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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.41 In reply to 4123.38 
Eric,

I've seen many MOI tutorials, those of Michael I would think and some from Pilou and I also went through the MOI help files to get an idea of what can be done with it. All this before I even download MOI.

Your the perfect example of what I tried to say earlier, you have an architectural design background and years of experience at it using various tools or apps if you prefer. You probably started drawing on paper as I did and progress to using various software when they became available. But being proficient at using MOI or any other app doesn't necessarily make you a DESIGNER, just as having a boat and a net doesn't make you a fisherman you would also need to learn quite a few things as well, for example knowledge of navigation and some knowledge about fish might be very helpful.

A little clarification about my (very limited) drawing knowledge, I followed a course (45 hours) about 30 years ago on descriptive geometry. On my own, I learn to use a couple 2D cad programs that I used very infrequently over these past 30 years. It's just about 1 year ago that I started using Sketchup because it's easier for my client to visualize things that looks almost like real 3D objects then 2D drawing. About 3 months ago, I got this (crazy) idea of creating a virtual showroom to present models of furniture pieces that I would like to build one day either for my own needs or for potential clients. Thus my very recent interest for 3D design software and rendering. The CNC idea came to me about a year ago as well.

Even before I started thinking of 3D modeling and rendering pieces of furniture, I investigated this idea, what makes a particular design more attractive then others? For my line of work this could translate to: how do student learn? In other words, for me just being capable of drawing things will always be insufficient, it's like something inside me was making me insatiable for more, a lot more.

Thanks,
Felix
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 From:  eric (ERICCLOUGH)
4123.42 In reply to 4123.41 
Hi Felix ..

Yes, good tools do not make a good designer. Good designers are born with a sense of proportion that gets honed over a lifetime of experience and, hopefully, some training and critiques by other good designers. If one wants to design furniture it is important to study good examples in depth to get a sense of what is grace and beauty and what is not. The same with buildings or any other art form.

There are many bad examples of both furniture and architecture out there, too. Sometimes designed by well trained and often famous people.

That said, tools are important. When I drew by hand my clients would get one perspective view of their project or maybe only a flat 2D sketch if the project was small. Now they get 3d views from every angle and detailing I could never take the time for in the past. What they see is what they get so when it is built they don't say 'Oh, I didn't know it was going to look like that!'

At the same time, one does not need a multi-thousand dollar program to create good images. Sketchup (even the free version) is good, though I personally don't enjoy using it. MoI is superb for my 3D work and there are a number of free CAD programs that produce good 2D drafting (Draftsight is one that works well).

I was an early user of AutoCad (at one point a firm I was a partner in used 12 stations) and spent thousands of dollars over time. But it got bloated and cumbersome and more and more expensive.

So my advice is keep your tools simple and inexpensive, make them an extension of yourself, and keep them sharp.

cheers,
eric
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.43 In reply to 4123.42 
Eric,

I basically agree with every word you wrote. I don't pretend or dream of being or becoming a furniture designer any time soon if ever, I'm much to old for that.

At this time, I'm only trying to "reproduce" pieces of furniture I like, mostly period pieces from our past history here in Quebec adding a few details of my own when possible and I also try to use as much as possible the Golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers when sizing pieces to fit in modern houses.

>That said, tools are important. When I drew by hand my clients would get one perspective view of their project or maybe >only a flat 2D sketch if the project was small. Now they get 3d views from every angle and detailing I could never take the >time for in the past. What they see is what they get so when it is built they don't say 'Oh, I didn't know it was going to >look like that!'

My reasons to "draw" 3D models and rendering them are the same as yours, I simply don't want to ear stuff like you mention above. I also think it could be useful at some point to be able to present the same object but with a few different finishes. You mention also that you don't want to spent more time "drawing" then necessary on small project. Same here, especially that pieces of furniture are always a small project.

I don't think I'll have much difficulties learning MOI but it seems to be another story with rendering. I tried a few things via Sketchup and Kerkythea since I know a little bit about them but the results are not so great to say the least. But I wasn't expecting much to begin with, my little previous experience with this route wasn't satisfactory either. I think Ill have a long road ahead.

Regards,
Felix
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.44 In reply to 4123.40 
Michael,

thanks for all this info. I think I have lots of work and study ahead but that's my problem.

I noticed when I export to skp that Moi solid turn into individual entities as SU calls them and when I use obj instead, all solids turn into groups in SU and even the name I used in MOI are present, I'm I missing something on the skp export?

