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Uwe Rossbacher - Autodesk
Like the real world, the virtual world too provides different ways to model form. This session takes a classic geometry representation, NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) and looks at it from the perspective of a sculptural material. As a technology, there are strengths and weaknesses, but as a material, the properties of the math become a part of the allure of the medium. Take a fascinating and intimate look at surface modeling and learn why this material has become an essential part of shape definition for all the automotive companies and the top product design firms in the world.
About the Speaker: Uwe Rossbacher brings 10 years of experience in industrial design and 3D surface modeling in the automotive industry to his role as Marketing Manager for Modeling/Technical Surfacing at Autodesk, including more than six years with the Alias Studio Tools product development team. Uwe has a deep knowledge of automotive concept design and technical surfacing and currently focuses on creating and delivering demonstrations, technical marketing materials and field education. Uwe also supports Autodesk product management efforts by identifying and defining market and user requirements. During his time with Alias, Uwe focused his efforts on refining the technical surfacing product specifications according to the needs of customers worldwide, and was a key resource in the development of many new surfacing tools within AliasStudio. Before joining Alias, Uwe held marketing and technical positions at ICEM. Most recently Uwe worked at the VW concept studio in Potsdam, Germany. Uwe received a Masters Degree in Engineering and Technical design from the University of Technology in Dresden, Germany.
Like the real world, the virtual world too provides different ways to model form. This session takes a classic geometry representation, NURBS (Non‐Uniform Rational B‐Splines) and looks at it from the perspective of a sculptural material. As a technology, there are strengths and weaknesses, but as a material, the properties of the math become a part of the allure of the medium. Take a fascinating and intimate look at surface modeling and learn why this material has become an essential part of shape definition for all the automotive companies and the top product design firms in the world.
Before computer came into the game
Back in the days before computers, architects, engineers, and artists would draw their designs for buildings, roads, machine parts by using pencil, paper, and various drafting tools. These tools included rulers and T‐squares for drawing straight lines, compasses for drawing circles and triangles and protractors for making precise angles. Of course, a lot of interesting‐shaped objects couldn't be drawn with just these simple tools, because they had curved parts that weren't just circles or ellipses. Often, a curve was needed that went smoothly through a number of predetermined points.
The resulting curves were smooth. To aid in the task. thin. by a specialist known as a loftsman. This was then passed on to the aircraft then automotive industries who also required streamline shapes. where the sheer size of the required curves made hand drawing impossible. The term lofting originally came from the shipbuilding industry where loftsmen worked on "barn loft" type structures to create the keel and bulkhead forms out of wood. shipbuilders often needed to make life‐size (or nearly life‐size) drawings. Because of their great size. . plastic. The splines were held in place with lead weights.This problem was particularly acute in shipbuilding: although a skilled artist or draftsman could reliably hand‐draw such curves on a drafting table. and varied in curvature depending on the position of the ducks. such drawings were often done in the loft area of a large building. called ducks because of their resemblance to the feathered creature of the same name. the loftsman would employ long. flexible strips of wood. or metal. called splines.
. Bézier worked nearly parallel to de Casteljau. In the 1960s it became clear that non‐uniform. The “Ducks” were replaced with so called Control Vertices (CV). the physical properties of such splines were investigated so that they could be modeled mathematically on the computer. called NöRBS. and Paul de Casteljau who worked at Citroën. the first interactive NURBS modeller for PCs. But because Bézier published the results of his work. which could be exactly reproduced whenever technically needed. a small startup company cooperating with the Technical University of Berlin. At first NURBS were only used in the proprietary CAD packages of car companies. In 1993. or Bézier Spline) began in the 1950 by engineers who were in need of a mathematically precise representation of freeform surfaces like those used for car bodies and ship hulls. The pioneers of this development were Pierre Bézier who worked as an engineer at Renault. interactive rendering of NURBS curves and surfaces were first made available on Silicon Graphics workstations in 1989. Later they became part of standard computer graphics packages. both in France. neither knowing about the work of the other.As computers were introduced into the design process. rational B‐splines are a generalization of Bézier splines. Development of NURBS (Non Uniform Rational Basis. Real‐time. was developed by CAS Berlin. the average computer graphics user today recognizes splines (which are represented with control points lying off the curve itself ) as Bézier splines while de Casteljau’s name is only known and used for the algorithms he developed to evaluate parametric surfaces.
