Dumb Question

Discussion in 'Gallery & Designs' started by rmks2000, Aug 1, 2006.

  1. This I can relate to very well...it's modeling. I guess it's my 'wet-behind-the-ears' situation with respect to card models that causes me to be like a deer in the headlights when it comes to design of these models. Everywhere I look people are talking about Rhino, MilkShape, Meso-whatever-it-is and then Pepakura to unfold their creations. It all sounds very impressive but it's a foreign world to me. I'm a pretty good draftsman and the math associated with basic form layout is hardly overwhelming.

    But when I think about taking a 3V of an aircraft and somehow use one of these "fancy" programs to lay a labyrinth of points, polygons, and whatever to create its surface, I are lost. I do want to experiment with some of that stuff but it's reassuring to know that I can survive without it :)

    That's steep learning curve of 'tricks and shortcuts' is the one I'm currently looking up at. It's both exciting and intimidating :)

    Thanks for the insights, Rob.

    Cheers --- Larry
  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    These software packages are only alternate tools in the designers armoury. None of them 'solve' all the problems, they only help record your intentions in a digital format rather than a physical one. You still have to learn how to use them appropriately and effectively, just as you need to know when a scalpel is more appropriate than scissors. You still need to learn their limitations, and how to get around the problems these limitations can generate.

    Start with something simple, but something that fires your interest, sweat through a few tutorials and within a very short time it will fall into place; but NEVER stop learning! That is what this is REALLY about!

    Tim P (wunwinglow)

    PS Rhino rocks.......
  3. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Art, Artists & Media Type

    Like in any effort there is great variety of preferrences amongst the cardmodeling community. One's outlook is predicated upon what they know, their comfort at stepping beyond their comfort zone and their skill level. Wanting to build and being able to build is what may be the factor that most frustrates a novice beginning in the use of paper as the media of choice to express their abilities. Like anything it requires practice and experience and there is only one way to obtain this. Time. Pick something simple that you have an interest in. Be sure that it's an electronic model that can be printed out repeatedly till the mastery part kicks in. Don't quit or become discouraged as things will go wrong but you will not hopefully make the same mistake on the reprint retry. This is a craft hobby and obtaining the "craft" part can only be obtained by doing, so persist till you are finished with that first model. When finished you can reflect back on how much you've learned and can apply to the next subject. One more bit of advise is that you select a model that is reputed to have a good fit, no missing parts and instructions somewhere in English. These tend to be helpful sometimes. And most of all don't be afraid to ask questions or seek help from members of this forum to get you through the rough spots.

    That being said have a wonderful time here with us all.

    Best regards, -Gil
  4. Gil, maybe I'm blessed or just plain thick-headed but I've never been frustrated while learning new modeling techniques. But I'll grant that the Internet causes me to start asking questions about things that are somewhat higher on the learning curve than my current level of expertise.
    That, sometimes, frustrates both me and those who respond to my questions :)

  5. 46rob

    46rob Member

    "I guess what has me puzzled is why people prefer to use PSP, Corel, or Photoshop rather than using an actual CAD program to do this stuff. You're all suggesting that arithmetic is important and clearly so is measurement. Both are accommodated much better in CAD. I must be missing something...probably a lot of somethings"

    Why I use Photoshop: When I decided I wanted to create a card model--I looked at what I had on my computer already. ... Photoshop Deluxe--a basic program to manipulate photos--but had some rudimentary drawing tools. Since my first model was done like the Fury--I used the drawing tools to clean it up, and later color it. later, when Photshop Elements came out, I bought it (it's pretty much like an older version of Photoshop (5.0, maybe--but under $100). I've used it (and occasionally GIMP) for most of my work, as it does what I need. CAD has a learning curve, too, and I'd rather design than learn another program....and from what I can tell--you can't do colors and such with it.

    I do have a friend who uses CAD in his work, and he's quick to generate special parts for me, like "petals" for a nose cone, when I run into trouble. What started out as a solo endeavor, over the past few years, has become a collaborative effort, involving an informal group of folks, who like card modeling, like the design aspect of things, and are particularly handy in specific areas of expertise, like research, technical writing, coloring and weathering, CAD, archiving, test building, etc.

    Everybody has their own way of doing things.....I'm retired, and although I've owned computers since the late 70's, I like the 'organic' feel of hand crafted models. There are designers, like Kancho and Nobi, who produce excellent work using CAD and 3D type programs, they're skilled artists, who use the software like they were playing a fine violin....other's attempts with the software may vary.

