New Feb-26 beta available now  1-20  21-38

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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.1 
A new Feb-26-2007 beta release is now available from the download page at http://moi3d.com/download.htm .

The major change for this beta is a big overhaul for Fillet, Chamfer, Booleans, Offset, and Shell. Stability for these commands has been greatly increased - all previously reported crash bugs in these areas should now be fixed with this release. Also a part of the overhaul is that canceling is now supported for these commands. If the command is taking a long time to complete, you can hit cancel or escape to bail out - previously MoI would just lock up until the calculation was complete. You can also change parameters in mid-calculation which will cancel the current calculation and start a new one with the updated parameters.

This should greatly improve the overall stability of MoI since about 95% of reported crashes have been in these commands that perform complex calculations.

But this new mechanism is one of the biggest restructuring changes in MoI for quite a while, so please let me know if you have any stability problems with any of these commands with this new beta.


Other stuff:


Units support - you can now set the unit system that you are using in the Options dialog. The units for the current file are set in the main options dialog, and under additional units options you can set the default units for startup and a couple other options.


Updated Blend command to also work on curves to produce a curve blend. G3 is supported for curve blending.


New shape option for the fillet command lets you choose different blend-style shapes for the fillet surface. These can let you get a more organic style blend instead of the regular mechanical-style exact circular fillet surface. This option also works for curve fillets as well.


New one-directional "Dir" Array under Transform / Array / Dir makes it easier to replicate an object along a single column. You pick 2 points, the spacing between these points becomes the array spacing (use distance constraint in the bottom bar to enter an exact distance for the 2nd point same as drawing a line of a specific length), and the direction between the 2 points defines the direction of the array column.


Background images support rotation now, while inside of the View/Image command. There is a new rotation grip on the image. There are 2 rotation methods - you can click and drag on the rotation grip to do an immediate rotation around the image's plane normal (2D rotate style), or click and release on the rotation grip instead of dragging it to bring up a 3-wheel rotation gizmo. You can click and drag on any of the 3 wheels to rotate around any of the 3 axes, click off of a wheel to exit this rotation mode.


There is now the ability to toggle the light direction through scripting - see this post for how to set up a keyboard shortcut that switches the light to different directions: http://moi3d.com/forum/index.php?webtag=MOI&msg=425.9 - this can be helpful if you want to see details in what is currently a darker area.


Fixed a bug in sweep where it would fail when using more than one profile when the rails stuck out past the ends of the profiles instead of ending directly on the profiles.


Various other bug fixes.


Let me know if you have any problems with it or need any additional information!

- Michael
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 From:  tyglik
437.2 In reply to 437.1 
I have just tried last beta and discovered some new stuff... Nice progress... I have some notes...

RotateImage :: The circles, which represent planes for rotating an image, could be dashed like construction lines. There could also be a way of reseting the image into the basic state (i.e. circles are parallel/perpendicular to cplanes).

Blend :: When I make a blend (G1, G2) between two curves then join this three curves into one and extrude it (or use it as a path or profile for sweeping), the result is polysurface rather then smoothly deformable surface. Is it useful? (Yes, I can use AddPt and Delete commands for removing a kink from curve before extruding...)

Petr
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 From:  sk2k
437.3 
Hi,

great new beta. :)

German translation updated. It can be found here: http://poi.sturmwelt.de

MfG
sk2k
Point of Inspiration
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 From:  Richard (RUSIRIUS)
437.4 

Michael,

Thanks once again for this excellent release!
The lighting option is fantastic and greatly improves visualization.
The directional array is really an added bonus. This comes in very handy.

This is by far your most well rounded release. MoI has always been a solid program but now it “feels” solid. Great work!

Richard

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 From:  JTB
437.5 
The best MoI so far !!!
I see V1.0 coming very soon...

 
***There is a better way to do things... Just find your Moment of Inspiration***

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 From:  MFort
437.6 
I agree, real nice job Michael!

-Matt
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 From:  Linker (KJELLO)
437.7 
A very nice update, Michael!