. 1 How would you make it in foam? To find the first steps in building a surface model it helps to imagine how this process would be. The modeler community mostly keep the secret of how to model the highest quality level. Following are described some techniques to find and train patch layout. Building the curves of the center line the modeler gets an idea of how many curves he needs to describe the shape of the object. when using a block of foam and a saw to work out the shape. This is the section of the model that lays in the middle of it defining the side view. Similar to the most preferred sketching view. called Class A. the NURBS modeler starts to develop the centerline. This knowledge is independent from the software that will be used and fits most of the time even traditional clay modeling techniques. There is a lot of myth’s about it around.The layout of the patches is the basic knowledge Often surface modeling is described as a magic thing.
but the price is.1 Centerline surfaces All surfaces crossing the centerline should be build as one Bezier surface. That’s why it is good to show in virtual world as soon as possible surfaces that can be shaded. 2 Different to a classical approach (at first layout some curves to describe the surfaces building the width of the car) often the use of simple surface planes. This cost a bit more time. This helps to avoid discontinuities of the surfaces at the centerline. to maintain the symmetry. . The “one‐surface‐across‐the‐centerline” approach has the disadvantage that when CV modification on the surface is required. Lots of designs require a strict radius behavior of the surfaces in a certain area close to the centerline. It can be said hat there is always physical property. it is often too time consuming to change the position of each CV individually. In clay the designer always sees the material. A re‐approximation technique is much faster. The surface will be trimmed and then regarding this trim edge re‐calculated. The result is a completely re‐shaped surface done by the internal re‐approximation algorithm. their positioning and some direct modeling is the faster method that fulfills the idea of modeling. When the former planes already are shaped and with certain degree. The same would come with using shadeable property in software process. that the surface is always 100% smooth across the centerline. Width of the car A modeling workflow based on simple planes requires a fast re‐parameterization of those planes. always the corresponding CV has to be picked as well. the volume.
When the fit is with smooth and low degree surfaces. It’s a good method to fit the slabs first on the smaller portion (like they appear on the filleted physical model) to extend them after fitting. The modeler must “extend” the colorized areas to create the slabs in their original size. Therefore slabs will not appear anymore with their real size but partial hidden or trimmed. the extend will provide reasonable results. Using Gaussian Shader the molder can detect the areas of curvature change on the model. In AliasSudio Blend curves can be created directly on top of the polygons (Mesh). that the crowning of the side window and the body side fit together. See tangent angle example that will come in Part 2! Marry the parts 4 5 connection and muscles Rocker and Fillets 2 Detect the feature lines and build the slabs first Scan data (polygons) of a physical model Sometimes the modeler just gets a scan of a physical model.3 With this step it becomes clear if the parts defining the width of the model fit together. For cars it is important. For further design iterations this scan has to re‐modeled in NURBS (Reverse Engineering). This gives a good hint regarding the layout of the surface boundaries. The colorized areas gives a pretty good hint about the major slab surfaces that have to be build first. This can be verified building the shoulder surfaces with correct angle conditions to both side surfaces. . Its important to say that those physical models usually are filleted and with all transition surfaces.
