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Where do I begin to model a factory?
show user profile  DarkSpyda05
I like factories. I like the catwalks and click-clack of the plating. And the mystery of the place, too.

How would I model a factory? Where would I even start? I don't know what every corner and extrusion looks like in detail. I don't even know the function of the various blocks and cylinders there. Where would I start? Would I have to read schematics and blueprints or would zI just model a bunch of blocks and cylinders with extensions and nuts and bolts all over them? Where oh where would I even begin?

Sorry. Maybe this is too ambitious. I'm really just beginning out playing with 3d and the are so many cool things I like that I wish I could model. I find pipes and knobs and curious places and curious objects so interesting.

Where do I even begin in general? And also, how WOULD I approach a big project, anyway?
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3/8/2016 5:22:31 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 5:30:07 AM)
show user profile  TiMoN
This is prabably horrible advice, but.. I think I would start with the factory machines (production lines). I mean to me that sounds like the most interesting thing to model, and also what you would build the factory around.. As in the most important thing in the factory.
Then after you have the machine, you can start thinking about, which walkways/catwalks a worker would need to access the various service areas of the machine, how much space is needed around it, and what sort of machinery is required to get the raw material to the machine as well as the finished product away afterwards.

Then later you can add creepy lighting and menacing robots..

Overall.. an entire factory is a pretty ambitious project though.

Terribly boring signature.
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3/8/2016 8:25:50 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 8:27:49 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
I'd start with the catwalks, can put some models on there, doing their thing.
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3/8/2016 8:38:57 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 8:38:57 AM)
show user profile  Garp
I'd start with photos, trying to reproduce one.

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3/8/2016 8:49:43 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 8:49:43 AM)
show user profile  Joey Parker Jr.
I model factories.
Step 1: Floorplan.
 photo 2012-sig_small3_zpsbd114b69.png

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3/8/2016 9:52:04 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 9:52:04 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Architect floor plans, reference photos, going to actual factories and just looking at stuff (maybe even taking your own reference photos).

I used to rebuild airports and it was basically just a case of that: satellite imagery/arch plans (when avail) and a tonne of reference photos of each building/asset/thing on site.

But, from the sound of your post you might not be the most experienced 3D Max User... So first I recommend following Grant Warwick's Hard Surface tutorial (and, well, it's been a while since I've done tutorials or used Max as my Primary software - I'm sure other people will be able to give you good/better links and resources).

Finally, as for approaching a large project... Make a plan, start small, stay on track and don't give up. Think about your goals and what experiences you want to take away from the project; modular asset creation, rendering pipelines, real-time assets vs cinematic quality, animated fly-through, realism or artistic.

Lastly, start a WIP thread here for your project :)
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3/8/2016 10:10:09 AM (last edit: 3/8/2016 10:10:09 AM)
show user profile  npcph
the way i look at this type of drawings, start with the building floorplan. if you don't have an existing place, figure out what you want to have in the factory, and then decide on the size of the place you want to create. laying everything out on paper in a quick sketch will help with deciding approximate sizes and shapes. I have always found that jumping right into modeling something this large and complex and not coming up with a plan tends to make it easy to derail when you hit small problems.

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3/8/2016 5:14:21 PM (last edit: 3/8/2016 5:14:21 PM)
show user profile  STRAT
a factory fetish?



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3/8/2016 5:44:29 PM (last edit: 3/8/2016 5:44:29 PM)
show user profile  mike_renouf
All good advice so far - definitely you need to sketch up a floor plan and get reference photos.

Also - are you modelling it so you can create still renders, a walkthrough, or a game engine-based sim? Knowing your final goal will dictate the level of detail you need in your modelling and shaders.

Get familiar with instancing, proxy geometry and XRef objects too. Once you start to get a bigger scene you'll probably need to rely on these tools to make it manageable. Start small and work upward, adding modular, reuseable elements wherever possible. If you create one nut and bolt, set it up correctly and instance it as a proxy you'll never have to model it again.

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3/8/2016 6:17:07 PM (last edit: 3/8/2016 6:17:49 PM)
show user profile  DarkSpyda05
Everyone, thank you for the advice. It's probably because of the PS1 Resident Evil games with their pre-rendered backgrounds. You get to explore tons of atmospheric locations like sewers and hospitals and water treatment plants. There's something almost spiritual about the marshalling yard from RE2. And then there was also A 2001 Space Odyssey and Fantastic Voyage.

I got very excited when I found that one frequent structure of many factories is called a silo. Perhaps I should learn about factory anatomy?
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3/10/2016 6:53:34 AM (last edit: 3/10/2016 6:53:34 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt

If you're wanting to recreate factories from the 1900s, then having some historical / mechanical / engineering knowledge of the time would be good. Similarly, having knowledge about your subject is never a bad thing. But is it required? Absolutely not.

I could model a modern, production line facility - and make it convincing - without any idea how the stuff works. Provided I have enough reference materials (photos/floor plans) etc.

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3/10/2016 5:40:13 PM (last edit: 3/10/2016 5:40:13 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
I always need to work out the mechanics before I model a part. Mainly because that stuff interests me, but also because it animates better.
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3/10/2016 6:49:17 PM (last edit: 3/10/2016 6:49:17 PM)
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