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SeanOSkea

Extrude along a path controls

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I've just extruded my (aprox) 1000th cornice along a path object. I've tried for years to figure out which plane to draw the profile in, which direction to draw the path, which way the profile needs to face, ect.  But even if I get it right on the first try I still need to edit the profile first figure out which view to see it flat against the axis and then drag the top-back corner to the center. 

 

Can we please have some way of indicating what part of the profile should be aligned to the path? Control points in the OIP? Snap a locus? Something so we don't have to always edit every path extrusion? 

 

Or if I'm a loser and there is a way to do this that has eluded me for 15 years, I'd love to know! 

 

--Sean 

Edited by SeanOSkea
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@SeanOSkea I often feel I have the same struggles.

 

IIRC, as it's generally finger memory., I draw of place the profile perpendicular to the path.

 

I think the control point you mention in the center point of the profile, BUT the user has to do the math. So if you have a piece of simple crown moulding that is 3 3/8" wide the offset of the path needs to be 1 7/8" (or 3 3/8 / 2 in the offset dialog). Obviously Control Points (like the 9 little dots in the oIP whose name I can never recall) would help.In an ideal world, if using Wall Objects, the crown molding, however it's composed as I doubt either of us uses a single moulding element in a crown,  should be a Component and defined in a Style.

 

@DanJansenson @_c_ @C. Andrew Dunning

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Sean

I don't necessarily think you are a loser. 🙂

I know of what you speak regarding the arcane math involved at times when using the extrude along path tool.

What I do, as of late, is to create the profile and attach it directly to the path object, if that makes sense.That way you will know with impunity what you will get as a result.

Usually it is easiest to do this in a 3d view to make sure the profile does in fact perfectly touch the path object.

Give that a try...

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@Kevin K But it still drives it down the center of the profile, right? That way you still have to offset the path (a pain) or edit the profile (also a pain). 

Are you saying there is a way to snap the profile to a part of the path to avoid the other options? 

I don't know why we can't just drop a locus on the profile the way you can offset a sweep axis by including an locus in the selection before you sweep. 

5 hours ago, Kevin Allen said:

@SeanOSkeaI think the control point you mention in the center point of the profile,

 

@DanJansenson @_c_ @C. Andrew Dunning

Kevin A, yes you're absolutely right, it runs down the center of the profile--fine if you're doing round pipe handrails or something but annoying for everything else.  And like you, as a scenic designer, I'm doing all kinds of weird stuff with moulding so that is doesn't make sense to me to have it as a wall component.  I usually just drive the 3D NURBS tool along the top edge of a wall or baseboard or whatever. I'll sometimes grab edges with the extract tool but at every vector it creates a separate line or curve so you have to ungroup them and compose them before you can use it as a path. 

 

I seem to have the most luck drawing profiles in T/P and just remembering which way the path was drawn (or show direction if I forget). If the path was drawn left to right the profile should face the right or X+ and the left if the path goes in the other direction. That cuts down on the number of sideways and backwards fails for me. And usually if I to Top/Plan in the edit profile workspace more often than not I'll be looking down at the profile centered on the path axis and don't have to hunt around for the right view. I never offset the path. Can't be asked. 

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4 hours ago, Kevin K said:

 

What I do, as of late, is to create the profile and attach it directly to the path object, if that makes sense.

 

Wow that actually works. Thanks. Have we always been able to do that SketchUp style EAP? This does eliminate the need to edit the profile to move it around on the axis. 

Also I've never realized the path can be offset from the actual extrusion. That will take some of the frustration out of trying to re-select a 3D poly directly on a wall edge. I can trace the wall edge with the 3D poly tool, and them immediately move it up in the Z a foot, snap the profile to the top of the wall, check "Fix Profile" and go. This has the added benefit of eating the 3D poly at the same time. 

Thanks for pointing that out!.  

I'd still prefer to draw in T/P (esp if I'm tracing over images of millwork) and afix a locus point to the profile but this will at least take some frustration out of constantly needing to Edit Profile. 

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On 1/5/2020 at 2:52 PM, SeanOSkea said:

@Kevin K But it still drives it down the center of the profile, right? That way you still have to offset the path (a pain) or edit the profile (also a pain).

 

Exactly. If adding a crown to a box set, I trace in the plan view with the Polyline tool. Offset that line by 50% of the thickness of the moulding. Fiddle to get position and extrude. Fiddle and then Trim. For a portal. I trace the opening in Front View, Offset and place the profile  in the Plan View, Extrude.

