Discussion on other forum to watch...

Discussion in 'Software' started by wunwinglow, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

  2. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    My thinking is that each designer has developed their own tool set as regards card model design and development. The thought struck me that Nobi has found a relatively low cost method of producing his stunning designs! This is the real dustup, so to speak. I and others have spent a considerable sums to obtain software that really doesn't live up to expectations of a one package solution (Rhino3D is nearly an exception). The lower cost varieties serve well in capable hands. The key is "capable hands". To become capable requires aptitude and time dedicated to becoming proficient. It's my belief that these are the real barriers to further design entry involvement in card model design.
  3. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Graphics software..

    Gil, you are right. Where NOBI scores over so many others, me especially, obviously, is that he gets on and finishes projects! With data becoming more and more transferable between software packages there are many routes from idea to printed output, and it just takes a bit of dogged determination to see a project through. All software programs take some effort to become useful, just like most things in life. A grand piano is just a piece of furniture unless you practise.....

    NOBI has found a work flow that clearly works for him, as have several others of our illustrious co-members. But none of them, as far as I am aware, use a single software tool for the whole process. I don't think that is so unusual, in any creative computer process. If there is a barrier of any real matter, it is knowing how to use one software tool to best create data the following software tool can make good use. Rhino (or any NURBS modeller) can produce fantastic shapes, but mesh them conventionally and you get so many polygons it is impossible to flatten it out. So you must design the original model to be capable of being unrolled in the first place! This means only using a fraction of Rhino's capability, as the models so created are inappropriate for paper modelling. Which would make Rhino very 'expensive' if you only use that fraction. Horses for courses....

    What other software have you tried, and why was it less than effective? I am intrigued! Maybe we can work out some recommendations for everyone to comment upon.

  4. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi Tim,

    I think that cataloging the capabilities of various software as it applies to card modeling would be extremely valuable information for entry through accomplished design levels. Cataloging the information will require input from a diverse group of users familiar with and actively using the software being taxonified...., setting up the categories will be most of the effort. Keeping it current will be another chore. I suggest the following major categores;

    o Input Media Software
    - Scanning, Photos and Line Drawings
    o 3D Drawing Software
    o 3D Modeling Software
    o Paint Software (2D Drawing Software)
    - UV, Texture & Bump Wrapping
    o Unwrap Software

    I currently use several Input Media applicatons. Use depends upon actions desired to be taken on the input media (i.e. scanning, cleaning up photos etc.). For drawing I use TurboCAD exclusivley (I have Rhino3D, 3DS, and Solidworks but find that I keep coming back to TC for some reason). I use TC to "true up" a 3 view drawing with all pertinent detail to be included in the model (note that inclusive detail depends on many different factors and is an important skill to develop to be successful at card model design). 3D sections are then derived from the 3 view and are used to build polygonal cross sections or frames. The frames are then "extruded" to form sectional segments. The sectional segments are input to the unwrapping software, in my case either Pepakura or Ultimate Unwrap 3D. I used to do the unwrapping by hand which is why several models are on hold due to the tedium of this work. This solves the problem of getting from a 3D model to a flat surface......, it doesn't solve the problem of painting the 3D model which is where trueSpace and Adobe Illustrator come in. Between these two packages I am able to create intricately detailed surfaces ready for unwrapping. Note that any large mistakes upstream in the process lieterally "stop the show", so projects must be very carefully planned in advance as restarting is a fairly painful process. Of course the process has been greatly simplified for reasons of brevity and will require tutorials in the way of explaining the process and the importance of the various software packages covered. Might be the beginning of an interesting book!

    Enough for now....,

    Best regards, Gil
  5. Maurice

    Maurice Member


    I've never seen that put so well. Truth is I don't think I've even seen it put before.
    Aptitude, opportunity and dedicated application.
    And no amount of asking for supah doopah software will do it for you.

    But no harm in cataloguing the software, not forgetting that it's perfectly possible to design in 2D CAD without even going to 3D.

    Not sure I've ever met "taxonified" before though. :)

  6. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    Where do you get those programs to unwrap your TurboCad drawings and are there any particular methods you recommend? I've seen Pepakura but not Ultimate Unwrap 3d... Also what methods are needed for succesful and accurate unwrapping. Do you have to "break" the model into sections or what?
    I've been working on a 3d model in TurboCad and would like to try and unwrap it eventually.

  7. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Hi Ryan,

    Tim has graciously provided a list of sites that cater to this area. There is "no" site that I know of (outside of this one) that directly applies to card modeling. The nearest application is mesh modeling for flight simulators which can take you off into a total and consuming distraction. There are several software packages that "unwrap":

    1. Pepakura (Japanese origin, designed for card models).

    2. Ultimate Unwrap 3D (designed to unwrap a variety of CAD drawing formats) I'm still in the middle of learning this package.

    3. Lightning Unwrap (think that's the title) Used for HVAC sheetmetal industry (pricey).

    4. Rhinoceeros 3D, complete 3D software package. Expensive but good.

    5. Surfmaster, by Dr. Zarkov. This is not standalone but is a plug in for IntelliCAD 3.0 or later or AutoCAD 14 or later.

    That's about all I've been able to find after many hours spent searching.

    One other caviat before I end, skinning any surface is very similar to skinning a ships hull. NURBs modeling does a nice job of developing the surface but produces way too many polygons to be compatible with the unwrapping software. This is the dilemma of this software genre. I have found through much experiment that fitting common polygons to the half frame countours is the easiest way to procede. Note that more than a little editing of the polygons edge lengths need to be done in order to get the longitudinal "contours" smooth. The resultant surface is then reflected around the central plain and the two halves geometrically "summed" together. This may not be clear now but will be after you tried some trial fuselage sections through the process (recommended for practise).

    Best regards, Gil

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