3DS-Max Tutorial: How To Model and Texture a Boeing 727 Airline

In this tutorial I will show you how to model and texture a Boeing 727 aircraft from start to finish. Everything is explained in detail with screenshots for every step.

The software I use is 3DS Max and Photo shop.

End result:
How To Model and Texture a Boeing 727 Airline Final Image

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Practice tutorial

Step 1

This tutorial can be followed by anyone using 3ds Max 208 or later. I am using 3ds Max 2012 so the screen shots may be a little different. However the general guidelines can be followed with almost any version of 3ds Max.

In versions earlier then 2011 you may need to increase the image sharpness in your viewport display. To do this, before doing any work go to customize, then preferences and click on viewport tab.

Step 2

Next click on configure driver and then make sure background texture size and match bitmap size as closely as possible are checked. You will have to reset your 3ds max interface by clicking on file then reset. Now you should see your textures in the viewport crisp.

Step 3

To start it is a good idea to search the web and download as many images of the real thing you are going to model to use as references.

For our model we are going to search the internet for Boeing 727 airline. Google images is a great place to start, however an even better place is a website dedicated to providing free aircraft photos.

www.airliners.net Also we will need a blueprint to follow, we can get these at www.the-blueprints.com

When you have your reference images and blueprints place them into folders so you can nicely manage them while you model as shown below.

Step 4

Next we need to set up our modeling environment. So to start let's create a plane in the Front viewport, it is best to create your plane to the same size as your blueprint you will be following. The blueprint I downloaded is 1380 X 664

Step 5

Next is to ad our blueprint to our plane, do this by clicking on a blank texture slot and chosing bitmap as the map type.

Step 6

Next search for your blueprint you downloaded and then click Assign Materiel To Selection.

Step 7

Before we go any further, let's Save our work as Boeing 727 Airline in our modeling directory.

Step 8

Next Right Click on your plane in your modifier stack and chose Editable Poly.

Step 9

We will use the Cut command in this tutorial for our plane, so scroll down your editable poly stack until you see Cut.

Step 10

Next cut your blueprint like this.

Step 11

Next activate polygon mode and select one polygon you created when cutting. Then Detach it from the rest as seen here.

Step 12

When your plane has been cut and detached, you should have something like this. I deleted one part because I did not need two sides of the aircraft the same.

Step 13

Next arrange them like this.

Step 14

Next select everything and then Right Click and chose Object Properties.

Step 15

Next un-check Show Frozen In Gray and if you like you can also check Backface Cull.

Step 16

The final step for our setup is to Right Click on our planes and chose Freeze Selection, this will allow us to model without selecting the background.

Step 17

So to start our modeling we can use a cylinder because most airlines are cylindrical. So create a cylinder in your Front or Side view like this. Align it up with your blueprint.

Step 18

Next give your cylinder a new color by applying a generic texture to it. I chose a blue color for mine.

Step 19

This is a screenshot of my cylinder dimensions.

Step 20

Next Right Click and chose Editable Poly for your cylinder.

Step 21

Then select both ends of your cylinder and delete them, so you now have a tube.

Step 22

Next activate edge or border mode and select the front end border of your cylinder.

Step 23

Next while holding down Shift drag your edge foreword extruding the edge out and then use your scale command do size it to your blueprint. Keep working until you get something like this.

Step 24

Do the same to the back, hold down Shift and then extrude out until you create your back end of the aircraft.

Step 25

I am going to Save again but this time I will save with a nice little feature that will automatically save another version of your work with a new name, just click on the plus sign in the Save As box. This feature might only be available in 2010 and up.

Step 26

Next activate edge mode, then select all the edges along the very center of your cylinder as seen here.

Step 27

Then click on Connect and make a slice through the very center of your cylinder.

Step 28

Next activate polygon mode and select all of one side of your model and Delete it.

Step 29

Next go to your modifier tab and apply a symmetry modifier to your model so as we work on one side, the other side will automatically update.

Step 30

Let's work on our cockpit area first, start by activating edge mode and select your cut button, then start making cuts according to your blueprint. When you done you should have something like this.

Step 31

Next select these line and click on Remove to remove it from your model, you can also remove the extra vertexes.

Step 32

Next select these vertexes and collapse each set so you only have one vertex on each point instead of two.

