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jarjones

Creating stonehenge rocks

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I need to create 3d rocks for a scenic design (think Stonehenge, which I could probably find on Sketchup) but I need them to have specific sizes and 3d features (gouges, cracks, etc.).

I have sculpted them to scale in clay and scanned them. Is there a way to basically take each side of the item on its plane and build it into a 3d object? Any recommendations for the best and/or fastest way to approach it?

(I'm also fighting the fact that I've been on 12.5 until last year and am now on 2015 and am still learning my way around the way some things are done differently.

I've attached a picture of some of them.

While we're at it, I also need to build the tree trunks. Thoughts?

Appreciation in advance.

Jeff A.R. Jones

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You could model these by tracing their elevations with a 2d polygon and Extruding them to the correct depth, then you'd have to fillet all the edges to smooth them out, etc. Adding cracks and gouges is going to be difficult. Subdivision surfaces could also work, but that's a new feature in Vw2016, and you're using Vw2015.

A completely different, possible solution outside of Vectorworks, would be to scan the rocks and tree trunks with Autodesk's free 3D scanning app 123D Catch. Then you can export that to their free MeshMixer application to clean up the scans, remove the base and then export to OBJ or STL file format, both of which can be imported into Vectorworks as a 3D mesh object.

Doing this will create a 3D scan of your objects and will have all of the detail that you've created in the tree trunk, for example, which would be difficult to accurately model by hand in Vw. Not to mention that you're coming from Vw12.5 and many of the 3D tools / workflow have been changed / improved since then.

One part of your tree trunk that will be slightly difficult to 3D scan will be the interior hollow of the trunk because they are self-occluding. You may have to merge two scans in MeshMixer: one scan of the outsides of the tree trunks, and one of the interiors of the trunks.

(Note: I have never attempted to do this ^^^ workflow with 123D Catch --> MeshMixer --> Vectorworks, but it seems like it should work. And it would be fun to try).

Of course, none of this answers your question as to the 'best and fastest' way to do what you're asking in Vectorworks, as I'm not certain that there is a 'best and fastest' method. ;) Good luck-

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You can uses Meshes.

1. you can pull on each vertex point of a mesh

2. A Mesh is just a group of separate 3D Polygons, you can edit the mesh

and delete/recreate all faces separate. All faces edges should touch each

other (=watertight), if you want to convert Meshes to Generic Solids later.

Your examples look like typical Subdivision Surfaces (VW 2016)

All this should be doable with Nurbs Surfaces too.

Scratches could be done with Displacement Maps (VW 2015)

Search Googles 3D Warehouse for suiting stones and import by SKP (VW 2015)

Edited by zoomer

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Do you need that level of physical detail? Get the basic shape and let texturing (bump maps and displacement) do the rest. Most of that stuff is rarely modeled at the polygon level unless it's hero.

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Hi Jeff,

What's the intended outcome? Are they for visualization/rendering? Plan/section for placement? To build these objects specifically? Or a combination of the above?

Speaking from experience I would recommend -

For visualization/rendering - create image props using the images you scanned separated out into the views/elements you need to render.

For plan/section for placement - block in geometric versions that approximate the footprint and volume. This could represent the framework they would be carved from.

To build these objects - import the scans, scale and dimension them for reference. Then give the physical model pieces to the scene shop / scenic artist.

In general, if its a 1/2" model piece it will probably be too small to get any real detail using 123D Catch. All those mesh models will bog down VW anyway. And trying to work with individual points on a mesh in VW will make you go crazy.

If you really want the finished set to look like the physical model pieces, which is often the case, they will always be the best tool for the job. Organics are not VW's strong suit..... the closest approximation you will get would be from lofting between a series of stacked section profiles.

Kevin

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Thanks for all the suggestions.

I'm usually able to structure my workflow to make an object in 3d with a 2d symbol so I can create build drawings and renderings using the 3d and plan views with the 2d all in one pass (maybe one and a half). Looks like I'll have to forego that for this one.

I would like a decent 3d representation for rendering/vis because these elements play in a wide variety of positions and angles, so I'll probably try the loft from section profiles approach. I didn't know if there was a way to basically create each face on its plane then join them for 3d.

I wasn't sure whether loft from sections would be better or some version of a rail/birail sweep. I've done things with nurbs surfaces before. I understand them intellectually, but in practice I can never get them where I want them without tons of time spent (they either end up moving where I don't want them or I end up unable to select the points I want out of all the points that overlap in 3d)

For displacement maps, how do you create one. The help file seems to tell how to apply them, but what are they based on? A bump map-type image or something else?