. The curvature plots calculated on the created curves also can give a good hint about the transition point. The blue section in the image beside is with three “parts”. ? ? First the modeler creates the two main curves. One approach is to isolates main section lines. Here the modeler finds the slabs by “interpreting” section lines. The section line still is one continues line. when the curve has some kind of history so that the modeler can move the endpoints of the transition curve along the main curve to find the right point. where the main curves “leaves” the section line. where the transition starts. It is with the modelers skill to interpret. Then they will be rebuild with NURBS curves. This can be done with all the main section lines and is a save method to find the areas where a Slab character turns into a Transition character. Then the modeler build the transition curve. The modeler needs to find the points where the fillet goes into the main curves. two main pieces and one transition piece (fillet). In AliasStudio the Blend curve type is ideal for this job. He overbuilds the section line.Section data (curves. rawdata) of a physical model Still there are cases where just a section model is available. It is helpful.
It is very helpful when this second draft has a historical connection to the first draft. where a slab part goes into a transition part. can be marked. This first surface doesn’t have to fully fit the sections yet. The second draft will be fit modifying the first one only. like in the image beside. the second draft always will follow. The surfaces has to stay relatively simple (moving hulls instead of moving every single CV) and the visual sections give a permanent feedback about the level of fitting.With this method all points. This knowledge is the base for building main surfaces (slabs) and transition surfaces. That’s why there is a second approach using surfaces to interpret many section lines in one step. Interpreting every or lots of scan lines seems a bit time consuming. Calculate visual sections! Adjust the draft angle to follow the section lines! Fitting the first draft to the sections. In this case the second surface should just fit the section lines in terms of the right angle (being parallel). Based on the first draft surfaces another draft will be created. Fit this surface by moving CV’s! . the user works with simple surfaces and visual sections . With this method the theoretical line can be defined very fast. For example a simple draft surface will be created.cut through these surfaces. For that.
Often surfaces must be build that wont even appear after filleting and that usually wont be considered finding the right patch layout. A good method for those cases is to close the model first just using sharp edges. All fillets should be avoided.3 Close the entire model first in theory Finishing a surface model often it comes to areas that are difficult to proceed with. This step is relatively easy to do. Typically these are areas where more than two radii come together. Just areas with a clearly defined fillet situation will be worked on. . To fill these blend regions first the entry lines for the blends have to be marked. The left over regions are washouts or magic corners where many radii come together and have to be blended. The next step is to build the fillets as long as they reach without getting complicated or washed out. As a general advice the natural flow of the fillet edges should be continued. With this method most of those situations can be managed. or where transition surfaces are washing out. Its obvious that the surfaces between these continued fillet edges act as a blend and is not a fillet anymore.
He cannot use the technical input directly as a base for his model like he could do it using a traditional patch layout. .2 1 3 The natural flow of the fillet edges will be maintained and blended into the natural flow of the wheel. It seems that the ability of modifying the shape of those “one surface objects” are endless but when it comes to concrete engineering or package requirements often this method has limitations. 4 But! Sometimes establishing a classical patch layout can become too time consuming. It is comparable to craftsmanship where the sculptor cuts the form out of one block of foam. There are shapes where it is better to just sculpt the entire model out of one surface by inserting segments (raising its mathematical complexity). This method has the advantage that the software controls the internal continuity by itself and the digital sculptor has the freedom to concentrate just on the form he is working on. The modeler checks the technical requirements using analyses tools and adapts the surface model via moving CV’s.
The design of the shower head was defined based on the splitting line along the entire model. The engineer had difficulties to establish the patch layout based on this line. That can be difficult because the higher number of surfaces makes it more difficult to control the highlight flow through the entire surface set. the engineer found too many surfaces. Literally he came closer and closer by adjusting the CV’s. The most critical area is on the tip of the shower head where the classical layout just offers are triangle patch. This method is not as accurate as building surfaces based on the split line but it helps to sculpt organic surfaces. A digital sculptor used the “one surface” approach. . Saving patches he could easily control the highlight of his patch. He almost matched the split line that was given as a technical requirement. On the other hand.
