20 Reasons to consider learning Blender


#62

The case for modifiers in SketchUp.

Now that Fredo has teased us with a partial-modifier version of FredoBevel, I’d like to make a case for modifiers in SketchUp. I’ve been using them for awhile in Blender and they allow one to create amazing geometry fast, PLUS they also allow for design decisions to be made and fine-tuned later, which is always good.

In SketchUp terms, a modifier is something that happens at a group or component level. Adding color to a group or component could be seen as a modifier. You can change a groups color at anytime without regard to the changes in the underlying geometry.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Consider this corridor

Here is the geometry without all the reflections (and no handrails either, they were added later-- using modifiers of course…one polyline for all the handrails on the bottom and one polyline for all the handrails on the ceiling.)

Now here’s the geometry that created the corridor:

  1. Opened ended cube
  2. Same cube, just a tad larger as a boolean cutter for the wall
  3. Overhead polygon for lighting
  4. Rectangle polygon for floor
  5. Wall and bottom

Only 12 polygons, and 2 polylines for the handrails!

So, how to get to here from there?
These are the modifiers being used:

  1. SOLIDIFY This modifier takes polygons and extrudes them making them thicker or thinner. It was used on ALL of the objects above (other than #2, the Boolean Difference) to give them thickness.
  2. BEVEL This modifier was used on #1 to create the camfers, then again on #1 to add more fillets to the chamfre corners. It was also used on #5 to create the round interior and exterior. Because it was applied before the Solidify on #5 both the inside and outside were automatically bevelled.
  3. MIRROR Selective mirroring and grouping was used on virtually all the objects in order to create symmetrical versions of everything.
  4. ARRAY The Array modifier was also used to create multiple corridors and stack them together end to end (not shown in picture).

The advantage of doing all of this, is I only need to edit the 5 items shown in Green to adjust the sizes, dimensions and design of this corridor.

While this is an extreme example, it does demonstrate the power of modifiers.

It would be great if SU would add a modifier stack and let plugin developers create modifiers for objects.


#63

This needs two things:

  • non-destructive operations (we can work-around with “undo” and recomputing geometry, or keeping the base geometry cached in a hidden component)
  • a large set of modifier operations available, that means extension must implement a (not yet existing) Modifier interface (API) so that they can also be applied as modifiers. Even if SketchUp added such a modifier capability, it would not be useful if there are only 2-3 modifiers available and it will take a lot of time until extension enough developers add support for it.

There had been an effort (or several) to create a visual node editor where you could wire operations and modifications with each other. But there is no progress anymore. Too big for an individual developer and the outlook of other extensions supporting it was uncertain. As far as I know there hasn’t been any successful longliving community effort yet that several developers agree on a common API and work on a shared project (everyone is busy with there own projects and spare time is little).


#64

For those interested in how to model in Blender, I’ve created some very short tutes on Intagram:

There’s also a copy over on ba Tips and Tricks:


#65

New video on using the GroupsPro addon to help work on different workplanes.


#66

masterxeon1001 showed me some very interesting ways to create dynamic objects in Blender today and I just had to try it out. Cool beans!