As per usual new features spawn new items on the wishlist:-) Here are two:
The new features of the filleting tool are great, how about an option to select a custom profile curve? (so that the fillet works similarly to Sweep)
The new Units feature is propably very nice for those who need it, it would be even better if the changes were reflected in the viewport grid. (Inches and feet would have thicker lines for every 6 and 12 units instead of every 5 and 10, the cm display would subdivide to mm when zoomed far enough in etc.)
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 From:  Kreten
437.8 
BRAVO!
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 From:  d^^b (DAVID)
437.9 
The spanish translation:

Again, there is a problem with the accents in the file of the downloadable version.

And a wish: It´s posible to keep the same distance when I´m drawing a polyline? If not, this is my wish. Anyway....I think that it´s not a very useful feature, but I was trying to draw a polyline like that, and it was very tedious to write the distance in each segment. :-)
Attachments:

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 From:  Richard (RUSIRIUS)
437.10 
Still enjoying this wonderful release but have a request ;)

Is it possible to create instances of objects? In other words if you mirror an object as an instance what ever you change on the parent changes on the child. My apologies if this has been asked before.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.11 In reply to 437.10 
> Is it possible to create instances of objects? In other words if you mirror an object
> as an instance what ever you change on the parent changes on the child. My
> apologies if this has been asked before.

Hi Richard - this is possible to a certain extent right now using history.

When you mirror an object, the history of the mirror operation is stored on the result, but by default it does not have updates turned on. Updates are not turned on by default on the results of transforms because updates can sometimes be kind of surprising and get in the way a bit.

But you can enable the update by selecting the resulting mirrored object, and doing Edit/History/Enable updates.

Once you have enabled history updating on an object, whenever you edit the original object the mirror transform will be automatically re-applied and update the mirrored part.

In a simlar manner it is possible to update the results of Transform/Copy, to make a set of copied clones that update when the original is edited.

- Michael
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 From:  Richard (RUSIRIUS)
437.12 In reply to 437.11 
Excellent Michael! Thank you :)
Sounds like it can be tricky but I will give it a go and see how it works.
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.13 In reply to 437.12 
> Sounds like it can be tricky but I will give it a go and see how it works.

I may have over-explained it a bit... Just select the result of the mirroring, and do Edit/History and push Enable update.

After that the mirrored copy should update when you edit the original object.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.14 In reply to 437.2 
Hi Petr, thanks for the feedback,


> RotateImage :: The circles, which represent planes for rotating an image, could
> be dashed like construction lines.

This is set up for the next beta.


> There could also be a way of reseting the image into the basic state (i.e. circles
> are parallel/perpendicular to cplanes).

Any ideas on a good way to trigger this? Maybe clicking the rotate icon again while inside tri-axis rotate mode?

For background images it is pretty easy to just delete the current one and draw a new one that is aligned to the cplanes again. But there needs to be some way to do this before these grips could be applied to regular objects. The rotation stuff on the images is mostly a test bed for how this type of frame editing could work for on regular objects for a future version.

The nice thing about this dual-mode rotation mechanism is that it will provide for simple 2D illustration type scaling and rotation within the top view (it is nice to be able to use the top view as if it was a 2D illustration program), but a full 3-axis rotation is easy to get as well.

I've also thought a bit about maybe displaying a center point while in tri-axis mode and letting you drag on the center point to move the center of rotation elsewhere, eventually.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.15 In reply to 437.2 
Hi Petr, almost forgot this second part:

> Blend :: When I make a blend (G1, G2) between two curves then join this three curves
> into one and extrude it (or use it as a path or profile for sweeping), the result is
> polysurface rather then smoothly deformable surface. Is it useful? (Yes, I can use
> AddPt and Delete commands for removing a kink from curve before extruding...)

I don't know about useful or not, but that's basically how things have to work to get exact results.

MoI doesn't try to fuse G1 or higher segments together into single curve pieces when doing an extrude, for example. This is different than what you might be used to from Rhino - Rhino will fuse G1 or higher segments together into single curves when extruding, but this actually tends to be a source of problems, for example: http://news2.mcneel.com/scripts/dnewsweb.exe?cmd=article&group=rhino&item=251873&utag= , it can also be inconvenient for other situations, like it makes it more difficult to explode or ExtractSrf your model into individual faces for low level work. So I consider it a feature that MoI does not auto-fuse G1 segments together.

