Impressions, Requests, Info Seeking  1-20  21-36

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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.1 
After using a bit of MOI for a while I wanted to post some observations and I'm looking to be corrected or told it doesn't exist or that I'm just not conforming ;)

My leading request is a native 64bit version, but I'm sure it's been asked before.

UI:
1) The UI is simplistic which is good. However in this day and age it is uncommon to be restricted to a single layout. I'm looking for a way to enhance and modify the UI and I want to know if there is planned implementation of a layout builder or if there exists a way to develop one now? For example, as a minimalist I'd prefer just have textual buttons and because the modeling set is so succinct I'd prefer not having so many groups of commands (i.e. edit/view/select could be one box).
2) Enhanced GL settings. I would find it being advantageous for MOI to use the extended GL for additional lights, reflections and shadows.
3) Zebra striping: does MOI support this yet or any other surface analysis? Zebra striping would be a great initial addition.
4) The UI is very responsive and quite nice to have good feedback like when exporting a mesh with the live update.
5) Scene manager: I know it's coming but it's a very much needed tool to support assemblies from other CAD tools.
6) Pervasive Layering: a layering system where any feature can be layered.

Selection:
1) A poly modeling technique showing through, but when I'm sculpting by editing points in the UI is there a way to 'paint' a selection of points rather than just picking?

Tools:
1) Convert curve: to be able to convert a curve between through-points or control-points

Exporting & Importing:
1) Exporting to mesh is a painless operation, however one feature I'd like to see added is an input for target number of polys so you can set baselines for mesh quality.
2) Importing a feature dense IGES file from Pro/E was painless. However I did note some graphics issues where the interior surface was showing solid exterior lines.

Example:
Below is the UI comparison of Pro/ENGINEER and MOI of a dive suit hull we design and build. Specifically I wanted to note how clean the model reproduction is from IGES (not my preferred format) and also the export variations. Notice both were exporting to Wavefront but notice the archaic meshing Pro/E still uses. BLeh.





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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.2 In reply to 2031.1 
I hope to build on this thread as I experiment more. Regardless, Kudos Michael for a refreshing breath of a NURBS app.
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.3 
Another feature request for importing/exporting is a progress bar. Currently for some heavy imports there is no way to know MOI is working without opening task manager.

Here's a shot of an assembly with a couple hundred parts (fasteners and seals and such) as I wanted to push the STEP import into MOI.

Note the memory usage difference between Pro/E (xtop.exe) and MOI.



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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.4 
Another request is to be able to group items as 'construction' objects so they can be retained indefinitely, which means also creating multiple construction planes.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.5 In reply to 2031.3 
Hi jclark, thanks for all the feedback! I'll try to give you some replies in a few different pieces here.

> Another feature request for importing/exporting is a progress
> bar. Currently for some heavy imports there is no way to know
> MOI is working without opening task manager.

Yeah I definitely intend to improve this area, I know that is rather clumsy. For now you just have to wait for it to finish crunching away.


> Note the memory usage difference between Pro/E (xtop.exe) and MOI.

MoI is set by default to use a rather dense display mesh which makes for a nice smooth and high quality surface display throughout the entire model (including small features of the model) but that tends to chew up quite a bit of memory.

You can reduce the memory load considerably by turning down the display density to be coarser. To do this, go to Options / View / Meshing parameters, and set Mesh angle to 20, and uncheck "Add detail to inflections".

Those settings will cause fewer polygons to be used and will result in a kind of rougher look to the display however the memory use will go way down.


I do want to adjust this in the future so that small details like the fasteners will automatically get kind of "throttled down" to use less density, but for now you have to set the density manually to be coarser (higher angle value = coarser) if you have something with a lot of small details in it.

Can you give that a try and see what the impact is on memory use?


If you are able to send the model to me (moi@moi3d.com), that could be helpful for me to test with when I get a chance to work on the automatic density throttling.

- Michael
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.6 In reply to 2031.5 
Michael, I hope to keep filling in bits the more I use MOI.

The memory usage wasn't really a criticism but just something I wanted to point out. With the defaults memory usage is about 901MB, turn off 'add detail to inflections' and memory drops to 673MB, and then increase the mesh angle to 20 and we get down to 507MB. At this point the model is still very much clean to look at, and my next jump to 30 gives my memory usage to 465MB.

