Friday, March 13, 2015


The stumbling block in 3d software is display of 3d information in a 2D medium. To be able to create and edit an object in 3d space, you need to be able to move either the object or your viewpoint.

Frequently. Fluidly. Having to stop in the middle of a scaling operation to grab a navigation widget (as Poser still insists on thinking is state-of-the-art) is rather like expecting you could play a First Person Shooter in which you had to put down your gun every time you wanted to look over your shoulder.

What you need, basically, is hot-key combinations; ways you can fly around the model or space without losing the selections or operations you are in the middle of. The way I work -- the way a lot of people work, I suspect -- is to move a LOT, constantly bobbing around to check alignment from different directions.

The best 3d software allows customization of the navigation controls. There are several good reasons for that. One is personal preference. Another is that forcing the user to always have a dual-scrolling mouse with haptic feedback is not a wise choice.

The last is because every piece of software seems to chose differently. Even the spacebar-drag is co-opted into some other function in some applications (or ignored entirely, as it is with Fusion360.)

So I'm flipping back and forth between multiple pieces of software just to continue any one project (like the Raygun, for which I'm currently working up the CAD and will be generating g-code for to send to the CNC milling machine). And since fast and fluid camera motion (as well as other basic operations like selection, copying, etc.) is required to model efficiently, every way in which different packages insist on their own hotkeys is a huge loss of production efficiency.

Heck -- playing Tomb Raider then switching to Half Life (or worse, playing Lugaru then switching to Overgrowth) will get your avatar killed as you try to remember that crouch and change weapon and throw are all mapped in different ways.

And these are similar changes. I build a mesh in Carrara -- where control/command/option left click let you smoothly navigate around -- to import into Poser; where clicking in the workspace does nothing but enable an unconstrained pan (as in, your camera flies off into a nasty Dutch Angle and has to be manually restored to default position from a drop-down menu).

At least Inkscape matches up with the Illustrator I'm porting laser files to; both map the Apple command-key functions to control-key functions.

And now Fusion, which is entirely different in navigation from Carrara (or Blender...but Blender is one of those rare aps that is almost completely customizable), and even from Cut3d (not that I need to do as much navigation in Cut3d)...

No comments:

Post a Comment