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vonpietro
06-09-2014, 10:13 PM
hi,

i've got a neon glass tube i'm working on, and the bend tool just doesn't cut it for complex letters

is there a way to make a cylinder conform to a spline? similar to how bones would affect it if bent into say an S.
Bones work, i'm just looking for an alternate solution.

so the question is,

is there something in modeler that works like bones?

the idea is to take a pill, and bend it into letters keeping the ballish tops and bottoms.
bones works great, i can bend it properly there, but boy the bend tool needs some love.

peter

ernpchan
06-09-2014, 10:17 PM
Have you looked into Spline Guide?

ernpchan
06-09-2014, 10:25 PM
Even though doing it in Layout isn't you're preferred way, sometimes it's the best way. Modeler has no history stack so if you need to modify the shape before the bend you're out of luck.

vonpietro
06-09-2014, 11:05 PM
spline guide is defiantly useful, however if your trying to bend a shape, not so much. good for some bulges though.

Lewis
06-10-2014, 02:21 AM
Maybe Rail Extrude ?

BeeVee
06-10-2014, 02:33 AM
spline guide is defiantly useful, however if your trying to bend a shape, not so much. good for some bulges though.

I think it will work beautifully and you have more flexibility. It's not quite the same as using bones. Try the examples Celshader made for the 11.6 content and you'll see several different use cases.

B

Skonk
06-10-2014, 02:54 AM
spline guide is defiantly useful, however if your trying to bend a shape, not so much. good for some bulges though.

Did you go into the numeric panel and change it from Scale mode to Bend mode?

In bend mode it's pretty good at er... bending stuff.

Lewis
06-10-2014, 03:24 AM
I think it will work beautifully and you have more flexibility. It's not quite the same as using bones. Try the examples Celshader made for the 11.6 content and you'll see several different use cases.

B

Hmm, Ben i think you are mixing up "Spline Guide" (Modeler tool) with "Spline Control" (Layout tool) ? Either that or Jen started to do Modeling tutorials and i didn't see that video you are referring to ?

djwaterman
06-10-2014, 08:16 AM
Couldn't you just have your pill, and then take the mid section of it into a new layer and bend / extrude, or use the transform tool to extrude model the tube into the desired letter shapes, and then just take the caps and manually place them as close as possible onto the open ends of the letters (trying to match the points) and then use the merge tool (set to manual at some small amount) to weld all the caps onto the tubes.

vonpietro
06-10-2014, 02:55 PM
hey dj, seems using bones works best.

the bend tool does some wierd squishing stuff with my caps, I can use it for simple bends.

Rail extrude is pretty good too, but i have to cap the ends, i guess thats as close i can get to bones shaping geometry in modeler. at least i can use a spline to curve it to the way i like it.

it definately has to be welded with care though, since its a transparent material, non welded will show up wierd.

djwaterman
06-15-2014, 02:09 AM
I made a video tutorial about this just to show one way of doing it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlgOzUa05Go&feature=youtu.be

vonpietro
06-15-2014, 03:10 PM
well, i've got a ways to go, but here is a sample of the neon i've got,
122395

hey i just watched your video dj, that helps me out alot. Its good to see another method.

I've got some twist ties i gotta stick on there, and some support stuff like the power supply, and some electrical stuff to model too.

I played around with some surfacing, and got this almost right away, so i was happy with that.

i was playing with weight shades to try to make a gradient on the inside tube so the ends fade on, but have not quite gotten it right now.

Also i want to make some sort of flaking, neon tubing uses black paint to hide or delineate the letters in real neon. So i thought it would be fun to try to simulate that to.

thanks again for your help everyone.

I'll post a final when i finish this.


dj - thank you again, watching you work was inspiring, i did not know how to use edges like that, it solves alot of modeling problems, specially creating the E and merging the middle into the right side of the tube.
fantastic modeling work thanks for showing the process.

spherical
06-15-2014, 04:21 PM
I know it's not complete but the "h" won't look like that, perhaps not the "T" either; I can't see what is behind the crossbar to know whether there is a 180 reversing loop there that goes from the right end back to the center or not. Anyhoos, neon is one continuous tube, all connected together, with electrodes at each end that excites the gas between them. Nothing ever comes to a dead end. Yes, sometimes sections are split off, mostly to keep the tube length within an absolute length limit if the words are long; but those sections are complete circuits with a beginning and and end all as one winding tube. If the tube gets too long, the power requirement goes up, so they segment it. Those two letters, and a lot more, would all be part of one connected segment. In this shot, the "T" would be connected to the "h" in front of the panel.

The crossovers from one letter do not go through and behind the mounting surface, unless that surface is somehow sectioned and can be disassembled to fit around the tubes that go through it and be reassembled. IOW, the glass is heated and bent into the required shape to form the letters and the connectors between them; with one straight leg at each end that goes through the panel (+Z) to where the wires are attached. Can't do a complex shape with multiple Z-axis sections that go through a panel and then back out to the next letter. So, it all floats on standoffs in front and, as you say, the connecting sections that are not part of a letter are painted black to prevent the glowing gas within from being seen. If any of the letters will be seen from any significant angle off absolutely perpendicular, those reverse loops and connector sections should be there somehow. If reality isn't the goal and/or this won't be seen with any significant resolution, you can probably get away with it. But then, the care being taken to bend the tubes wouldn't be necessary either. Yes, this will make the modeling more difficult but all the more rewarding when it's done. It all depends upon how real you want it to look.

