Can MoI Create Extrusions from sketches such as cartoons?

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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.1 
Hello. I am a teacher (and perspiring cartoonist =) I am new to MoI, CAD/Nurbs but already, I love this program; it is very capable with a direct and comfortable interface. Excellent product, Mr. Gibson!!!

I was wondering if it is possible to use MoI to create raised 3-D extrusions from hand drawn illustrations such as cartoons. Certainly, one can draw freeform within MoI, but I have many completed illustrations that I would love to see in 3-D raised form (such as embossed). I envision this would involve first scanning images into the computer. Then MoI would trace around the digital version of the illustration similar to how paint programs can create a masks around objects using a "lasso" tool or "auto trace." I know that MoI can import images into the environment, but unless I am mistaken, I think one has to manually trace over the imported images to get CAD equivalents. Is MoI currently able to create "instant" Nurbs from imported stuff? If so, would someone be kind enough to explain how-to (please be gentle).

If not, perhaps such a thing might be of interest to Mr. Gibson for future MoI revisions.

EDITED: 19 Apr 2008 by OCGEE

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 From:  Ed
1560.2 
As you stated, you can use a separate program to trace your drawings, then import into MoI and extrude. I have used the trace function in Corel Draw with success, however you need a fairly clean drawing to start. By clean, I mean that in order to extrude you need closed shapes (no gaps).

The best program to use in my opinion is WinTopo (a free version is available). WinTopo was designed to convert old hand-drawn maps to vector format for electronic storage. The nice feature of WinTopo is that you can set parameters to "heal" small gaps in lines. It has a very intelligent trace algorithm and gives the best results of any trace program I have tried.

WinTopo also has a command line interface in addition to a normal Windows UI. This means you can launch WinTopo, load a file, set trace parameters, and export the result from within another program. This might give the possibility to interface to MoI with a script.

If you post a sample drawing I'll see if I can give a MoI result via WinTopo.

Ed

EDITED: 19 Apr 2008 by ED

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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.3 In reply to 1560.2 
Thank you Ed. I would much appreciate that. I have enclosed two images of varying degrees of "openness." Having open portions is part of my style that I can adjust if need be. However, this would be a good test of that Win Topo program you spoke of. Feel free to choose the image you think will provide the best test.

Regards,

Brent
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 From:  Michael Gibson
1560.4 In reply to 1560.3 
Hi Brent, I'm glad that you like MoI's interface!

Yeah MoI itself does not have a fully automatic bitmap tracing function in it. Like Ed mentions WinTopo can do it, and there are several other possible choices as well, check out this thread for some more information:
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=997.1

For your other question about extrusion - certainly MoI can extrude an outline like that, but the result of an extrusion will be a punched out slab with hard edges on it, kind of like when you take cookie dough and push a cookie cutter on to it to slice out a shape, there will be a flat top and vertical "walls" on the sides.

MoI doesn't really have a tool to make a bubbly or balloon-ish type completely rounded form from a complex outline like that, which is probably more what you want for a cartoon style model.

There is a technique that you can use described here:
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=415.2
which can make a kind of blobby rounded shape, but you would have to use it kind of strategically on kind of more simple outlines, it would not at all be like a push one button of your 2D cartoon and automatically turn it into a rounded 3d cartoon.

As far as I know there does not exist any software that can do that kind of conversion in a fully automatic way.

You may want to try some other software for this that is more focused on making soft blobby balloon like cartoon shapes, here are a few possibilities:

http://www-ui.is.s.u-tokyo.ac.jp/~takeo/java/smoothteddy/index.html
http://www.archipelis.com/

- Michael
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 From:  Ed
1560.5 
WinTopo did a good job of tracing and converting your cartoon into 1 pixel wide lines. I had to go through Corel Draw to convert DXF to EPS for MoI. An extrude gives the result described by Michael - a cookie cutter. And only closed shapes will be capped, such as the eye.

Ed
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
1560.6 
Inkscape has a good vertorizer inside!
http://www.inkscape.org/
it's free !
---
Pilou
Is beautiful that please without concept!
My Gallery
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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.7 In reply to 1560.4 
Hi Michael,

Thank you for your note, explanations and links. I will definitely look into your suggestions.