This is a huge advantage to reach surface quality much faster. Using Dynoc in clay process the modeler cannot watch the reflections while he is scraping the Clay. . But in surface modeling the stakeholders just need to evaluate the shape of a sculpture. Colors and similar effects are trouble. the molder works with foil. avoiding any distraction by visualization gadgets. environments and shadow calculation to become close to the reality.Surface Evaluation Software renders surfaces using shader. Therefore in the model shop models will be coated just in white (reduced to the necessary) to get the pure shape. If the shape of the clay should be improved. NURBS technology offers another method of surface evaluation. Only shadows play a role to evaluate form. 1 Shading To evaluate Surfaces in Clay. In competition to shaded evaluation techniques the CV picture becomes an reasonable instrument for surface evaluation. the Dynoc has to be removed. Skilled software modelers are able to judge surfaces in accordance the CV spacing and their flow. In software process the modeler can modify the surfaces while the reflections (diagnostics) are on. called Dynoc. A little bit of water on top of the smooth clay surface sucks the Dynoc onto it. Now the environment reflects on the foil and any inconsistencies of the surface shape will be visible.
Additional to that it is good when the light source creating the reflection lines can be moved above the model. The pointed arrow in the interface is there to just indicate the direction with which the zero angle is being evaluated. continuity across boundaries etc. In fact. But often the user calculate zebra stripes. These line are used to indicate temperature and pressure trends on the globe. the red one next to it could be the line of constant 5 degree angle. shows you the line of zero angle between the surface normals of the surface and an infinite "light source direction". the tool. This evaluation is not good enough to judge high end surface quality. . the green one next to it the 10 degree angle etc. the white band could be the zero angle.) way more accurately than spherical maps of zebra stripes. even when these “highlights” are not comparable with reflections in the real world. Iso‐angle. Here is an analogy: on a map of the world. each colored band is indicating a line of constant angle with the direction of the vector ‐ for example. which are often spherical environment . you should stop thinking of this as a lighting kind of calculation. by default. Iso‐angle therefore provides a very tight and accurate way of evaluating the properties of a surface. “Reasoning“ behind Iso‐angle analyses Iso‐angle literally means "a line of constant angle" on a surface.Most software for NURBS modeling offer shading tools that visualize the selected surfaces. Similarly. It is important to know how the evaluation tool calculates the reflection lines. and is used in mathematical analysis of surfaces. This kind of evaluation is called iso‐photes actually. When used in the multiple band (the colored bands) mode. In AliasStudio the Iso Angle Tool is the most accurate evaluation regarding highlights on the surface set. but as an analysis of the surface properties purely. "iso‐ bars" are lines of constant barometric pressure. It will indicate surface properties (like trends. sometimes you can see what are called "iso‐therms" ‐ these are lines of constant temperature.
etc. For a loftsman the duck placement was the only possibility to get a nice curve with aesthetic acceleration and so is the CV placement for a NURBS modeler.2 CV picture The analogy between “ducks” used by loftsman and CV’s in NURBS technology is a perfect way to understand the importance of a good CV flow to get good surfaces. music. Experienced NURBS modelers can “read” the shape of a NURBS model by investigating the CV’s only. inanimate object. animal. through the perception of balance and proportion of stimulus. that CV’s can be visualized and modeled directly. The common ground is always the position of the CV’s. Common rules about CV spacing As a first rule it can be said. NURBS modeling software often offers various User Interface capabilities for surfaces creation and manipulation. scene. It involves the cognition of a balanced form and structure that elicits attraction and appeal towards a person. But all this is just a mask. that the CV’s has to look nice and they should flow beautifully (there are several exceptions when it comes to the CV flow). So the secret of well shaped surface models is with their CV layout. idea. Choosing a NURBS modeling software it should be taken care.” . But was is nice and what is beautiful? Some people say: “Beauty is the phenomenon of the experience of pleasure.
