doodling with MoI

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 From:  phlatt5th (P5TH)
534.1 
My First experiment with sketching (freehand just observation)actual objects in MoI :)

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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.2 In reply to 534.1 
Looks good!
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 From:  Joe (INNERACTIVE)
534.3 In reply to 534.1 
Very cool. That's what I like about MoI. It is the only 3D package I have found where I can "sketch", like you described. It must be a combination of the Wacom friendly UI, compact toolset, and drawing approach to modeling. Whatever it is, I like it.
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 From:  phlatt5th (P5TH)
534.4 In reply to 534.3 
Thanks Joe, you summed it it up perfectly even if it is only 5-20 mins a day it feels good to fire it up and doodle something in MoI (without having to think about software and mentally prepare) always something to discover :) Just last week I stumbled on the ability to pan in the 3D view port when using the mouse by pressing on the scroll wheel. (I am sure this is common knowledge to the pros on the forum)
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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.5 In reply to 534.4 
Have you found out how construction lines work?

When you're using a drawing tool, if you click and drag instead of click and release, you will drag out a construction line which you can use for a bunch of different purposes like extensions, getting points midway between any 2 other points, lining things up, ...

It's one of the cooler things that is kind of hidden away a bit.

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
534.6 In reply to 534.5 
Hi Michael,

Because construction lines are a totally new kind of tool for me, I don't think I'm making the best use of them.
I occasionally set up a single construction line and use the snaps on it to position the points of various kinds of lines and curves,
but I have not yet figured out a practical use for Relocate Cline, Reorient Cline and Project Next Point.
Maybe I'm missing something or maybe they just aren't very applicable to the type of jewelry modeling that I do.
Could you briefly give an example of how they might come into play when drawing in MoI?



-Jesse
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 From:  phlatt5th (P5TH)
534.7 In reply to 534.5 
Oh yes, I discovered them early on I am still trying learn how to use them more effectively. Sometimes I am not quick enough or I click too soon and they vanish before I make my next move. My work around is to sometimes use actual lines as temporary place holders/scaffold then erase :)
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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.8 In reply to 534.6 
> Relocate Cline, Reorient Cline and Project Next Point.

Just for other people listening in - these options show up if you click and hold down for a moment on the little bullet that pops up after you create a construction line.


> Maybe I'm missing something or maybe they just aren't very applicable to the type
> of jewelry modeling that I do.
> Could you briefly give an example of how they might come into play when drawing in MoI?

They're pretty specialized, but pretty cool for the right situations.

Relocate is mostly useful for doing constructions involving parallel lines. For example, let's say that you want to freehand draw a second polyline to this one with a parallel middle segment:



Using a relocated construction line you can do this all in one single polyline command - start polyline, drag a construction line along the middle segment, then relocate it to where you want the parallel and now you can snap on to it for the 2nd and 3rd points of your polyline:



Certainly it would be possible to create this same thing with other methods, such as copying or offseting the line and then extending it, etc... But those would involve a lot more steps - the relocated cline lets you do parallel line constructions with fewer steps all within one command.


Reorient lets you treat a construction line as a kind of measuring stick where you can capture a distance and then point the line in some other direction to apply that distance somewhere else. Here's an example - here is a block:



Let's say that we want to draw a cylinder on top of this block and we want to locate its center to be inset from the edge with half of the distance of the edge. You can do this all within one shot of the cylinder command by using a reoriented cline. To do this, start the cylinder command, and before you pick the first point, drag a construction line from the midpoint of the edge to the endpoint:



We have now "captured" the distance that we want to use with the cline. Now re-orient the cline to point perpendicular to the edge:



Now you can snap on to the "endpoint" of the cline (the endpoints of the cline are the 2 points you used to define the cline) to get the point you're after. Also the midpoint of the cline is a nice proportion here as well:



Then let's say you want the height of that cylinder to be the same as the height of block - to do this I did another construction line along one of the vertical edges of the block and used "relocate" to place it at the center point, that now gives me a top point to snap to:



So that is a cylinder drawn directly "in place" using different proportions that were captured from the block using clines.

This kind of enables a different style rather than snapping stuff on to the grid - instead these methods let you freehand draw the base object not grid snapped to any particular dimensions, then use construction lines to measure stuff on the fly, kind of like a temporary adaptive grid.