Step 33

Next we need to make some more cuts or connections. The best way to do this in my opinion is to activate vertex mode and then use the cut tool and cut from vertex to vertex, or create new vertexes in empty space so you connect edges.

The aim here is to make sure there are no lose ends and that all ends are connected to a point.

Step 34

Continue to make more cuts to ends that are not connected to anything.

Step 35

The final edges made are here.

Step 36

Next activate polygon mode and then select your windows as seen here. Then click on Inset and inset them a small amount, I did mine at 0.07

Step 37

Next select this new polygon that was created after we inset our windows. Delete this from your model, because when using symmetry it gives bad effects with mesh smooth.

Step 38

Next activate edge mode and then select the new edge that came from deleting the new polygon and move it in until your gap is closed.

Step 39

Next click on Extrude, and extrude in a small amount. I used -0.05 for my extrusion.

Step 40

Next with your window selected, click on the Grow button so you capture everything needed in your window.

Step 41

Now Detach To Element your windows, this keeps them as part of your aircraft but separate.

Step 42

Remember to Delete any inside polygons created from extruding.

Step 43

Now give your windows a texture. I gave mine a dark gray with an opacity of 68.

Step 44

Now apply a Mesh Smooth modifier to your model to see what it looks like.

Step 45

This is our model with mesh smooth applied, and it does not look like we wanted. So to fix this we need to ad a few extra edges to our windows.

Step 46

Select all these edges.

Step 47

Now click on Connect to create two new edges with a pinch of 90.

Step 48

Next activate vertex mode and select these vertexes at the nose of our aircraft.

Step 49

Now click on Collapse to fuse all the vertexes into one, then move them together so you have a point.

Step 50

Next select these edges here and apply a connection of two to the selection.

Step 51

Next select your main aircraft body and give them some extra edges. I gave ten edges with a pinch of eleven. This will help us when texturing our aircraft body in Photo shop.

Step 52

Next go to your shapes tab and select line for your spline. We are going to create our wings now with splines. Draw a spline shape as seen here, it is very important to keep your spline shape with even points on top and bottom so you can connect them later on.

The red line is the spline and the blue dots are where I made a point when dragging.

Step 53

Next ad an extrude modifier to your spline to create the wing.

Step 54

Extrude out as seen here.

Step 55

Next apply an edit poly modifier, so we can edit our wing.

Step 56

Next activate vertex mode and move your vertexes around so your wing follows your blueprint.

Step 57

Next select the end polygon of your extruded wing and Delete it.

Step 58

Next while holding down Shift drag out your edge selection extruding it until you match your blueprint design.

Step 59

Next start to close the end by selecting two edges opposite each other and use the bridge command to close them.

Step 60

When your wing is complete, select your fuselage and attach your new wing to it, so now you have two wings.

Step 61

To help our wing keep its shape when mesh smooth is applied we will need to give it some extra edges. Do this to the end of your wing by selecting the edges and then connecting them.

Step 62

With mesh smooth applied we get something like this.

Step 63

Next we will create our tail fin. Start by selecting these polygons.

Step 64

Next extrude your selection up to match your blueprint.

Step 65

Remember to Delete the inside polygons when extruding.

Step 66

Next move your tail bits together so they form one piece.

Step 67

Next activate vertex mode and move the vertexes around until your tail looks like the blueprint.

Step 68

Next give your tail some new edges, the bottom edge is in line with the engine blueprint.

Step 69

Next select four end vertexes and move them foreword like this.

Step 70

Next select the center edge and move it out as seen here.

Step 71

Next we can quickly work on our back end, select the edges here and extrude them in while holding down Shift use the scale command. Then move them in so they touch each other.

Step 72

This is what mine looks like with an extrusion in as well.

Step 73

Next select these polygons and delete them, we will attach our engine to this part.

Step 74

Next create a cylinder and place it so it aligns up with your blueprint. Mine is an 8 sided cylinder.

Step 75

Next select the edges of your tail and give them two more slices, this will be where we will connect our new engine to our aircraft.

Step 76

Remember to delete the insides of your cylinder.

Step 77

Then make a slice through the cylinder so you can delete half of it.

Step 78

Next attach it by selecting your fuselage and clicking on attach and then click on your cylinder.