    No matter what the medium--it still comes down to the human element--no program is going to tell you where to divide the fuselage segments, or how to design the internal bracing, attach the tail surfaces, etc. That's the skill that only comes from experience--the thought process....the planning.

    Oh--Kell Black's work: find it here--
  6. TheWebdude

    TheWebdude Just a Member

    I do 3D "specifically" so I "don't" have to deal with the math but that wasn't your question.:twisted:
  7. Well, it sort of is/was, or at least it's wrapped up in my vague questions. While I'm more comfortable with the 2D approach and prototyping my way to a parts set (closer to things I've done), I see that the potential for taking 3V and/or photos and using them directly as a basis for modeling where you're pulling and tugging on surfaces to have many virtues.

    Here are a few things that have me 'blinded' at the moment. Rhino is an expensive program, though MUCH cheaper than a lot of the fancy modelers (eg - Catia). But there are things like MilkShape and Amoria (sp?) that are dirt cheap. Excuse me for saying so, but it seems from your presentations that MilkShape is quite a potent design tool and yet even you said at one point something suggesting that it's viewed as a somewhat primitive tool.

    Also, in looking at these tools, it seems that there are basic differences in logic and function between MilkShape and Amoria and, posssibly emphasis but I'm unsure about that. I've only spent half an hour with MilkShape but it seems VERY different from standard 3D CAD in its approach. This suggests there are pluses and minuses associated with software choices and thus far I haven't found anything that compares these basic software types.

    Cheers --- Larry
  8. Ashrunner

    Ashrunner Member

    Time for me to add a couple of pennies to this discussion. 8v)

    I got into card modeling in 2001. A year later, I decided I wanted to try designing a model myself. However, I had no math skills, no CAD training, nothing but the desire to see if I could do it.

    I went out bought a copy of TurboCAD and began playing with it. When I figured out how to draw simple objects, I decided on the model I wanted to design. I selected the Flintstone Family Car as my first model.

    The first thing I did was look at images of the car. I then listed each part of the car I would need to design. I then began designing the parts in TurboCAD. First the front and rear "roller" wheels, then the branching tree trunks to hold the wheels followed by seats, canopy and canopy poles.

    It was a rather simple straight forward design, but I was able to envisioned what the part should look like after it was drawn from the parts I had previously built on various models. Once I finished the initial drawing, I colored it in Paint Shop Pro and sent it to a friend to beta build. He sent em back a few problems he encountered, I corrected them and when we were both satisfied with the model, I released it.

    Today, I still use TurboCAD, but an upgraded, newer version. I have also picked up an older version of Photoshop (7) and have access to the latest Photoshop. I learned TurboCAD and its interface very fast. I have dabbled in various 3d programs, such as Rhino's demo, AC3D, Metasequioia, Milkshape and several others, but I just can't seem to get the handle on them. I understand the interface and some of the commands, but its the nuances of 3d modeling I get lost on. 8v)

    This may not answer any of your questions, but as others have said, in my opinion, model designing is using what you are most comfortable with.
  9. TheWebdude

    TheWebdude Just a Member


    Exactly so and well put! Milkshape is not only a polygon based modeler (as opposed to Rhino, whis is NURBS), it's a low-polygon modeler designed to serve the game modding community. As such it doesen't have many of the features of the higher priced programs such as boolean operands and advanced animation (it does feature skeletal based animation and scripting good enough for games) and presentation rendering. For those reasons it's viewed in the 3D community as a rather primitive and limited program and rightly so. Fortunately for card model design animation and rendering aren't a requirement though I do wish on occasion for the boolean operands but have learned over the years to just model "old school", by hand instead of using those functions.

    Is it a potent design tool? In short, with enough practice and proficiency nearly any piece of software can be a potent design tool. The main thing is to choose a methodology and stay with it. The software combinations I use may not necessarily be the the best but they "are" the best for me.

