Home FAQ Gallery Downloads Tutorials Purchase Freeware Links

Building a House - Step 1 - The Door

This tutorial demonstrates how to create a more complex model using Shape Magic. Shape Magic is used to make individual parts which are then assembled in a 3D program like Bryce, Vue or Poser.

To the left is the first object we will make - a round door. It is made using three Shape Magic objects: the door itself, a knob and a window.

You can download a copy of the Shape Magic .smg files here if you want to use them to follow the tutorial. Or feel free to make your own.

Step 1A - Base Door

To make the door itself, first create a Side View by clicking on the green button at the top of the screen. Use the following picture as a guide.

For the first object, set the bezier segments (left side of screen) to 12 for the top, middle and bottom. You do this by one of three methods:
a. Click and drag the vertical slide bar to change the value
b. Click on either side of the bar to increase or decrease the value by one
c. Click on the number box and type in the desired value

Set the top and bottom face to 1 by the same method.

There are four colored squares on the right half of the page. Point at one, hold down the left mouse button, and drag to a new position. You need to drag all four to match the pattern shown below. The blue, green and red squares are close together near the right of the grid, in a diagonal line. The black square is set to the left of the blue square and just slightly higher than the red square. The green line shows the top face and it should be just above the lowest black line. (Most of the time the top face is at the top of the model, but in this case, we want the molding to stick out from the flat door surface as shown in the picture at the top of this page.)

In the bezier segment section, there is box with a number in it. To the left of that is a 3-dot icon. Sometimes the dots are all gray, sometimes they are all colored, sometimes they have 1 to 2 gray or colored dots. That indicates how many of the hollow dots are turned on. Point at one of the 3-dot icons, left click the mouse, and keep left clicking until one colored dot and two gray dots are showing. Do this for each of the middle sections. For the top and bottom face click until they are all gray.

On the left of the grid you will see the hollow dots. These form the bezier curve that connects the solid dots. Point at one, hold down the left mouse button, and drag to a new position. You need to move the green, red and blue hollow dots until they match what I show below.

When finished, click on the green Top View button at the top of the window.

You will now be on the Top View page. On the left side of the screen is the Cross-Section Style choices. Click on the Round button (A). You don't need to change any other settings, so click on the green Create File button at the top of the window.

You will now be on the Create File page. On this page, turn off any Special Effects by clicking on Reset All button (A) located at the lower left of the screen. Then click on the Create button (B) located in the lower right of the screen. You will see a green outline drawing appear in the middle of the page. At the bottom of the page, the status box will show how far along you are in the creation process. When this box says "Done", click on the Save File button at the top of the page.

You will now be on the Save File page. Enter the file name in the box at the bottom of the screen (A), and if not checked already, click on the three checkboxes (B): Group names, UV mapped and Front & Back polygons (for Bryce, leave the Front & Back Polygons unchecked). Then click on the Save button (C) to save the file.

Step 1A covers the basic of creating a model in Shape Magic.

You drag dots around the screen to form the shape. You change the number of bezier segments to make a smoother or more jagged line. You click on green buttons to set the type of cross-sections. And you can click on number boxes to type in Special Effects.

Since these are the same basic steps for every Shape Magic model or part, I won't go into this same level of detail on all the steps (but will do so as new features appear). Look at each image to see what the settings are and drag the dots to match the picture. You can also load the .smg files located here if you just want to see the end result (I'll tell you how to load a .smg file in just a moment!).

In addition to this tutorial, each page has a green Help button at the top right with help specific to that page. Many of the major sections also have green "?" buttons - they give more help for that specific section.

Step 1B - Door Knob

Next we'll make the door knob. Position the dots somewhat like the following picture. Also set the bezier segments and 3-dot icons to the values shown.

Instead of a round door knob, I made one with a fancier cross-section. Click on Smooth Petals (A) first, then set the red and blue dots as shown.

The solid blue dot on the upper right of the grid sets the number of petals (or the number of Polygon sides if that button is selected). The solid red dot at the bottom of the screen sets how deep the petal indentations go towards the center. (If you set the solid red dot all the way to the center, the indentations go all the way in.)

Set the hollow red dots as shown below. If you need to change the number of hollow dots, click on the 3-dot icon marked B. Each time you click this icon, it increases the number of colored dots. Keep clicking and they will turn all gray, indicating that all the hollow dots are hidden. Keep clicking to get them back.

Set the number of bezier segments the same as described above for Step 1A, Side View.

When your design matches the one below, click on the Create File button. When you arrive on that page, click on the Create button. When the status box shows "Done", click on the Save File button at the top of the screen. From that page, save the door knob.

Step 1C - Door Window

Next we'll make the window. We'll use the same Side View as we did for the door in Step 1A.

When you saved the door, Shape Magic saved the design in a file with the same filename plus the extension .smg. The .smg file is a text file that contains the design data for the door. Click on the Open File button at the top of the page. Enter the name you used to save the door file in the box at the bottom of the page (A), then click on the Open button (B).

Once you load a design using the Open File page, you have to go to the Side View, Top View and Create File pages to update the design. If you don't, your model will use whatever design is already there - it may be a surprise!

[Though not specifically used for this tutorial, you can also use a design file as a template to create a new shape. In this case, you click on the Open as Template button. Then, on the Side View and Top View pages, click on the Show Template checkbox in the lower right of the screen. The design will show up as a light yellow shape. You can then use this yellow shape as a guide to either duplicate the original design or make modifications. If copying the design, you want to move dots and change bezier segment settings until the black line cover up the yellow lines. This would be one way for you to use the .smg files here to learn how to use Shape Magic.]

We want the window to be a diamond, not round. So go to the Top View page and click on the Polygon button (A). Drag the blue dot (B) to 4 (or type 4 into the green box near the top of the grid.). When done, go to the Create File page and click on the Create button. Then go to the Save File page and save the window.

Step 1D

The parts for the door are now made, ready to be imported into your 3D program. Since each 3D program has completely different ways to import, size, rotate and texture models, I won't go into those details here.

One item you do want to be able to do is to apply different textures to the top faces of the door and window (that's how I got the door to have two wood tones and the window to have a glass plane even though each is just one Shape Magic model). To do so, use the following links:

See Importing Models into Poser

See Importing into Bryce

Once you've imported the parts into your 3D program, the door and window will be lying flat and need to be rotated 90 degrees into a vertical position. The window and knob will need to be resized and positioned to match up with the door. And the textures will need to be added.

On to Step 2: Making the Base House

Return to Start of Building a House Tutorial

Return to Tutorials Home Page

Shape Magic Products are designed by Rich Schafermeyer.
© Copyright 2001-2011. All rights reserved.