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In Rhino 4.0 Essential Training, author Dave Schultze shows how the 3D NURBS-based modeling tools in Rhino 4.0 are used to engineer products from toy robots to full-sized aircraft. This course concentrates on using Rhino 4.0 for industrial design and rapid prototyping, with a review of common 3D terminology using specific examples. Along with a comprehensive exploration of the Rhino interface, the course includes an introduction to building 3D objects with Rhino's three primary entities: the curve, the surface, and the solid. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this video, we will review the four different kinds of Freeform Curves in the reverse order that they appear on the menu. So, we can highlight the differences and end up with the one Freeform Curve you should be using whenever possible, the Control Point curve. However, before we start, just a reminder on the importance of Freeform curves. Their construction and editing are essentially the foundation of 3D N.U.R.B.S modeling. When you build a clean curve, you get clean surfaces. Let's start off by going to the Curve menu. We have a Freeform, and here's the four varieties.
I'll start off with Sketch. Then we have the Handle Curve, Interpolate Points and the Control Point Curve. Let's do the Sketch first. Now, we have to click and drag. We don't have a lot of accuracy here. It's random almost. Then right-click when you are done. And so there is the Sketch curve. Let's, try the next Freeform curve, the Handle Curve. So, before we start, this would be very similar to what you'd have in a 2D application like Illustrator.
Curve > Free Form > Handle. I'll zoom up here. Now, each time I draw, I am just defining the center. Then I can control the angle of that curve by dragging, clicking and dragging. If you want a sharp point here, you hit ALT, and then go ahead and right-click to complete. So, not as accurate either, so we'll move on to the next variety, the Interpolate Points.
This is the kind of curve where the points instead of Handles or random drawing of sketching, we have points that are on top of the curve. Curve > Freeform > Interpolate. Scoot over here. So, there is no real dragging needed. It's doing all those calculations for you, but notice you are, again, losing a bit of control. It's actually going backwards a few segments and changing that to make sure that all the points stay connected. When you are done, you can just snap to the end point or just use the Close options.
Remember, there is options available doing these commands as well. We'll end up with the Control Point Curve, Curve > Freeform > Control Points. Then I'll explain why this is probably the best way to draw all these types of curves. So, these points are defining a cage, which you don't really see quite yet. I'll show you that as soon as I am done. Let me go ahead and close it. I am going ahead and turn the Control points back on, so I am going to select the Curve.
On the menu, we have this option here, Control Points On or Off. We use the shortcut: F10 to turn on, F11 to turn off. Let's get those back on. So, notice when we want to edit one of these Freeform curves, we're almost always doing with the Control Points. So, it makes the most sense than to build it with Control Points, because that's the way you are usually editing it. I'll drag a couple of these around. This is actually a big part of the workflow, where you do a quick outline of a rough shape. Then move the Control Points to kind of tighten it up, and get a close representation of what you are after.
It's pretty simple to get more detail. You just put these more closely spaced. I'm going to go ahead and extrude this into the third dimension, so I can explain one more concept here. Control Points off with F11. I am going to select and go to Surface > Extrude Curve > Straight, just to bring this up in third dimension. Now, since we had a single curve and we made a single surface from it, we have the ability to turn Control Points on for the surface as well.
So, I am going to hit the F10 button here, so even though you can draw curves multiple ways, you are typically editing them with Control Points. But with a surface, you're always editing them with Control Points. There is no other way to do it. So, I am going to grab a couple of these and using the Nudge key, just move off to the side, and you can see the deformation. Now that we have reviewed the four kinds of Freeform Curves available, you should know that you can construct curves in any of the four methods you prefer.
But you always have the option to convert to another method for further editing. And count on editing time, because editing is mostly what 3D modeling is about. You usually spend more time tweaking a curve than you spend building it. Remember, most, if not all of your the 3D surfaces will start as 2D curves, so the construction of clean and simple curves will result in clean and simple 3D geometry later on.
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