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Everything posted by JHEarcht

  1. Thanks for your responses, but the problem is that none of those methods makes any difference. When I import the PNG into another graphics app, it has a clear background. But when I import it into VW, it is treated like a bitmap, with an added black background, but with no editable attributes. When I select the image, the attributes palette indicates no line or fill to manipulate. Apparently, VW is converting the PNG during import, into a bitmap without transparency. This problem goes back to much earlier versions than 2013. Have any of you tried to save and import the image in my first post? If so, can you change the black background to clear? Thanks.
  2. VW 2013, WindowsXP, Nvidia Quadro FX3000 graphics card I sometimes use VW as a general purpose graphics application because it can handle both bitmaps and vector images. But I always have one frustrating problem. Imported PNGs & GIFs with transparent backgrounds display with black backgrounds. Ordinarily I would just select the image and change the fill in the attributes palette. But the selected item doesn't show up in the palette. The first image below has a clear background when opened in a bitmap application, but the inner areas are white. The second image is what I get when imported into VW. The fill is always black, but sometimes the inner white areas are transparent. Obviously, VW has no problem with clear backgrounds. So I assume the problem is with PNG & GIF files. Is there any way to import a PNG with transparency in VW 2013?
  3. Thanks for the link. But that's the "hard way" I was referring to. I guess I have no choice. I'd still like to know why the VW program does not appear in the Add/Remove list like all other programs. Is it a Mac thing?
  4. I have three versions of VW on my computer : VW2011, VW2012, and VW2013. I want to remove the older versions. But when I use WindowsXP Add/Remove Programs only the VW Help files folders appear in the list. Even the current VW program is not in the list. Mystified, I tried a separate Uninstall app and found the same list with the VW program folders missing. When I tried to remove the VW2011 Help files, the Add/Remove hung up. I can probably delete them manually, but I'd prefer not to. Any ideas why the VW program folders don't show up in the Add/Remove list? Since they also don't show in the Uninstall app, is there another way to remove the files other than laboriously delete each folder, and then try to find all Registry entries?
  5. It was the Break Poly tool posted recently in another forum thread. The first time I clicked on the icon VW crashed. But after reopening, it seemed to be OK. I still haven't had occasion to use the tool.
  6. My ZoneAlarm antivirus just found 14 trojan viruses in VW2012 plug-in folder. I think ZA uses the Kaspersky system. I recently added a plug-in from this forum, but I haven't used it yet. I hope it's all just an error in the virus scanner. [img:left]http://home.mindspring.com/~gnomon/Images/Vworks%20virus%20A_%2005-22-12.jpg[/img]
  7. Thanks Stan. The Golden Rectangle plug-in was just what I needed. The first time I clicked the icon after importing it into my workspace, VW crashed. But the next time it worked correctly.
  8. VW2012 on Windows XP I need a golden spiral or Fibonacci spiral for a side project. The bitmap images I find online are too skinny and jaggy for my purposes, so I want to draw a vector spiral in VW, where I can control the line width. I seem to remember from long ago, that VW once had a golden spiral tool, plug-in, or script. But all I find in VW2012 is an Archimedean spiral. Anyone know where I can find a script to generate a Golden Spiral? Thanks.
  9. VW 11 on Windows XP I have a technical question that is not specific to VW, but to any 3D rendering application, including SketchUp. As the years go by, the software continues to follow the upward curve of Moore's law in complexity & capability, and rendering times seem to ascend just as fast. When it takes 12 hours to render a screen-full of pixels, somewhere computer evolution has gone down a dead-end path. One of the most common complaints on this forum is the unreasonable rendering times on even the latest hottest workstations. All the usual solutions---more memory, new graphics card, etc---seem to have little effect on the basic problem. Even quad CPUs and mega-memory, seem to increase rendering speeds only marginally. Unfortunately, I don't have one of those hot-rods. My workstation was just a notch below state-of-the-art six years ago. The dual thread CPU is 2.8mhz, and the memory is filled-up at 4MB. The graphics card is newer, and has 256MB of memory. I've tweaked the memory allocations, and added more swap file space. And I'm aware of most of the standard tricks for reducing the pixel load. But when I render a 12MB file with a few textures & shadows, each minor adjustment is followed by a huge gap in time when the CPU is maxed, and the active window header trembles as if having a heart attack. For example a 3 second change requires at least 30 finger-twiddling seconds of down time before I can make the next move. At that rate, a few final adjustments before rendering could take hours. And then comes the real frustration. I'm currently unemployed, so a new workstation is not an option. Can anyone suggest some strategies to reduce the ratio of working to waiting? Suicide is also not an option.
