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Thread: How clean is your geometry?

  1. #1
    I AM THE Action_Bob
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    How clean is your geometry?

    I pose this question because I have done some work in the past and the client wanted things SEEMLESS - even for an object that was a vehicle. How many of you out there have NO intersecting geometry on your models (talking about non-organic stuff like vehicles). I guess I am just curious about how the pros make stuff and their methodolgy.

    Having learned some great modeling methods from the Ron Thornton series of VHS tapes (yeah, been using lightwave a while), I learned to just make cool shapes and slap stuff together so it looks good. However, I am wondering what the approach of peope is like today. Are the really cool looking meshes out there reall clean or is there a mess below the visible surface in your work?

    I pose this question out of curiosity and also out of worry. THe reason being is that lately, I find myself STUCK. I get stuck in the details and the cleanliness of geometry - and I find that it hampers my ability to complete things because I can't stand a mess.

    I am interested in how people model. Do people even use the boolean tools any more? I mean I like the idea of the boolean tools, but they are HORRIBLE when it comes to creating messy geometry - just ZOOM in and take a look when you boolean something with more than a couple dozen points - it creates such a mess - how does one deal with all that junk? After making the transition to using splines and sub-patches, I haven't touched booleans and wonder if they are really a legacy tool. Any thoughts on this statement?

    Anyway, I think I simply analyze things too much. It is a psychological flaw - one that hampers me at times since I find that I can't complete something if things are not all tidy and neat.

    Now that I have shared my mental short-comings with this online community, what are your thoughts? Am I over-thinking things? Should I care how something is built so long as it looks good? Maybe we could start a thread in the tips and tricks area on modeling strategies.

    Sheesh I ramble... sorry....

    -Adrian

  2. #2
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    Hey Adrian

    Here's what Ive learned to do by experimenting. In the end, even though I do use boolean, i gues it turns out ok. First I cover the background image with the pen tool. Both in the side viewport and front viewport. Then I extrude them so that it fills out the whole object (whole head, cause I mostly do characters), and than I boolean and intersect the two, making the object aooear right both when looked from the side and front. After that I just move the points to their proper place. I call this Z-ing. I think that one's artistry is right here. And the best pro's must have an eye, just where to put the point, where it would best represent the image behind. In the end the object is pretty CLEAN as you put it, has a little amount of polygons which is a good thing always, and it represents the image behind.
    Boolean isnt bad, I gotta go, see ya.

  3. #3
    Oops-misread the question...
    Last edited by hrgiger; 03-16-2006 at 10:36 AM.

  4. #4
    How Old? Really? Aww Heck colkai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACLOBO
    I pose this question because I have done some work in the past and the client wanted things SEEMLESS - even for an object that was a vehicle. How many of you out there have NO intersecting geometry on your models (talking about non-organic stuff like vehicles).
    Heh,
    When I start I usually get it into my head that things should be seamless, but truth is, you can so easily back yourself into a corner that way.
    The only reason an object should be seamless and quads for me is if it is organic, or at least, a 'smooth' vehicle.

    Lately, I am resorting to the "if it looks ok" approach, if that means I can use intersecting geometry, it's all good. A lot depends on if logically you expect a nice tidy seam. Even a car is made up on multiple parts so realistically, you won't get a complete single mesh anyway. Panels, headlights and such all mean a 'split' in the model.

    The only other reason for having a seamless model to me is if you intend to have a model made of it, which normally expect a "water-tight" mesh.

    As the old saying goes, if it looks right, it is right, don't matter how you got there.
    Too old to die young.

  5. #5
    I AM THE Action_Bob
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    Interesting thoughts and suggestions...

    Ok, thanks for the input so far. I guess I do tend to overthink some things. I have fulfilled contracts building some objects - mostly vehicles. At first I used to build poly by poly - and extruding and then shaping. Later, when extender came about - the original plug and not the revised on included with lightwave, I used to again build poly by poly and extend new geometry. Then I revisited splines and came to grips with them and learnd that splines are great for blocking out sections, creating the polys and then sub-patching. This is mostly the way I work now.

    I still tend to get hung up on wanting to build geometry so that everything COULD fit together instead of simply intersecting and faking the topology. However, being a stickler for things like this means building something can take a LONG LONG time. Also, as mentioned in a previous post, using nothing but sub-patches can "patch you into a corner."

    So, lets take the example of an aircraft wing coming out of the body fuselage. My thinking about this is that you need a lot of geometry to get a subpatch area with enough polys to pull out the shape you want. I suppose it might be better to freeze the object and stencil out the wing-root. The problem with this approach is that you end up having a TON of points to pull out from that stenciled wing-root. It seems like an inefficient way to create something that doesn't necessarily need all those polys.

    My comment on the original post about booleans being a legacy tool is that you don't get really clean results with it. It seems like this toolset should be a lot smarter in how it handles the creation and fusion of geometry. It seems to me that the boolean toolset has not changed since version 3.5 and that is why I don't really use it - as it was unpredictable then and is now. Any thoughts?

    -Adrian

  6. #6
    How Old? Really? Aww Heck colkai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ACLOBO
    I still tend to get hung up on wanting to build geometry so that everything COULD fit together instead of simply intersecting and faking the topology. However, being a stickler for things like this means building something can take a LONG LONG time.
    No worries, I'm like that too. Totally agree aout it taking a long time, I also find I end up re-doing stuff a few times to find a "better fit".

    So, lets take the example of an aircraft wing coming out of the body fuselage. My thinking about this is that you need a lot of geometry to get a subpatch area with enough polys to pull out the shape you want. I suppose it might be better to freeze the object and stencil out the wing-root. The problem with this approach is that you end up having a TON of points to pull out from that stenciled wing-root. It seems like an inefficient way to create something that doesn't necessarily need all those polys.
    Actually, I think an aircraft wing is something not too difficult, if memory serves, there are some examples out there. In a case like this though, I'd go with splines as my base. I used to avoid them (simply because I didn't know how to use them), but now I see how they can really aid over the old box / poly-by-poly method for vehicles.
    Too old to die young.

  7. #7
    Lightwave junkie stevecullum's Avatar
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    I always try to make the cleanest model possible, but sometime the odd intersecting part that is going to be obscured from any cameras, like maybe some engine details etc.. I don't worry so much about.

    Even if it takes a bit longer to do, psychologically I feel much better about the model if its as clean as possible and more confident I won't have an unhappy client.
    i7 X3930/32GB/Quadro 4000

  8. #8
    i build with the clay technique. start with a rough shape and then refine it until it matches my subject.

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