Thanks,

Jeff A.R. Jones

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For displacement maps, how do you create one. The help file seems to tell how to apply them, but what are they based on? A bump map-type image or something else?

The easiest way in Vectorworks to create a displacement map for your rocks is to use one of the procedural Noise shaders found in the Bump Shader settings. (Note: You won't be able to control exactly where cracks and gouges appear using a procedural noise shader, but unless you explode your rocks into individual planar faces you can't do this in Vectorworks anyways).

The help file has preview images of all the different noise shaders:

Vw2015 online help file : Color Shaders

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I would focus on 3d scanning the objects and importing either the point cloud or STL file into Vectorworks 2016!

Then select, scale and create a series of Auto Hybrids.

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I hate to say I only understood about half of that, and it wasn't the important half.

If I did want to 3d scan, what would be the process? Is it a special scanner or multiple scans on a flatbed?

What is a point cloud (I'm guessing a collection of points generated by the 3d scan), STL file, and Autohybrids?

Jeff A.R. Jones

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There are a variety of 3d scanners, e.g.:

Turntable type

Hand held

Tripod Mounted

e.g.:

digitizer%20_image.png

STL (stereolithography) files have become the default format for 3d printing and hence these scanners typically produce STL files.

VW can now import 3d objects as STL files in 2016.

Once you have your STL scan of your rock in Vectorworks you can scale it to taste. Then (depending on what module of VW you're running - please include it in your signature) you can ask VW to automatically create a Top/Plan representation of the rock at any cut-plane. = Auto Hybrid

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How big (ie. what scale and how tall) are the existing model pieces?

I've used one of the scanners pictured above and the resolution isn't great. And unfortunately the models will have significant overhead in VW.

KM

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The current pieces are in 1/4" scale. The largest is about 2.5" tall. (Our proscenium is 60'w, so I'm limited to 1/4" unless I want to deal with a 5' wide model, which I don't.)

I'm guessing these are too small for the 3d scan.

Are there places you can rent/use a 3d scanner?

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@Jeff: To be honest, I would not bother with a 3D scan of them, especially since they're only 1/4" scale. There just won't be enough detail there to scan with a 3D scanner.

If you want to show the cracks and gouges in your Scenery Construction Drawings (as Kevin McAllister suggested) include dimensioned and annotated 2d flat-bed image scans of the 'important' audience-visible faces of each stone.

If you were using Vw2016, you could model these pretty easily with the new Subdivision surfaces. Short of that, creating a Loft Surface in 'No Rail' mode should get you a decent 3D representation. Then texture them with a displacement bump map using a procedural noise shader as I noted above.

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@Jeff: To be honest, I would not bother with a 3D scan of them, especially since they're only 1/4" scale. There just won't be enough detail there to scan with a 3D scanner.

ubb=showflat&Number=216921#Post216921]above[/url].

Oh I disagree - these are perfect candidates for 3d scanning and Stl import (new in VW2016).

This is important. We're at the beginning of the upstream link between real-world 3d & digital modelling. It's very exciting and will only get faster & more seamless.

We've had Image import -> Image Props

PDF import -> Traced/ Extruded Objects

3d model imports (that were created outside VW)

Right now we can take real world objects, found or created & 'bring them in'. STL import, Point Cloud import.

Who's excited?

2" model scanned with 123dCatch scaled to 3.5m

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=13038&filename=Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%2010.38.11%20AM.png

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=13039&filename=Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%2010.39.31%20AM.png

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=13040&filename=Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%2010.39.25%20AM.png

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=13041&filename=Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%209.30.03%20AM.png

ubbthreads.php?ubb=download&Number=13042&filename=Screen%20Shot%202015-10-09%20at%209.29.51%20AM.png

Edited by bcd

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Right now we can take real world objects, found or created & 'bring them in'. STL import, Point Cloud import.

Who's excited?

2" model scanned with 123dCatch scaled to 3.5m

That's pretty cool. Is this the desktop or mobile version of 123dCatch? Its clearly improved since I last used it. It was ok then for larger objects but nothing as small as 2".

What's the VW file size for that one object?

Kevin

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Capture & Upload v 2.0.2 on the iPhone

STL file downloaded from the desktop website 14mb

109mb after the Auto Hybrid

86mb before

Rock - VW2016

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That is pretty impressive, bcd. Thanks for showing and walking us through how you did it. I said it would be too small-scale for 123D Catch, but I'm happy to be proven wrong. ;)

Once the .vwx file gets six of those Stonehenge rocks in there, it's probably going to be very slow & sluggish to move around. It might be worth running it through MeshLab before importing it into Vw in order to simplify and reduce the polygon count.

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