3D Modeling Special Interest Group – March 2018

In this session, we used various methods—the Extrude Along Path command, the Foliage tool, and the Create Surface Array command—to create a vertical garden, as well as discussing how to create a transparent color mask and how to use the Chain Extrude tool.

Topics covered:

  • 00:11    We needed a building for demonstrating how to make a vertical garden or screen wall, so we started the session by constructing one: building the walls of one floor, copying them up to add a second story, and putting in a door and a window. We reviewed the Layer Options and switched to Show/Snap/Modify Others for the next part—this can be a helpful tool if you’re careful or a disastrous one if you’re not comfortable with using it. The Extract tool in Extract Surface Mode can be a real timesaver—in this case, it would help us get a vertical surface with the same exact holes as the wall without having to match anything up. With just a few clicks, we had an extrusion that matched our wall. If you make a change to your wall—for example, changing the placement of the window—you can change the rendering to wireframe, double click on the extrusion, and move the hole so that it lines up with your window. The B-key can be helpful for seeing the window, which is otherwise hidden behind the extrusion. We added a foliage texture to our vertical garden and gave it some transparency, allowing the building to show through its surface. The Invert Section command is a cool trick! With siding added to our building, the effect of the vertical garden could be truly appreciated. We learned an important lesson in this session: Don’t model it when you can texture it!
  • 17:17    If you have Adobe Photoshop, you can extract an image of the foliage texture and create a transparent color mask, where anything that is black in the texture becomes transparent. It worked somewhat, but the thickness of the extrusion made it so the mask wasn’t as helpful as we had hoped. We experimented with the Foliage tool (it can be downloaded from the AF Design website). You can turn a subdivision object into a Foliage volume, which you could use instead of the extrusion for your vertical garden—it looks more realistic, but will take longer to render. The Foliage tool allows you to choose the number of leaves, thus changing how many gaps there are in the vertical garden. You can even add flowers!
  • 27:09    Next, we wanted to create an eave with a particular shape that went along the edge of a roof. So, we had to made a roof! We tried transforming a simple roof made with the Create Roof command into a mono-pitch roof by changing the parts into gables—it normally works, but Vectorworks didn’t like what we were doing this time. Instead, we used the Roof Face command. Don’t forget that you can offset the edges of the 2D shape before you use the command. We created the shape for our eave, fascia, and gutter in 2D. Using the Extract tool in Extract Curve Mode helped us to quickly create the pathway along the bottom edge of the roof. With our shapes and path selected, we used the Extrude Along Path command to get our shape. It wasn’t exactly what we thought it would be—we had to edit the Extrude Along Path profile. We ended up having to rotate the profile in a counterintuitive direction for it to match up with the roof properly.
  • 44:52    The Chain Extrude tool can also be useful for drawing a combination of shapes. We had three objects that we extruded together, with one of them being the rib. In the past, I’ve used this tool to draw a canopy for a building. The Object Info palette for the Chain Extrude object gives you Draw 3D, Center Ribs, Corner Ribs, Rib Thickness, and Spacing settings. Another interesting tool is the Create Surface Array command. We extracted the surface of a wall and punched some holes in it. Converting the object into a NURBS surface and adding a shelf object, we used the Create Surface Array command to repeat the shelf object across the NURBS surface, giving us a large bookcase. A very cool and fun effect! As well as being useful for making something like the Bull Ring in Birmingham, England, this method gave us another way of creating our vertical garden.

3D Modeling March 2018 am
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