Edge Loop Based Modeling Tools

General discussion about the development of the open source Blender

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ravioli_rancher
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Edge Loop Based Modeling Tools

Post by ravioli_rancher »

Blender is a great polygon modeler, but, having seen the power of Mirai, Nendo demo and Wings3d programs, I think adding Edge based modeling tools would be the #1 feature to bring respect back to Blender as far as 3d content creation is concerned.

Though Wings3d is also freeware, it requires the user to install additional software, and is fairly buggy. Nendo and Mirai are no longer sold, yet the demand for a thorough implementation of edges (at least on the Lightwave discussion board) seems extraorindarily high.

I doubt Newtek will ever implement them (they've stated it would require an entire rewrite of the widely used .lwo format, and they don't seem interested in changing it).

I'm not a programmer, and don't know how difficult edges would be to add to Blender. But, in case some of the Blender developers are wondering what features would bring it closer to a package like Softimage XSI or Maya, my vote is for edge based modeling.

Hopefully, many other Blender users out there feel the same.

Jamesk
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Re: Edge Loop Based Modeling Tools

Post by Jamesk »

ravioli_rancher wrote:Though Wings3d is also freeware, it requires the user to install additional software, and is fairly buggy.
Not true anymore. Sure, it's freeware allright, but there's no additional things to install. The erlang modules required have been packed into the monolithic installer for quite some time now. It's just one archive, one simple install procedure. And as far as I know, Nendo (and possibly also Mirai) are/were even more bug infested than Wings, which honestly has very few bugs left in it.
I doubt Newtek will ever implement them (they've stated it would require an entire rewrite of the widely used .lwo format, and they don't seem interested in changing it).
An entire rewrite is what would be required in order to have "winged edge" structures in Blender as well. It's an entirely different cup of tea compared to the current vertex-centric data structure.
I'm not a programmer, and don't know how difficult edges would be to add to Blender.
I can't claim to be a programmer either, but I'm confident enough to say that it would mean a total rewrite of ALL the core algorithms. Blender uses a relatively simple array of vertex/face/normal/uv-coords data, whereas winged edge technology describes objects in an entirely different way.

Don't get me wrong. Edge loop tools are excellent, but the way I see it, you get all you need and more in Wings. Then you'll just throw it all into Blender and get on with your tweaking and animations. Blender is powerful enough in all other aspects.

wavk
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Post by wavk »

I on the other hand don't think it would be that difficult. It would be as easy as implementing a new edit mode in which users can select edges instead of vertices. Interally, when someone selects an edge, blender just selects the two vertices attached to it. that's all. I'm a big fan of the knife and bandsaw tools! Modeling would be so much easier with these two tools! and they're not that difficult to implement.
Last edited by wavk on Wed Dec 18, 2002 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

theeth
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Post by theeth »

I'll second wavk on that quetions since I know that Strubi was working on an edge class for his xMesh module, so I don't really see why it would be much harder to do it directly in the source instead of going through the Python api.

Martin
Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

kid_tripod
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Post by kid_tripod »

I'd like to say NO! If you want edge loop modelling do the modelling in Wings and import it. As I understand it winged edge data structures don't give you the immense freedom to mess about with surfaces the way you can in blender's tools. I use wings a lot, but find for really nailing a model down you have to use Blender. Theres very simple things you simply can't do with wings, like an object which is just one face and four vertices. Also when a model gets broken its proper gone. Game over.

The additional edit mode might be good, but I'd suggest adding a whole other sort of mesh (sounds like someones up to that, partly to handle arbitrary polygons, not just tris/quads) but please, leave the existing mesh and editmode fully intact!

eskil
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Post by eskil »

From some one who has implemented a modeler:

More or less any type of tool can be implemented with any data structure, Its just a matter of how easy it is. Loq Airou has a data structure (see verse) that is very similar to Blender, and I have been able to implement all tools i wanted. My modeler uses a style that can be described as edge based but it is not at all based on winged edge.

I must also say that i am a bit against the idea of "app X has feature Y we must also have that" approach to software development it tends to lead to cloning.