Also, even though Rhino fuses G1 segments together, that does not equate to "smoothly deformable surface" - the only general way to fuse segments together is by introducing a "fully multiple knot" which becomes a corner point if you drag it. So "fusing" does not equal "smoothing".

In general making a smoothly deformable surface out of multiple segments will involve some type of refitting or resampling process to reconstruct the curve without internal corner points (fully multiple knots). This involves small deviations from the original shape, probably not very expected for extrude, but probably more feasible for sweep profiles, especially profiles other than the start/end ones.

So basically if you want a smoothly deforming single surface from an extrude, you will need to do the addpt/delete stuff to provide a single smoothly deforming curve first before extrusion.

For extrude, the structure of the input curves exactly dictates the structure of the resulting surface. I think this is the most expected result - each curve segment = one surface.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.16 In reply to 437.5 
> The best MoI so far !!!
> I see V1.0 coming very soon...

Thanks JTB!

Things are looking in pretty good shape now with the increased stability for these particular complex high-calculation commands.

Although I'm sure that there will be a few other crash bugs to fix up in other areas, I think that this new version should push things into a production-ready level for stability. So that's pretty important for being ready to release!

My plan is to add some other new features through to the end of March. I'm shooting for that cut-off date, probably at that point I will take whatever I've got and stop adding new stuff for a while and only do bug fixes as it gets polished up and ready for the full V1 release.


By the way, I think you previously mentioned that it was awkward using the grid array to do just a single column in Z?

The new "Dir" array should be easier for this type of thing now.

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.17 In reply to 437.2 
Hey Petr, one other thing -

Previously you mentioned the problem where Fillet remembers the last used radius and applies it immediately when you run the command again, which was inconvenient if it took a while to finish.

With the new release you can now enter a new radius after starting the command, which will automatically interrupt the current calculation and start a new one going with your new radius.

So that problem should be solved now!

- Michael
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.18 In reply to 437.7 
Hi Linker,

> The new features of the filleting tool are great, how about an option to select
> a custom profile curve? (so that the fillet works similarly to Sweep)

This would definitely be cool but it would be pretty difficult for me to set up right now - the blending stuff was easier because the geometry library already had things in place to do it. To do a custom profile curve I'd have to do quite a lot of new code.

There may be some other pretty big complications too - for a normal fillet, the distance between the edges of the fillet surface may widen or contract along its length on squiggly surfaces. For something that can be calculated like an arc, this forms a longer arc or shorter arc but of the same radius. A custom profile would probably be quite a bit different, in that it wouldn't work very well to just trim out a part of it like you can trim out an arc of a circle.

The other part that is complex is rounding at corner junctures, especially with more than 2 edges. This tends to require a bunch of specialized shaping slightly different than the regular profile, this may be really difficult for custom profiles...

Just doing the top bevel on a simple extrude doesn't really run into these issues, but the more general case of any edges does.


> The new Units feature is propably very nice for those who need it, it would be even
> better if the changes were reflected in the viewport grid. (Inches and feet would
> have thicker lines for every 6 and 12 units instead of every 5 and 10, the cm
> display would subdivide to mm when zoomed far enough in etc.)

I think the way to solve this will be through template file support eventually. By this I mean being able to have a set of pre-saved starting files that have different settings all set up in them, like units + grid combos, etc... There would be something like a File / Template command similar to File / New (or possibly built into File/New), except it would let you pick a starting template file out of a set of different saved ones.

- Michael
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 From:  tyglik
437.19 In reply to 437.17 
Hi Michael,

Actually, I solved this issue before releasing last beta.
I just replaced the attribute in the "html" file - "style="persist:true;" - with - style="persist:false;" .... hehe...

But it is more convenient now. Thanks for the side-effect... haha...

Petr
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 From:  Michael Gibson
437.20 In reply to 437.19 
> I just replaced the attribute in the "html" file - "style="persist:true;" -
> with - style="persist:false;" .... hehe...

:) It is pretty cool that all the UI files are accessible there and easily editable so that stuff like this is possible!

- Michael
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