I also tried to export to blender using lwo format and every thing seems fine.

Since my work basically always involve pieces of wood and that I use only 2 types of finish, either a varnish or somekind of "faux fini" using paint on top of varnish. From the little I know, wood seems to be quite difficult to render realistically, the grain pattern causes each faces to look differently, one can add to this, random things like knots, defects or machined edge and carvings. Varnish and paint also present there own set of characteristics that are more or less difficult to render especially when there applied using a brush. I wonder if there exist someway to apply a grain pattern to an object representing a piece of wood such that it look like a real solid piece of wood. I wonder also if any program would be better at this then others even if it's more or less difficult to use and learn?

Don't worry, this may exist only in the miracle department and nobody I know of knows where it is.

edit: I think I've found the miracle department! The procedural wood texture in Blender seems to fit the bill, the docs says:

"Wood is a procedural, which means that each 3D coordinate can be translated directly
into a color or a value. These types of textures are 'real' 3D. By that we mean that
they fit together perfectly at the edges and continue to look like what they are meant
to look like even when they are cut; as if a block of wood had really been cut in two."

Sounds promising...



Thanks,
Felix

EDITED: 27 Mar 2011 by FELIX

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 From:  SteveMacc (STEVEH)
4123.45 In reply to 4123.44 
With wood textures (in a polygonal modeller, which you will probably have to use to render) it is usually necessary to UV map each mesh object. This map tells the renderer how to lay out the texture on the surface of the object. The reason it is necessary is that you need to control which way the grain flows and which parts need to show end grain features. Plain mapping, like cubic or spherical often don't work properly, particularly where the piece is curved.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.46 In reply to 4123.44 
Hi Felix,

> I noticed when I export to skp that Moi solid turn
> into individual entities as SU calls them and when
> I use obj instead, all solids turn into groups in SU
> and even the name I used in MOI are present, I'm
> I missing something on the skp export?

Which version of SketchUp are you using? Over here if I export a solid like a box for example, when I open it in SketchUp v7 it's a connected set of objects, for example triple clicking on one face in the box selects the entire box.

Objects in SketchUp are made up of multiple smaller entities though, like a box in SketchUp is made up of 18 individual smaller entities - 6 faces and 12 edges, that's just fundamentally how SketchUp functions. But when you export a solid from MoI these various entities are welded together to share vertices in common with each other, that's why you can triple click it in SketchUp to select it all as one object. That's the same kind of structure as if you were to just draw the box directly in SketchUp.

Are you seeing something different than that, or are you maybe more used to working with a group object in SketchUp? Currently MoI just exports regular geometry and does not create group objects, but in the future I'll probably be changing the SKP export to make groups instead.

Some of the advantages to using SKP export rather than OBJ is that with MoI's SKP export you'll be able to get planar faces in MoI to come through as simple planes in SketchUp, including ones that have internal holes in them. OBJ format does not have any way to represent a polygon that has a hole inside of it, so if you use OBJ planes with holes in them will get split in half. Also the SKP export from MoI makes sure to set all the edge flags for smooth surfaces to correspond to the original surface structure in MoI, whereas OBJ import into SKP is probably going to use things like the angle between polygon faces to decide whether to make an edge to be hidden and smooth or not and that can sometimes make the wrong choice for that which can leave some edges visible in what was originally a smooth single surface in MoI.

- Michael
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.47 In reply to 4123.46 
Michael,

I have the free version 8 and from what you wrote I see that Moi solid don't convert to groups yet. I tried obj first and though it translate to (named) groups I notice the problem you describe above.

Today I decided to give Blender 3D 2.56a a fresh look, especially on rendering and I came across some very good tutorials here. (http://gryllus.net/Blender/3D.html) There is no tutorial on creating wood material and textures but at least this version of Blender is much less alien to me then prior version. I haven't find a way yet to import lwo file in this version, I guess I'll have to make it work before anything else. I also hope I won't have to go the way SteveMacc suggest in is post except may be to add things like knots and other defects, this is explain in one of the video I saw.

Regards,
Felix
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.48 In reply to 4123.47 
Hi Felix,

> I have the free version 8 and from what you wrote
> I see that Moi solid don't convert to groups yet.

Yes, but the result that you get from MoI shouldn't really be anything unusual though - you should get the same kind of object structure as if you drew the object directly in SketchUp.

For example, try drawing a box in MoI and exporting it to SKP and loading it into SketchUp.

Then draw a box directly in SketchUp by drawing a rectangle and using push/pull to punch it out into a box.