Drawing the change of A and B in a graph. A/B ! ! # of CV CV#1 CV#2 CV#3 2.” Technical surfacing exists between creativity of design and requirements of Engineering. . But the Surface modeler needs to put a good understanding of a beautiful sense in his work to create good surface sets and therefore a lot of inspiration is available. Where the speed gets faster. Both Parameters should change smoothly and within symmetry if appropriate. Where the speed is slow. smooth and not wavy. less CV’s are needed to describe this portion. the CV’s should be concentrated. To illustrate this there is a nice quote from Francis Bacon. Any definition of Beauty seems to be relative and doesn’t fit in strict engineering requirements. Concentrate CV’s where the geometry shows more curvature in its shape. Even when the judgment of CV structure is relative there are some rules introducing two parameters. There is no engineering rule about these curves. The user must consider his own sense of beauty. symmetry and proportion.Judging beauty is always depended on the audience and relative. must be nice. A – length of the line that connects two CV’s with each other – CV spacing B – length of the Normal that is between a CV and the underlying curve/surface B A 1. “There is no excellent beauty that has not some strangeness in the proportion. the artist tries to create curved shape. A good analogy is to imagine the speed of the hand when drawing a curve with a pencil. the resulting curves.
Not every NURBS modeling system offers this check (AliasStudio) but it should be investigated by every user. They need to have a continuous rate of curvature change between the two sections. This measurement can be qualified as a digital check. or else their reflections will appear disconnected. One example of where surfacing excels is automotive body panels. If this angle is within a tolerance the measurement is good in terms of G1 continuity. an important factor is the continuity between surfaces ‐ how smoothly they connect to one another. The continuity is defined using the terms G0 – position (touching) G1 – tangent (angle) G2 – curvature (radius) G3 – acceleration (rate of change of curvature) Position G0 This continuity specifies if the edge of two surfaces (natural edge or trimmed edge) fit within a given tolerance. maintaining tangential continuity (meaning that the blended surface doesn't change direction suddenly.3 Surface Continuity When defining a form. This criterion is interesting just for continuity measurements between two natural edges. If two curved areas of the panel have different radii of curvature and are blended together. This measurement can be qualified as a digital check. . Additionally to the measurement of the surface normal's there is a check in terms of co‐linearity of the tangents (lines connecting the CV’s). but smoothly) won't be enough. Tangency G1 This continuity specifies the angle between corresponding normal's that stands on the edges of the reference and the geometry. If the geometry edge or endpoint fits within a tolerance the result is good in terms of G0 continuity.
They don’t show acceleration of curvature within the shape. These two surfaces obviously looks fine together.Curvature G2/G3 Curvature G2 (radius) Acceleration G3 (rate of change of curvature) The continuity measurement in terms of curvature should not be judged as a digital check anymore. but this is not true. 4 Curvature plots When it comes to curvature measurement lots of systems offer locators that measure G2 continuity on the patch borders and these typical zebra stripes to evaluate “highlights”. In here it is more important to evaluate the flow and the smoothness of the curvature acceleration. . The evaluation tools are just not the right ones. Sure G2 continuity is achieved. but its is not a good result regarding the flow of the highlights. A perfect curvature result just can be evaluated using curvature plots. The surface set must be cut and curvature combs must be calculated on the sections. That’s why it makes no sense to judge the highlight quality of a surface set just using G2 checker. The G2 locator simply compares the value of curvature on both surface edges within a certain tolerance. C Just a curvature plot on a section cut through the surface set shows that the acceleration of the curvature of both surfaces doesn’t match. This information is not enough in terms of judging highlight quality. Even the zebra stripes often are just a spherical map on the surface set and doesn’t give a useful feedback about the smoothness of the entire surface set.
In fact. because there is not a certain tolerance that would make sense all the time. It is very helpful to see the two surfaces beside milled out. this surface set has only G1 continuity but it is still good. In freeform surfacing such a top level can be found in the automotive industry. a level. This result is well balanced too.This curvature comb show a well balanced G3 result. Here is enough potential to build surfaces as good as possible and to accumulate knowledge and skills to create those high end surfaces called Class A. . Often it becomes clear that a strict G2 achievement is not necessary to reach high end surface quality in terms of visual highlights. Class A For reaching the top there must be always a bar. a measurement. This judgment is with the skill level of the operator and can be qualified as analog. The small step in the curvature plot (G2 break) doesn’t have a noticeable impact on the final highlight picture.
