In Loq Airou you model with one primitive: Creased Subdivision Surfaces. The basic idea behind SDS(SubDivision Surfaces) is that the user creates a cage of flat polygons and the software uses an algorithm to compute a smooth third degree surface. This primitive has a number of advantages, first of all it is simple to use, it creates great looking surfaces and it has arbitrary topology. Since not all objects are smooth we have added the ability to have creased edges making it possible to model sharp edges.
Loq Airou uses single sided surfaces, this means that surfaces can only be visible form one side. The surface is also non-manifold, which means that only 2 polygons can use the same edge. The control mesh is restricted to only triangles and quads.
It is recommended to use mainly quads and to use triangles in junction points between quads. This clears up the view and makes it easier to see your model. Quad based models also tend to be easier to make smooth.
When viewing the model you actually can see two different surfaces, first you have the actual surface (in blue) and then you have the cage (transparent). The cage is the geometry that is modified so when we refer to modifying the different parts of model we always refer to the cage, and not the actual surface.
Sometimes some functions are applied to polygons and not to vertexes. In these cases the application will consider them selected only if all vertexes used by that polygon is at least 1%% selected. Selected polygons appear slightly brighter so they are easy to see. This unification of polygon and face select removes the need to switch between two different modes when modeling and allows the user to use the same tools for all types of select.
When a vertex is even 1%% selected a manipulator appears. A manipulator is a gizmo that gives you access to some basic ways of manipulating the selection like Move, Rotate and Scale. The full capabilities of the manipulator will be explained later.
Since Subdivision surface modeling is very much like polygon modeling you can turn of the SDS surface and only display the cage and then you have turned Loq Airou in to a Polygon modeler. It has been designed to be a SDS modeler with very detailed control so it may not be useful for high polygon counts but should be perfect for low poly counts, like game arts.
To modify already existing geometry we use selections. Selections allow us to choose a specific part of an object and then apply an action to it , like move it, rotate it, or scale it. The selection is per vertex and can be considered a number between zero and one, where zero is not selected and one is fully selected. But you can also have a vertex with a selection value of 0.5. This means that 50% is selected and that if possible actions will only be applied 50% to this vertex. This is very useful when you want to modify large parts of a model in a smooth way and it gives you the ability to modify the model as it if were clay.
First you must start a verse server, do this by clicking on the server icon and then start the modeler. In order to use the modeler you must now connect to a verse server, if the server you want to connect to is on the same machine as the modeler. Click on the line to type in a host name or IP-Address if the server is running on a remote machine.
Tip: Connect several modelers to the same server to be able to collaborate on models. This can be done on a LAN or over the Internet.
Now you enter the object browser, here you can see all the objects on the server and you can choose one to model. If there are no objects present press the "create Object" button at the bottom of the screen.
You can also press Disconnect to disconnect from the server or exit to quit the modeler.
Once you have Chosen or created a new object you can click on the object to enter the modeling environment.
By pressing the Right mouse button you can rotate around the model, by pressing the left button while holding the right down you can zoom in and out and by pressing the left button while holding the right down you can pan. If you press Both left and middle while holding down the right mouse button you can reset the view. Right clicking on the manipulator focuses the view around the manipulator.
In Loq Airou you do not draw surfaces but rather edges that create surfaces when connected. Any edges that forms a triangle or quad will create a surface. When a polygon is created it will be turned in the same direction as its neighboring polygons. If there are no neighboring polygons it will be created facing the camera. If the neighboring polygons are facing different directions the modeler will create the polygon facing the direction of the majority of the neighbors (or towards the camera if there is tie). When a polygon is created it will delete neighboring polygons facing the wrong direction or polygons that break the two polygons per edge rule. This takes some time to get used to but turns out to be fairly intuitive. It is recommended that you as a user only use this creation tool to begin with until you are comfortable using it.
By clicking and dragging with the left left mouse button you can create an edge. Both ends can be snapped to existing geometry to make connected edges. The edges are by default created in the view plane, perpendicular to your view point, the depth is depending on the last drawn point. However when you draw you can see three lines representing X, Y And Z and by drawing close to them you can draw in a specific dimensions and not just in the view plane.
If you which to draw in a plane perpendicular or one of the three axis (x/y, y/z or x/z) you can do by placing the camera in roughly one of the 3 axis. The software will then snap the drawing plane to the closest axis.
Note: at this time there is no indication to when the view is directed close enough to axis for the snap to be active, this will be addressed in future versions.
To create a continuous line consisting of multiple edges you can tap the middle mouse button while creating a edge to leave off vertexes.
In order to create geometry you some time need to match 2 edges distance, this is done whit the Right mouse button. While creating an edge in one of the 3 axes and holding down the left mouse button you press the right mouse button and move the mouse over to the vertex you want to snap to then release the left mouse button to create an edge.