Step 79

Ad an extra line here.

Step 80

Next select two vertexes, one from the cylinder and one from the tail and click on collapse. Do this for all vertexes on your engine to your tail.

Step 81

This is what you should get when finished.

Step 82

Next select the inside edge of your engine, hold down Shift and scale in then move the new edges together and then extrude in more.

Step 83

Mesh smoothed engine.

Step 84

Do the same as your wings for the tail fins.

Step 85

With Mesh smooth applied.

Step 86

Create another cylinder and place it next to the side of your aircraft, align it up with the side engine on your blueprint.

Step 87

Give it two new edges.

Step 88

Next select this polygon and extrude it out.

Step 89

I extruded mine to 6.1 make yours to match your blueprint.

Step 90

Next select the inside edge and while holding down Shift scale in, then drag in to create the inside. Do this to the back end as well.

Step 91

I scaled down the back end a small bit and also rotated the engine up slightly.

Step 92

Mesh smoothed model.

Step 93

For our wheels create another cylinder, I used 14 sides.

Step 94

Convert it to an editable poly by Right clicking it and selecting the edit poly option. Next give it a texture like dark blue or black and then select both end edges as seen here.

Step 95

Next Chamfer the edges to something like this. I used a setting of 0.1 for mine.

Step 96

Next give your wheel three more edges in the center by selecting the wheel center edges and give it three connections.

Step 97

Chamfer them also. I used a 0.03 setting this time.

Step 98

Next select the inside polygons of each chamferd edge like this.

Step 99

Next extrude in a small amount, I used an extrusion of 0.069

Step 100

Next select both polygon sides of your wheel and Inset them a small amount, I used 1.0

Step 101

Keep extruding and inset and extrude until you get something that looks like this.

Step 102

This is the mesh smoothed wheel.

Step 103

Next make a copy of your wheel, move it into position and then create another cylinder to link them together.

Step 104

Next go to your shapes tab and select spline, draw out your splines and then check mark Enable In Renderer and Enable In Viewoprt

Step 105

Next move the wheel lifts into place and convert them to editable poly.

Step 106

Next attach both the wheels, the center piece and the gear lifts so they are all one object.

Step 107

Next make a copy of your wheels and position them to the back of your aircraft.

Step 108

Next for the gear lifts of the back wheels, create a new cylinder or spline and attach it to the wheel, then give it two new edges as seen here.

Step 109

Now extrude in a small amount. Or you can extrude out, what ever looks the best.

Step 110

This is an added spline I made for the side gear bar so the wheels can be lifted up and in.

Step 111

So with mesh smooth we get this.

Step 112

Next for the gear bay doors, activate polygon mode and select these polygons. Next Detach To Element.

Step 113

To make sure our gear door stays in shape when we apply mesh smooth, we can give it two new edges.

Step 114

Do the same for the front wheels.

Step 115

Now Save As so we have a saved version of our work with symmetry before we continue on to next step.

Step 116

Next we are going to texture our aircraft, so start by collapsing your symmetry modifier so that your aircraft is one whole piece, you can also attach the single wheel in front.

Step 117

Next apply an Unwrap UVW map modifier to your model.

Step 118

Next click on Open UV Editor to see the map editor window. The checkerboard area is where all our mapping with have to be.

Step 119

Next click Mapping then Normal Mapping.

Step 120

Next chose Left/Right Mapping. You can try other options to see what looks best for you, however we are looking to achieve a side view like the one you see here.

Step 121

Next rotate and position your two sides so they look like this.

Step 122

Next select one of your wings.

Step 123

Do the same as before, but this time chose Back/Front Mapping as the mapping type.

Step 124

Do both wings and then arrange them like this.

Step 125

Next select one of the wheels and use Box Mapping on it. This is the best option for wheels.

Step 126

Arrange your wheel like this, then do all the rest of the wheels. You can overlap the wheel maps.

Another way you can do it is close out of your UV Editor and then collapse it to the edit poly modifier, then delete all the wheels you created except the one you just texture mapped and then copy that wheel over to the rest, then all your wheels are sharing the same texture space.

Step 127

Next select your gear lifts and map those using the same steps. Alternately you can just use the plainer mapping options at the bottom of your UV editor.

