In the second part of Michael Ciesielski’s massive Willys jeep tutorial, you’ll learn how to create the jeep’s hood, detailed front grill and headlight sections. Michael will walk you through the process of building each component and explain the importance of using support edges and where and why to place them. This is a crucial step in the subdivision modeling pipeline and a key element in controlling the final look of your smoothed mesh. Click through to continue!
This tutorial series will teach you how to model a Willys Jeep from WWII in Modo 601. The tutorial is created for users new to modelling in Modo. It requires a basic knowledge in Viewport navigation and UI. We’ll first go through the planning stage, and then we’ll setup the blueprints and plan how we should separate the parts of the model.This tutorial will have five parts, and at the end of the fourth part. We’ll have our Willys jeep modeled with the interior blocked out. In the fifth and final part we’ll proceed to detail the interior.
Lets start our detailing by creating separate geometry for the hood. The easiest way will be to copy geometry from the body mesh. To do this we will first add a loop at the height that the hood starts at (in the side view). Just as in the previous tutorial, I used the ‘Add Loop’ tool.
Lets also create an edge where the hood ends in the top view.
Select the polygons which correspond to the hood on the blueprint. Copy and paste these polygons (Ctrl+C , Ctrl+V.)
Double click the rest of the body geometry and hide it (‘H’). Select the new geometry you pasted before.
Lets use the ‘Push’ tool to move this geometry away from the original mesh, from which we copied our hood.
Lets add thickness to our hood with the ‘Thicken’ tool. When you activate the tool you’ll get a gizmo with 2 handles. Blue corresponds to moving new geometry away, and red to scaling. Use only the blue handle since we only want to move it away.
If you now press the ‘Tab’ button you’ll toggle subdivision mode. It will divide and smooth the geometry. The technique we are using to model this car is called ‘Subdivision modeling’. The concept is to create geometry simple enough to make it manageable, but dense enough to make it retain shape after using subdivision As you can see below the result is really bad.
First thing, we have to fix is additional geometry. In the previous part of this tutorial, I talked about problems with the ‘Thicken’ tool. It adds new vertices which we don’t want. To fix this problem we will use the ‘Merge’ tool. Select all of the vertices and activate the ‘Merge’ tool. Its job is to merge vertices based on a distance you specify. You can change the distance by dragging in the viewport or changing the value in the tool properties.
When vertices merge, they will deselect, which helps to see where vertices are being welded. Change the value up, but be sure you don’t weld vertices which create the form of our hood. It will typically be a really low value.
If you now toggle subdivision, you’ll see a major improvement. The extra vertices are gone and the geometry looks way cleaner. It still doesn’t look like it should, since we didn’t use the advantage of the technique.
First we have to remove the edge which our new geometry inherited from the body geometry. Our body gets thinner under the hood, than the hood itself. To remove this edge double click it and press ‘Backspace’. It will remove the edge and vertices corresponding to this edge.
To use the subdivision magic we need to introduce supporting edges. Their role is to retain shape after subdividing. Lets select 2 polygons from the loop going around the hood (they will specify the direction of the loop). We will use the ‘Loop Slice’ tool in ‘Symmetry’ mode, and 2 as a ‘Count’ value. I explained this tool in the previous part of this tutorial. With those settings it’s a great tool to add symmetrical support edges.
Add edges as shown in the image with ‘Add Loop’. You can use ‘Symmetry’ to automatically add those edges on both sides.
In the image you can see how my hood looks after adding more edges. I added symmetrical edges with the ‘Slice Loop’ on the polygons responsible for the hood thickness. I also added three edges on top of the hood. For those I used ‘Slice Loop’ with 3 as a ‘Count’ value. I moved those edges up a bit to create this subtle curve on the hood. I also added one edge on the side, to support the plane which you can see on the reference for the side of the hood. I also added two edges across the hood to give it more geometry to make the smoothing a bit better.
You can check if everything smooths fine by changing the shading mode to ‘Reflection’ under the ‘Ctrl+2′ pie menu. It’s a great shading mode to judge the smoothness of a surface.
Subdividing is, like everything in Modo, dependable on the selection. If you select the hood polygons you can toggle subdivision off only for those polygons. For now, hide everything except the body geometry. If you toggle subdivision on for the body, you’ll notice that there is not enough geometry to support the shapes.
Lets refine our body shape. First we will add bevels on the back corners. You can use ‘Symmetry for this one. Double click on the corner edge and press ‘B’ to activate the ‘Bevel’ tool. Check your reference to make this bevel big enough. You don’t need a higher ‘Round Level’ than 1.