 

There is no way to link the profile detail to the Extrude for detail drawings, which is also unfortunate.

 

 

On 1/5/2020 at 2:52 PM, SeanOSkea said:

Kevin A, yes you're absolutely right, it runs down the center of the profile--fine if you're doing round pipe handrails or something but annoying for everything else.  And like you, as a scenic designer, I'm doing all kinds of weird stuff with moulding so that is doesn't make sense to me to have it as a wall component.  I usually just drive the 3D NURBS tool along the top edge of a wall or baseboard or whatever. I'll sometimes grab edges with the extract tool but at every vector it creates a separate line or curve so you have to ungroup them and compose them before you can use it as a path. 

 

I disagree. On a film set or many interiors adding mouldings to the Wall Objects would make for faster work. This assumes that the Wall Objects would then create all of the miters. Similarly, posture rail, chair rail, door and window mouldings. Wainscoting should be wall components.

 

In a more starts environment, other built up or applied wall details should be attached to the wall objects. I often do geometric panels on walls.

 

Of course, once we have all of this, Forced Perspective will be a nice addition.

 

On 1/5/2020 at 2:52 PM, SeanOSkea said:

 

I seem to have the most luck drawing profiles in T/P and just remembering which way the path was drawn (or show direction if I forget). If the path was drawn left to right the profile should face the right or X+ and the left if the path goes in the other direction. That cuts down on the number of sideways and backwards fails for me. And usually if I to Top/Plan in the edit profile workspace more often than not I'll be looking down at the profile centered on the path axis and don't have to hunt around for the right view. I never offset the path. Can't be asked. 

 

Can't be asked?

 

 

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4 hours ago, leecalisti said:

I still find this difficult. This should be easier in the OIP and not rely on memory.

I make the path with a poly line following wall, I make or acquire the Molding profile.

After making sure both objects are curbs curves, I rotate the profile perpendicular to the plan and drag it's 'top wall corner' to the path nurbs

run the extrude along path, making sure Fix Profile is checked. Then it slides into place, add a z value and done

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We use this tool for cornice and baseboards. Gives you the ability to customise your profiles.

Advantage is to not end up with silly bunch of lines in Plan and RCP
(Why do we still have wireframe objects in Top/Plan view? What on this planet is 'wireframe'?Is there even a use for them in Top/Plan view?)
 

 

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2 hours ago, Amorphous - Julian said:

We use this tool for cornice and baseboards. Gives you the ability to customise your profiles.

Advantage is to not end up with silly bunch of lines in Plan and RCP
(Why do we still have wireframe objects in Top/Plan view? What on this planet is 'wireframe'?Is there even a use for them in Top/Plan view?)
 

 

That is awesome. This is exactly how this tool should work. 

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I remember this tool (baseboard plug-in) from years ago, but either it didn't work for me, or there was some reason I chose not to use it. The idea is great and should be supported in VW. I am still hoping that the wall tool can have this intergrated into it so doors and other embedded features can interrupt it. Drawing in baseboards during design can be a nuisance when doors and openings are still changing and then someone (in my case, me) has to remember to go back and edit the baseboard on top of everything else.

 

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18 hours ago, Kevin Allen said:

 

Exactly. If adding a crown to a box set, I trace in the plan view with the Polyline tool. Offset that line by 50% of the thickness of the moulding. Fiddle to get position and extrude. Fiddle and then Trim. For a portal. I trace the opening in Front View, Offset and place the profile  in the Plan View, Extrude.

 

Sounds a lot more difficult than it needs to be.  Why not simply edit the Profile so that the Profile Insertion Point is on the face hanging on the wall?

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34 minutes ago, C. Andrew Dunning said:

Sounds a lot more difficult than it needs to be.  Why not simply edit the Profile so that the Profile Insertion Point is on the face hanging on the wall?

 

Well, then you end up with a weird profile. I do tend to make the profile a 'normal' size, sacrificing some accuracy. 

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2 hours ago, Kevin Allen said:

Well, then you end up with a weird profile. I do tend to make the profile a 'normal' size, sacrificing some accuracy. 

 

Really?  How so?  Then, simply have the path follow the wall.

 

That's how the EAPs work in all of our tools...

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So, unless I'm missing something, always my first guess, the illustration might help.