I'll cover some uses of cline point projection in another post in a minute.

- Michael

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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.9 In reply to 534.8 
Ok - about "project next pt" for clines.

This is basically for matching a height relative to an existing object. Again you can accomplish the same thing with other methods, but this method is more convenient when used at the right moment.

So let's say you have a block and you're drawing a cylinder next to it:



As you're tracking the cylinder up along the z axis, you think "hey, I wish I could snap the end of the cylinder to be the same height as this nearby block". But if you move your mouse over to the block, the cylinder slants towards that direction.

So what you can do is drag out a cline that is going in that same z axis direction (the specific endpoint locations of it are not important in this case, just get it going in the same direction), and turn on "Project next pt". Now the end point of that cylinder that you are drawing will be locked on to that z axis line, and you can move your mouse over and snap on to one of the points on the block to obtain its same relative height:




I've been meaning to do one of those screen capture videos to show all the uses of construction lines, because there is an awful lot of stuff you can do with them, not all of which is really immediately apparent.

Of course you can get by without using them at all as well - it's just that in the right situations they let you do things really quickly "in place" without needing to draw extra lines or move things around later, etc...

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
534.10 In reply to 534.9 
Hi Michael,

Thanks for taking the time to explain some of the uses for C-lines.
I can see now how they would come in handy for some of the things I do.

Initially, when I first saw them, I thought they would enable me to work in the 3d viewport without
a net, so to speak....I mean if you could set up some scaffolding
that would stay in place from operation to operation rather than turn off
when the line or curve being drawn is complete, then you'd be closer to having
the freedom to draw in wide-open 3d space, which would be very cool.

Would it be practical or possible to have C-lines stay on-screen for as long as you decide?
Maybe you could put a universal c-line on-off switch on the right click of the white c-line tab
under the other options such as relocate, etc..

The next logical thing that comes to mind, would be the ability
to mirror and rotate in the 3d viewport, which according my understanding would need
the backdrop of a construction plane to anchor the mirror or rotation. I realize this could
get kind of complicated in actuality and maybe not a good idea at all...but if you could right-click
and put a temporary control plane on the x or y axis and then do a mirror in the 3D viewport...maybe I'm in 3d fantasy-land..:-)

I have, on occasion, created object-oriented cplanes in Rhino, but I have not needed them very often,
so I'm not sure how necessary it would actually be at this point.

I have one last question that comes to mind as I'm thinking of these orientation options...
I'd like to be able to draw a line "normal" to a surface in MoI. For jewelry design, it would solve a lot of problems
in terms of building or arraying gemstone settings on top of a curvy surface. Snaps work
for me for drawing on surfaces, but it entails splitting the surface with a line so I can get an edge curve to snap to,
since Object Snaps recognize curves rather than surfaces. If we could extract an isoparm...

Sorry for all the questions...

Jesse
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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.11 In reply to 534.10 
Hi Jesse,

Just a quick note - there are also several other uses for clines than what I mentioned above, those were just what those particular menu items can be used for.


> Would it be practical or possible to have C-lines stay on-screen for as long as you decide?

I do want to do this eventually, there are just a few details that haven't been worked out yet.


> Maybe you could put a universal c-line on-off switch on the right click of the white
> c-line tab under the other options such as relocate, etc..

That would work well for a "Keep clines" option to make them stick around, but it wouldn't work so great for a way to remove them. That's because that little bullet only shows up right now after you have created a construction line, so if that was the only way to remove them you would have to create another cline to remove them, which is pretty weird.

So it is the removal part that hasn't really been figured out yet.

If there was such a thing as an "object browser" pane that let you see a type of tree view of all the objects in the scene, then construction lines could be listed there and that might be a good way to remove them as well.


> The next logical thing that comes to mind, would be the ability
> to mirror and rotate in the 3d viewport, which according my understanding would
> need the backdrop of a construction plane to anchor the mirror or rotation.

Actually, arbitrary rotation works right now in the 3d viewport by using the "Rotate Axis" variant under the rotate transform - for that you pick 2 points which defines the axis of rotation. Then you can enter an angle, or you can actually pick some points with the mouse which will track on a kind of temporary construction plane perpendicular to that axis. Eventually there will be some other similar option for mirror, just not in V1.


