FlowAlongSrf orientation preview or something

Getting FlowAlongSrf to orient your output the way you want it can be a really aggravating random trial-and-error process. There needs to be a preview step, which I guess is annoying the 15% of the time it works right first time…or maybe some sort of live preview when you’re trying to pick the target surface–maybe not of the whole object but just some sort of widget that also appears on the base surface so that you can see where it’s going to wind up?

Always set AutoAdjust=No. It gets it wrong 80% of the time. With it set to no, at least the corresponding corners will be what you actually picked… However there is still the issue of UV and normal orientations that don’t show up.

that’s opposite to what the manual says and what it does, at least here in my tests.

I do agree with Mitch.
The autoadjust is absolutely random.
I always suggest my students to turn it off and look at the UV direction.

I agree that a preview of some sort will help, or maybe just a way to rotate the UV directly from inside the Flow.

if you can send a sample where this doesn’t work I could log it, thanks

I’ll do but at the moment I’m not in class.

May ask you what’s the process the autoadjust it does?
Maybe understanding the " under the bonnet " process will tell me how to behave better.
For me it appears like is view based,but it’s a pure guess.

Well, I maybe exaggerated at 80% of the time, but IIRC when this option was added (V5? V6?) it was unreliable - so I leave it off and try to choose the correct corners. It doesn’t always work either…

AutoAdjust=Yes, corresponding corners clicked:

AutoAdjust=No, corresponding corners clicked:

TestFlowSrf.3dm (2.3 MB)

I cannot seem to repeat it here, both options (on or off) give me this result:

The darned “air cleaner” example in the Level 2 training guide did this to me repeatedly the last time I demonstrated it.

Try clicking in different areas near the corner… If you are near an edge, sometimes it gets it right, if you are somewhere on the surface, not.

I see what you mean, but the tool specifically asks to pick an edge near a corner. So I wonder if it’s not just a matter of changing the tool in such a way that you can only pick edges and make an automatic near snap so that you see which edge you’re picking.

I tried that example as well, and here I can consistently make it go wrong when I put it on “autoadjust=off” since the UV orientation of the logo surface I created and the to flow to surface are different. Can you confirm that you are picking the edges in the same way as Mitch was showing, ‘on the surface’?

Note that surface is trimmed, too, if I remember right. That may come into play - the pick location not being on a naturual edge.
(I was grumpy about autoadjusting initially as well, but in fact I find it works most of the time)

All that said, I agree with @JimCarruthers that the command would be a lot easier to use if it were more interactive. It should allow framing a section of a larger surface with isocurves, for instance - I once made a (very clunky) script, in pre-Rhino Common days, to do that - it was actually pretty handy, I’ll see if I can revive that as a way to explore…


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