As you can see below, we introduced n-gons by doing so. Lets fix those by cutting our polygons. For convenience I changed the shading to ‘Gooch’ (‘ctrl + 2′ menu).
Using ‘Edge Slice’ would be too tiresome to cut these polygons. Lets use the ‘Slice’ tool. It creates a plane which cuts through selected polygons. Select the polygons shown in the image and change to the Top view. Drag like in the image from the left ‘+’ sign to the right ‘+’ sign. You can constrain it to a horizontal or vertical axis by holding ‘Ctrl’ before dragging. Be sure to drag this line slightly above the corner edge.
If you cut slightly above the corner edge, you can now easily weld the new vertices with the ‘Drag Weld’ tool. As you can see, we still have two five sided polygons. For now we won’t be editing those though.
Further refining the shape of the body, I moved the polygons behind the wheel closer to the frame. Once again use your reference.
Lets create a space for the grill and the lights. To do this, select the polygons shown in the image and using the ‘Bevel’ tool, Inset them.
Lets add a loop where, the space we will create, will end.
We’ll need to delete the polygons selected in the image. Select those and Delete them with the ‘Del’ button.
Select the front polygons and using the ‘Bevel’ tool, extrude them back. Try to move those close to the loop which we previously added.
The ‘Bevel’ tool added polygons which we won’t need. So select those and Delete them.
If you look from the bottom you’ll see we created a hole. Cap it by using ‘Drag Weld’ and welding the vertices to the newly created extrude.
Lets now delete the polygons I have selected in the image. As you can see in the reference, it’s the place where the engine space should be. Since we won’t be modeling that, we can cheat a bit. We will need to delete those though so we won’t have a double hood.
Lets now cap hole we created from deleting those polygons. Notice how I selected edges. Since it’s most comfortable to use the ‘Bridge’ tool, you can’t select a closed edge loop. I selected the whole loop by double clicking and subtracted the small edges on the corners.
It’s worth checking if your model lines up in the other views. For me it didn’t line up in the Front view. That’s why its important to find good blueprints. Unfortunately it’s usually not possible to make it perfect.
I will show you how to fix it with falloff. Falloffs in Modo are a constraining effect of the tool to an area you specified. In the Falloffs menu you can find it next to the ‘Symmetry’ menu. Choose ‘Linear’ falloff. After choosing a falloff, you can drag it out with the right mouse button. If you want it to automatically align, just select polygons like I did in the image and activate the Scale tool. In the Scale properties, you’ll find ‘Axis Align’, where you can change to which axis falloff it will be aligned to. You can also reverse it if the axis is right, but the direction is wrong with the ‘Reverse’ button.
Since I had my Symmetry turned on, my falloff aligned as I wanted it to from the beginning. If yours doesn’t, try changing the ‘Axis Align’. And Scale those polygons along the proper axis.
Hide everything, change the view to Front and create a Plane by using the ‘Cube’ tool. By using ‘Add Loop’, the ‘Extend’ tool and by moving vertices. Create a plane with a shape close to the shape of the grill. Use ‘Symmetry’ to make it easier.
Make sure your plane doesn’t go through other geometry. And don’t add more geometry for now. It’s important to get the shape right first.
I had to Scale my grill down. I also moved vertices to make the gaps smaller and make it closer to the shape I wanted.
Add two new Cylinders by dragging in the viewport with Ctrl held down. Even when you create geometry, ‘Symmetry’ will duplicate what you created to the other side. Scale those cylinders to match the sizes of the lights.
Make sure this time the Cylinders goes through the plane. You can now make holes by using the Boolean operations, or by cutting the grill with the cylinders as guidelines. We will choose the second option. We can also later use those cylinders to create the lights themselves.
To cut circular holes in our grill lets use the ‘Edge Slice’ tool. Activate ‘Edge Slice’, turn on Snapping (‘X’) and change its options (‘F11′). In the Snapping Options choose ‘Geometry’ snapping. Be sure to select the grill geometry and deselect the cylinders.
To start cutting our grill geometry, click on the center edge.
Next click on the polygon you want to cut. As long as you don’t click anywhere else, you can drag the vertex around. Be aware that if you click on the polygon and drag onto an edge, it won’t cut the edge you dragged to. To do that you need to click on the edge, not on the polygon.