The final result is a surface set that will be given to tooling or to further CAD departments and its final quality level is called Class A. The Studios try to push the point of design freeze more and more backwards to gain time to improve the styling. 2 Two different aspects of Class A The challenge for Class A modeling is to combine the aesthetic superiority with hard requirements from engineering. A clean and light surface structure is the base to incorporate these requirements in a digital model. Based on sketches. For Class A modeling this means. packages and scanned quarter scale models. that it has to be establish sometimes along the process to be ready when the project is done. A surface set that appears just beautiful but without meeting engineering requirements will not be considered as Class A. In automotive design. the digital sculptor creates the first surface model.1 What is Class A? Class A surfaces is a term used in automotive design to describe a set of freeform surfaces of high quality. . it is nothing more than saying the surfaces have curvature and tangency alignment to near perfect aesthetical reflection quality. the first virtual surface models appear at the concept stage already. A fast visualization of shape and proportion is valid. The interpretation of the styling idea is the main approach. Its called Concept Modeling. as more engineering and feasibility requirements have to be recognized. At this stage technical requirements doesn’t play such a role. Highlight Quality •Curvature combs •G3 •Acceleration of highlights •knee ratio Engineering requirements •Tolerances •Split lines •First flange •Panel gap •Fully filleted As the digital design process gets mature less Data Control Models get milled out but the quality level remains. strictly. As more as the design becomes final. Although. The point when Class A quality for the first time is required is not fixed.
Prior to checking edge continuity. In presentations regarding class A surfacing I try to make it clear: The structure of the surface data is the basis of Class A surfacing. In the past Class A quality often was required just after the design freeze. Those requirements were ideal for outsourcing the work. Its an interesting phenomenon that the best Class A modelers are working as contractors for those suppliers and cannot be found as employees. or shapes it is the surface structure that has to be well established. Michigan . This point was reached with a so called Data Control Model done and available only in clay.3 Reverse Engineering Class A modeling means a lot of investment in time. That is why today most of the Class A modeling work is done with Tear One Suppliers around the big automotive companies and so most of the knowledge and skills about it. They established a process where the design modeling flows meaningless into engineering and tooling. Another point to make the process more effective is to improve the surface quality of the first models to make them re‐useable for the next design steps. Some automotive companies even don’t speak about conceptual design anymore. It was scanned and then the model had to be re‐captured as NURBS in Class A quality to serve the following CAD processes. the studios engage engineers early on look at engineering requirements to get guidance from it. It was called as reverse engineering. Farmington Hills. highlights. This model had the final design features included. So the Class A modeling was mainly using scan data as input and a certain deviation tolerance was given to the molder. 4 And where could Class A go in the future? To make the design process more effective. “ Digital Designer ‐ Barry Kimball ‐ Nissan Design America. “A community of modelers has established general criteria for data to be considered class A. During extensive design iterations often it makes no sense to require the highest quality level of surfaces. curvature.
It heavily depends on the mathematical progress. The tremendous development speed of technology every year opens new kind of workflows. Especially modeling techniques from the Entertainment industry are influencing workflows in the Automotive industry. Polygon modeling and Subdivision Surfaces are just a few topic coming from there. The image shows two curves having the same shape. Mathematically Bezier surfaces are a subset of NURBS. Some of them creates NURBS geometry and some creates Bezier geometry. . Mathematically a single segment NURBS surface is equivalent to a single Bezier surface patch. AliasStudio is capable of creating NURBS and Bezier surfaces.Surface Modeling Paradigms In comparison with traditional modeling virtual modeling is still very young. 1 NURBS versus Bezier mathematic Most surface modeling systems have a common mathematical foundation called B‐Splines. It’s a Bezier curve. Regarding NURBS modeling three paradigms will be touched on the following pages. It’s a NURBS curve The curve below has 6 CV’s and just 1 segment (2 edit points). The upper curve has 6 CV’s and 3 segments (4 edit points).