    As I don't want to stray this thread any further from it's 2D focus I'll cut it off here. Feel free to start a 3D thread if you wish. I'm sure the Rhino, 3DSmax and other program designers here will be happy to participate!
  10. Gil

    Gil Active Member

    Rhino Finds Salt..,

    Hi Larry,

    I use several different software packages to perform modeling. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Rhino, per se, is not a "production" style package wherein modeling, animation and rendering are inclusive and directed toward recorded media presentation. Rhino has more of an "illustrator" type feel to it and is probably what Adobe Illustrator might want to grow into. Rhino has no ability to "paint" the 3D surfaces outside of selecting a material type at the surface level which then shows up when a viewport is run through the renderer. This means that you'll have to use Photoshop or Correldraw to "color" (texture) in the surface detail. This brings up Rhino's one ability that attracted many in the cardmodeling design community to it, <surface development>. The only other cost effective solution to do this is Pepakura which explains its popularity amongst those who do not use Rhino. Amapi Pro and TouchCAD are the only other packages which also offer this ability. In fact it is this feature alone which makes experimenting with different geometires for a particular shape possible. I call this "Paper Sculpting" and is a particularly interesting genre unto itself. The learning curve for Rhino is not particularly difficult and has good online tutorial support from multiple sources (including here), however, it takes time to integrate what has been learned from a tutorial into designing the model of your dreams. I think this last factor varys from package to package and ranges from "it never happend" to "it occured naturally with the learning process". The latter describes the Rhino learning process fairly accurately. One interesting thing about Rhino is just when you seem to reach an apparent impasse a nuance of a command or an overlooked one is discovered which does exactly what you want it to do. An example of this is at first glance it appears that Rhino has no support for referrence lines. It wasn't till two years into the process that it occured to me that Rhino had been designed without cluttering the interface with another useless command that was already supported (but still needs to be documented somewhere). Using a dedicated layer (or layers depending upon your needs), two point, mid-point, and 4-point lines (to mention the ones used the most for layout work) and the 2D geometry primitives afforded the richest set of layout tools one can imagine. It is small discoveries like this which begin to show the wisdom (whether merited or not) of the design of Rhino. Rhino's price is comparatively high but McNeel seems to have found a relatively stable niche which has expanded successfully into several other vertical markets (jewely design to name one) and seems content to keep prices stable. There is always the value versus price argument that can lead into valueless marketing bullets as the product relates to a particular individual. I will say that the Rhino experience has been a very positive one and after nearly four years I am still learning with it and from it. The amortized cost of this is much less than you would suspect and in fact from just feeling better through accomplishment is priceless.

    In summary of this long paragrpah I think that Rhino is a "modelers" 3D CAD tool as it seems to have the type of commands that draw the way a modeler thinks...,

    Best regards, -Gil
  11. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Yeah, what Gil said!

    But whatever program you decide is appropriate for you and your bank balance, you have to PRACTISE with them. I'd say don't bother with any unless you are prepared for a bit of old-fashioned study. Most programs can be tried out via previous versions on Magazine cover CD/DVDs, trial downloads etc, so you don't need to shell out a load of dosh to have a go. Understand the difference between low-polygon and high polygon mesh modelling, and NURBS modelling. Give Googles Sketch-Up a try. Download Wings 3d from www.wings3d.com , also free. Rhino has a trial version, fully working, on their site www.rhino3d.com.

    Mesh and NURBS modellers start with the premis that you design the fully formed shape first, then flatten it out digitally somehow. Using 2D programs such as Coreldraw, TurboCAD or Paintshop Pro/Photoshop, you design the shape and flatten it in your head, reproduce the flattened shape with the program and test-build it until if folds back up as you intended.

    None are 'right', the are just different.

    But Rhino ROCKS......

    Tim P (wunwinglow)
  12. Yabba-dabba-dooo!!! Thanks for jumping into this.

    Do you use any of the TCAD 3D functionality?

    I don't know how you are but I'm sort of an 'analytical type' rather than an 'artistic type.' Because of this, I can draw anything if you give me the ability to draw curves and lines but almost nothing if you just hand me a pencil and a piece of paper. I can design flying models from 3Views but I couldn't paint an airplane to save my soul. At this point I wonder whether using the 3D tools doesn't require more of the 'artistic' abilities than I possess.

    Cheers --- Larry
  13. I guess that's the crux of it. I supposed there's a healthy chunk of 'what'dya wanna model' that needs to be thrown into this discussion. If one compares the task of designing a Fiddler's Green airplane vs a Halinki airplane, one gets the impression that the Halinski guys are more likely using 3D CAD to deal with the heavy and precise detailing requirements whereas it's probably not necessary when doing a FG model.

    Sure, but that sentiment doesn't get one very far. You can say the same thing about pencil and paper but most of us these days wouldn't want to do the process of design without any computer intervention :)

    As the title of this thread is now "Dumb Question", it seems to be more of a general design tool/method thread.