If you press the right mouse button while drawing outside one of the axes the software will choose the axis closest to where you were drawing. This concept of right mouse button snapping can be found in a number of places in the application like where you are moving vertexes or using the transform manipulator.
Note: Releasing the Right mouse button will cancel the snap, so be sure to release the left mouse button before the right when creating the edge.
To delete edges or control polygons simply press the Left mouse button in space and drag a line that crosses the edges you want to delete. Make sure that the edge ends doesn't snap to any existing vertexes. Delete only works on polygons facing the camera and will not delete the surfaces turned away from the view. When you are drawing an edge that deletes another edge a red making appears on the edge. Make sure you see the red marks when you want to delete and that you don't see them when you want to draw an edge or do a selection.
Notice the red overlay drawn over the edges you cross the edges. They indicate that if the left mouse button is released the edges and the surfaces will be deleted. Therefore you must be on the look out for this symbol so that you don't delete geometry by accident when drawing or selecting. When an edge or surface is deleted it turns to dust, this is a good indicator that a delete has been made and gives the user a chance to undo the action if it was not intended.
To create a sharp crease, redraw an already existing edge, if you redraw it again it will return to its smooth state. A vertex connected to a sharp edge will be smooth. A vertex with two sharp edges will create a sharp edge and a vertex with three or more sharp edges will create a sharp corner. In general it is wise to keep most edges smooth since it will be most flexible. Even if you have a mesh where all edges are sharp, you may still want to make the edges between two polygons in the same plane smooth, since this makes it easier to change your mind.
note: that that the middle mouse button tap used to create continuous edges also works to create continuous creases.
There are a number of ways to select and unselected geometry. Three of them are available directly and the rest can be found in the pop-up menus. Each of them has their own advantages so it is recommended to use all of them.
By left clicking in empty space and drawing a circle around a part of a model, it will be selected. Be careful not to cross any edges when releasing since this will trigger the delete edge feature. If you when drawing a selection return to the spot where you started your selection a pop-up will appear and will give you a few options:
To deselect simply Left click in empty space without dragging. (dragging will create an edge)
You can also select a vertex by simply clicking on it, be careful not to drag it since that will create an edge. You can also select all vertexes in a polygon by clicking on it. If some of the vertices's already are selected the rest will be selected too, but if all vertices's already are selected it will deselect all the vertices used by the polygon. this allows you to toggle the selection.
The manipulator, can do many things and what it will do depends on where you grab it. If you grab it in the middle you can snap the manipulators position to a vertex with out modifying the selection, this is useful especially since it makes it possible to decide the axis of a rotation. It is also useful because the position of the Manipulator is used for snapping.
By grabbing and dragging one of the 3 straight lines you can translate your selection in the X, Y and Z axis. Pressing the right mouse button while dragging the selection enables snapping, making it possible to snap vertexes.
By Clicking inside one of the 3 arcs you can rotate the selection in one of the 3 axis. When rotating a circle appears with markings for degrees and fractions. by moving the mouse over them you can easily snap the rotation to a specific angle. You can also use the right mouse button to snap to a vertex.
By clicking outside the arcs but still inside the outer circle you activate the scale function. The scale is by default in 3 dimensions but by drawing along one of the three axises you can limit it to one axis. Right Button snapping works here as well, and it snaps to the outer edge of the selection. This is very useful when you want to scale an selection to fit in side a room.
On the right side you of the manipulator you will find two handles, they are used to move the normal and the tangent direction of the surface.
The lower one moves the selections in the normal direction, this means in and out. The normals are computed by averaging the surrounding polygons normals for creating a correct normal. If a vertex is used by one of more selected polygons its normal will not be influenced by any polygons that are not selected.
The top handle is the tangent handle. It allows you to move the outer edge of your selection in and out in the tangent plane. Notice how all outer edges moves at the same distance. Tangent and Normal Transform in conjunction with extrudes is a very power full tool for solve a number of technical modeling problems.
You can extrude selected polygons by middle clicking while you are transforming a part of the geometry. (Selected polygons are polygons where all vertexes are selected.) You can also press the middle mouse button multiple times to create multiple extrudes. Extrude works with all forms of transform (transform, rotate, scale, normal and tangent).
By left clicking on an edge between two unselected vertexes you can split it. if the edge is used by a triangle it will be split in two triangles, and if it is used by a quad it will be split on to one triangle and one quad. Continuous splits can be created by dragging over multiple edges.
To make sure that the start edge isn't selected so that the reshape functionality isn't invoked, look for this overlay that indicates that the edge will be split if clicked on.