Using multi segment geometry can be an advantage in several surface modeling situations. To avoid internal G3 breaks (like shown below) the geometry should always have a minimum degree of 5. It has the disadvantage of more work taking care for the surface connections. Basically the geometry must have six Control Vertices to avoid internal G3 breaks. The degree validation used in here is for AliasStudio. But software is unable to provide G3 continuity between the segments when there is not enough mathematical freedom. but almost guarantees good highlights. A solution where the degree of the geometry doesn’t count is when using strictly single segmentation approach. That’s why often it is recommended to work with single segmented geometry know as BEZIER mathematic. This is known as using Bezier Surfaces. Other software have different rules to specify the degree of a surface. .When moving the marked CV’s it becomes obvious that a Bezier CV influences the entire curve and a NURBS CV just has influence within its segment. This partial influence increases the risk of wavy curvature plot and with this the risk of a bad highlight picture when it comes to surfaces.
Their use depends on the modeling situation. vectors. Surfaces ruled by parameters: •Additionally to curves surfaces can be defined by parameters like radii. Procedural modeling Curve network approach: •Fits designers who think in feature lines. traditional patch layout based on curves: •Lacks in controlling the “inner CV’s” •Requires a huge effort of planning to keep history of edge curves and surface.2 Modeling method CAD software packages use two basic methods for the creation of surfaces. •Serves engineering approach . The second method is direct creation of the surface with manipulation of the surface poles/control points. Both methods have their strength. Gives a fast 3D interpretation of the intended shape. The first begins with construction curves (splines) from which the 3D surface is then swept (section along guide rail) or meshed (lofted) through. The surface is a result of curve modification and cannot be shaped directly. length.
the digital sculptor manipulates entire CV rows or uses tools that allow a modification of many CV’s based on a rule how the influence on each CV gradually become less. it is needed to hold the overall number of CV’s down. Currently it is the best way to ensure a top highlight quality of the entire surface set. but it requires a gentle surface layout that is based on primary surfaces and secondary surfaces that are dependent on this. To do so. Practical Modeling Techniques One helpful approach to understand and master digital surface modeling is to base design workflows on proven methods from the traditional craftsmanship and translate them into the world of computers. With this technique. NURBS becomes the first legit virtual material. a special align or matching command is needed. software and NURBS. But as long as possible. .Direct modeling Direct modeling lives of of CV manipulation. It may sound threatening to manipulate all CV’s individually. This implies massaging every surface match individually. To align two surface with each other.
but its basic shape must be modeled first. . even when the template cuts air and the corresponding digital surface stands out. To achieve this. This depends on the stage of the design process. the “underlying” trimmed surfaces must be shaped to support the final sculpturing of the wheel lip surface. The colorized wheel lip should get a certain highlight flow. Production cars that has been modeled after design freeze have a different layout that not necessarily following this rule. The entire “surface” the template is “cutting is exactly the surface that has to be modeled in software. The digital surface will be trimmed later.1 Surfaces might be bigger than they appear on a final model The basic surfaces (often they are called slabs) appear on the final model always trimmed. A good analogy is the craftsmanship of clay modeling where the modeler moves a fixed template along a guide. The template cuts clay where it touches the volume and it cut “air” to.
