Sunday, October 27, 2013


Truth is, I'm running out of time.  Have to be ruthless now, try not to get flustered.  The familiar feeling of having bitten off a little too much.

I have to attach the hands/feet/paws/claws/hooves/wings to the ends of the limbs.  We have a rung, let's host another point on it, ultimately this can be controlled by the existing ankle position parameter, but for the moment let's keep it slightly away so we can see what we are doing

The point itself has a built in rotation parameter but that will only rotate us around the rung.  So let's place a circle on one of the planes, hang a rung across this and attach the paw.

That's effective enough, but I'm getting worried about controlling all these knuckle positions.

So I decide to rationalise my rig once more.  Two boxes that share an edge.  One diagonal rung, one curved rung.

I think this is probably the right level of simplification

So here is my assembled human.  Just call me Dr Frankenstein.  The rotation parameters come in useful to get the feet pointing forwards.  (always useful in my experience)

Can't get by without a cow and a chicken ...  & if you think there's some text missing in the picture above ... tick,tock ... got to keep going, can't worry about minor details.

I opt for setting up the limb pairs as types within the nested family and having a parameter to load the appropriate type. Working hard on getting my parameters linked up and grouped.

Here are the parameters for a limb-pair.  The left & right paws have separate angle controls. Best I could manage in the time available.

Ant the parameters for the master "Tetrapod" family.  Not yet reached the point where it is fully scalable.

And it is getting a little messy.  Some unpredictable errors popping up at times

I opt for the double nested planting trick to get my families to scale.  I need to move on.

All this nesting and parameter linking is taking it's toll.  Once you have the types set up everything is fine.  You can copy them around and navigate freely.  But when modifying a type or creating a new one it get's REALLY SLOW. Sit and wait for a minute or more while Revit thinks.  I checked out Task Manager.  No problem with RAM.  (actually it's still a pretty small family)  But the CPU has hit a plateau around 20%.  I am guessing that this has to do with Revit not multi-threading and basically my processing power is stretched to the limit. 1 core breaking out a sweat while the others sit back and have a cup of tea

Let's add a tail.  That would be another box rig.  Maybe I am being a bit willful with the rung placement, but actually there is a method to my madness.  The attachment end needs to be relatively square on, while the rest of tail should seem to curve freely in 3d space.

I used elliptical profiles once more.  Need a visibility parameter so as not to embarass my tail-free specimens

We are getting within a week or so of the present now.  (I am reaching the end of my tail)  The intention was to use a circle of beasties to reinterpret one Escher's common themes - metamorphosis.  Animals that come to life out of the paper, oozing out of a tessalated flat sheet into the real world.  Sadly I may not have time to do this one convincingly.

But I will lay down a tesselated floor down for my beasties to dance around on.  Pull out the generic model family from way back.  Nest it into a hexagonal curtain panel by pattern.  Six instances required.  I'm not going to try to make this resizable just now,

Load this into a divided surface.  Make use of a bit of trial and error adjustment to the U & V grid sizes

Hey presto, we have an infinite tesselated plane

Now the Escher work I have in mind has a dodecahedron, maybe a paperweight, sitting on the table.  One of a number of objects that the lizards clamber over on their way to paper space and back

He used polyhedra other regular geometrical solids in several of his works.  So I set myself the challenge of making something a bit like a cuboctohedron in Vanilla Revit.

It was moderately successful and quite parametric.  Several variants possible and it resizes too.

In one of its configurations it comes pretty close to being a close-packing solid.

Would have loved to spend more time playing with this aspect, but we really must get back to the "END PRODUCT"  Which at the moment is 3 Escheresque images.  The infinite fish piece is finished.  But the other 2 need a good deal more attention.  Let's start with the Still Life Street.  The books were looking a bit blank & I got the idea of making a halloween connection via their titles.  Why not use Philip Chan's trick of the face-based model text family that cuts into another.

Interesting thing about hosted families, even though the host inside the family is just a "stand-in" it's size has a limiting effect.  If you want to make a really big door or window, you may need to stretch the wall inside the family so that there is still something left.

I was very puzzled when I first came across this.  You make a window that works fine for ages and ages, then suddenly you decide to make a really big one and everything goes wrong.  I suppose you could lock the wall to ref planes so that it automatically grows with the opening.

I had this same issue with a face based family for placing grooved titles on my book covers.

It's a face-based family with model text that is inset into the extrusion.  Use "cut" and have a parameter to turn off the text.

I also made a face-based family that cuts a rectangular groove of variable size.  This allows me to paint panels in the book covers with different materials.

Add a few bits and pieces from my various adventures and give it a render.  Layer things up in Sketchbook to enhance the image.  And finally back to Another World to do the same kind of thing.

I spent my last available weekend writing up these two mammoth posts and further embellishing these two "impossible worlds"  I had hoped to also tackle the circle of beasties/tesselation idea, but time ran out on me.

So just one post to go.   Tomorrow I will present my final images, clean up the files a bit, upload a package and reflect a little on my successes & failures.

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