After clicking on the polygon, drag the new vertex onto the cylinder vertex to snap it. You can do it in the Front view to be sure everything lines up. It works good in perspective too though.
After you give the polygons, edges going to vertices, you need to connect the vertices creating the circular shape. You can easily do it with ‘Edge Slice’, as long as there is no edge between those two vertices. If there is an edge between the two vertices you want to connect, it’s easier to use the ‘Slice’ tool (also with snapping on.)
As I cut one side of my grill, Modo’s Symmetry didn’t translate it to the other side. Since it’s a really complex function, it may sometimes be buggy. It’s not a problem though since we can easily fix it later with the Mirror tool.
Lets Delete one side of our geometry. As you can see I introduced some triangles and n-gons to our mesh. I previously said that they smooth bad, but sometimes it’s not worth fixing them. If they are on the flat surface you won’t notice any smoothing problems.
After cutting the polygon you should clean it up a bit. Below you can see what my mesh looks like. I also cut circular polygons. You can divide those polygons like the bigger one (quads only) or the smaller one (with triangles.) In this example both will work.
Lets unhide the rest of this mesh object. Using the ‘Move’ tool with ‘Geometry’ snapping, align the center edge to the hoods center edge. It will allow us to mirror this geometry and make it symmetrical.
Lets use the new vertices to better recreate the shape of the grill.
Add one vertical edge at the bottom to align the bottom vertices to the shape of the grill.
We will now separate the part of the grill where we will create ribs. Add a vertical edge with the ‘Slice’ tool. Constrain it to the vertical axis by holding ‘Ctrl’. You can remove the triangle by following the notes in the image below. It will create a 5 sided polygon but it won’t cause any problems.
Lets select the grill and cylinders and mirror it with the ‘Mirror’ tool. You can move it with the teal cube gizmo. With snapping turned on you can move it to the center edge. If it’s mirroring in the wrong axis you can change that in the tool properties.
We’ll need 9 segments to recreate the grills ribs. I removed the center edge by double clicking on it and pressing ‘Backspace’. I selected the center loop of polygons and activated the ‘Loop Slice’. As you can see in the image, I used 8 segments with ‘Uniform’ as the mode. Under the ‘Count’ slider you can press the ‘Uniform’ button to place the edges uniformly.
Bevel the newly added edges as shown in the image below. You can check if everything lines up with the blueprint in the Front view.
Once again use the ‘Loop Slice’ tool to cut all those segments in the middle. The bottom edge is easier to add with the ‘Add Loop’ tool.
Now you have enough geometry to move the vertices to give those segments rounded ends. You can use the ‘Scale’ tool to uniformly move the vertices at the top and the bottom. Extrude the polygons after aligning the vertices and Delete the caps.
Double click the outer edge and use the ‘Extend’ tool to add depth to our grill. You can do it twice to add a support edge, or you can do it once and later add the support edge with the ‘Add Loop’ tool.
Select the two polygons inside every segment and press ‘L’ to loop those polygons. By doing so you don’t have to select everything manually.
Change the view to Top and use the ‘Slice’ tool to add a support edge for those inner segments. It’s a good way of adding edges in repeating geometry.
In the following image you can see how I created the support edges. The edge going around was made using the ‘Edge Slice’ tool. The Repeating edges on the ribs were created with the ‘Slice’ tool. As you can see those edges ends are creating n-gons, but since it’s a flat plane they won’t mess up our mesh. I also moved the bottom vertices of the outer holes to match them to the blueprint.
I also added edges at the bottom to retain the shape a bit better. Like before I selected the polygons I wanted to cut and used the ‘Slice’ tool. It’s one of the best things in Modo. Every tool works on a selection.
Since our circular holes are still capped, we can first select those polygons and bevel them to add an outer support edge. Then extrude them with the ‘Bevel’ tool twice. By doing it twice you can add support edge loops with the same tool. Delete the caps when you are done. You can see the final result below with the support edges selected.
If you now press ‘Tab’ and change the shading mode to ‘Reflection’ you can check if everything smooths like it should.
Since we added more edges at the top of our grill it lost its curvature. which results in a space between the hood and grill. To fix this we will once again use falloffs. Select ‘Radial falloff’ and drag it like in the image with the right mouse button.
If we change views to Perspective, we can check if our falloff gizmo is flat (other wise it will also affect our tool in the third dimension.) Be sure you have your grill geometry selected and activate the ‘Move’ tool. Now move the geometry up until you align the top of the grill to hood curvature.
