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Autodesk Alias - Anybody used it?
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Just curious really..

Probably heard me prattling on about nurbs modelling for non-organic stuff in the past, deeply editable maths surfaces, the benefits of it, particularly for product vis / car modelling etc..

So been having a look at Autodesk Alias and some of the tutorials etc on youtube. It`s a bit like Moi really - anybody remember that - although Alias Automotive for example takes it to the level where it`s being used to produce Class-A Surfaces for `actual` vehicle manufacturing, etc etc.. But it`s also being used for everything from concepting/prototyping right through to product manufacturing..

It`s something i`ve always wanted to look into more deeply, and that`s what i`m doing now. There are just so many benefits to it over poly-modelling for certain modelling tasks/workflows.. But i think in all my time at Maxforums i`ve never heard it being mentioned once..

So - anybody have any experience?


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read 1204 times
5/4/2013 1:25:16 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 1:25:48 PM)
show user profile  IBENEZ21
I've had a little experience with it... very little. as a matter of fact, I could not wrap my head around it and gave up.

It is a very powerful product, and it plays nicely with other programs.

You should look into Rhino as well. I believe it has most of the same functionality and is considerably less expensive $1000 vs $5000-6000. MOI is also a good starting point.
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read 1183 times
5/4/2013 7:13:07 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 7:13:07 PM)
show user profile  Krogoth
I used it when it was Alias Studio Tools, before it was split into three different programs, so it may have changed a bit since then. It was one of the worst programs I had used. Don't get me wrong, it's great for surface modeling, but the overall experience was quite bad.

The biggest problem with Alias StudioTools was the fact that you cannot UNDO on certain features. I do not remember which features will not let you undo, but they are the important ones like Project Curves on Surfaces. Also, the Project tools do not provide consistent results, and it is a very important feature. You could use them three times in a row and get different results each time.

If you import pictures, they do not come in at actual size, and it's not like 3ds Max where you can put them on a plane with a set size. You are able to scale the images, you just have to eyeball it.

The only other surface modeling program I have used is Inventor, which has some surface tools, so I can't say how it compares.

Definitely try the trial software first, though it looks like you can't get a trial for the Automotive version. They should all work the same though.
read 1183 times
5/4/2013 7:21:05 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 7:21:34 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
Yep the Design version is virtually the same as Automotive afaik, minus the two surface analysis tools.

Thanks for the info chaps. Not planning on buying it, but possibly trying out the demo, and also comparing with the likes of Rhino. Have tried Moi way back when DD was using it - absolutely fantastic little program, cheap too, very fast, very intuitive, and really demonstrated the power of spline/nurbs/patch based modelling in a way that was easy to use - probably what Mudbox is to ZBrush if that makes sense..

Krogoth, hopefully they`ve ironed out some of those annoyances in Alias since back then. I understand that there`s a Construction History for almost everything, which allows going back several steps and making changes ( ie changing radius/values/etc etc ) which then update back up to the top-level so to speak..

Speaking of Project Curves on Surfaces - and also doing Trim operations ( basically boolean ) - so much cleaner than hard-surface poly modelling, and again parametric, so can be edited, intersection radii changed easily, etc..

There`s a tutorial on modelling a Vacuum Cleaner on youtube in Alias that i watched, and it`s just like - wow, such a non-destructive way of working..

The more i see the more i`m convinced there`s some real gains to be had in that type of workflow or at least taking something from it. Essentially NURBS patch modelling is just a stricter version of what we do with meshes and Turbosmooth/Subdiv anyway - ie NURBS you have a control cage ( called a Hull ) which dictates the curvature of the smoothed surface mesh. Problem is apps like Max have historically poor implementation of NURBS modelling and i think that frightens people away from the real benefits of it..

Anyway i`ve prattled enough :)


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read 1179 times
5/4/2013 10:52:55 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 10:52:55 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Glad to have another (potential) spline/nurbs modeller around. Love them splines. Still learning the correct nurbs workflow.
read 1178 times
5/4/2013 11:05:30 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 11:05:30 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
What you working in Herfst, Rhino?


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read 1176 times
5/4/2013 11:07:55 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 11:07:55 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
Eh, I wish. No, just max. At work they like to use splines or nurbs to make the initial car body shape before polymodelling. It has it's benefits, especially when combined with camera matching.
read 1174 times
5/4/2013 11:09:43 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 11:09:43 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
I think Max nurbs are a bit wobbly from memory, should try a real spline-based modelling app and compare..


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read 1170 times
5/4/2013 11:17:28 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 11:17:28 PM)
show user profile  herfst1
The main issue I have with nurbs is vertex order. You have to create the splines in the right direction or U loft will twist like a bitch.
read 1168 times
5/4/2013 11:20:56 PM (last edit: 5/4/2013 11:20:56 PM)
show user profile  blackmariah
Alias is one of the most unbelievably powerful sets of tools I've ever seen combined with the second most godawful user interface conceived by man. Absolutely everything is unintuitive and ass-backwards. It shares a common ancestry with Maya, the difference being that Maya has actually progressed somewhat interface-wise.

When they feel the need to include multiple tutorial videos on selecting objects you know something's fucked. If you can manage to figure out WTF is going on and power through it I don't think there's a better set of surfacing tools available.

Personally for anything remotely spline-y I use Rhino. Much simpler to learn. It can be an absolute fuckwad in certain areas but overall price/performance is quite nice.
read 1149 times
5/5/2013 8:42:15 AM (last edit: 5/5/2013 8:42:15 AM)
show user profile  Cube
Take a look at Moi3D. Its totaly skill. (a phrase there for those of you who were kids in the 80s)
read 1124 times
5/6/2013 11:52:26 AM (last edit: 5/6/2013 11:52:26 AM)
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