| Home Page | Recent Changes | Preferences

Wings3D/First Shape

This page is a tutorial to guide you through making your very first shape in Wings3D.


You are at least mildly familiar with UnrealEd, and either you've read over Wings3D/Interface, or you want to Wing it (;)) and figure out the controls as you go (most are pretty easy). You should also know what Verticies, Edges, and Faces are. IMPORTANT: I also assume you have a 3 button mouse. If this is not the case, you will need to change your settings in Edit > Camera Mode. The buttons and what they do are almost always in the information bar, so make the necessary mental adjustments as needed.


By the end of this tutorial, you should be able to do the following:

  • Plan your shape for inclusion into a UT2003 map
  • Create a shape in Wings3D
  • Scale, rotate, and position the shape
  • Change the shape of the shape by editing Verticies, Edges, and Faces
  • Assign a color/material to the shape

So let's get going

If you haven't already, download, install, and run Wings 3D. You'll get a window that has a single viewport in it, a grey grid, and axes markers. Maximize that window if you like, and you can enlarge the viewport as well (or add new ones with Window > New Geometry Window).

Manipulating the camera

If you're already used to using Nendo, Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, or MotionBuilder, then you can go to Edit > Camera Mode to change the camera behavior to the same as any of those programs (watch the Information Bar as needed for buttons and what they do). If not, just use Mirai. It's kind of hard to get used to after UnrealEd, but has a shallow learning curve. This tutorial will use the default (Mirai) camera mode.

Operating the camera in Mirai mode

If you're leaving it in Mirai, I'll give you a quick rundown of how the camera works:

From the normal screen, click the middle mouse button to open the camera mode. From here, the mouse cursor disappears, and moving the mouse pans the camera around the focus (in this case, we're focused on the origin, or x=0, y=0, z=0). Holding the middle mouse button down while moving the mouse, OR using your mousewheel will zoom in and out. Pressing 'Q' will change from 'tumble mode' (focus remains in one spot) and 'track mode', where moving the mouse will make the camera 'strafe' up, down, left, and right instead of turning. In camera mode, click the left button to stop moving the camera and continue editing, or click the right mouse button to cancel your changes and put the camera back where it was.

Making a new shape

To add a new shape to the scene, just right-click anywhere in the scene to open the context menu. As you can see, you can add lots of different shapes from here. The shapes at the top are sphericals (i.e. they attempt to mimic a sphere, but with flat surfaces), and they have 4, 8, 26, 12, and 20 faces respectively. For this tutorial however, we'll be using a plain old cube (6 sides). Click cube, and a 2x2x2 cub will appear at the origin. This is the default spawning point for all shapes in Wings3D.

Scale the shape

Notice that there is no option to resize the grid in Wings3D. This is because W3D operates on a 1 unit grid, and each unit here is the same as 1 unit in UnrealEd. This makes the default 2x2x2 cube unrealistically small compared to your almost 200 unit tall player. We now want to scale it up a bit, to allow for that, so make sure you're in 'body selection mode' (the fourth pyramid button in the second group), and select your cube. Another helpful thing to know is that useful information about the object appears in the upper left of the window. Now, right click on the cube, and click Scale. Then click Uniform to scale on all three axes at once (you could scale on just a single axis at a time if you want, for example to make your object taller but not wider). I'll scale mine 800%, to make the new dimensions 16x16x16. Hold shift while scaling to snap to the grid. The plan is to make it look nice at a size that will fit the grid in the program, and then inflate it to real-world size later.

Resize the shape on one axis

Now we're going to make our shape into a simple door. Doors are traditionally much thinner than they are wide, so we'll need to scale it back a bit. Right-click and then click Scale, then choose either the X or Z axis (doesn't really matter). Scaling in Wings3D defaults to using the mouse, but this can be very inaccurate for scaling something down, since the size at the start is 100%, and the grid snap feature snaps to multiples of 100. So, since we want it 1/8th its current size on that axis, we'll enter scaling mode, then press Tab to open the numeric entry window. Enter 1/8th of 100% or 12.5 here, then press enter. This will scale it back to the exact size we want, and exit scaling mode.

