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Hard surface: to NURBS or not to NURBS...
show user profile  Garp
After modeling a pocket-knife and starting on other similar objects I found myself wasting a lot of time trying to get right some simple configurations through the usual subdivs methods.
Think of a small cylinder poking out of a bigger one with a nice fillet at their junction. Or smoothly curved sufaces mixed with some sharp angles here and there. Sure it's doable with subdivs but there's a lot of tweaking with the topology and it always slightly messes up the curvature somehow.

For this kind of hard surface NURBS seems to be the way to go. So I gave it yet another try (in max). And yet again it reminded me how passionately I hate that toolset.
Inspired by dd's brilliant work with moi I ended up downloading the trial version of rhino and I'm currently going through the basics.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on NURBS modeling. And most of all about your experience with rhino or similar apps.
The NURBS approach looks like a good time saver in some cases but there might be pitfalls and gotchas I'm not yet aware of.

And for the smart asses, of course this is not for game assets or animated surface deformation ;)

read 696 times
9/5/2011 8:30:35 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 8:33:05 PM)
show user profile  advance-software
you can run a flexible mesh over a curved surface.

the bone weights affect the control points rather than the vertices.

no idea if max supports this.

some raytracers can raycast direct into a curve (rather than its tesselated equivalent) so you might be able to get a perfomance win there. noticed adesk bought one of these recently.

not that you want it, but for real time you can tesselate the curves on-the-fly to generate dynamic lods. so interesting there too - that said for many applications its still more efficient (if more time consuming) to poly model.

read 680 times
9/5/2011 9:35:55 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 9:44:51 PM)
show user profile  Nik Clark
A guy I know works for Lotus. He designs body panels using Rhino. He says it's awesome and he can model any surface with it.

I suck at Nurbs, but I've only really tried a few times. One thing is for sure. Max's nurbs tools suck and haven't changed for a long time that much.

read 669 times
9/5/2011 9:53:35 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 9:53:35 PM)
show user profile  Garp
@AS: Yes I've heard of these raytracers that use the mathematical representation instead of the geometry. I think to some extent this is what vray does with its vraysphere primitive.

@Nik: The opinion about max's NURBS seems rather unanimous.
I'm really looking forward to becoming proficient at rhino. Apart from the usual awkwarness that comes with new UIs it seems very straight forward. So far...

read 661 times
9/5/2011 10:12:42 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 10:12:42 PM)
show user profile  Mr_Stabby
i had done a lot of spline work prior to trying nurbs for the first time so i guess the transition was easy for me but long story short - if you know exactly what you want to make and how it looks nurbs is superior in every way.

read 656 times
9/5/2011 10:19:03 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 10:19:03 PM)
show user profile  Garp
Thanks for confirming, Stabby. Great!

As I see it, rhino is to max what illustrator is to photoshop. Kind of.
Am I correct?

read 652 times
9/5/2011 10:23:09 PM (last edit: 9/5/2011 10:29:50 PM)
show user profile  Kajico
Well Max can do nurbs it just sucks at it, Rhino is just a very well established nurbs application. I've been messing around with Moi 3D which is also a nurbs based program for some 3D printing experiments. Nurbs seem the way to go for most prototyping stuff. I also downloaded Autodesk 123D which seems to be Autodesk's answer to Moi 3D, and so far it's free, but I haven't had time to mess with it.

(\/) (°,,,°) (\/) Woop woop woop!

read 629 times
9/6/2011 3:46:51 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 3:46:51 AM)
show user profile  loki
I work with rhino all day long at the job and it is really awesome. nurbs gives you way better controls and dimension accurateness than you have when using subdiv. Hence it's the weapon of choice for all mechanical engineers as well as industrial designers (such as me).

Nurbs also have huge downsides when it comes to smooth, bulgy surfaces. getting them together in smooth blends is a pain in the ass most of the time and requires a highly acurately made cage of curves. Getting G3 Surfaces for i.e. Cars is a form of art. The Quality of the surfaces is awsome though if done properly.

I agree with you: I would never model something mechanical (like your pocket knife) again in a subdiv modeller because rhino is so much faster and more accurate. But don't be stupid and try to model a character in Nurbs :D.

read 616 times
9/6/2011 7:41:03 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 7:42:04 AM)
show user profile  dd
get moi3d mate one its more user friendly than rhino ( it is written by one of the guys that first made rhino) its more straight to the point . Nurbs are spot on for a lot of hard surface modelling you just have to plan in advance. the only problem you might get is exporting it and other apps playing nice with it. moi3d has a good mesher which plays nice with c4d so i dont have to clean up the mesh on import. I dont use Nurbs all the time as i love poly modelling too much. Now show us some of your nurbs models :)

read 608 times
9/6/2011 8:24:26 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 8:24:26 AM)
show user profile  Garp
Thanks, boys. That's some very useful insights you're giving me :)

@Kajico: I've had a look at 123D and it tastes a bit too much like a toy app to me. I might be wrong though. Still, I'm leaning toward rhino or moi right now. But no hurry...

@loki: I'm so happy with what you're saying. It confirms everything I was hoping for.
Even though I've barely scratched the surface I'm amazed at how intuitive rhino is. I particularly enjoy the menus/toolbars/command prompt redundancy. So useful.

If someone has experience with both moi and rhino, I'd like to know if there is stuff that one does and not the other, or that one does better. Anyone? (dd? you around?)

edit: lol, talk about mind reading!
I'll play a few more days with rhino and then I'll give moi the same chances. And then I'll post some NURBS models.
Thanks for the infos, dd. Much appreciated :)

read 606 times
9/6/2011 8:28:50 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 8:33:04 AM)
show user profile  dd
to be honest i think rhino will hold you back longer and moi will get you going a lot fast. i know a lot of peeps that use both because there are some things moi does better on the model and other things rhino does. Personally i would learn moi3d first then learn rhino because you will have all the nurbs basics sorted and will be able to semi hit the ground running inside Rhino IMHO plus moi3d is loads cheaper

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9/6/2011 8:37:30 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 8:37:30 AM)
show user profile  Garp
Sounds like a good advice. Thanks. I'll download moi's trial later today.
Do you have examples in mind about what one app does better than the other?

Even though moi is approx. 70% cheaper than rhino, rhino is still rather cheap. As in just a small job away. So I'm not too concerned about that. I'll probably pick the one I'm the most comfortable with.
Plus that NURBS thing comes very naturally to me. That was unexpected.

Then I'll start making some dd-like bots! I might even go and try some dd-like renders, hehe.

read 596 times
9/6/2011 9:20:18 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 9:21:52 AM)
show user profile  dd
cant think of any off hand but check the moi forum.
yes use the one you get along with :)
Lol i have only made like 2.5 bots in moi and a lot more in c4d :) infact i'm thinking about making another one this week :)

read 590 times
9/6/2011 9:27:11 AM (last edit: 9/6/2011 9:27:11 AM)
show user profile  Kajico
I'm on the Moi3D trial right now, i like it a lot, but one thing that bugs me is the way it handles rotations, just feels unnatural to me. Know of any good video examples that shows how to rotate stuff properly?

(\/) (°,,,°) (\/) Woop woop woop!

read 575 times
9/6/2011 12:01:21 PM (last edit: 9/6/2011 12:01:21 PM)
show user profile  dd
check on the forums mate i know M showed a few gifs of rotating etc while answering peeps questions. also i dont know what version the demo is but there is a newer version out now

read 572 times
9/6/2011 12:04:17 PM (last edit: 9/6/2011 12:04:17 PM)
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