  10. As a proxy indication of rendering progress, in Windows you can turn on the Task Manager, click the Performance tab, and watch the CPU usage go up & down. During long renders it will use 50% to 100% of CPU time. But you'll need to turn TM on before the lockup. I assume that the Mac has a similar utility. When Not Responding, the graph will flatline at a point above 50%. As soon as the graph drops back down to the baseline, the rendering is finished---or the lockout (for other apps) has unlocked itself. Sometimes the Not Responding is permanent, so you'll have to shut down the app manually under Applications. But sometimes it's just hogging the CPU for longer than the OS thinks it ought to. Now, I have a question. While the rendering app has monopolized the CPU, and presumably most of the physical memory (4MB), the Page File (Virtual Memory) usage, as displayed in Task Manager, does not increase, even though plenty of HD has been allocated for Page Files. I've tried to find a way to force Windows to offload some of the memory functions to the hard drive, in order to free-up some physical memory. But so far the Virtual Memory remains untapped during rendering. Any suggestions?
  11. PDF can't embed a font if it has copyright restrictions, so it may switch to a similar substitute. Helvetica is an old proprietary font which was used on computers before PDF embedding made it possible to attach the font-drawing codes to a document. In your Font folder, right-click or control-click on the Helvetica icon and look at the font information. If it says anything about embed restrictions, then you'll have to use Arial, which is usually not restricted.
  12. OZ I haven't had time to review the PowerPak tutorials. But I finally got all the corners to connect into a single Nurbs curve. When I select one edge the whole thing is highlighted. Unfortunately, when I invoke the Create Surface From Curves command, the result is a message : "Surface could not be created from curve network." Is this function limited to four sides? My outline has 5 or 6 Nurbs Curves, including the straight lines (3D polys) converted into Nurbs curves. Even the flat surface at the top, composed of 3 Nurbs curves, does not respond to the Create Surface command. Even though the OIP says "Nurbs curve", the Interpolate Surface command says "you must select a Nurbs curve". Since the Grinch has stolen VectorWorks 3D tools, I may as well shut down, and go to New Orleans for a Cajun Christmas. I wish you all a merry holiday!
  13. OZ, an image of the SU model is in the first post above. Creating the desired shape by sculpting was pretty easy in SU. The problems arose when I used various skinning add-ons to fill-in between the curved outlines with a compound curved surface. All of them had unwanted wrinkles (artifacts) in the otherwise smooth skin. The outline posted just above was created from Nurbs curves. But connecting ends and corners didn't work as expected from my experience with VW 2D or with SU. I even used a Nurbs curve to make a straight line between two curve ends, because the 2D line tool produced bizarre results (the ghost twin mentioned above). I think I'll have to drop it now, until after the holidays. Maybe the PowerPack references will help me understand the abilities and limitations of the 3D tools. "When all else fails, read the instruction manual". But not the Help files.
  14. I am trying to use Nurbs curves to recreate the edges of the solid object. It's very slow and tedious compared to the quick'n'easy sculpting method in SU. Plus, I'm having difficulty joining the corners into a single outline. How can you connect/combine, or compose curves that are not in the same plane? In SU that was not a problem; it would just snap to points in space. Plus, how can you draw a line connecting two endpoints that are not in the same working plane? Whenever I draw a straight line over the solid object the highlight stays where I put it, but the line displays parallel to it, and several inches away. Like a ghostly doppelganger. Nurbs outline image below. Not connected at some corners, and some apparently continuous curves are not connected end to end, even though they were snapped together. The pink things are text boxes that were deleted, but wouldn't disappear. I tried lofting as is, but nothing happened. Oh well, back to the old drawing board.
