3D Modelling Special Interest Group – March 2016

Topics covered:

  • 3D models online
  • Bath using loft surface
  • Bath using subdivision modelling
  • Surface array for wall panelling
  • Creating a vaulted ceiling

Looking for 3D Models Online
We had a user online that wanted to use a particular bath type, which was an egg shape. We have a PDF with a plan and elevation but we don’t have a 3D model. There are several resources you can look at online such as, 3D warehouse, 3D cafe, and the Vectorworks Service Select. In your first instance you should look for a suitable model but if you can’t find one you can try to create one. Usually, finding one online is the quickest way to get the 3D model.
Creating a Bath Using Loft Surface
We started with a file that already had some of the required NURBS curves created and these just needed to be moved to the correct elevation before using the loft surface tool. The loft surface can create the correct shape but the alignment between the different NURBS curves has to be adjusted to get the form. It is really important to make sure that this alignment will give you the form and you will have to adjust the alignment of each curve using the dialog box. Having the curves created was a bit of a cheat, and the users wanted to see how to trace over the PDF to get the desired shape. The technique shown used polygons for the outline, then used the Reshape tool to refine the shape to match the PDF. After getting the correct shape, the Convert to NURBS command was used.
Creating a Bath Using Subdivision Modelling
The same Bath shape was attempted using subdivision modelling. You can start by using a sphere primitive shape, then extruding the edge. In order to get the flat top of the bath, you can use the mode to change the curve face to a flat. When you have the approximate shape, you can use the modify menu to Convert to Generic Solid. This will stop the object being a subdivision’s surface, it will allow you to use shall solid to form the bath.
Using the Surface Array to Create a Wall Screen
One of the users required a panelized wall screen. The surface array command will take a panel and stretch across a NURBS surface. It’s important that the shape is created correctly to the right size and that the NURBS surface has the and any required openings. Once you have these two components go to Model on the menu bar and choose Create Surface Array…. You need to fill in the correct details for the setting out of the panels, but this is a very quick way to get panels to match the face of building.
Using the Surface Array to Create a Vaulted Ceiling
The Create Surface Array… command can also be used to create a vaulted ceiling. In the situation you need to create the correct shape for the ceiling and you need to create the required parts for the vault. In this case we wanted to have a form of lattice. The creation of your objects is very important. In the first case we created two rectangles and extruded them together. The results were not as pleasing as they could have been. In the second case we chose two rectangles and extruded them individually, and this produced a very pleasing result for the curved lattice structure.
3D Modeling March 2016

Download Vectorworks File…


  1. Would it help to place 3D Loci on the curves of the bath in plan view before lofting? Would that prevent twisting?

    1. It is an interesting for Derek, but it would not stop the curves from twisting. The curves twist because of the number of vertices in the curves relative to the others and because of the direction of the curves. I have been writing the notes for the manual on subdivision modeling and this bath is so much quicker to make using subdivision surfaces.

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