As you may be aware, Pro/E uses a live Level of Detail (LOD) setting that will kick in for dynamic viewing which I usually set to about 70% so it decimates pretty well.

Unfortunately, being a trademark product I doubt I can get this model out. I can make an inquiry.

More to come :)
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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.7 In reply to 2031.6 
Hi Jason, thanks for testing that - yeah that confirms that the dense default meshing was the main thing responsible for that higher level of memory consumption as expected.

MoI is not really fully tuned up yet to handle higher detailed models, some of the things that you are seeing like apparent freezes while crunching away during exporting, and this higher default memory usage are basically due to that.

But I guess the good news for you is that it should improve from here! ;)

There actually isn't really too much stuff left to do, a few key things should tune things up quite a bit, and changing the density setting to be lower improves a chunk of that already.


> Unfortunately, being a trademark product I doubt I can get
> this model out. I can make an inquiry.

No that's ok, just if it happened to be easy for you to share it it looked like a good test subject because things like lots of little fastener pieces are the things that I want to have reduced mesh density on.

Thanks,
- Michael
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.8 In reply to 2031.7 
In light of this though, I think once we get an object manager it just shows that under the hood MOI is capable of larger assemblies and isn't just for small products. I'm looking at tools like SpaceClaim and Innovate which cost far more but yet yield similar in-viewport performance.

Any timeline when we can start playing with an object manager? Once this appears, I'll gladly boast about the capability in MOI for dealing with larger assemblies; imported or not.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.9 In reply to 2031.1 
Hi Jason, just some other notes and information for you on your first message there. This is all just to explain some current priorities and goals, stuff like that. Not everything will align precisely with your own priorities I'm sure, but some should!


> My leading request is a native 64bit version, but I'm sure
> it's been asked before.

This one unfortunately I don't think will be likely anytime soon, mostly because more than one bifurcated versions of the program greatly increases the testing burden. I currently just do not feel confident that I could handle the additional time required to manage multiple simultaneous versions. Right now I basically need to focus just on one version to make sure that I can get it to a very high level of quality.


> re: layout builder or UI rearrangement

It will probably also be quite a while before I can focus on making a full sort of drag/drop type UI editing mechanism.

However, the UI is actually extremely malleable at a kind of lower level than that, because all the UI is defined by HTML files that are under the \ui subfolder in MoI's main installation folder.

You can actually edit the UI definition files to change things around if you want. It is certainly not as convenient as a high level drag/drop type mechanism would be but if you want to pursue it here are some links of some discussions about it:
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=1173.1
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=844.1
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=1290.1


> 2) Enhanced GL settings. I would find it being advantageous for MOI
> to use the extended GL for additional lights, reflections and shadows.

Yeah, this one is fairly high up on the priority list.


> 3) Zebra striping: does MOI support this yet or any other surface
> analysis? Zebra striping would be a great initial addition.

This kind of more advanced analysis stuff is kind of a lower priority currently though. I expect to get to these functions eventually but there are a lot more things that are more sort of "core" to get done first, like a few example are object organization tools and better history editing tools. For MoI it has not really been a huge priority to focus on stuff like "surface styling" type things yet, the focus is more on making simple things work easily first and there is still quite a bit to cover there first.


> 5) Scene manager: I know it's coming but it's a very much needed tool to
> support assemblies from other CAD tools.
> 6) Pervasive Layering: a layering system where any feature can be layered.

Yeah basically these areas are coming up next. There has been some recent discussion here:
http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=1944.1


> Selection:
> 1) A poly modeling technique showing through, but when I'm sculpting by
> editing points in the UI is there a way to 'paint' a selection of points
> rather than just picking?

You can use a rectangular selection area also. You can hold down shift+ctrl when you click to force a rectangular window selection to trigger if there is not a good empty space to click to make it happen.

In general surface control point manipulation is not really a fully fleshed out area in MoI yet. It's not a current high priority because I figure that typically many of the things that classically you might want to use control point manipulation to do are actually better done these days in a subd modeler system instead. So the focus for MoI has been on more of the things that are really different than subd, like more stuff driven off of 2d profiles and booleans, etc...