    Cheers --- Larry
  14. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Trying to step back and look at this thread dispasionately, it occurs to me that many of the postings here almost remind me of listening to a succession of religious missionaries, each arguing that theirs is the only true path. Keep in mind, guys and gals, that the goal is a paper model design, and there as many paths there as there are designers. All of the items mentioned here (paper/pencil/drafting board, CAD programs, vector-based drawing programs, bitmap-based drawing programs, 3D programs, etc. ad nauseam are simply tools....and arguing over which is the best tool is a form of mental thumb-twiddling. A few points to ponder, however....a $10 tool that one understands how to use is (at least on an individual basis) a far superior tool to a $1000 tool that one hasn't the slightest idea about how to use it. It is a truism that a 3D design program automatically does a whole bunch of manipulations that a 2D approach doesn't. However, going directly to the 3D tool without understanding the things it is doing for you can rapidly cause difficulties for you in the end product. One thing about 3D programs most users don't take into account (and I'm sure Rob is going to quickly catch onto my argument) is that the product of the program is a two-dimensional skin of the designed object, which the tool user believes to actually be three-dimensional. The unfolded skin is two dimensional....it has width and length, but the thickness is zero point zip. The paper we use to create that part is three dimensional....in addition to length and width, it has a finite thickness. When you create the former outlines using sections of the 3D object, the outline it creates is to the outer diameter of the skin. If that outline is not reduced by the thickness of the cardstock we will eventually use, the final model is going to have fit problems. How many times have you seen build threads complaining the formers seem to be oversized, and need to be trimmed down in order for the skin to fit around it? (Or, if the skin is force-fit onto the formers, an obvious ridge develops at every former location.) A dollar against a donut, the model being complained about was designed using a 3D design program by someone without a full understanding of "old school" design process. Kind of reminds me of a story my machinist ex-father-in-law used to tell about the hot-shot just-out-of-school-and-knows-all-the-modern-stuff engineer that gave him a drawing with an ID larger than the corresponding OD. On attempting to point out the error, he got chapter and verse about how he know the very latest stuff, and he was an old-school idiot that didn't have the slightest what he was talking about. At that point, he gave up and started fabricating the part as designed....but left the ID to be the very last operation he set up on the lathe. After about 120 hours of machining, he called the engineer down to witness the final cut....even had him check the settings on the lathe before he started the cut. Then wished he had a camera to capture the expression on the young guns face when the obvious result occurred.
  15. As I've been the guy stirring this pot the most, I think I should comment. First, I have asked, in several ways, about differences and similarities between methods. To my eye, responses have been answers to those questions and I've been very impressed by how, perhaps to a fault, people have responded WITHOUT suggesting theirs was the only way.

    No arguments in this thread. But all useful dialog comes from people of differing opinions stating their view. That's why there aren't many threads about what color paper to use; everyone agrees.

    Good point, and something to consider, though with 3D CAD that need not be the case.

    You might well be correct but I'd suggest a more basic fault then. People selling kits without first building one (and there's certainly a lot of that going on in model-dom) REALLY don't understand the process of design/produce/market and they certainly think little of their customers.

    Nothing like the young bucks with book learnin' :)

    Cheers --- Larry
  16. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    I'd happily spout on about ACAD or Metasequoia or Milkshape, but don't know diddly about them, so on those subjects I'll keep my mouth shut and leave it to those who do know something useful!

    Rhino however.....

    Sorry if I appear a bit overzealous about the program, but it IS a great tool! And I think I have tried to emphisise the need for careful thought and application with ANY tool you choose, be it virtual or otherwise. Nothing different with Rhino on that score! Just like the old lady wanting to get to Carnegee Hall....

    Tim P (wunwinglow)
  17. 46rob

    46rob Member

    No one tool will ever accomplish a task to perfection. Computers, software, paper, brainwork--all is part of the process. I was an aircraft mech by trade (and still keep a hand in on a volunteer basis). I know that I need a complx set of tools, ranging from a simple hammer to some very exotic machine tools to make the parts I need for the seventy year old bomber I'm working on. Similarly, models can be made a dpzen different ways--but from start to finish--there are going to be different processes needed....the main one is pure headwork--planning--the difference between a poorly fitting angular model and something nice, whether it be at the FG or Halinski end of the spectrum still comes down to preplanning, testing, double checking and modifying the design. Computers, drawing programs, et al are chosen as to what fits the individual best, but the human factor is always the predominate tool.

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