VSR end of Life-

Looks as if several of you have received notices indicating that Autodesk software from 2011 to 2014 will no longer have their licenses validated. This would likely include Tsplines and VSR plugins for Rhino.

Focusing specifically on VSR- what will you need added to Rhino in order to keep your existing workflows? (No autodesk bashing please)

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Autodesk Rhino, just sayin’.

can you clarify?

Are you asking this way because you already are working on providing essential t-spline functionality in V8?

If you are missing Subd Functionality, please start a new thread, we’d love to hear your thoughts on that as well.

for this thread we’d like to focus on capabilities lost in VSR.

Thanks to Kyle for kicking this thread off! I have LOTS of thoughts on all this - had a brief convo with Kyle where he posed the question to me “If you could only use 3 tools from VSR, what would they be?” I think this is a super smart way of approaching this. I don’t know if I can go all the way down to 3 (maybe more like 5?) but with that in mind - the first thing that comes to mind is the Control Point Modeling tool in VSR.

If you, like me, think that point editing is the beating heart of NURBS modeling, this tool is unbelievably great. This rather unassuming pop up packs SO MUCH functionality into such a small space, it’s unreal. This combines ChangeDegree, MoveUVN (with proper Blend Laws/Falloffs!), ExtendSrf, ExtendSurfaceEdge, and Smooth into one simple and elegant pop up. There’s also the ability to Undo and Redo by manually clicking the top right arrows. I talk a lot about Sculpt and Match as a workflow - this is pretty much all the tools you want for manually sculpting a NURBS surface. It has properly implemented fall offs. All the selections can be hot keyed - so you you want to select a row, you just type “r” when the tool is active etc. This tool works equally well on curves AND surfaces. The amount of time that this tool saves by allowing the user to do all sculpting in one single command is unreal. It’s just very pleasant to work with - the UI is frankly better than what’s in stock Rhino - you can get into a really good flow while using this tool, instead of having to hop to lots of different commands.

That being said, there’s still room for improvement! There is no “Face” option in the Mode - It should be Single/Row/Face/All/Extrapolate on the right. Also - if there was the ability to integrate SetPt like functionality that would be even better. It’s a bit too dogmatic with regards to Class A - you can bump up and down the degree, but not the spans. Would be ideal to have the same up/down clickers for spans as there are for degree.

I should also mention - this toolset would be phenomenal for sculpting Subd’s in Rhino as well - so if McNeel were to mimic this type of tool, you’d get something that could be used on both classic patch modeling AND Subd meshes as well.

I’ll post more later, too many irons in the fire, but would be thrilled if McNeel were to implement VSR like tools!

-Sky

ETA - here’s a vid I whipped up showing the tool in action

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Okay - so my #2 tool(s) I would say would be for McNeel to put work into polishing up the MatchSrf command, and adding functionality like the VSR Align tool. Some folks thought when VSR came out, that it was simply a repackaging of existing Rhino tools. I understand why folks might think that, but it’s not the case.

Starting with MatchSrf - Rhino’s MatchSrf frankly needs some work to the underlying math, and could use some more functionality. I’ve found the limits of what it can do - it’s not too hard to find them in fact. Easier to explain with video:

So when it comes to high quality surfacing - I just don’t even use MatchSrf anymore, because I can always get a better result with VSR Surface Matching. I should also mention there’s other weird anomalies with MatchSrf. For instance - any surface degree 6 or above, along a trimmed edge, will often have the verts start to “oscillate” when you try to match. I can post an example if you like.

Along the same lines, VSR has another tool called Align. It’s for matching surfaces along all four edges at once. It has the ability to specify different matching conditions for different edges. Video here:

So in summary, my #2 ask would be to put more work into MatchSrf, and to create functionality where you can have different matching criteria for different edges of a surface. And on all of these - numerical feedback while in the tool is really key.

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For my #3, I’m going to suggest something that might seem a bit odd, even to people who use VSR. VSR is, in my opinion, the best reverse engineering software out there if you care about surface quality. Geomagic and the like tend to create super dense surfaces, and do a terrible job at aerospace and automotive surfacing - anything where you really want freeform shapes. I know this because I’ve spent the last seven years or so doing RE work with VSR, often times to fix models that were mangled by so called RE packages. The fact that VSR was not marketed to the RE community is baffling to me - it’s so good at this task, and no one seems to know it. It all hinges off the use a feature called the Projection Base. The Projection Base provides a target for creating surfaces - it can be any mesh or NURBS surface or polysurface. So, it even works great for cleaning up overly dense or messed up polysurfaces. Behold, the power of the Projection Base:

I’ve done more than a dozen business jets with this method, and have another full size aircraft scan later this month. I literally don’t know what I would use to RE with, if it’s not VSR. I’ve been super reluctant over the years to show people this workflow, because it’s so easy and has made me a decent pile of money, but hey if VSR is going bye bye I may as well share it. It’s literally just paint your patches on your laser scanned data with curves, pop the surface out with VSR’s Surface From Curves with the Projection Base enabled, point edit as needed, and then move on to the next patch. Lather, rinse, repeat and bill.