Some of my artworks include cutout shapes and forms and cutouts result in MoI such as you describe will probably do just fine. I'll also look into those other techniques you suggest with my regular cartoons. I understand there is no "one button solution." But that is alright, too much automation somehow takes away that personal touch and interaction.

Say, would you be able to refer any good 3-D printing resources? I have taken some of my CAD work (actually stuff created on MoI =) to rapid prototype places. This gets kind of expensive.

Like I said earlier. I really like MoI. I think this would be a wonderful program for upper elementary and above age students to create their own CAD files. The school I'm teaching at this year, does not have a functional computer room, however, I'm going to save up for a couple of computers for next year, if I stay at this school. Every other school I have ever worked has a computer room and I think that MoI would be perfect learning platform for younger folks. Such a thing would definitely make many new MoI fans for the future. Have you ever considered licensing MoI for school use?


- Brent

EDITED: 19 Apr 2008 by OCGEE

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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.8 In reply to 1560.5 
Hi Ed,

Thank you so much for your work of converting my cartoon into Win Topo! That proved a perfect test for how things would look; not too bad. I can see now what now what you meant about closed portions (eye =)

Next week I'll try my own hand at some different cartoon-conversions to MoI using yours and Michael's suggestions. I'd be happy to post some results if anyone is interested.

Cheers,

- Brent

EDITED: 19 Apr 2008 by OCGEE

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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.9 In reply to 1560.6 
Hi Pilou,

Thanks. I'll check out that one too.

Very interesting gallery =)

-Brent
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 From:  jbshorty
1560.10 
As Michael suggested, you can try Archipelis and Teddy which are both mesh metaball modelers, but using curves to drive the shape. You can also try Shapeshop which is like Teddy and Archipelis and has more advanced interface than both. I've tried all a while back, and they are fun to play with. But the mesh produced from meta modelers is typically undesirable (in othewords, it's about as neatly constructed as a plate of spaghetti)... Somehow i think what you are wanting is more like the Rhino plugin called RhinoArt. But i don't know of any stand-alone application of the same function...

jonah
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 From:  Brian (BWTR)
1560.11 In reply to 1560.10 
Might using Meta Balls in say Carrara be better?
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 From:  Brian (BWTR)
1560.12 In reply to 1560.11 
Playing with Steves recent bug, using Photoshop and Illustrator.

EDITED: 31 Dec 2008 by BWTR

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 From:  jbshorty
1560.13 In reply to 1560.11 
Carrara's meta-balls are just as sloppy as any other. You can get smooth results if you crank the resolution extremely high. But this makes it impractical for most UV/animating/rendering purposes. So at best i can see it being used as a guide mesh, to remodel a cleaner mesh (or a NURBS object) on top of it. But directly, they are pretty bad... Archipelis' demo version has disabled the function which turns on the mesh edge display. Why is that? ;)

jonah
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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.14 
Thanks to all who replied and responded including most recently Johah and Brian. I will look into these variations ASAP. In the meantime, I will post another discussion to ask specific steps of how to get MoI supported files such as "EPS for MoI" as suggested by Ed. Or how Brian got "Steves recent bug" into the cutout format after "using Photoshop and Illustrator."

Please forgive, if I use improper forum etiquate or something.

-Brent
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 From:  Michael Gibson
1560.15 In reply to 1560.7 
Hi Brent, just getting back to some of your questions.

> Say, would you be able to refer any good 3-D printing
> resources? I have taken some of my CAD work (actually
> stuff created on MoI =) to rapid prototype places. This
> gets kind of expensive.

Check out this thread:
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=1410.1

I think Phil and Crusoe mentioned some resources there for doing pretty low cost 3-D printing.


> Have you ever considered licensing MoI for school use?

Yup, I do have a program for this which is pretty informal right now and I just handle it on a case-by-case basis right now. Send me an e-mail at moi@moi3d.com when you have a lab set up and I can give you some more information on that.

- Michael
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 From:  Oseegee (OCGEE)
1560.16 In reply to 1560.15 
Michael,

Thanks for the info! I will definitely look into the thread link right away and e-mail you again in future time when our lab is ever set up. Best to you.

-Brent
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