What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

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What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:27 pm

I've got a site model I'm working with and there are a couple similar things I'd like to do.

1. I've got some nice undulation in the grass but I'd like to take just the lines around the edge and pull them all to the same z plane so they match up with my sidewalk. I've found a plugin or two that will project those lines to a single plane, but none yet that will actually grab those lines and pull them to the plane along with the geometry they're attached to. The manual method is to grab each vertex and pull it to the appropriate plane but that takes a long time.

2. Similarly, I've got a hill which I'd like to make into a plateau basically with a building sitting on top. So I'd like to take all of the top lines and flatten them to a single plane. There are other ways like using curviloft and such but the topology isn't that great and I'm thinking I may need to apply a noise modifier later in 3ds Max so topology is important.

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Rich O Brien » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:39 pm

Brodie wrote:take just the lines around the edge and pull them all to the same z plane so they match up with my sidewalk.

take all of the top lines and flatten them to a single plane
-Brodie


TIG' Extrusion Toolset maybe? He has an extrude to object plugin

Dale Artisan Plugin to flatten
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby TIG » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:44 pm

Use my Extrusion Tools - EEbyVectorToObject - select the edges and project them down vertically onto a big flat face - erase the unwanted upper parts, explode the remaining grouped edges as desired...
If it's not too complicated Sandbox-Tools 'Drape' can make a flat copy onto a flat face...
There are also a couple of 'flatten' scripts around...
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:47 pm

Unless I'm doing it wrong I don't think what you're describing is what I'm talking about. Let me show some sample images. The white represents the grass and the purple represents the sidewalk. The first is sort of the 'before.' The second is after manually flattening the border. The third is with manually making the plateau.

The extrusion tools can't accomplish this can it?

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby TIG » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:01 pm

Right!
Do it by hand by moving the vertices down.
You could pre-divide the edge below the mesh into 8 so it's easier to snap the vertex to it without worrying about inferences/axiality etc...

It would be relatively easy to code - I don't think there's anything specific existing - perhaps Vertex Tools by thomthom would do this though ??
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby wyatt » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:10 pm

For the first question, you could erase the outer edges of your grass area. Then select the outer sidewalk boundary and the new inner grass boundary and run Sandbox From Contours. There will be some clean-up you have to do, but it should fill the area nicely.

For the second, I think Sandbox Stamp should do that.
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 5:27 pm

TIG wrote:Right!
Do it by hand by moving the vertices down.
You could pre-divide the edge below the mesh into 8 so it's easier to snap the vertex to it without worrying about inferences/axiality etc...

It would be relatively easy to code - I don't think there's anything existing - perhaps Vertex Tools by thomthom ??


Doing it by hand is pretty cumbersome. If SU has no solution I may just do it in 3ds max in the future.

I'd wondered if Vertex tools might have an option. Does anyone know for sure? In 3ds Max, what I would probably do is select the border vertices, apply a soft selection, scale down in the z direction until the border is pretty much flat, then move up/down to where I'd need to be.

I'll have to take a look at stamp for the plateau, I haven't used it in a long time. I can use sandbox or curviloft as you mention but the way the polygons come out, it's hard to get good undulation.

I could go through the process of using some TIG tools to create a point cloud and then creating some good topology from that perhaps but it's a pretty large grass area so it may take awhile.

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Bob James » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:31 pm

Brodie wrote:I'd wondered if Vertex tools might have an option. Does anyone know for sure?
I'll have to take a look at stamp for the plateau, I haven't used it in a long time. -Brodie

I use Vertex Tools quite often. It can solve your plateau need. You select all of the vertices to be involved in the plateau, then select the "put all vertices onto the same plane". Unfortunately, the resulting plane may not be horizontal. In that case you use the rotate function of VT. (TT said at one time he was thinking of making that a choice automatically).
Seems like you could also select all of the grass edge vertices, put into the same plane and then move them all down to match the sidewalk. (Which will become easier when TT adds a gizmo :lol: )
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:41 pm

Bob, thanks. Is it possible within VT to select a group of vertices and use the scale tool on them? In effect, scaling them down in the Z axis by .00001?