Check out my modeler: http://www.quelsolaar.com/loqairou/

E

Pablosbrain
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Post by Pablosbrain »

I would love to see some of the tools present in other modelers such as wings3d be implemented in blender... but for now... I do almost 99% of my modeling in wings3d. Its very easy and intuitive (for me). As for being buggy... As many bugs as you can find get fixed every release... its a great piece of software.

kattkieru
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Post by kattkieru »

Adding those tools to Blender may be difficult, but it will not require a rewrite. AFAIK, you can do the wing edge stuff by simply generating vectors from edges and following those vectors along an object, something which could be done using even Blender's vertex-centric system or Lightwave's.

The other idea is to take the 2D plane on which sits the edge you'd like to start from, and using the projection of that plane to simply slice the model. You could slice it creating new edges as you go along, or use the edges whose vectors are nearest in parallel to the plane. trueSpace2 had this feature, and boy was I miffed when it was removed in subsequent versions.

The trouble is not whether it could be done, but how much effort it's going to take. Sometimes these tools don't work the way you'd like, and you spend weeks trying to figure out why.

Jamesk
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Post by Jamesk »

wavk wrote:I on the other hand don't think it would be that difficult. It would be as easy as implementing a new edit mode in which users can select edges instead of vertices.
Sure. Winged edge stuff is about a lot more than just selecting edges...

But if someone else feels the same way, I suppose we could just wait for a week and someone will have implemented it, right?

wavk
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Post by wavk »

Jamesk: Yeah, sure, we'd need to implement some tools. And when I mean "not that difficult" I don't meen a week's work. I'm not sure if we're talking about the same stuff here, as vavioli_rancher said they aren't in lightwave. Lightwave has more than enough edge tools if you ask me! What exactly do you mean by winged edge stuff? I've played with nendo and wings a bit, but the only difference with blender i can see are that you can select edges and easily select the band of edges around an object and more of that. That's just selection work. That could be done in blender without even adding an edge edit mode. You could select two vertices, an edge, and then some options need to be put in the specials, the "w" menu. Options like bandsaw, select band...

Jamesk
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Post by Jamesk »

"winged edge stuff" refers to the internal structure in which the geometry data is stored. If I've understood things correctly, there's quite a heap of extra data associated with each and every "winged edge" containing info about what other edges it connects to, etc etc. This structure is what makes loop and ring selection, bevelling and smoothing and so on work the way they do. And in my confused mind, I figured that this would be a significant change to how Blender currently handles the model data, and that such a change would in turn affect just about all the other tools already in it, since the edit operations would have to do a substantial amount of extra ops that it doesn't have to do now - either additional algos or some entirely different work.

Peace! Didn't get my usual amount of coffee yesterday, and might have appeared a bit harsh.

/Jamesk

wavk
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Post by wavk »

Peace! :D

elam
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Post by elam »

You know, as long as were on the subject of new modeling tools, has anybody ever used this?

As a traditional artist, I think it would be much more intuitive to draw your models, as opposed to the traditional 3d methods.

This software's been out for so long, I'm suprised no one else has tried to implement it.
There's a PDF technical paper and java class files.

elam

thorax
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Custom Scripts under buttons first..

Post by thorax »

Imagine writing a edge selection script in Python,
then imagine a button or hotkey associated with that,
then imagine you can customize your own, then
you don't need to make blender more complex internally.

The more your have to code into blender, the less manageable
it will become.. Features users want should be closer
to the users in terms of allowing them to modify them,
stuff that should be fundamentally in blender should be
there.. Modelling features only call for it if the interface
or API don't allow user-side features to exist. Like being able
to traverse a polygon mesh by determining a polygons vertices and neighboring edges, I don't think blender now offers very much in the way of traversing meshes and deriving normals.. Once you understand how programmers make these things you will want to write your own, and I think there is a certain amount of this facility that could be put python or some high-level language.

Its really something that can wait until later. Of course the source is open and you can add it now, but I guarantee you it will become an obsolete feature in the blender source as soon as someone implements user definable scripts and binding of hotkeyable to scripts.

belac
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Post by belac »

edge select??? select two verticies...wow, and edge! cool!

basically, why make it more complicated when blender can already do it. if you want just import from wings or what ever.

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