 

On the right is a moulding where I've adjusted the size to simplify the math. In this case, that might not mater, but when combining a number of profiles to make a crown, it can save on the head scratching. Of course, It messes up accuracy and the sections/details.

 

The next drawing to the left is the original profile. To the left of that, I've squared it off. I have not moved the center, but I have a solid crown for no good reason. On the far left, I show what I think you're describing. I added a chunk of unnecessary geometry, but I no longer have to offset the path. In turn I also no longer have the information for a proper section without redrawing the section.This is not optimal.

 

The second drawing shows (exaggerated) what I think @SeanOSkea (and I) would like in the EAP dialog. So, I could trace the walls, leave the line (path), select the profile, and direct VWX to extrude from the point.

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 3.00.50 PM.png

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 3.15.11 PM.png

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@Kevin Allen 

3 minutes ago, Kevin Allen said:

The second drawing shows (exaggerated) what I think @SeanOSkea (and I) would like in the EAP dialog. So, I could trace the walls, leave the line (path), select the profile, and direct VWX to extrude from the point.

Yes Exactly!  And you wouldn't even need a new interface, just simply make it work in the way it intuitively should work--just as you select one of the 9 control points in the Obj Info to change the dimension of something in the direction you want, we could simply click on the control point that would be aligned to the path. So in Kevin's illustration we would select the profile, click on the upper-left control button, select the path and Extrude and the crown molding would be perfectly in the right spot. No need to fudge the profile, or to edit and re-position the profile after extruding.  

 

Even last night after reading all the posts about aligning the profile on the working plane attached to the path (Sketchup style)  I was chastened and thought, "well I should do that from now on." But then I was modeling last night and damn it if I wasn't hiding and showing classes and layers, and fighting with the flyover, and doing all kinds of fussing just to get a clear shot at the end of my path and I thought, "No dang it, it should be easier than this for such a basic and essential function!" 

3 minutes ago, Kevin Allen said:

 

 

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OK, there's a lot of discussion and workarounds here. As an architect who is a solo practitioner, we need tools that are easy, intuitive, and do not require workarounds or special knowledge to use.

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3 minutes ago, leecalisti said:

OK, there's a lot of discussion and workarounds here. As an architect who is a solo practitioner, we need tools that are easy, intuitive, and do not require workarounds or special knowledge to use.

 

Which is why I ultimately suggest this be built into wall styles, or a similar function. I should be able to assign a crown, a picture rail, chair rail, baseboard, wainscoting, etc to a wall object. Similarly door and window moulding.

 

Then I should be able to pull the details back out for construction documents.

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My suggestion, take a look at this:

https://fitplot.it/vwplugins/mouldings.html

It's 20$ for the full package, but it does more than just mouldings along path!

 

There is also a demo version to download and a couple of videos that shows how it operates.

 

P. B.

Edited by Bucefalo
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This thread has probably gone cold but I'm still playing around with this. I can't find much documentation on the Chain Extrude or on the Path Plug In Object. 

Chain extrude has the same awning example that's been in the help for over a decade. Search on YT and you get 1 Jonathan Pickup video from 2009 illustrating exactly the example in the help.  It looks like Chain Extruded works with one profile and would be perfect for molding etc except it only seems to work in top/plan. Even tracing along a horizontal edge results in the object appearing on 0-Z. Try anything vertically and you get a weird result with a huge piece of trim horizontal and far away from the object. 

Path-Plug in objects like those that have appeared in the RB content, look promising but appear to be generated from Chain Extrudes as well. It has the one, very nice feature of being able to click along the actual wall faces and not have half the trim buried in the wall. But again it only works in plan view and it often has very odd and inexplicable results. Like the path and ribs looking great in the preview but as soon as you click to execute the ribs appear 50' bellow and 10' offset from the properly placed path "awning" object. 

Off to another term of teaching VW (this time long distance!) and trying to explain why the Extrude along a path function is so difficult to use. 

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@SeanOSkea After using VW (MC) since 1995, I only discovered the Chain Extrude tool last week. I find it troubling and I ended up creating a different object after trying to create an awning. I can't use it.

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@leecalisti Yeah, I spent a couple hours playing with Chain Extruded today trying to learn it once and for all and kept getting different results by doing the same things. Minor changes to values in the OI made for some extreme results. Maybe I just don't get it but it seems very buggy which is a shame because in theory it could do some pretty cool things not just awnings. 

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