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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Autodesk Showcase Revisited - Doodling on a Friday Evening

“Sometimes we strive so hard for perfection that we forget that imperfection is happiness”
Karen Nave

Friday night I decided to take a wood working project I've been working on in Autodesk Inventor, and import it into Autodesk Showcase, just to have some fun. 

The project is a Prarie Sofa out of the book Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture.  I've been redoing the plans in Inventor

The sofa, up to know

Yes, this is what I do on a Friday night.  :-)

As I did this, I revisted some of the challeges that come from disconnecting my 'designer's brain', which I've found I need to disconnect when I start working in Showcase.

So what do I mean when I say I have to disconnect my designer' brain?

Well, my designer's brain thinks in decimals and tolerances.  It argues that ".1875" = "3/16? and anyone who uses ".188" isn't doing it right.  My designers brain thinks in right angles and precise calculations.

When you're working in Showcase, this line of thought can get in the way, believe it or not.  In reality, many things don't work in precise inputs.  No edge is perfectly straight, no angle perfectly aligned. 

Reality, by definition, is a bit imprecise.

So what did I try to do to create some of life's natural imperfections? 

First, I added in some cushions to the sofa.  Since Showcase can't create, them, I added them in Inventor.

With the cushions added

Looking at the sofa, I realized it was going to look too 'sanitized' in Showcase.  People would look at it and say: "That looks cool, Jon.  But I dunno, something isn't right."

Trust me, it's happened to me before!

So I went a step further.  I added two extra cushions to the sofa, but used the rotate tool on Inventor's Assembly ribbon to reposition the cushions.

Rotating the cushions
Now if you have a designer's brain, this part may make your eyelid twitch. 

Don't worry about rotating a given amount, just position it until it looks good. 

That's right.  I said 'eyeball' it.

In the end, I think you'll  be happy with the results.  Doing things like this breaks up those perfect lines, and gives you something that looks much more realistic, and therefore, much more appealing. 

Here's the finished result in Showcase.

Here it is, the end result!
I think addin the two pillows, rotated randomly added a bit of realism to it.  In the end, I'm glad I did it. 

As a matter of fact, I may go back and move some more cushions around, just to see if I can improve it. 

So if you find your self doing any presentation like this, be it in Inventor Studio, Showcase, or any rendering program.  Remember that in reality, nothing is quite perfect.

And that's the beauty of it! 

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