Home > Features > Product InDepth: FormZ 4.1

| 1 | 2 | 3 |


Working on Multiple Levels of Geometry

Form-z very explicitly asks you to specify the specific portion of geometry you want an operation to affect. This is referred to as the topological level. Some examples of topological level are: point, segment, outline, face, object, group and hole.

Topological Levels

In the example below I've used the move tool to affect different levels of geometry in much the way one could stretch points in a 2d CAD program. (see 005) The beauty of this approach in 3d is that it's easy to get at the exact geometry you want to affect and make changes to your model readily.


Moving Topology

In the example below the spacing on the windows and the reveals was repeatedly changed during the design process. I would isolate the mullions, glass reveals and fins and easily change the dimensions of the openings. This allowed us to really explore different scenarios without adding tremendous additional modeling time to the project. (see 006)

006 (architecture: BKSK Architects, NYC)

Derivative Objects

The real power of topological levels comes when you combine this with form-z's derivative objects. This is a tricky concept for newcomers to the program to understand but it's really key to unlocking the power of this program.

In the example below I've picked the face of the ramp and used it to derive a cube sitting up on the ramp. Note in the tool options palette I had the choice to have it be perpendicular to the surface or perpendicular to the reference plane (which would have given me a skewed parallelogram from the front view. (see 007)


Creating Objects Based On Existing Topology (1)

Derivative objects don't have to be just simple cubes. This example shows the steps to creating a window in a wall. I've created a volume (the wall) with a hole cut into it. (see 008) Next step is to switch my topological level to "outline" and derive a "3d enclosure" set to 2" width. This gives me the window frame. In step 2 I've picked the outline inside the window frame and have derived a 3d solid to make the glass. Finally I've again picked the outline of the opening with the 3d enclosure derivative tool and set the thickness to 3 1/2" to create the window trim on the wall.

Creating Objects Based On Existing Topology (2)

Boolean operations in 3d programs give you a powerful way to add, subtract and find the intersection of solids to use simple objects to create much more sophisticated shapes. By using these tools you turn your modeling program into a virtual machine shop allowing you to bore, mill, weld or rabbet parts as needed. Most 3d programs have some implementation of Booleans; the difference with form-z's tools is that they just flat out work.



Boolean Steps to Create Fireplace

In this example I've created a curved front solid and another solid the size of the firebox. In the second step the firebox is differenced from the chimney breast to create the opening. (see 009) We then intersect the resulting object with a 3" high cube to create the mantle. In the third step I made some simple sweeps with capped ends and then differenced them from the original object. The wireframe detail shows how clean the geometry actually is and it's important to note that the entire object or any of it's components will still respond to operations performed on any topological level I pick.


Closing Comments

form-z is a big rich program that offers lots of power to the user who masters it. The flip side of all this power is that it can seem intimidating to a novice to figure out where to start. By mastering the steps that I've outlined in this overview I've hopefully given a new user the beginnings of a roadmap to follow to discover the advantages of form-z's modeling environment and the steps one takes to learn to use it to your advantage. --- RICK BERNSTEIN, Senior Associate Editor.

| 1 | 2 | 3 |


Home > Features > Product InDepth: FormZ 4.1




NBC on iTunes





  | Corrections | About Architosh | Awards & Press Reaction |
| Site Map |

Privacy Notice | Contact Us | How to Advertise | Corporate Sponsorship |
Copyright © 1999 - 2006. BritasMedia Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Architosh™ and the ToshLetter™ are trademarks of BritasMedia™

Quantified - Quantcast