I have reached a certain stage with the development of the Rounded_Corners idea
and I have posted an explanation of how it works at:
The demonstrated potential has well exceeded my initial vision, and there is
more to come. Taking note of the discussion below, I conclude:
There are two basic types of modelling, sculpting and parameter driven.
Sculpting is done on a graphical interface, it needs artistic skills and is good
for producing irregular curvy, but not precise, objects. Blender does this well,
parameters can be used but they secondary.
Parameter driven modelling is primarily done by changing parameters with the
graphic display showing the result but not as the primary interface. Users needs
a clear idea of where surfaces ought to be in 3-D space, but do not need
artistic judgement to put them there. CAD and PovRay work this way. More
expensive CAD packages can model curvy shapes.
Currently PovRay is rubbish at modelling curvy shapes and the Rounded_Corners
concept could considerably extend the capability for making them and become more
useful and, in particular, attractive to new users.
I read the thread "PovRay Google trends" with interest. My take on the situation
is based on where I am coming from. As a hobby I am developing some way-out
ideas for advanced transport systems and I want to present clear explanations of
these ideas. For some time I have used a CAD programme to work out the mechanics
and used it to produce some animated illustrations (which were very well
received when used for conference presentations). I got into PovRay in order to
improve these illustrations, the particular CAD package I was using had only
very primitive rendering capabilities, There are packages that are much better
but they were too expensive for what is just a hobby.
PovRay is not that different to CAD, Both are driven by parameters, (in CAD
these are the dimensions) and both are based on similar primitives, spheres and
cylinders etc., combined by CSG. Presenting the mechanics came naturally and
animating the movements of dimensioned objects with correct laws of motion can
be had straight forwardly by simple code.
However, I decided that it would be nice to include some simple, small scale
human figures in the illustrations and set about creating some. The idea was
just to have a set of stick figures that were to scale but not at all
realistic, so that I could sit them in seats and stand them waiting on platforms
just to give a sense of scale. Of course I got carried away and spent far more
time than intended. The result was Crowd which can be seen at:
From this I concluded that there is a different sort of modelling, sculpting,
where the result is irregular rounded things where the shape is driven by what
looks right. PovRay is rather bad for this. The shape of an object is modified
by adjustments of parameters and can only be checked by rendering and then it
can only be viewed from one angle. Frustratingly slow. And it is difficult to
get rounded corners at all. (Ok, there are blobs: limited, unintuative and
I did consider Blender for this project but concluded that effort needed both to
get to grips with the interface and to get dimensioned mechanical parts and
correct motions. For this PovRay has been the right choice. It would almost
certainly be better for the sort of sculpting need for the human figures but
they are only a peripheral part of the project
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