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Advice please! Making a Theatrical flat - wrapped in a canvas graphic

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My current project requires me to draw several Scenic Flats (Typically an 8' (h) x 4' wide wooden frame, made from PAR timber- approx 2" thick) wrapped in a graphic.


The flats come in multiples of 4' wide.  I am using them to create several walls of say 16' / 20' wide.  I then add two more 4' flats as returns (a right angle) at each end for stability.


The whole "wall" is then wrapped in a single large printed canvas graphic material.  This graphic is printed oversize so that the material wraps round and is stapled to the back of the flat out of view.


I need to present each "wall" - they are all various widths - in 3D with the graphic wrapped round all the flats - so that we can see exactly where the folds / corners in the wall meet the graphic.


So I am wondering if anyone has good suggestions on a process to do it - I have about 15 walls, each with a different graphic in approx 8 different sizes, so am hoping there's a relatively quick process to go through each one. 


I would also like to show the construction of the flat (the rear) so that the client can see how it is built.

Any help much appreciated!


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@Andrew Daviesthanks. To get the canvas to wrap make your surface 8" extra in size and centre on wall frame. You will need to make texture size to match, and your offset will need to add the overlap so the flat part of the picture is correct to front wall panel.

you will need to bend the 3D canvas also if you want to show the folds. Otherwise have a 3D solid object and shell solid for the canvas and move it over the frame.

will look at it tonight and do a video. HTH and not confuses.

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Hi I am in the same game as yourself and have to use this method quite a lot as it seems to be the in thing these days 

fortunately i model in VW and render in Artlantis which when mapping the image onto a wall will allow the image if enlarged by 50mm on all edges fold around and map perfectly without no distortion creating a perfectly wrapped canvas wall or frame 

in VW I am wondering if you could create a say 1mm thick extrusion 50mm bigger than the face of the panel and bend the edges 50mm in at 90 degrees 

just trying to think how to do the folds 

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HI both


That's really helpful - thank you.  Probably need to look at it with a clear head in the morning.  Thanks again!

The thought of folding over corners in 3d sounds tricky - especially as I would need to fold along the horizontal and vertical edges.  Also - as many of the flats are different sizes I would have to do it each time.


All the artwork has been nicely sized by our artworker - so that's not an issue.


Thanks again




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Thanks again Alan. As the graphic is a material that is wrapped around the flat - I'll need the artwork to follow the flat edges of the flat. Looks like this screen shot has the graphic doing the "letters in a stick of rock" effect - where it's as if the texture permeates through the object it's laid on to. Does that make sense?!

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Andrew - I think you'll have a very hard go of it to actually wrap and fold a virtual muslin or vinyl wrap like you would in real life i.e. bending an oversized plain. I would approach this by modeling all that corner detail into it - I'm not at a machine with VW on it right now, so just riffing off the top of my head.


Make your 4x8 frame with corner blocks and toggles, etc. and make that a symbol.  Duplicate that to hit your target length on the wall.  For the skinning, maybe do this in a few steps and then combine.  In plan view,  I would draw an open polyline that follows the front face of the framework - doing the whole wrap shape (in plan) and not worrying about the top and bottom wrap for now.  Once you have the polyline, extrude it up 8'.  Now change to a side view and draw an open polyline following the front face of the framework that encompasses the top and bottom wrap - being sure the front face is in exactly the same xyz space as the front face of the first polyline.  Make sure the wrapped parts overlap the previous polyline (so the material shows as overlapping). Extrude this poly line the length of your wall.   From here you have to model out the details for the corners, so if you want to do a "mitered tuck" look, you'll have to solid subtract some wedges from the corners of the second extrude. Once the two pieces are where you like it - solid addition them together.


You could also look at shelling each piece outward a nominal thickness before merging them together.  Up to you.  This is probably not a perfect way, but how I would start to approach it.  I know you want an automated way to do this - I think you can set one up and before you add solid the final shapes together, copy and paste them for the next wall - modifying the polyline length/extrude length for each wall - make sense?  I will try to put together an example once I am back in my office, but that won't be until tomorrow (USA east coast time).



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@Andrew Davies- I would make each canvas piece as a flat 3d polygon with separate 2" wide 3d polygon tabs along each edge. Then I would get the Planar texture positioned correctly on the main canvas and across the tabs, and then I would fold down each tab 90 degrees with the Rotate tool.


1) Draw each of the canvas pieces as a 4' x 8' 3d Polygon with 2" wide tabs on each side (separate 3d Polygons) like this. Maybe add a little extra to the 4' & 8' piece to account for the canvas thickness (1/8"?). In total each panel will be comprised of five separate 3d Polygons.


2) To make the texturing easier, I would set the corner of the first 4' x 8' panel at the Origin 0'-0" and then texture it all flat on the working plane, either by entering the texture offset U & V distances in the OIP (based on the origin 0'-0"), or by using the Attribute mapping tool.


3) Once the piece is all textured, fold down each tab 90 degrees. Once all the tabs have been folded down, group it and rotate it up in to the correct orientation.


(Have I mentioned lately how cumbersome Vectorworks is at texturing? It is really not very good...)


Vw2017 sample file attached.


Edited by rDesign
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Phil, this is the process that I am doing but trying to automate it with Marionette. In the attached you can select all the horizontal folds and do them all at once then the verticals. At present I would group each panel before pushing them togetherr. You can select all the central panels and change the image Make the width of all the panels in the texture map. The marionette objects go in and select the control geometry and change the image one by one. Hope to automate it a bit more. try it out. Dont change any of the numbers in the horizontal and vertical image offsetts, just swap an image and it will flow across all the panels.



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Hello all


Thanks so much for all your input - some brilliant responses on this.  I particularly like the idea of using Marionette - but I don't know anywhere near enough to do it.


I ended up extruding a poly line drawn to the correct shape (a U shape - 2' returns at each end, then 4', 8' or 12' etc between the two - then texturing that.  I had about 20 to do - mainly different shapes with different graphics so wouldn't have had time to do the folds etc.  I sacrificed having the back of the flats looking like flats - and just "extracted" each surface and textured that black through the class definition.


Shame Vectorworks isn't better at texturing.  I really can't get my head around the different texture mapping option (Perimeter, planer, auto plane etc.  May search out a video on those now). I like using the Attribute Mapping tool - but in this case I couldn't use it as I needed to select perimeter mapping.  Don't understand why it doesn't work with that mapping type.


Thanks again to all - really appreciate the help you've offered.  I will try those Marionette examples and maybe try and work on it when I have more time.



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@Andrew DaviesHi, I would like to make this work so as anyone can use it without knowing too much about mapping etc. Can you PM me with exactly your workflow and what you need to present as a final presentation so i can see if i can make this work. This is the brilliant thing about marionette , it can automate tedious repetitious tasks. A real task like this makes the challenge more meaningful.

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