Modeling the track

Figuring out the proper modelling technique for the track was a difficult task. I considered using MASH network, extruding face along curve, making a NURBS curve and extruding it, but all these solutions involved a massive amount of manual work to add details, UV unwrapping not even considered. In the end, I decided to use a motion path technique.

Track References

Modelling the base element

I began with a cube primitive, then added mesh loops which define the silhouette of the track. Then, I deleted the faces which create the cavity in the middle, where the train’s motors will go. I bridged the edges to close the model again, and then deleted the front and back faces, as the track will be replicated.

For the distribution along a curve, I followed a tutorial on how to create a roller coaster track in Maya. In theory, the end product of the tutorial is very similar to my monorail track.

The technique explained in this tutorial is as follows: using a motion path which constrains the desired object on to a curve. This creates an animation, converting it to actual geometry is done by using animation snapshots. Animation snapshots make a visual representation of all places the object appears at per each frame of the animation. This snapshot is then converted into mesh by using Mesh – Combine, which combines all the different parts into one polymesh. Finally, joining all these individual pieces is done by bridging the edges of the model. My final track had approximately 100 individual pieces I had to manually join. For this, I mapped Wacom Express Keys to Maya commands – G – repeat last, and Ctrl + Del which deleted the edges. I also had to disable construction history for this part, as it was slowing performance down drastically.

Final track section
Final track layout

After joining the track sections together, it was time to lay the columns out. I laid them out in the same distance apart from each other, keeping in mind the position of objects in the original plate. When this was finished, I modeled a basic fence and wire sections, which I duplicated with motion paths over the tracks. These models were not textured at all, only shaded with AiStandardSurface and some Roughness Metallic values.

Train modeling

I began with a cube primitive, which I then made holes in and extruded the frame. I used a reference picture for the model, however only for the right part of the train. The frame is used as a smooth mesh on rendertime, with three catclark subdivisions.

Reference Image
Train modeling iterations
Train final model with textures and track

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