  15. Yes, but nothing was imported. I tried to import several SU files onto a new layer, and nothing happened. So I didn't waste any more time on that gambit.
  16. OK, I give up. Sculpting a solid object is more intuitive for me to produce a non-orthogonal object. But I see that VW is not setup for that method. Now I'm trying to trace over the edges of the solid to produce new independent faces. I tried to create a Nurbs curve by clicking on end points of each segment of the curved solid edges. That proved difficult, so I tried to place a 3D locus at each endpoint to serve as guide points. But then I got an error message : "locus is not visible". I don't know why. So I guess I'll have to do it the hard way. The lines and curves needed to create new edges and faces are right there in front of me, but I can't get to them. And I can't imagine how to create them from scratch as 3D non-coplanar curves. I tried to Decompose the solid, but it shattered into a thousand pieces rather than a few major surfaces. KB, how do you "rebuild" a curve? How do you use the Extract tool to get edge curves for lofting? When I use the Extract Curve/Face tool the OIP says "no selection - locked". Where is the "Create Surface from Curves" command? Where is the Dual Connect tool, and the Position Match command? PS---Why is everything I create from the Solid Object automatically Locked, even if I cut and paste it outside the original object? The Lock/Unlock command has no effect on the new lines or surfaces.
  17. I have discovered that "editing" the subtracted solid involves going back through all previous subtraction or addition operations on the same object. This is a "feature" that SU doesn't have, and that I don't need at the moment. Apparently, in order to avoid that historical regression, I need to purge the memory, or to convert the model from a Solid Subtraction to something else. I tried converting to a Generic Solid, but that left me with an un-editable object. Any ideas for how I can go forward, instead of backward, to edit the model?
  18. Creating the curves is not the problem. The curves create themselves when I intersect two solids. My problem now is understanding how the Subtract Solids tool is supposed to work. The Help file describes the use of the Push/Pull tool, but doesn't mention the right-click command. In the first shot below I have overlapped two solids. Now I want to subtract the Ellipse from the model, using the Context Menu. The second shot shows the result, without the ellipse. So far so good. Next I want to select and delete the cut lines indicated. Which should make the faces disappear, so I can loft a new face between the remaining outer edges, as shown in the Empty Outline shot above. But when I try to edit the subtracted model, the original ellipse reappears and the cut lines disappear. In SketchUp, both objects remain visible, so I can delete the one I don't want to keep. In VW I assumed that when the ellipse disappeared, it was dead and gone. But apparently the ghost hangs around to haunt me. How can I edit the subtracted model without returning to the elliptical solid used to intersect and cutaway the unwanted parts? I want the ellipse to go away for good, but it hides after the subtraction, so I can't delete it. Overlapping Solids --- Ellipse subtracted from model ----
  19. Normally I would build a model from walls, floors, roofs, etc. But this is not an inhabitable building, it's just a monumental sculpture. Also, most of the edges and surfaces are irregular compound curves. So I was following the same procedure that had worked in SU : carving away parts of a rectangular extrude by pushing 2D outlines thru the block. Anyway, in the first post, I was barking up the wrong tree. So I have answered my own question. But now I need to figure out how to select the non-coplanar outlines of the flat (but not orthogonal) side surfaces, and then delete the face. After composing the multiple straight and curved lines, I plan to loft, or drape, or bubble, or skin a new compound-curved surface onto the outline. I have never done that in VW. so I'll have to find out by trial & error how to proceed. Below is a shot of the empty outline in SketchUp, before skinning. In this view it may not be obvious that the lines are not in the same plane. Which makes using the Working Plane tool difficult. In SU I tried several add-on scripts, but none created a smooth, continuous curved surface. Ironically, out of desperation, I used the Terrain tool (for draping a surface over ground contours), and it worked the first time. But the complexity of the outlines apparently caused the various skinning tools to add some unwanted wrinkles, that become apparent when viewed from certain angles. Empty outline in SU : [img:left]http://home.mindspring.com/~gnomon/Loft%20outline.JPG[/img] PS---In VW I set the 3D conversion resolution to Very High, in hopes that it would increase the number of segments of those warped curved edges. But the curves still looked pretty choppy on-screen. I haven't printed yet, so . . .