Scale and move the bigger cylinder into the lights place and Bevel it in a few times. Also extrude the thin loop of polygons to separate the light from lights case. Notice I removed 4 edges in the smallest inset. Instead of 8 triangles I now have 4 quads. You can do it when you are ready to toggle subdivision on to notice the difference it makes.
Select the polygons you want to align to the lights dome shape, turn On ‘Radial’ falloff and activate the ‘Move’ tool. Now in the tools properties you can press the ‘Auto Size’ button to align the falloff gizmo to our selection. Drag the blue handle of the fall off gizmo to stretch it in the third axis. If you now use the Move Tool the geometry will align to our falloff gizmo. You can tweak it by dragging the handles or changing values in the tool properties.
Add support edges as shown in the image below. I added them using the ‘Loop Slice’ with symmetry and 2 segments. You can also Delete the back caps of our lights.
Lets edit the lower cylinders. Once again Scale and Move them into place. Since on the reference those holes are capped with a cylinder with a cube on top, we will need more geometry to create them. To add more geometry I deleted the caps from the cylinders.
To add more polygons you can use a feature under the ‘Basic’ category. In the image you can see ‘SDS Subdivide 2x’ (highlighted.) By default it’s ‘SDS Subdivide’, but if you need to subdivide something twice with one click just hold ‘Alt’ and it will change into 2x. Use ‘SDS Subdivide 2x’ once.
Now Bridge the edges selected in the image. Be sure to leave 2 edges at the top and 2 at the bottom unselected before using the ‘Bridge’ tool.
Double click those open edges and cap them with the ‘Make Polygons’ command. Use auto mode in the floating window and press ‘OK’.
Extrude 4 segments out of our cap. Bevel the polygons like in the image below and add support edges around the cylinder.
Unhide the rest of the geometry and toggle subdivision. As you can see our geometry smooths well. We will need to work on body now.
Since we already blocked out the body we can now add support loops. Most of the loops I added were done with ‘Add Loop’, but to retain the width of the front part I used ‘Loop Slice’. I used symmetry and 2 segments which you can see in the image.
Lets change views to a Side one and move the vertices as shown in the following image.
Use ‘Slice’ to add a loop between the two loops constraining the curve. Align the top vertices to the blueprint.
I did the same to the rest of the curvature. Added a few loops and aligned them to the blueprint. Don’t worry about the vertical straightness of our edges. Since they are on a flat plane, it won’t affect the look of our geometry.
We need to add a support edge around back mudguard. To do this we will need to change the edge flow. To do this select edges like in the image and use the ‘Slice’ tool. You can drag it out in the side view, but be careful how the plane cuts at the bottom.
Do the same on the back side of the mudguard and connect those edges with ‘Edge Slice’. You can see how it should look after in the image below.
We should also add support edges inside the mudguards. It seems like a job for ‘Loop Slice’. Unfortunately it will behave like in the image; it will destroy the curvature of our hood and mess up the interior. It’s an example of bad edge flow. But by using different tools we’ll easily make it work.
Select the polygons shown in the images below. Use the ‘Add Loop’ tool to add an edge to the selection. Thanks to the selection constrain the loop won’t go around hood.
We don’t have to finish those edges since the polygons there are flat, but if it won’t take you a lot of time it’s worth doing. Below you can see how I closed the edge flow in the front and in the back.
At the bottom we’ll use the advantage that flat polygons give us. Select the inside polygons of the mudguard plus a few polygons on the bottom. And with ‘Add Loop’ create a support edge.
The next step will be to refine the front mudguards. So add a few edge loops to have enough geometry to align the mudguard shape to the blueprint.
Once again we will change the edge flow. Select the polygon loop shown in the image and using the ‘Slice’ tool create a new edge. Notice I didn’t drag the upper handle of the polygon. It will make changing the edge flow easier.
Using ‘Edge Slice’ finish the loop around the mudguard. It will act as a great support edge without disrupting the mudguard curve.
This new edge will give us enough geometry to extrude the lip, which the mudguard needs to look like it does in the reference.
By now you should freely be able to add support loops. In the image you can see how I added my edges. The second part of the mudguard needs the same treatment as the first.
In the next part we’ll refine the interior, detail the wheels, window and frame. Be sure you understand every tool I introduced in this and previous parts. If you have problems with any of them, practice with them until you feel confident. Thank you for reading!
In the next tutorial we will continue detailing our model. We will create the tires and window. Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for the third part.
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