> I have, on occasion, created object-oriented cplanes in Rhino, but I have
> not needed them very often, so I'm not sure how necessary it would actually be at this point.

Well, the more things that you can do more immediately in the 3D view the less necessary they are. However they can still be useful, particularly for drawing brand new curves right in your desired orientation from the beginning. That's why I do want to add them in to a future version.


> I'd like to be able to draw a line "normal" to a surface in MoI.

Yeah, this is another one that I haven't figured out quite yet. It should be possible at some point. The first part to enable that is to get snapping directly on to a surface to work. I postponed that for a while since it involves a bit of work to make sure that it goes fast enough.


The things you're asking about here should eventually be possible, they just won't be in the initial V1 version.

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
534.12 In reply to 534.11 

>That would work well for a "Keep clines" option to make them stick around, but it wouldn't work so great for a way to remove them. That's because that little bullet only shows up right now after you have created a construction line, so if that was the only way to remove them you would have to create another cline to remove them, which is pretty weird.<

I had not even thought of that, you're right...I can't even fathom the planning and foresight that must go into building the UI ...you're doing a fantastic job of it, and I do appreciate that you take into account everyone's comments and suggestions in the process.

>Actually, arbitrary rotation works right now in the 3d viewport by using the "Rotate Axis" variant under the rotate transform - for that you pick 2 points which defines the axis of rotation.<

I have used the Rotation Axis in the 3d viewport, but I find it difficult to get a handle on things to place those points when there's a lot going on in the viewport to look at.. it actually requires too much spatial-orientation thinking for the three brain cells I have...;-) so instead, I temporarily rotate my whole model in another one of the viewports, so I can get the right orientation to do a straight-on rotation of a particular object. Then I just rotate the whole thing back the way it was. It works for some things, but not everything. That's why I thought if you could just call up a temporary construction plane, it would be easier.


>The things you're asking about here should eventually be possible, they just won't be in the initial V1 version.<

This is great!. At first I thought MoI was going to be sort of "Rhino-lite", but it's already evolving way beyond that now into a totally new kind of CAD program.

Thanks,

Jesse

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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.13 In reply to 534.12 
> I had not even thought of that, you're right...I can't even fathom the planning
> and foresight that must go into building the UI ...you're doing a fantastic job
> of it, and I do appreciate that you take into account everyone's comments
> and suggestions in the process.

Thanks, Jesse! Yes, doing the UI tends to be the most difficult part.

It took me about a year's worth of work to get most of the basic MoI UI in place. It tends to be a lot more difficult with MoI than in previous programs that I've done because I'm not really following some pre-existing template very much. For many other programs designing the UI is a lot easier if you just say you're going to follow some existing standard like "make it work like office"...


> I have used the Rotation Axis in the 3d viewport, but I find it difficult to
> get a handle on things to place those points when there's a lot going on
> in the viewport to look at..

Do you mean you find it difficult to place the 2 axis points? Or the points that define the rotation angle after that?


> That's why I thought if you could just call up a temporary construction plane, it would be easier.

Which part would be easier? Do you mean you would then switch away from the 3D view and go to a top/front/right view to make it easier? Because if you stay in the 3D view, rotate axis is already right now doing the same thing as placing a temporary construction plane. As you move your mouse around you will be picking points on an invisible plane perpendicular to the axis, just the same as if you had actually set a construction plane there.


> This is great!. At first I thought MoI was going to be sort of "Rhino-lite", but it's
> already evolving way beyond that now into a totally new kind of CAD program.

Yeah, MoI is not actually intended to be a "lite" anything. It sort of might feel like that right now but that is mostly due to it being a V1 product that still needs more time to fully mature in different areas. Also I guess the focus on simple things first kind of gives it that feel a bit too.

The second part of your comment there is more the intent - with MoI I wanted to do some new things that just were not being done by any existing CAD program. At first this was about making it work well with a tablet and not requiring any touching of the keyboard which is very unique to MoI. I want to keep that ability but also things have evolved to a more general focus on ease of use which is also not particularly present in existing CAD systems either.

I can understand that people can get easily confused between "easy to use" and "lite", but really they are not the same thing.

