View Full Version : Which nurbs modelers do you recommend ?

08-13-2017, 12:39 AM

out of curiosity, which nurbs modelers do you use, suggest?
In my case it would be for private use and not for real item production purposes. The usual hobby stuff, buildings, space ships, just playing around.
I tried sub-d modeling in LW which is possible but not much fun for me. All the time I was mainly thinking about avoiding trees, n-gons and star type connections instead of creating nice forms. So why not try out nurbs, I thought?

Tried so far:

Form.Z 8.5 - crached after 10 minutes with the first tutorial and has a blurry and stuttering UI on HiDPI display for me
ViaCAD PRO 10 - did not like it somehow
Solidworks DraftSight 2017 - free, but nearly each tool I tried to use said "sorry I am only in the pro / paid version"
MOI 3 - not sure about that one, works but feels limited in functions (is there a curve analys tool that shows the curvature flow?)
LWCAD 5.2 - the trial came up with an empty installer window and I read it is missing booleans - so unfortunately no test run for that one
Rhinoceros 5 - currently on that one. Stable so far and works good for me on HiDPI display. It has a destructive worklfow though.

Any thoughts from your your side what else I should have a look into, and maybe how to convert nurbs into usable quad meshes?

08-13-2017, 12:59 AM
Does anybody still model with NURBS? Not trying to be snide or anything, just curious.

Most people I know are modeling polygonally (in LW, Modo or Maya) or using Z-Brush, which eventually becomes polygons wherever it's going. In fact, if you really want to model without thinking about polygon flow, ZB or 3D Coat is the way to go. Just sculpt what you want and deal with the polygon flow afterwards when you retopo the mesh, which is generaly a breeze in these programs.

08-13-2017, 05:10 AM
Designsparks/mechanical....canīt recall if it can be called nurbs modeler, but..itīs free if you register, in my current company we actually used it once to create a flange extension part for flow gauge meters..the drawings where sent to a construction company that made it for us.
it has non destructive workflow, so your rounding/fillets can be changed with manipulators after you have made the initial ones, or by changing values in the dimension guides, you can also make pattern replication that also is non destructive, like in this flange we made...


Heres a vid..also to note, it loads obj format, and as such you can also use the export to 3d pdf, which means your lightwave model (once converted to obj)can be presented in a pdf with 3d navigation and measurement on that model, for anyone without having any 3d software installed.


08-13-2017, 06:00 AM
if you wanna go NURBS, i suggest ViaCad or Moi.
bought ViaCad myself some time back, haven't had the time to use it much.
very powerful versus price. what did you find difficult? seemed very good to me.

Form.Z 8.5  -  don't know
ViaCAD PRO 10  -  looks quite good
Solidworks  -  beware, very expensive (4K)
MOI 3  -  looks alright, but ViaCad seems more powerful last time i checked
LWCAD 5.2  -  limited, might become great in the future
Rhinoceros 5  -  good, bit expensive

however, i'd use LightWave instead, easier, since it doesn't have problems rendering (unlike converted NURBS)
unless you are making industry objects for Plastic Injection Molding. (etc)

and maybe how to convert NURBS into usable quad meshes?
tricky, often creates a problematic mesh.

as a last note, NURBS can be very nice, and easier to work with > Sometimes.

08-13-2017, 06:35 AM
Started doing NURBS in Rhino 2.0 back when. Still have 4.0, but saw no need to upgrade further. I still get engineering and design gigs and Rhino does very well in those arenas so it's useful to have around.

For other types of CGI/VFX work I'm agreeing with the feeling that LW native (with plugins) or a zBrush/LW hybrid workflow makes NURBS unnecessary. YMMV. :jam:

08-13-2017, 07:14 AM
I really like MOI, and it exports Lwo.

08-13-2017, 07:31 AM
The usual hobby stuff, buildings, space ships, just playing around.
check Blender too, has some nice tools, like HardOps.

there is Modo Mesh Fusion, if going that route is considered.
MetaMesh plugin is good for some stuff, however operates in a more organic way.

though certainly sounds like SubD and Polys is the way to go for you if you wanna make stuff like this >


08-13-2017, 08:55 AM
Thanks for posting this erikals. Amazing value. Just bought them!

08-13-2017, 09:51 AM
they're great, even just for reference  :king:  happy to help  :)

08-13-2017, 06:20 PM
Of course people still use Nurbs. It's great for precise mechanical pieces. Maybe try fusion 360, it's free to use, seems popular, yet nobody talks about it except on you toob.

08-13-2017, 06:46 PM
Rhino 4 & 5 here. It can export some pretty dense meshes to LWO 1 and Obj formats.

It's patching tools are crazy, but sometimes needed for smooth, precise, blender transitions (like between fuselage and wing on an airplane).

08-13-2017, 07:06 PM
For real produced products nurbs and solids are the only choice, no one is using poly models. For entertainment, vfx, visualisation,games etc polys is most common.

08-14-2017, 03:14 AM
I use Rhino and its good and are affordable compared to Alias which is the standard tool for industrial design.
If you don't work against clients and only do your own stuff I see no problem with destructive workflows. It usually is more of a problem when clients want to adjust and change things all the time.

08-14-2017, 08:02 AM
Still fighting with Rhino, but also made an autodesk account for Fusion 360 now. Let's see how that looks.

The Dommo
08-14-2017, 02:43 PM