Designer: Travis Serio
"A dense compact design, well resolved, and making good use of TS, pretty hard to do otherwise. Excellent job of using T-Splines for its strengths."
Making History with my Family History
Thanks to T-Splines!
I have made a lot of mouse clicks in many different CAD software applications in the past 13 years as a model maker for the jewelry industry. In all of that time there has remained one constant application at the heart and soul of my design process... Rhinoceros 3D. Rhino has always delivered me the most enjoyable modeling experience while at the same time keeping absolute accuracy in the things that I craft on the screen. However there has been one area of design that has always been cumbersome from within Rhino and that’s modeling heavily organic shapes found in nature. Human form, plants, and animals have always been extremely challenging to capture via surface modeling.
I saw an RSS feed one day about a new plugin called T-Splines that appeared to do complex organics within Rhino. I tried the demo and was blown away by how elegant it could develop complex organics with a few tug and pull style gestures of the mouse. I knew at that moment that the Rhino universe had just forever changed and I along with it.
I purchased my copy of T-Splines and spent the next several weeks pushing and pulling shapes on the screen into the forms that I had been unable to achieve easily in the past. Each time I developed one starting shape into another shape I would just laugh and shake my head knowing what a nightmare this style of modeling was in the past.
This week I sat down and decided to model a family crest ring for my grandfather, something I have always wanted to do but never found the time or really wanted to tackle because of the time. I approached the design completely in T-Splines knowing that it would be perfect tool for the job, and man was it.
I started off with my family's shield, the rampant lion, and simply extruded edges of the 2D plane primitive until I had achieved the overall shape of the lion. The ‘Thicken’ command in T-Splines instantly brought the lion to life in a 3d extrusion that was both soft and smooth and with just a few tugs and pushes here and there the lion was finished just like that.
The next major part of the design that I figured would be a nightmare using Nurbs alone was the knights helmet above the shield. I’ve made a few of these in Rhino in the past using traditional Nurbs modeling, and it’s an all day process to get it the way you really want it, or will accept it.
A simple push and pull of a T-Splines Sphere and instantly the helmet shape came to life. A bit more refinement with a face cover and a visor and the helmet was over and finished almost as fast as it had started. All highly complex shapes built using simple 3D and 2D primitives and simply pushing, pulling and extruding. I love it!
The leaves... oh boy, the leaves. These turned out to be the challenging aspect of the design and the number one reason why I never cared to pursue these types of models from within Rhino. But this time I didn’t spend more time on them because they were still hard to model. No.. not at all. This time they were simple! What was hard was figuring out which layout for them I liked better! T-Splines made such easy work out of them that I actually got to design the piece around what I wanted instead of what was easiest to make or what I’d settle for. That almost has to be a first for me. A tool that let me make what I wanted instead of me settling for something that I knew I could make.
With my shield in place and adorned with its helmet and leaves I attached a quick banner that was completed in record time from a T-Splines surface. I had a lot of fun curling the banner in and around and under itself as it twists and folds along the ends. It was so much fun to play with the shape and really let it flow out onto the screen naturally vs trying to line up a bunch of two rail sweeps from multiple curves.
After my crest was ready I fashioned up a nice and heavy , round signet ring to lay the crest in. I did this by following Juan's modeling theory on building that sort of shape from 2D planes. I started with simple 2D faces and extruded and welded my way to my ring in under a few minutes.
Once all of my layout was finished I decided to go over the top and go to my favorite sculpting application, ZBrush, to add some more fine level detail to the helmet and leaves. I’ve never had great success exporting objects from Rhino that could work well in ZBrush without painful retopology efforts from all of Rhino’s triangulated meshes. Well those days are over, T-Splines exported the absolute perfect quad based meshes from the design that worked flawlessly in ZBrush without needing to do any re-topology or welding what so ever. Another home run for TSplines.
Not only did it make my design process easier, but it also gave me a bridge between my favorite modeling application and my favorite sculpting application.
Once I had it all put together I decided to make a nice render of it for the T-Splines guys. I adorned the banner with some T-Splines text and rendered it using V-Ray for Rhino. I created a ground plane using T-Splines to push and pull it around the rings as to look like cloth balled up on a table. V-Ray cranked out a 300 dpi render at 2100x1500 in just a few minutes and the rest is history. ‘My’ family history to be exact!
Thanks guys, T-Splines has changed my life!