Our door will be narrower than it is tall, as well. Following the same procedure, scale it along the other axis (x if you used z last time, or z if you used x) down to half its current size.

Edit the edges

Our door should also get narrower at the top than at the bottom. This can be a very simple, yet very effective design if used properly. Switch to the Edge selection mode (second of the second group of pyramid buttons). Notice that when you mouseover an edge, it will light up green now. Click the two top side edges, and they will turn red indicating they are selected (select the shorter edges, not the longer ones).

Right click anywhere, then click move, and choose the axis that's at a right angle with that edge (but not the Y axis). Now you can use either Tab entry, or use Shift to snap to the grid, and move that corner of the door. Move it until it's 2 units away from the origin, and do the same for the opposite edge on the top.

Hide, Move and Rotate shapes

Now we'll get slightly fancier with our door by adding a triangle we plan to texture with a logo later to the front of the door. Deselect everything by using the Select menu, or clicking everything until nothing is red anymore, and right click in the scene. When the menu pops up, go to the Cylinder menu by clicking on the preferences icon ([W3D-Buttons-Prefmenu]), then enter 3 for sections and click OK. We've created a triangular shape now, but it's too small, and we can't select it because the door is in the way.

To solve this, we'll hide the door by selecting it, and going to Select > Hide Selected in the menus. Next, move the shape out of the way by right-clicking, and selecting Move. Now that it's out of the way, we can go to Select > Show All in the menu to bring our door back.

Because we want this to be a sign on the door, we'll rotate and scale it. Scale the shape along the Y axis to 1/8th its size (12.5%). Our triangular piece is now 0.25 units tall. Switch to Body selection mode, and select the triangle, then right click and choose Rotate, and whichever axis is parellel to the face of the door (except Y). Now we can rotate the shape along this axis. Rotate the shape 90 degrees to appear flat against the door, and click to lock in the change.

Editing verticies and faces

To edit a vertex or face, just pick the appropriate selection mode, and select the editing mode for the action you want to perform on the element. Keep in mind that changes to one element can affect the others: moving a face will move the adjacent edges, and resize and rotate the edges and faces adjacent to those.

Using the orthographic view


Now we want to attach the shape to the front of our door. The easiest way to do this is to use an orthographic, or schematic view. Click View > Orthographic View in the menus, and then View > View Along > Positive Z. We now have a top-down view of our scene (+Z places the camera on a point on the positive Z axis). Freemove the shape to be centered on the X axis if it's not already, and then place it so it's just past touching the door (the two shapes should overlap a little). The figure at the left is what my shape looks like now.

Applying a material to the shape

To my semi-certain knowledge, there is currently no way to texture map a shape in Wings3D. The only way to apply a texture to your shape would be to re-edit it with another program, export it as VRML and edit the code directly (very difficult), or allow UnrealEd to texture it for you when you import it (UEd will inform you that the mesh is untextured and apply the currently selected texture to it, which may not look as nice as you'd like it to.)

To make it look pretty anyways, select all the faces you want to apply a specific material to ('materials' in Wings3D are a set of characteristics that define color, shinyness, etc.), using either the Face or Body selection modes. Now, right-click and select Material, then enter a name (doesn't reallly matter, unless you want to apply the same material later to other faces). The Diffuse and Specular colors are the key ones here, and will control the color of the object and the color of the light reflecting on it. Ambient color will slightly change the colors of both, and I haven't figured out Emission yet. :p Shinyness changes the size of the reflection, and Opacity makes your shape partially see-through. To the left, you can see the material I assigned to my shape.

This page spit up by DUc0N


dUc0N: Page is done now :) It's maybe not entirely complete, but this is what I managed without a nervous breakdown.

The Unreal Engine Documentation Site

Wiki Community

Topic Categories

Image Uploads

Random Page

Recent Changes

Offline Wiki

Unreal Engine

Console Commands


Mapping Topics

Mapping Lessons

UnrealEd Interface


Scripting Topics

Scripting Lessons

Making Mods

Class Tree


Modeling Topics


Log In