Step 128

This is the final UV Map I created.

Step 129

Next click on Tools then Render UVW Template.

Step 130

Next give your template a size, I like to use a larger size because you can always go down to a smaller size and keep the quality good. When you chose a size, then press Render UV Template to generate your template. Then Save your file.

Step 131

Next bring your template into Photo Shop and then using your magic wand tool make a selection of all the black around your template.

Next Click Selection and then Invert to invert your selection.

Step 132

Next Cut and Paste your new selection and name it Cutout. Next create a new blank layer under the cutout layer.

Step 133

Next Right Click on your cutout layer and chose Blending options.

Step 134

Next select stroke and give a stroke of 8 to your cutout selection.

Step 135

Next Right Click and then select Merge down to the blank layer.

Step 136

Before we go any further we need to Save our work, so do this now and save in your texture folder.

Step 137

This is our cutout texture we just created.

Step 138

Next go back into 3DS Max and select a texture slot, then go to your mapping channel and select Diffuse. Next click on Bitmap and select your new texture you created.

In Photo shop make sure you saved your texture with the cutout turned off.

Step 139

Next apply the texture to your aircraft. Now every time you make a change to your texture and Save your texture the change will update on your model and you can then see what it looks like in real time.

Step 140

For this tutorial I am going to create a made up aircraft called Generic Airlines. However it is a good idea to make your models as real as the real thing, so if you want, look for a photo of an airline that you would like to make, like KLM or American Airlines, or British Airways.

I will supply the Logo and anything else needed if you still want to continue making Generic Airlines with me.

So to start off, first I activate the cutout layer and use it as a guide to where I need to paint or full texture. These two gray lines will create a gray bottom for my airline.

Step 141

Next I am going to create some windows, to do this get your Round Rectangle Paths Tool and create a small window like shape. Then select it and while holding down Alt copy another window next to it.

Keep on doing this until you have enough windows for both sides of the aircraft.

Step 142

Next select a black color for the outline and then select a hard brush at a setting of 3. Next Right click and select Stroke Path. You could also do all of this on a new layer if you wanted and label it windows.

Step 143

Next pick your full bucket and start filling your windows with black or dark gray or blue.

Step 144

This is what we have so far with mesh smooth applied.

Step 145

Next I created a logo to use on the back of my airline and I placed some text on the aircraft body. You can download the logo I used here.


If you need any other free textures you can also get them here.


Step 146

This is the airline with the new texture.

Step 147

Next we are going to make the wings gray colored, so take your selection tool and cut a selection around the wings area. Next turn off your cutout and create a new layer for your wings, then full the selection with light gray.

Step 148

Next while holding down Ctrl click on the cutout layer but do not activate it. This should create a selection from the cutout layer. Next click on Selection and then Inverse, to Invert the selection. Next hit Delete so you cut away all other parts of the gray.

Step 149

What is left is a clean looking texture.

Step 150

I created a center part of gray for the side engines to be textured, If you did not make the side engines UV Mapped, then all you need to do is go back into 3DS Max, apply a Unwrap UVW Map modifier and edit the mapping a little.

Step 151

This is the aircraft with the new texture.

Step 152

This is the final texture with the wheels textured and the back fins also textured. You can get wheel textures to use for your aircraft from http://my3dtextures.com/pages/machine.html

Step 153

Final model with texture applied.

Step 154

Final Render done in 3DS Max with Mental Ray.

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vineet says:

i like tis and understand carefully

(5 years and 1713 days ago)
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[banned] says:


(5 years and 1706 days ago)
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aas says:

nice and easy one one can learn a lot from this

(5 years and 1686 days ago)
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loman says:

Thank you Great! for in

(5 years and 1686 days ago)
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PRADEEP [banned] says:


(5 years and 1659 days ago)
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[banned] says:


(5 years and 1432 days ago)
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[banned] says:

Superb. God Give U More Knowledge.

(5 years and 1408 days ago)
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Guest says:

thnx m8 u were really helpfull

(5 years and 1402 days ago)
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Guest says:

Very nice - thanks for posting. I really learned more about uvw unwrapping.


(5 years and 1112 days ago)
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Thank you it's a good helpfull

(5 years and 1062 days ago)

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