V3 beta Jul-20-2012 (Win/Mac) available now

 From:  Michael Gibson
A new v3 beta (version Jul-20-2012) is now available for download here: http://moi3d.com/beta.htm , also linked to from the download page on the main web site.

This is the same one that's been available for a few days already, I'm just gathering up the release notes now.

New stuff:

Multiple cpu cores are now used in the draw engine - this should generally speed up the display of more complex models on multi-core machines. The exact amount varies depending on your machine and video card and the particular model features but speedups in the range of 2x to 3x seem to be the most common. There are some machines that are limited by some other bottleneck than CPU processing and on those there is no speedup at all. But it seems to deliver a good boost in most cases.

If you want to benchmark this new version with the old engine, you can set up a shortcut key with this script on it which will toggle a numeric readout of the display time in the upper-left corner of viewports:
script: /* Toggle redraw time display */ moi.ui.showViewportDisplayTime = !moi.ui.showViewportDisplayTime;

The number of threads used can be limited by a new setting in moi.ini, the DisplayThreadLimit= setting inside the [View] section. If you set DisplayThreadLimit=1 there the multi-core use will be disabled.

PDF import has been totally overhauled, it should be a lot more robust and some kinds of PDFs that would previously get garbled should come through ok now. This should also improve .AI imports as well for AI files written in Illustrator v9 or higher versions since those newer style .AI files are actually PDF files. However, when saving these newer .AI files out from Illustrator you now need to set the "Create PDF Compatible File" option turned on in Illustrator, otherwise Illustrator ends up writing a file with a PDF outer structure but with all actual data in a private format.

New Extrude to point and Extrude tapered options for the Extrude command. These are 2 new buttons on the Extrude options panel:

Extrude to point connects the profile curve to a point that you pick, it's useful for making pyramid or cone-like objects:

Initially the point will track along the same vertical line through the shape's centroid that the regular extrude also tracks along. If you want to pick a point away from that line for the tip you can push the "Unlock direction" button which will then allow you to place the top point anywhere.

The "tapered" option allows you to produce an extrusion with a draft angle applied to make the side walls at a specific angled slope. You can also have interior outlines which will flare in the opposite direction:

The height of the tapered extrusion will generally be limited to be less than whatever amount would cause the different sloped profiles to collide into one another.

New functions for Isocurves - a new Isocurve curve construction command under Construct > Curve > Iso, and a new "Isocurve" option for the Trim command when trimming a single surface. An Isocurve is a curve on a surface that comes from the surface's own U or V directions. They can be convenient for certain operations since they follow the natural rectangular layout of a surface.

So for example say you have a fillet surface like this that you'd like to cut along one of its own arc cross-sections at the indicated spot:

The new Isocurve option for Trim can help make this operation more convenient - first use Edit > Separate to make sure the fillet is an individual surface not joined to anything else. Then when you run the Trim command there will be a new "Isocurve" button at the prompt for selecting cutting objects. If you push that button you can then pick a point on the surface and one of the natural U or V (or both) directions of the surface will be used as a cutting line. For a fillet surface one of those directions will be an exact arc curve like this:

You can place multiple isocurves to use as cutters, when you are done right-click or push "Done" and then the surface will be cut and you can pick which pieces to discard:

The Construct > Curve > Iso command will generate the Isocurve as a regular curve object so that you can use it for general construction like as a sweep path or whatever.

On several types of primitives isocurves will be key features of the object like for example on a sphere one isocurve direction will be a circle of latitude on the sphere and the other direction will be an arc of longitude on it.

- Michael