Don't those 2 boxes behave exactly the same for you? Or do you see some difference in their behavior with regard to how they are constructed out of entities that you were mentioning previously?

- Michael
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.49 In reply to 4123.48 
Michael,

sorry I didn't reply exactly to your question. Yes, the box from MOI is exactly the same as the box I did as suggested. In the box file, the left box is from MOI, the center box is a box shape made in SU and the right box is a push/pull rectangle made as you suggested. The box2 file show the same box as the one on the right in the box file.

The only difference is the material or the default color if you prefer. It seems like MOI provide its own version of the default material and SU doesn't seem to like it, if you try to select (1 click) the front face on the left box from the box file, nothing seems to happen but the face is selected (entity info). It's probably that phenomenon that confused me.

Though it's not the end of the world, I would prefer personally that MOI solid would turn into a group solid shape in SU and if it's possible, I'd also like the default material to stay as SU default material normally is. Say, I used MOI to create a piece of furniture composed of hundreds of parts, it would be basically impossible to recover each individual part especially if they touch each other, see box3 file where I've drawn 2 cubes (MOI) touching each other, you'll see it's difficult to recover each box, now imagine doing this for a large number of boxes...

This is one of the main reason I don't like the idea of using multiple programs when possible, it seems like there is always something that get lost in translation sort of speak.

Though this may sounds like a critic, it's just an observation and at the risk of repeating myself, the more I use MOI the more I like it and especially I appreciate a lot the time and effort you especially and all the others as well, put in answering my newbie (silly) questions.

Thanks again,
Felix
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
4123.50 
If you export 2 cubes named + colorised in skp format from Moi
one separated (explosed) and one not separated
Now result in Sketchup will be the same ;)
all cubes will be similar, and they will be not a group!

Now make the same but export as 3DS format from Moi!!!
Import it in Sketchup as 3ds format
result appears as a general group : explode it one time
You will have perfect result ;)
(except colors, no colors in sketchup from Moi till now) maybe V3 :)
And name are replaced by OBJ1, OBJ2...OBJ6, OBJ


you will obtain
first cube = 6 groups!
second cube = one group!

It's not so bad is not it? :)

EDITED: 28 Mar 2011 by PILOU

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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.51 In reply to 4123.49 
Hi Felix, yup I do have some plans to update MoI's SKP export in the future to use groups, specifically because of that "2 adjacent touching objects" problem, since SketchUp likes to fuse the points of 2 objects that touch unless they are in separate groups.

I've got both that and also translating Style information in MoI into materials in SketchUp on my "todo" list.

The main focus initially for SKP export was just to get geometry transferring well, because that's kind of the most fundamental thing.


> It seems like MOI provide its own version of the default material
> and SU doesn't seem to like it, if you try to select (1 click) the front
> face on the left box from the box file, nothing seems to happen but
> the face is selected (entity info).

Hmmm, I can't seem to repeat this problem over here - I went ahead and installed the latest SketchUp v8 and when I do 1 click on the left box from your box.skp file, it gets selected and changes color. Note that the color shift is very subtle because the face happened to be brightly lit by the light source and the default selection appearance of little light yellow dots is not too far off from that.

Is it just that similarity in colors from the non-selected brightly lit face to the selected one that is difficult to see?

What about if you click on the top or right-side faces that happen to be darker, is it easier for you to see the selection happen in those cases?

MoI does not currently try to set any kind of material information in the skp file, so it just ends up using whatever they decided should be the default.

- Michael
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.52 In reply to 4123.51 
Michael,

you're right, the front face change color but it's very very subtle, maybe it's my old eyes but I don't see any dots on the front face and for other faces I can see a bit more the dotted selected surface. Where is that yellowish color comes from if not from MOI? I'm just curious.

Regards,
Felix
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.53 In reply to 4123.50 
Hi Pilou,

I just have the free version of SU which mean no access to 3ds format unless of course there is a free import plugin for that I haven't found yet.

But I have found an obj import script and using it give me 1 group per solid object, then I have to soften every thing to get "normal" looking SU objects which is a lot easier to do then recomposing groups. On closer inspection though, we can see that some curved surfaced mostly are not 100% neat, some normals are reversed and I wouldn't be surprised to find holes as well but I didn't check that.

As I said earlier, the exporting and importing process as given me more work then I would have like most of the time.

Regards,
Felix

P.S. Je n'ai pas accès au format 3ds avec ma version de SU, désolé. Merci
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.54 In reply to 4123.52 
Hi Felix,

> Where is that yellowish color comes from if not
> from MOI? I'm just curious.