Those filets often play a significant role expressing features. The blue fillet surface set must have a nice highlight flow. So it is clear that the shape of such fillets are important for the design expression in two ways: • • Nice and determined Radius entry lines Constant or smooth change of knee radii to ensure a nice highlight. Building the fillet just with this simple position continuity is the reason of the problem with the fillet described following. 2 Angle conditions along surface boundaries Final surface sets are always filleted. . But only this curvature connection allows to align the blue fillets all way long. even there where they appear as “hanging in the air” (when the model finally is trimmed). But because of the hole in the bumper it looks like there is no surface the two middle fillet pieces can be aligned to. even when they are trimmed later on describing the hole. The tangent lines of a fillet (the lines where a fillet starts) mark the region where a flat and slow highlight from the big slab surfaces starts to speed up into the much more curvy fillet. The surfaces “around” the hole in the bumper shows are actually bigger and they are connected establishing a nice highlight flow.This is an example how surfaces that even wont be seen in the final model “hold” a feature (blue fillet) together. The shoulder surface usually will be build with position continuity (FIXED). In the knee of a fillet there might be an ultra shiny highlight gloss.
This fillet is a chordal fillet. . This fillet is a constant fillet. The thickness of the highlight at the knee varies unevenly.Fillet to be done The resulting fillet often has problems regarding the entry lines or the highlight along the fillet knee. The reason for this bad fillet behavior is the uneven change of the angle between both surfaces. This simple example illustrates how a rolling ball would mark uneven radius entry line on both reference surfaces when their angle to each other is not controlled. In this case the angle between the two surfaces becomes smaller and at the end it becomes bigger again. The tangent checker shows an inflection of the angle change ( in the middle). The radius entry lines show an uneven and bad behavior.
The final indication is the sharp edge between both Slab’s. The modeler has to balance the crown of both Slabs to each other. This fillet is a chordal fillet. The modeler exams both lines by checking them from the appropriate view. using a long blade. The cutting edge of the blade could be imitated in Software by a profile curve. The thickness of the highlight at the knee varies evenly (in accordance a linear interpolation). . 3 Theory Modeling 1 Both Slab surfaces will be cut first. The radius entry lines are even (linear interpolation between the two ends). In Alias this can be controlled using the TANGENT ANGLE option in the surface creation tools. He can do that by examination of both surfaces from the side and the top view. Its shape shows if both crowns fit to each other. The tangent checker shows just the maximum and the Minimum of the angle exactly at Start and End of the fillet.Controlling the angle changing from one end to the other gives a much smoother and controlled result for the quality of the final fillet. This fillet is a constant fillet. 2 To define the transition (often it’s a radius) the modeler tapes the two entry lines (Tangent offset) on the smooth slabs.
So in B the “theoretical line” MUST be straight. means planar. But recognizing modeling step 1 there must have been a sharp “theoretical line” beneath those fillets. The inspector moves along the front of a car and notices there three vital points (A B C) where the feature of the hood appears in three different ways. After he roughly achieved the shape of the transition. where the virtual theoretical line. The modeler slides the blade along both tapes to not touching the already finished slabs. Everything is with fillets and transition surfaces. appears straight.3 When the transition should be a radius. A B C . 4 Using a rake. A finished surface model almost has no sharp lines. A B C There is one position (B). on position C it appears convex. The last step is to remove the tapes and to carefully smooth the entire surface set. Regarding this it is an interesting experiment to inspect the hood of a car like shown below. he uses a template blade with a cutting edge that was made after the profile the transitional surface should have or after the specific radius. the modeler cuts the clay between the tapes. On Position A it appears concave. and with this even the fillet that is build on top. the modeler uses a drawing circle to get the right distance for each tape from the sharp edge.
flat Curved (convex) Curved (concave) This effect is a basic rule in technical surfacing to make major features appear crisp and strong from all different views. . front and top). Software products offer tools that can planarize a curve or a surface edge to get this effect. The plane that is the base for such curves rarely appears parallel to the three main views (side. So it is needed to be able to modify a curve set while the curve still maintains its planar character in 3D.A B C Here is an example from industrial design where the theoretical line is not crisp and causes irritation with the final design where fillets are incorporated.
Advanced modeling and surfacing techniques with Autodesk Alias Studio NURBS modeling is a fascinating modeling technique only existing in the virtual world. it can become a powerful next generation element in Design and Styling. interacting with the real world via milling and scanning. When we understand it as tool among others used in the design process. .
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