> Tools:
> 1) Convert curve: to be able to convert a curve between through-points or control-points

I would like to add an option for converting a particular selected point between being a "corner" or being "smooth", I'm not sure if that would cover what you are wanting here?


> Exporting & Importing:
> input for target number of polys so you can set baselines for mesh quality.

Unfortunately this would be quite tough to implement. Under normal conditions the number of polygons generated depends largely on the curvature of the shapes involved. If I tried to work with a limited "budget" of polygons it would be pretty hard for me to spread that budget out evenly, it is more likely that some areas would get nicely formed and denser and others be just really jaggedy.

If you have a particular target number that you need, you'll probably need to generate a dense mesh out of MoI and then use some decimation type tools in a polygon-focused program to reduce the mesh down to your desired number of polys.

I don't think that it will be very feasible for me to incorporate that directly into MoI's exporter.


> 2) <..> However I did note some graphics issues where the interior
> surface was showing solid exterior lines.

Yeah, that is a fairly typical display artifact - edges that are displayed have to be pulled closer towards the eye point or else they would frequently be partially submerged in the surfaces that are displayed. One side effect of this "pull towards eye" mechanism is that if you have a model with thin walls to it, the edges from the far side of the thin wall can get pulled too far and become visible.

It does not mean anything is wrong with your actual model data, it is purely a display artifact. I have some ideas that may help to reduce it in the future when I get a chance to work on it some more. But currently it is just something that you have to ignore.


Hope this helps give you some additional info, thanks very much for the feedback!

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.10 In reply to 2031.1 
Hi Jason,

You wrote:
> also the export variations. Notice both were exporting to Wavefront but
> notice the archaic meshing Pro/E still uses. BLeh.

For an even bigger contrast try setting the Output: option to Output: N-gons.

One of MoI's signature capabilities is that it can export NURBS surface data to a polygon mesh structure without being forced to generate triangles in the result, even around trimmed or booleaned areas. As far as I know there is no other CAD or NURBS based program available anywhere that is able to do this. (let me know if you know of one).

Of course, your target application must support more than 3 or 4 sided polygons to take advantage of this - what is the target application that you are exporting the mesh data into?

- Michael
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 From:  Brian (BWTR)
2031.11 In reply to 2031.10 
Strange to believe, but, my 3D efforts on various competition 3D sites resulted in my now owning BOTH the latest versions of Lightwave and SoftimageXSI.(Not bad for an old 76yr wrinckly chicken!)

Michael.

Your concept in NOT going down those @#$%^&* working sytems is spot on!

RETAIN YOUR MoI IDEALS!

Please!

Brian

{PS) TWO versions of MoI
1. Ohhhh! thats lovely!
2. Did I REALLY need this!

EDITED: 30 Sep 2008 by BWTR

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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.12 In reply to 2031.8 
Hi Jason,

> In light of this though, I think once we get an object
> manager it just shows that under the hood MOI is
> capable of larger assemblies and isn't just for small products.

Yeah, sort of the fundamental mechanisms are well optimized and will be able to handle it.

Basically it needs some targeted reduction in density / quality to make it come together well for larger things.

The initial focus on small projects is kind of just getting the fundamentals in place. It will help a lot for the interface in the long run to have this initial focus on making it easy to do simple things. If that is not a priority in the beginning it does not really tend to evolve that way later on...


> Any timeline when we can start playing with an object manager?

I've only just started to work on some of the pieces for it. It will probably take a couple of months and some pieces will span across a few beta releases.

- Michael
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.13 In reply to 2031.11 
Brian, I don't understand what you meant by this:

>Your concept in NOT going down those @#$%^&* working sytems is spot on!
>RETAIN YOUR MoI IDEALS!
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.nurbsandpolys.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.14 In reply to 2031.9 
Michael,

I very much appreciate the responses and your openess to the product development.

In response to:
>In general surface control point manipulation is not really a fully fleshed out area in MoI yet. It's not a current high >priority because I figure that typically many of the things that classically you might want to use control point >manipulation to do are actually better done these days in a subd modeler system instead.

From my point of view MOI is a great NURBS immersion application that subd modelers would gravitate to and having some similar workflows between the two camps would be great. It isn't so coincident that what we do in a subd modeler mimics the NURBS workflow in that at the subd level you are manipulating either the smoothed cage or raw polygons which is synonymous with curves and patches.

