Optimal user interface

In my opinion, the SubD kernel should not compete with Mudbox, ZBrush, 3D-Coat, Claytools, or Sculptris. Rather, it should be optimized for designing outer surfaces of aircraft and boats. When you design these surfaces, you want lots of freedom, but you also want some constraints so that all engines fit inside the surfaces. It is natural to constrain the surfaces with curves. The ideal user interface would have 3 types of constraints:

  1. The surface must pass through entire constraining curve and it must satisfy chosen continuity at the curve (G0=kink, G1, or G2). Radio buttons provide additional options: start surface at the curve, terminate surface at the curve, close surface near the curve. Slider relaxes the surface (so that it is near the curve).
  2. The surface must be inside constraining curve. Slider pulls the surface away from the curve.
  3. The surface must be outside constraining curve. Slider pulls the surface away from the curve.

Fun fact: None of the programs you list here is actually a SubD modeling program :o)

These are all Digital Sculpting programs or Live Displacement painters – some of them don’t even work with meshes (but with Voxels). Only Zbrush just quite recently got an (additional) SubD - modelling workspace.


I think Optimal user interface for subD in rhino should be the exact interface of dear departed t-spline plugin

Dear by how many? The product was absolutely obscure, basically non-existing statistically speaking among the Rhino user base (not to be confused with the small minority who frequents this forum, and the even smaller subset of that minority who follows these SubD threads here).

I think if McNeel implemented the exact interface, it would serve the exact number of users, or probably 3-4x of that, since there’s no extra cost/installation. Still… that would be a massive disappointment and opportunity cost for everyone else.

T-splines user interface is based on rectangles - you make them and change them. Rhino is proficient at making closed curves. It would be natural to exploit this proficiency in the SubD user interface. In my opinion, the fastest way to make complex organic surfaces suitable for aircraft and boats is lofting curves, joining the lofted surfaces with a Boolean command, and tweaking the final surface. If the SubD user interface has the constraints described above, the sliders can be used to tweak the final surface.

T-spline was so important for both rhino user base and mcneel people that they decided to add those functionality to rhino

Oooh, I see. It makes sense then.

IMHO the largest obstacle to SubD in Rhino is in the lack of strong Mesh editing tools.
SubDiv as it sits looks pretty good. Maybe a few improvements on crease control and the addition of history would be very helpful.
The best interface for Subdiv would be an improved interface for Mesh editing (ring/loop selection, improved split faces and quads, etc)

We are working on it.

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It would be nice to make these fusing blobs in Rhino 7:

…and (minimum surface) bubbles:

…and dynamic isosurface remeshing:

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Solid Thinking program has built-in subdivision surfaces with simple user interface (from 15th minute to 24th minute): https://vimeo.com/253681006

SuperD Rhino plugin ($550) is similar to SubD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEcVgShbWGg

The existing Sub-D interface is fundamenataly wrong, because it is optimized for tweaking control points rather than making new “blobs” quickly. Probably the fastest way to make new blobs is lofting curves. Another option is making stick figures from pipes.

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“Wrong” is super subjective depending on what type of object you are making.

I think you may more accurately mean “wrong for me”

This is clearly the crux of any interface design…shoe designers and architects and jewelers and car designers, and sculptors all use rhino completely differently and trying to bridge every user scenario ultimately results in a compromise that some folks just won’t like.

Scripting, aliases, hotkeys and grasshopper hopefully give you the tools you need to make stuff anyay that works for you.

If not, then let us know what specific tools are missing that would work for your situation.


I have lots of respect for you because you are T-splines expert, and because I have watched all your free videos.

I am talking about all SubD work, rather than my own work. SubD objects are suitable for smooth blobs and organic shapes only. All SubD work goes through two stages. The first stage is making rough shape. The second stage is refining the rough shape. As of now almost all SubD commands refine the shapes. The only SubD commands for making the rough shapes are the primitives: SubDBox, SubDCone, SubDCylinder, etc. Making the rough shapes from the primitives is very slow, so it is more practicable to make the rough shapes from NURBS, converting them to meshes, and converting the meshes to SubD objects. (Mesh commands are too buggy.) NURBS make the rough shapes quickly because they have the Loft, Pipe and Boolean commands.

The essence of my latest post is that we need faster way to make the rough shapes. I mentioned lofting and stick figures in my latest post, but there are more options. Sculpting (like Mudbox, ZBrush, Claytools, or Sculptris) may be useful if it is fast. Another option is a tool resembling extruder. We have to brainstorm new user interface for making the rough shapes quickly.

another option is to rough out something very quickly in zbrush- then bring it into rhino, quadremesh it and then go to subd, then to nurbs s necessary.

BUT, I have to mildly disagree with your statement that sub d is for blob shapes only. The best sub d objects have a very refined blend of sharp and soft. LIke a really good sketch, you have to have a balance of thick and thin, light and dark…

sub d models in general suffer from a lack of sharpness in MOST cases due to the user, not the tool. I have worked hard to push my own skills to be able to get a decent balance of Blob and sharp, and the tools are capable of doing it, if you push them to do so. Like drawing in photoshop…a lot of people use brushes that are too big and their stuff looks fuzzy…

In rhino’s case you can use sub d for soft stuff and seamlessly work with nurbs to sharpen it-

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Brian James proved in a recent video that gumball can quickly extrude the rough shapes: https://vimeo.com/390504427

Combining the gumball extrusion with the Bridge command and the Stitch command may be fast enough to make the rough shapes. In other words, it may be faster than making the rough shapes from NURBS, converting them to quad meshes, and converting the meshes to SubD objects.

SubDLoft would become very important if it could be combined with SubD Boolean Union. Unfortunately, SubD Boolean Union does not exist yet.