There are also some pieces of unique technology in MoI aside from the UI too - for example the n-gon mesh exporter. As far as I am aware there is no other NURBS software that offers this ability, even at the $20,000+ price range (if anyone is aware of anything else that can do this, please let me know). Normally you would not find exclusive industry technology in a "Lite" product!! :)

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
534.14 In reply to 534.13 

>with MoI I wanted to do some new things that just were not being done by any existing CAD program.<

Well, you've already done that and it's still in beta and works like a champ. I think the careful planning and your intention to make it powerful but simple to use has paid off because although some of the tools have needed tweaking as you bring them in, it's had relatively few bugs compared to a lot of other new programs and for that matter, some established programs when they've introduced updates..

Here's the thing I was talking about...
I'd like to place a cylinder ( w/ filleted top ) in the correct position and angle of orientation, while working in the 3d viewport with C-lines. I can make some scaffolding from curves to extrude the cylinder in the right orientation or do it by rotating the entire ring in the front viewport so that the extrude of the cylinder is straight north and south.

Thanks,

-Jesse

EDITED: 10 Apr 2007 by JESSE


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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.15 In reply to 534.14 
Hi Jesse, even though clines make it possible to place something in the right spot in one single command, sometimes it is not worth the planning effort that it requires to get it all set up just right. Like in this instance even though it is possible to draw a cylinder in the exact spot, it is kind of easier to draw it in the orientation and then move it off ot the side as a second step.

Also I don't think that there is anything wrong with your scaffolding method, that's probably more what I would do because it kind of gives you some pretty good visualization as you are setting it up.

But anyway, to do that the cline way here is what I would do - start the cylinder command.

Drag the first cline between the tips of your stones to set up a midpoint osnap:



Now drag the second cline between the origin and the midpoint of the previous cline:



I believe this gets you your correct orientation. So now zoom in there a bit (so you can more easily snap on to just the cline instead of on to the neighboring stones), and draw your cylinder:



Now for the second step you can drag it off to the side a bit, or use Transform/Copy with a distance constraint if you know the exact distance you want it displaced from the center line.

It would have been possible to relocate that oriented line off to the side a bit first so that your cylinder would be in the exact right spot right away, but I think that may actually be more complicated overall.

- Michael

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 From:  phlatt5th (P5TH)
534.16 In reply to 534.13 
Michael, MoI is not lite anything indeed it is in a class all by itself Kudos to you :) Thanks for the c line tutorials. I am getting better at learning to use them. Here are my recent doodle of this simple bottle/can opener in it I set out to really focus on using the c line among other things. Exercises like this make me focus on the minor details of this everyday object with fresh eyes and appreciate its use and design in new ways. Very much like MoI deceptive in its work flow and power even at this stage in its development. I hope that makes sense?

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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.17 In reply to 534.16 
Hi phlatt5th, that's a nice can-opener result. Nice clean construction!

- Michael
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 From:  Jesse
534.18 In reply to 534.15 
Hi Michael,

Thanks, It's good to know how to locate the c-lines so that you can control the orientation of the cylinder, I can use that for other things, as well... since the correct spacing and over-lap of the objects is crucial to having the model function in metal and real stones, and it's different for every finger size relative to the stone size, it takes some planning to lay these things out anyway, so maybe scaffolding in combination with some c-lines when you need them, would be a good solution.

-Jesse
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 From:  Michael Gibson
534.19 In reply to 534.18 
> so maybe scaffolding in combination with some c-lines when you need them, would be a good solution.

Yeah, I think so. There is some overhead to doing the scaffolding (invoking multiple drawing tools, erasing stuff later, etc...) but if you are already spending some time planning things then this overhead is not a problem.

But if you want something quick, for instance just getting a cylinder drawn at the correct orientation at an approximate height or lateral offset location for a type of quick visualization sketch, then clines keeps things moving along really speedily for that type of a thing because placing just one or two clines is super quick and there is no erase time. Like it might take you only 2 seconds to place the quick cline temporary "scaffolding" in place, but maybe something like 10 seconds to place regular geometry scaffolding, especially because for regular geometry scaffolding you have to trigger multiple commands and also possibly move stuff around a bit since you don't have the implicit extensions that clines have built in.

10 seconds versus 2 seconds is not a big deal if you've already spent a few minutes planning stuff out. But if you want to just draw and sketch stuff really quickly, it does become more significant because just a few more seconds starts to take away the rapid "drawing" type feeling...

- Michael
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