  20. VW2011 Designer on Windows XP. In the past, VW 3D was too slow and clunky for my simple modeling needs, and my old computer. So I've been using SketchUp mostly, for preliminary surface-only sketching. I have created a 3D model in SketchUp, sculpted from a solid extrude. But I ran into some limitations with non-orthogonal geometry and with lofted faces. The first image below is a view of the model, which has artifact ripples in the compound curved skin. Therefore I decided to try the same model in VW2011. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and smoothly the 3D functions work in 2011, on my 6 year old machine. I push/pulled some 2D outlines thru a rectangular extrude to carve it into the approximate shape desired. However, I have run into a cul-de-sac. I don't know how to draw or project a guide line onto a curved surface so I can remove all except the edge. So I made another rectangular extrude and sectioned the model along the "knife edge" to remove one side. But I got a message : "you tried to create a solid object that cannot be computed". The result is shown in the second image. The third image is noted to show the intended knife edge after one side of the model was subtracted. For now the other side remains to be cut away later. After both sides are removed, leaving only a plane along the "knife edge", the plan is to loft a surface between 3 curved lines. Again, I'm having difficulty working with non-orthogonal faces. Any suggestions to complete the sculpting process will be appreciated. Thanks. PS---After describing the problem, I think I know what to do. But I'll still like to hear your suggestions. [img:left]http://home.mindspring.com/~gnomon/SU%20model%20front.JPG[/img] [img:left]http://home.mindspring.com/~gnomon/VW%20Sectioned%20Solid.JPG[/img] [img:left]http://home.mindspring.com/~gnomon/VW%20model%20front_noted.JPG[/img]
  21. Thanks for the information. I tried both the Helix and the Sweep commands, but I couldn't figure out how to set the vertical dimension. When I set the "thickness" it didn't do what I expected. The help files and tech manual said nothing about an upward spiral. Should I draw the limit line vertically from locus upward, or horizontally at the upper end? Anyway, I eventually used a Spring tool in the Mechanical toolset to create the spirals. It worked simply and easily because the extension length was obviously a variable. Is there a way to rotate one end of a cylinder independently from the other end? I'm sure I've seen that done somewhere. I tried the Reshape tool, but no luck.
  22. VW2010 on Windows XP I vaguely remember seeing this done somewhere, but not how it was done. I want to create a series of spirals around a cylinder. It's basically a rotate-while-extruding process. But the demo I saw simply drew vertical lines on the surface of a cylinder, and then rotated one end to spiral the lines connecting top and bottom. The example may have been in SketchUp, but does anyone know how to do it in VW2010?
  23. Thanks, Imon But the symbols start causing CPU/video problems as soon as I insert them in a blank document, so I eventually have to punt and start all over. But that's enough hair-pulling for this week.
  24. Thanks Michael That did the trick. I now have a ghost-free drawing. But now I'll have to draw the circular stair elevation manually, because each of the three symbols have the same problem. Even in a blank 8x11 page, they cause quivering, lockups, and crashing. Letting the plug-in object do all the "hard work" seemed like a good idea a few days ago.
  25. The spooky stair saga continues. I copied the corrupted file under a new name. Then I selected and deleted all the visible stair objects, including the symbol in the Resource Browser. After a purge, I did a custom selection for all objects in the Stair class. The dialog indicated that 300,000 objects were found after the deletion. But when I click OK to select those invisible objects, VW stops responding, but eventually returns to normal---yet nothing is selected. The file works much better without the corrupted stairs, but it is still haunted by their ghosts. Any suggestions to get a clean file with everything except the stairs? PS---When VW hangs, and stops responding, the memory usage doesn't go above 40%, but the CPU usage is off the scale. So I assume the file is making an impossible request of the processor.
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