Kryslin
06-15-2014, 10:41 PM
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v636/Kryslin/funstuff/Speed%20modeling%20Challenge%20Renders/th_smc241q85_zpsb100c52e.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/Kryslin/media/funstuff/Speed%20modeling%20Challenge%20Renders/smc241q85_zpsb100c52e.jpg.html)
When I went and modeled my entry for a speed modelling challenge that involved a Neon Sign, I used LWCAD's pipe tool for my tubes; I kept the letters short, and they go straight into the sign. I first laid out line segments in each letter, making sure I had my stand offs and loops around other tubes. Then, it was a matter of tracing the lines, using the pipe tool, with End snap enabled. Once the letters were done, I cut an edge loop near the end caps. The line segments I used had where I wanted most edge loops to go, so it was a matter of connecting the dots.

It took me more than an hour to get it done - mainly getting the UV mapped texture to line up on SubD geometry (which never quite worked right), but the Neon Tubes turned out the way I wanted...

djwaterman
06-16-2014, 03:20 AM
I thought I'd take the geometry into Layout and try to texture it. I only put basic reflective surfaces on the items using the layers. I didn't do anything tricky with the neon, it's just luminous. Normally I'd be doing any glow effect in post but here I decided to use the image processing effect "Bloom", I've always kept well away from these native image processing filters but I was quite surprised to see that it did a pretty good job at adding some soft glow.

122397122398

Here's the scene file if it helps, I'm only supplying it because it has nothing special going on surface-wise so it might go to show how simple things can be. I realize from some of the above discussion that my lettering is not structurally correct for authentic neon, I think I'll do a more authentic example in the future for my own enjoyment, with the wiring and stuff.

122399

jeric_synergy
06-16-2014, 11:25 AM
I made a video tutorial about this just to show one way of doing it.
Nice!!! Tons of good workflow in there!! :thumbsup:

I need reminders of the AXIS- tools (old dog and all), and I never remember DISSOLVE. Plus, Mirror is quite a time-saver, I woulda probably not perceived that symmetry in the 'N'.

To me the only problem w/doing image processing within LW is you run the risk of losing the plain render, and all that render TIME. But with exrTrader it should be possible to preserve the plain render, AND get the image-processed version if you like what LW does over a post-process.

will2014
06-17-2014, 04:34 AM
This is quite helpful I was having a similar problem but just gave up on the idea I might try it again

jeric_synergy
06-17-2014, 07:57 AM
BTW, the ROVE tool combined with EXTEND is even faster than shown here, and fewer tool changes.

djwaterman
06-17-2014, 08:23 AM
BTW, the ROVE tool combined with EXTEND is even faster than shown here, and fewer tool changes.

I just went and added it to my custom modeling tab. It's works quite well for this kind of thing, I guess the Transform tool is good because it can extend in the direction of the selected element.

vonpietro
06-17-2014, 09:32 PM
thanks again dj, its a fun project.

i'm using double hulls for mine, so an inner gas tube and outer glass tube.

was looking at some reference neon, some have cables per letter, some have cables per the entire neon word. depends it looks like on the maker.

spherical
06-17-2014, 09:54 PM
Important concept is it's cableS. One each end, whether it's a word, words, letter or letter groups making up a word. One in, one out; One +, one - each.

johnliebler
06-20-2014, 08:06 AM
I came into this thread, because I was looking for something like bones in modeler (which didn't pan out) but instead found a bunch of really useful modeler workflow ideas (Thanks, djwaterman!). I would add a couple of my favorites for things like this: Pictrix C Worm, and TAZ Pipe. both create a tube around a spline curve. C Worm is available as a free "lite" version, but is limited in the number of knots in the spline (save first, it can crash Modeler if you have too many). TAZ Pipe is free, and probably a better choice. It allows multiple curves and seems to be more robust.

djwaterman
06-22-2014, 05:09 AM
TAZ Pipe is great, thanks for the tip.

probiner
06-22-2014, 05:26 AM
https://www.lightwave3d.com/assets/plugins/entry/px_bezier/

Basically you get to work with beziers and snapping. It can generate a spline that you can afterwards extrude on, or a polymesh tube.

There several actions you can take on the handles and anchors with a combination of LMB RMB and CTRL and Alt, check the help drop down menu.

ALWAYS Save the tube/curve into a version (Letter_A_v003, for example) before dropping the tool, so you can go back and change things.

Cheers

Igu4n4
06-26-2014, 10:44 AM
I did a tutorial for someone concerning light bulbs a couple of years back. I don't know how to quote a particular post in the thread.. but the second last post in that thread deviated into how to texture neon lights. Might be useful here.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?119115-Light-bulb-project-Need-some-help-please/page2&highlight=igu4n4

Steve McArdle.

jeric_synergy
06-26-2014, 11:24 AM
I don't know how to quote a particular post in the thread..
Steve McArdle.
If you click the post NUMBER, you'll go to a permalink for that particular comment. --I assume you can Right Click "Copy Link" on it too.