When splitting edges the edges will emit particles indicating that the split is in progress
some times you may want create multiple splits of an edge. to do this tap repeatedly on the right mouse button wile you are splitting to increase the number of splits. Once you have increased the number of splits you can press the middle mouse button to decrees the number of splits. Increasing and decreasing the number of splits can be dome while you make a continues split to vary the number of splits in different areas of your model.
Sometimes selecting and using a manipulation is not very practical if you want to fine tune a model. Therefore you can just left click and drag any selected vertex. This feature also works with right button snapping. While dragging a single vertex you can press the middle mouse button to collapse the vertex with another vertex. This is useful for connecting 2 polygons or to collapse an edge.
While you are dragging around the vertex you can tap on the middle mouse button to increase the influence area and also move the vertexes around the one you are dragging.
This tool allows you to reshape a continuous line of edges and is very useful for sculpting the shape of an object. Start by left clicking on an edge between two selected vertexes. The edge and edges connected will now be hi-lighted and you can drag in the direction of the edge. When you pass the vertexes in the junctions between the edges the vertices will move to the position of the pointer. Tool works on both directions so you can at any time switch direction, this gives you the oportunity to re-draw an edge again and again untill the desired shape is produced.
In order to access actions pop-up menus are used. To access the pop-up menus press and hold the middle mouse buttons. Different menus appear depending on where you press the middle mouse button. By pressing the middle mouse button in the void will bring up a pop-up menu that gives you access to undo and redo but also gives you the abbility to jump back to the browser to select another object to edit.
The pop-up menus are directional based. To use them press the middle mouse button and the menu appears, then move the mouse in the direction of the action you want to access. Then release the mouse button to activate the action. To cancel a menu place the mouse pointer in the middle of the menu and release the middle mouse button.
In a later part of this text we will go through all other pop-up menus and explain that actions that can be found in them.
Popups are bought up by pressing the middle mouse button. There are 5 diferent popups depending on waht you are point at when pressing the middle mouse button. The different menus found pressing the middle mouse button on:
The content of the pop-up relates to the type of menu, so applying a change to the selection should be found in the Manipulator pop-up. Some times the specific element the us used to bring up the pop-up is used as an additional parameter for the action preformed therfor we call this the "Action" Element.
The manipulator pop-up contains:
"Reverse", makes all non selected versexes selected and all selected versexes unselected. (all soft selection goes threw the formula: new_selection = 1 - old_selection) This functionality is very useful because you can now un select portion by using Inverse Select. Select some vertexes and the inverse the selection again.
"Duplicate", duplicates all selected polygons and selects the new surface. When using this action make shore you use the manipulator to move the new surface away form its position before clearing the selection, otherwise you will end up with two surfaces in the same place that can make it hard to separate them.
"Detach", Detaches all selected polygons in to a separate entity.
"Collapse", Collapses all vertexes in to one. That will delete some polygons of reshape some quads in to triangles. if the single vertex created by the collapse isn't used by any polygon it will be deleted. A Detach folowed by a collapse can be used to delete selected polygons.
"Full crease", makes all selected edges creased.
"No crease", makes all selected edges uncreased.
"Flip", turns all faces to face the opposite direction. all non selected polygons that shares a edge with a selected polygon will be destroyed since a single edge can not have two polygons facing different directions.
"Smooth Selection", makes the vertexes selected borders semi-selected and expands the selection to make surrounding vertexes some what selected too. This Action can be applyed multiple times to get an even smoother selection. It is a very useful function since it turns the transform manipulator in to a deformer style tool.
"Delete", Deletes all selected polygons. it is a use full alternative to the standard delete tool since it allows you to select large pieces of geomety and delete them quickly.
"Revolve" creates a revolve form the profile of 2 or more edges not used by any polygons where one of them is the action edge. The action will find the end of the continuous edges in both directions and use them as the axis on the revolve.
"Tube" creates a sub shape that continues in both directionsof the action edge to find a continuous edge line.
"Select hull" selects the action edge and tryes to find further edges to create a long array of selected edges in both directions of the action edge. This tool is useful for editing revolves.
"Colapse" colapses the action edge.
The face pop-up contains:
"Mirror", mirrors the selected vertexes, using the action face as mirror plane.
"Flatten", moves all selected vertex into the plane of the action face. The action tryes to preserve the planes of the the surrounding faces making it possible to make multiple Flatten actions on the same model. "Fill selection", select all polygons some how connected to the action polygon
"Deploy", takes the polygons connected to the action polygons and copies and pastes them "face against face" to all selected polygons. For example if you create a landscape and select a number of polygons on it. Then you create a tree and then use the action deploy in the bottom of the tree, the action will paste one copy of the tree on every selected polygon. Deply works only if the Action face has the same number of edges as the selected faces.