>I would like to add an option for converting a particular selected point between being a "corner" or being "smooth", I'm >not sure if that would cover what you are wanting here?

Hadn't thought of that, that would be good too! Any thoughts of supporting different styles of curves like bezier, cubic etc?
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.nurbsandpolys.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
2031.15 In reply to 2031.14 
Nurbs are not the little daughters of Bezier's Curves?
Mr Pierre Bezier was a very cool French engineer very pragmatic astute clever ingenious! And with some sens of humor :)


EDITED: 1 Oct 2008 by PILOU

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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.16 In reply to 2031.14 
Hi Jason,

> From my point of view MOI is a great NURBS immersion
> application that subd modelers would gravitate to and
> having some similar workflows between the two camps
> would be great.

I guess I'm not quite sure what the value add would be if the workflows were very similar...

I mean if a polygon modeler wanted to have the same kind of workflow that they already have, why not just use the tool that they already have?

To me it seems like it provides more value to those people if they have an additional tool that works differently from what they currently have, and is better at different kinds of tasks, etc... That way the additional tool expands their overall toolset in new areas instead of just going over the same well treaded ground that they have already covered.

But still, in the future I would like to fill out the "surface point squishing" toolset in MoI some more. It is just more that the initial focus and priorities have been on more of the construction and 2D profile driven areas instead.


> Any thoughts of supporting different styles of curves like bezier, cubic etc?

Not particularly at this point - actually the standard Freeform draw curve tool in MoI will make a cubic curve already.

The sort of classic style of Bezier curves tend to be somewhat problematic, they are really a set of smaller 4 point curves that are chained together to make them look like a longer curve, but you don't get very good smoothness between each of the pieces. This is not too noticeable in 2D only outlines but once you have surfaces and things like reflections and highlights on the surfaces the lack of smoothness becomes more noticeable.

NURBS were essentially invented to solve this problem and provide a type of curve that can have more than 4 points in it which will ensure a greater degree of smoothness interior to the curve. So adding Bezier curves would be kind of like going backwards in technology and bringing back problems that are solved with NURBS.

By the way Pilou, this does not at all mean that Pierre Bezier's work is not important, in fact in many ways it provides the foundation for NURBS. NURBS is kind of an extension that helps to solve some particular kinds of problems.

- Michael
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 From:  Brian (BWTR)
2031.17 In reply to 2031.16 
Jason
About my "odd quote"

If you have worked with either Lightwave or XSI, the joy of having a simple UI, without also, adding scrillions of complex often illogically named dropdowns/plugins/keyboard shortcuts is why MoI is such a pleasure.

In many ways Michaels Rhino background, were it also grew like topsy, gave him the incentive to try minimising that in his MoI, very inspired, effort.

I was one of the first to get the then quite brilliant Hexagon poly modelling app. I have not used it since MoI!

Brian
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 From:  Jason (JCLARK)
2031.18 In reply to 2031.17 
I was beta with Hex and I pushed the team to have the surfacing tools like Amapi and they complimented each other. Hexagon had many of the patching tools we have in XSI, which will operate for polys or nurbs ;)

Michael, I hope to document the workflow that I was eluding to in my subd comment. And to answer your question that I missed, I tend to use Cinema 4D for most of my rendering (along with finalRender) with spurts of XSI.
- Jason
http://www.jasedesign.com http://www.nurbsandpolys.com http://www.cgpipeline.com
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 From:  Michael Gibson
2031.19 In reply to 2031.18 
Hi Jason - Cinema4D can handle MoI's N-gon output very well.

On MoI's Meshing options dialog, you should be able to set the Output: option to Output:N-gons when exporting an OBJ file to be read into Cinema4D.

If you give that a try with that Dive suit part, I think you should see a pretty strikingly clear wireframe inside of Cinema4D for the meshed translated data.

- Michael
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 From:  kevjon
2031.20 
The problem that occurs often with nurbs is that you can almost create the shape you want with nurbs but not quite. So being able to pull a few points to fix or tweak the not quite right part would indeed be really useful. At the moment it is not possible to tweak as most surfaces have way too many points to make it a practical tweaking mechanism.

However I can see Michaels view on this as well.
~Kevin~
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