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby EarthMover » Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:43 pm

You can select each row of edges and use ThomThom's Edge tools to make them colinear on the Z axis. Or using Vertex tools, select the whole mesh and use Make Planar. Or Artisan's Make Planar and choose the XY axis. Also ThomThom's Flatten Script will do it on click as well.

Select all the verts and using VT to scale them down on the Z will decrease the overall size.
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 8:57 pm

EarthMover wrote:You can select each row of edges and use ThomThom's Edge tools to make them colinear on the Z axis. Or using Vertex tools, select the whole mesh and use Make Planar. Or Artisan's Make Planar and choose the XY axis. Also ThomThom's Flatten Script will do it on click as well.

Select all the verts and using VT to scale them down on the Z will decrease the overall size.


ThomThom's flatten script would create extra geometry which isn't what I'm going for (see images above).

Edge tools seems to make the lines planer but not on a horizontal plane which is quite important. It also only seemed to work on one straight segment at a time (ie. for the image above I had to run the script 4 times, once for each side). I end up with the same problem I had originally.

From what I can tell Vertex tools works the same way, however maybe it allows me to scale those edge vertices in the Z direction to make them on the same horizontal plane?

I don't know anything about Artisan's tools. Anyone familiar with it that can confirm that it does what I'm looking for?

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:08 pm

Just downloaded the Artisan trial. It does indeed do what I was looking for. Vertex Tools might be better though if I could make the points along the edge horizontal along with it's soft selection so there would be a nice easy transition.

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Dave R » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:10 pm

Seems to me that the Move tool can bring the edges down to the level of the sidewalk and Sandbox tools would handle the plateau.

You don't even need the Sandbox tools. You could create the plateau with Intersect.
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Rich O Brien » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:26 pm

I think Brodie's aim is to select the boundary edge and snap them all to another boundary that lies level with Z.

I notice that Thomthom's edge tool work to a point. They don't level the straightened edges. But that only leaves a quick rotation on each edge.

I'm gonna look at more plugins to see if this is hidden somewhere?
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Dave R » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:32 pm

You could be right. Still it took little time to just do it and get it over with. ;)
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Fri Aug 05, 2011 9:36 pm

The move tool works but on a large grass area it becomes cumbersome. On my project I had a patch which contained about 60 vertices which needed to be moved. Not insurmountable but certainly a good opportunity for some ruby help.

The intersect tool would work except I'm also trying to maintain some good topology as I'm considering running a noise modifier over the object in 3ds max (so the plateau would start flat in SU but end up being slightly wavy after the noise modifier - if the geometry is made of a single large plane rather than a bunch of small quads or triangles then that becomes difficult.

-Brodie
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby EarthMover » Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:51 am

I think I misunderstood what you wanted to do. I thought you just wanted to flatten it out.

Are you trying to do something like this?




What would interesting is if someone could write a plugin that would do a "Vert Drop" Essentially letting you drop all verts in a selection to a specified z plane.
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Bob James » Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:25 am

EarthMover wrote:Are you trying to do something like this?

Looks like a winner to me: as I understand the need.
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby TIG » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:40 pm

Here is my new 'dropverts.rb' viewtopic.php?p=346754#p346754
You can drop the vertices of selected edges to the 'Nearest Object', 'Lowest'[in selection], 'Highest'[in selection] and to 'Z=? [specified in a dialog] :D
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby Pixero » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:29 pm

My jsAlign script can also do this: viewtopic.php?f=323&t=20080&p=166929
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Re: What's the best way to flatten some geometry lines

Postby brodie » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:25 am

Inundated with help! That looks to be just the thing. I'll give it a shot on monday. Thanks for the help.

-Brodie
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