It was my early days at Solid Iris that a thread was brought to my attention. A user was asking for an easy way to render parametric stitches for his models. Since this was my first support case, I wanted to be thorough. I started experimenting with Rhino, searching for ways to convert lines to geometry. I was happy to find out that Rhino had a specific command, related to the linetype, just for that. I created a basic model with stitches and presented it. The user was interested in my approach but he asked me:
How do you do that in SketchUp?
I believe you can imagine how I felt, when I realized that I was giving Rhino support to a SketchUp user. But, at least, there was something good out of this: I know now how to render parametric stitches in Rhino. And here we go!
The basic idea is to use lines to create stitches and change their linetype to dashed. Doing so, can give us the opportunity of creating parametric stitches on objects. Therefore, we will be using the ApplyCurvePiping command to convert lines to meshes.
What it Does…
The ApplyCurvePiping command, simply creates a mesh from the selected line with several options for mesh quality, spherical or flat caps and accuracy.
From the Rhino Manual:
The ApplyCurvePiping command constructs a mesh pipe display around a curve.
The great thing of using this technique, is the ability of having a parametric workflow, since the generated mesh is a property of the curve. So, by controlling the curve (point editing, etc), the mesh will be automatically updated for rendering. You may also change the linetype and scale, at any time.
Making it Work…
Hitting render though, you will notice that the generated mesh is not being displayed. And this is where the ‘ExtractPipedCurve‘ command comes into play.
From the Rhino Manual:
The ExtractPipedCurve command copies the internal mesh created with the ApplyCurvePiping command to create a separate mesh object.
By executing the ExtractPipedCurve command, a separate mesh will be generated that Thea for Rhino will be able to render.
In conclusion, this is a very handy technique and an extremely easy way for adding details that really make a difference. Combine it with the advanced Thea Material Lab and – I am sure – you will be able to achieve stunning results!