In order to write the SKP file, MoI uses a library that comes from SketchUp called SkpWriter.dll - you can get the current version of it in the SketchUp C++ SDK here:
http://code.google.com/apis/sketchup/docs/downloadsdksubmit.html

MoI actually uses the SkpWriter.dll from SketchUp v6.

The selection color seems to be a default value that is stored in the SKP file by the SkpWriter.dll library automatically when the file is created.

In previous versions of SketchUp prior to v8, that was the regular selection color used by SketchUp, but I guess that changed for v8 templates to be a darker color, maybe because of this issue that it's difficult to see yellow dots on a bright white face.

This post here explains how you can set the selection color in the SketchUp UI:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/sketchup/thread?tid=67328c0db610eda1&hl=en

You go to Window > Styles to show the Styles dialog, then under the Edit tab, click the 5th little cube to go to the Modeling settings, and there is a "Selected" color available there and you can click on the yellow swatch to set it to a darker color. That seems to be a per file setting and not something that you can override to just always be a particular color no matter what file is loaded though. Maybe a script in SketchUp could help with setting it, if there is any way to set up a Ruby script to run after a file has been opened.

- Michael
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 From:  Frenchy Pilou (PILOU)
4123.55 In reply to 4123.53 
you can download SU free 6 here ;)
http://www.brothersoft.com/downloads/sketchup.html
Advantage of the SU 6 : No need Internet Connection for load Components
And some formats as importation 3DS, DWG, DXF etc...
And as SU 6 is compatible SU 7, SU 8
it's very cool :)

EDITED: 29 Mar 2011 by PILOU

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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.56 In reply to 4123.54 
Michael,

thanks for all this info,

This note is from the Google site you gave me:

>Before you begin, we have one word of caution. Both the SkpReader and SkpWriter APIs were written prior to SketchUp's >acquisition by Google. Neither API is under active development. However, we do make bug fixes and provide limited support >through the Google SketchUp Developers discussion group.

I've downloaded the files just to see if they where different and it seems they are, at least in size. I even tried it, I renamed the existing one in the MOI directory and put the newer one at the same place. Then I saved my MOI box3 file to skp format again and it basically look the same as before in SU.

My conclusion of this little experiment is that even if MOI can export to SU which may be very convenient and appreciated by some, for my own use it's not very useful as I'll most likely have models composed of many connected parts. If I still want to use SU I'll use obj format at this time.

Regards,
Felix
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.57 In reply to 4123.55 
Hi Pilou,

thanks for the info, I appreciate it a lot.

Thanks,
Felix
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.58 In reply to 4123.56 
Hi Felix,


> This note is from the Google site you gave me:
> <....>

Yes, they haven't really done much new work on the SkpWriter API. But the existing library works - is there any reason why this notice is of particular concern for you?

As far as I know, there is not any actual documentation for just the low level structure of SKP files, so using the SkpWriter.dll mechanism is really the only feasible way to write those particular kinds of files.


> I even tried it, I renamed the existing one in the MOI
> directory and put the newer one at the same place. Then
> I saved my MOI box3 file to skp format again and it basically
> look the same as before in SU.

That sounds like they have not changed the default selection color in their newest SkpWriter library. But I think it is something that I could set directly myself though for MoI's exports. Right now MoI does not set it, but it does not have to stay that way forever.

I guess it could be some kind of optional setting in MoI, because some people might want to have the current color which is the one that was used in versions of SketchUp prior to v8.

- Michael
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 From:  FelixPQ (FELIX)
4123.59 In reply to 4123.58 
Michael,

I cited the noted only because it makes me better understand the difficulties you are face with, trying to export skp file format.

From when I first pointed out this selection color thing and from what (little) I know now, I would think the selection color is always the same whatever the color of the object. I've "painted" rectangles in various colors and when I try to select them it seem to always turn out to dotted blue. With a blue face, there is nothing visible happening at all.

Though it could be more or less useful to change the default color provided by the library, I'm not sure it is worth all the effort this would require especially when Google itself doesn't seem to care that much.

Regards,
Felix
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 From:  Michael Gibson
4123.60 In reply to 4123.59 
Hi Felix,

> From when I first pointed out this selection color
> thing and from what (little) I know now, I would
> think the selection color is always the same whatever
> the color of the object.

Yup, as far as I know that's the way the way that SketchUp works to display selection...

- Michael
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