When to use NURBS vs SubD?

I’m back with Rhino and doing tutorials. I’m was sure this has been asked before, but a search hasn’t brought up anything. In fact it was asked during Kyle’s guitar video where he compared Rhino to a wood shop with multiple tools for different jobs. (Table saw, band saw, jig saw, etc.) With my experience, If I was in a wood shop I’d know which tool to use. Not so with Rhino. Are there certain criteria required of a model that might suggest one or the other, or at least which to start in?

nurbs is a great tool for precision objects, these can include anything from car bodies to architecture and anything in between.

Subd is best used for non precision things that have an organic or sculpted feel.

mesh is best used for purely sculpted objects when used in a brush based software like zbrush.

now…before you all go crazy and destroy my inbox…

You CAN sculpt with Nurbs, you CAN be precise with Subd, and you CAN do all sorts of things with mesh beyond sculpting…

You can also pound in a screw with a hammer.

The main question you should ask: Is it the best tool for that job? The decision to pick a tool from the box is completely up to you, your experience, and your intended result.

I made a decent living pounding in screws with a hammer (figuratively speaking) because I was a one man shop with very limited resources. I had to make do with what I had and figure out how to make every tool work as hard as it could. Sometimes this lead to creative solutions for difficult problems and gave me a competitive advantage. Other times it just meant I had to suffer through using the wrong tool because I could not afford the correct one.

There a really in the end no “rules”…Choose the tools that work for YOU and your projects and make the best of them.

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Well, the first rule of thumb for Nurbs modelling is thinking in terms of logic surfaces.
This will get easier after doing tutorials so keep up the good work.

Here is a nice little mini introduction:

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@theoutside

Or You can also hammering a screw with one pound.

My Shorti for SubD in RH7.x

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The main question you should ask: Is it the best tool for that job? The decision to pick a tool from the box is completely up to you, your experience, and your intended result.

The root of the question I’m asking, and it appears the answer is that experience will dictate. The problem being, having little experience with SubD, I’d always choose the tool I know best, Nurbs. e.g. Years ago I needed to cut shapes from 3/8" aluminum sheet. I’d been making all sorts of similar things in ply using my Router. How could this not work? Nope. Bit clogged in seconds. I asked about it on a newsgroup and got this response. “That’s what you get for using the wrong tool! But if you’re going to use the wrong tool, here’s how to do it.” Cracked me up, and his instructions solved the problem. But back to your answer. I’ll go with:

Nurbs is a great tool for precision objects, these can include anything from car bodies to architecture and anything in between. Subd is best used for non precision things that have an organic or sculpted feel.

I guess the reality is that I just need to practice the SubD. With more experience I’ll instinctively know if to use the router, jigsaw, or scrollsaw, and how not to gum up the blade.

Thanks again.

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You are correct, knowing the rules helps when you decide to break them.

Feel free to post stuff and tag me- I’ll be happy to weigh in and do what I can to help decode when to use what. But by all means, experiment, test, and break stuff- it’s the fastest path I know to learn.

I was told once,” wisdom comes from making mistakes that don’t kill you. “

Always loved that one.

The decision making process is clouded further by the different types of SubD. Early in the develop cycle, much was made of Rhino using ‘limit surfaces’ for its SubD and the added accuracy that could bring. To someone who’d never even considered what SubD surfaces are, that additional nuance didn’t mean much. I have to confess the relative accuracy achievable (specifically in Rhino) with mesh/SubD flavours x, y, z/NURBS remains a mystery to me, as does the likely loss of accuracy in converting an object from one type to another.

Can features/faces in a SubD object be ‘anchored’ to accurate geometry, for example? I know from reading threads here that circular holes pose problems, but can (for example) a face be reliably kept on an envelope interface/plane as it is edited?

Often you can get the job done with the wrong tool, but sometimes you just can’t. Try screwing in a nail!

any tool is a smoke generator if you use it wrong enough… :wink: