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Accellerated modelling program like I-Deas?


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Some years ago I was introduced to a CAD/CAM/CAE suite called I-Deas which was quite cool. Using that you could get from idea to finished product in just 1 day.

As modelling a product is just a very small part of developing a whole product the modelling part did naturally only take very little time even for complex machinery. I have never since seen any kind of modelling program get anywhere near that effective though.

One of the things which made it effective was that it made extensive use of rotating geometry around an axis. You should had to draw a few lines, which took 5 secs, and then it rotated it around an axis and you ended up with a nice model.

I came to think about this when I saw the chess piece model thread:http://mapcore.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4867

Some those models could be created in a few secs using I-Deas. So my question is which modelling tool which provide similar functionality?

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Maya (and I think even 3dsMax) has something similar. When I made those chess pieces, all I had to do was draw half of the outline, and then use the Revolve Command, which created the final shape. The outline was parented to the shape, so to make any changes to the piece, I just had to modify the line and the shape followed suit.

The base for all the pieces was a cake walk because of that. Only took about 5 minutes per piece (except the details on the king, queen, and rook). The only one I couldnt do that for was the knight (obviously). I had to have a friend help me with poly modelling on that one. It came down to smoothing a poly mesh.

I guess if you look at it, the only downside is that Revolve in Maya only works natively with NURBS as far as I know. So if you want a poly object, you need to convert it from a NURBS object, which can be a pain in the ass, depending on how complex the object is.

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I have not tried any of the dedicated modellers like Silo and Modo yet, but in my opinion, the superior Booleans and deformers in Max beats the pants off any of the modelling tools in XSI, Maya or Lightwave.

Or perhaps that just the way I work. And I am not a Max fanboy by the way, but for modelling it is good and fast.

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Actually if I could have the G repeat last action command from Maya, I would be perfectly content with Max as a modeller.

This is what I do for medium to higher poly modelling. Make sure you know the deformers and the primitives (all of them not just the basic ones) by heart. Depending on what version of Max you have (after 5 the Booleans really picked up), get a Power Boolean plugin (optionally).

When I model something I try to block it out of as many primitives as needed to make the shape. Just slap them together, like building with crude building blocks. Then finetune then into the shapes they need to be with the deformers. No, don't flatten the stack just yet. At this ppoint you have great influence over your polycount and resolution density. After some tuning, you have what you want, and it is still perfectly quaded and all neat geometry. Which is the major plus to this technique. Then you weld everything together with the Boolean operations. Which will effectively flatten the stack of course. Tidy up the vertices, and you are done. Works particularly well for organic and odd shapes which can be hard to keep the geometry neat and quaded on.

The drawback on this techniques is that Booleans normally create incredibly nasty and messy geometry with stray vertices and edges all over the place. But the Booleans in Max have come a long way, and they are actually useful now.

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