and animating can become very difficult if the geometry is not done well.

Reusability. Modelers often reference their past work and integrate it into new projects. The cleaner the reference, the easier it will be to use.

Understanding Subdivision

A necessary, powerful complement to working with polygons (and the reason for many of the conventions of polygon modeling) is subdivision. In fact, Silo is often referred to as a "subdivision surfaces modeler." Subdivision tools allow the software to create smooth organic surfaces from a coarse polygonal mesh (see Figure 2.1). For example, if you create a cube and subdivide it multiple times, it will end up looking smooth and spherical (although, for mathematical reasons, not a perfect sphere). This system allows you to create a model using only a few hundred polygons, but then automatically give it a smooth finished look that might take hundreds of thousands or even millions of polygons to achieve. Essentially, subdivision allows you to create high-resolution models without having to create and control all of those tiny polygons individually.

You control subdivision in Silo with the ITLITL and V keys. To get a feel for how it works:

1. Create a new Silo file and add a basic model by selecting Create > Custom Primitive > Base Man With Feet from the top menu.

2. Press ITLITL to subdivide and then V to return to the rough polygon mesh. You will notice that while the surface changes, the lines that mark the original polygons do not. In any layer of subdivision within Silo, the base mesh remains editable.

3. Subdivide again and try moving a few edges and points using the manipulator to get a feel for how the subdivided surface responds. You are always selecting and working with the faces, edges, and vertices of the low-resolution original, from which the subdivided version is created.

Subdivision is an iterative command, meaning each time you press ITLITL you'll get a smoother and smoother mesh, and each time you press V you'll step back one level. One temptation for beginning modelers is to use as high a subdivision level as they can. However, because each level quadruples the number of visible polygons from the previous level, going too high can take a toll on your computer processor and dramatically slow modeling. It is best to use low levels of subdivision (typically three or less) and jump up to higher levels only periodically if needed.

Along with all the benefits, subdivision can reveal and magnify certain kinds of modeling flaws. As mentioned earlier, this is why it plays a role in determining the basic rules of polygon modeling—although it is not the only factor. Magnified flaws caused by subdivision are known as subdivision artifacts, and are essentially unexpected bumps, snags, or other types of visual problems. In Figure 2.2, you can see how adding triangles to a model (something we will discuss avoiding in the next section) did not cause a visible problem in the base mesh, but did create a bump in the subdivided version.


Excerpted from 3D Modeling in Silo by Antony Ward David Randall Copyright © 2011 by Elsevier Inc. . Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; Subdivision Surfaces; Modeling Techniques; Introducing Silo; Character Preproduction; Basic Kila; Fleshing Out Kila; Dressing Kila; Tecture Preparation; Texture Painting; Final Pose and Render; Appendix A: Sculpting in Silo; Appendix B: Reference

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