ETA - Worth noting that the projection base truly computes the positions of the verts so that the resultant surface will conform to the target as best as it can - it’s not like the sorta quick and dirty version that was implemented in T-Splines way back when.

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Thanks @sgreenawalt for taking time to write this all up and make the videos. The tools you demonstrate are great and hopefully this inspires McNeel to make Rhino a better surfacing program.

For me it would be hard to pick a first out of the tools you show.

I hope McNeel will first address the tools that are already in Rhino and improve them. Starting with a tool that I use often but quite dislike right now is the Rhino MatchSrf command. It’s as you say so limited in that it can only do one type of matching and has very little feedback.

The next is ExtendSrf which often works but also often refuses (especially on extending circular surfaces like tubes). I think the tool got better during Rhino 7 but it’s still not flawless. The way it can be done in VSR with extrapolation would be a great addition.

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Worth noting that this being upgraded to a default/standard command would be great as well. Maybe with some soft fall off type options.

Of course, MatchSrf does have the MultipleMatches option, but deeper version with direct controls like the above examples would be really great improvements.

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McNeel,

buy a License of Icem Surf and hire someone knowing this tool well. VSR was made by some of the Icems devs, and it feels like a lite version of Icem Surf.

Icem Surf was developed in tight cooperation with class A modelling at Volkswagen and its subcontractors at the late 90’s to create car exteriors and interiors, production-ready. This means they follow certain (specialized) workflows, some are fundamentally different to Rhino. So it’s not just about it features but also about approaching (car) modelling in a certain way.

The major difference boils down to the fact that VSR and Icem yields a clean single-span/non-rational Bezier surface by almost any operation. This contradicts a bit to your philosophy of very accurate multispan surface creation, but gives much higher control on highlights at any modelling stage.

So I don’t know if uploading some short videos here really helps in developing these tools. Especially because not any owner of VSR has this background (so may not know its full potential).

Apart from that analytic tools used to be much better, but you already improved that in V7. (Deviation Analysis, Static Highlights, Draft Angle Analysis …).
Also some modelling features are now present (e.g. split surface)

(Autodesk Alias has also improved a lot, so that could be an alternative to look at. But since I left exterior design, I don’t know the current state of art. When I was working there, I remember that for any final modelling, any Alia-produced model was polished using Icem Surf. Its tooling for surface-modelling was just a level better)

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Hi Kyle, I think this is a rant. What has happened since V5 came out? Over the years people have been begging for tools similar to VSR on this forum to what seemed like deaf ears. Countless threads were created and discussed by other people than the people that work for Mcneel. Any time anyone talked about it from Mcneel was like “ oh , you can do this with this tool almost the same”. Now people are being asked to open up again and put hopes to tools , most forgotten.It seems that Mcneel has a system of , “if enough people screen for it then we will look at it”. There should be enough screaming in the past few years and piles to not even have to ask.
Thanks to Mr. Greenwalt bringing he thoughts . Is he the only person that uses VSR tools ?—-Mark

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Agreed with the above (Tom and Mark), it’s based on a single span work flow which just doesn’t seem to be appreciated by many.

These guys have already started on a plugin -

I’m currently playing with the demo version and it’s looking quite good already. A few crashes here and there though. But I have more confidence that these guys understand the class-a workflow and what’s needed from the tools than the McNeel team, sad to say.

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Do you know what they will charge for it? Their website didn’t disclose that.

It’s probably best if you contact their sales dept directly to get current pricing.

It’s expensive as you’ve probably already guessed. More expensive than Rhino + VSR was, multiple times a Rhino licence but cheaper than Alias or ICEM Surf.

Hi,
I used to use it, but after a while they stopped doing new versions with enhancements and reducing some bugs, I had to move to other direct-modeling sotfwares…a real pitty.

Hi Rob,
I downloaded and installed it, but they asked to purchase a license before use it o test it, is that so?

Jordi, just send an email to Günter Sonnenberg - his details are at the bottom of that Kajto web page and he’ll sort you out with an evaluation licence.

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Another thing about MatchSrf - especially when doing multiple matches - you have to feed your inputs into the command perfectly, or esc out and start over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to start over, wheres on the VSR stuff, you can update the reference once the tool is live. This is true on all the tools that require edge inputs - you can change your input with the command still running. It’s stuff like this (UI/UX improvements) that I really wish McNeel would put time into.

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Ha! It’s definitely not just me! But the product got killed off so fast by Autodesk that there’s not many of us, that’s for sure. I think that for those of us that do use it, it’s a very powerful and wonderful tool to use, and it really shows a way forward for McNeel to improve the stock version of Rhino.