Working with Curve Patches


Escape (ESC)
This is the all-purpose deselect key. Use it to back out of operations you don't want to complete or to stop working on a patch or group of patches.

Curve Menu Commands
The next set of commands comes from the Curve Menu. Some are duplicated on the Patch Tool Bar.

Cylinder(Menu: Curve->Cylinder)
This creates the simplest cylinder. Cylinders are always drawn with their open ends facing up and down. It does not matter which map view is open when the cylinder is created.

More Cylinders(Menu: Curve->More Cylinders)

End Cap(Menu: Curve->Endcap)
This is a half cylinder.

Bevel(Menu: Curve->Bevel)
This is a quarter cylinder

More End caps, Bevels:(Menu: Curve->More End caps, Bevels)

Cone:(Menu: Curve->Cone)
A cone is a cylinder with control points drawn together and welded at one end to form a point.

Sphere(Not implemented)
Design Note:
A curve patch sphere can be constructed from a cone. Start with a cubic brush. Convert into a cone. Go into edit vertexes mode and grab the control point at the peak of the cone. Pull it downward to half the height of the cone. Clone the resulting piece and flip it upside down. Simple Patch Mesh…(Menu: Curve->Simple Patch Mesh…)
The patch mesh is the basic building block use to create all curves. All the curve primitives are deformations of this item. For this to work, you must first create a brush of the dimension desired for the patch. Selecting this opens a Patch dialogue window. This lets you select the vertical (rows) and horizontal (columns) complexity of the patch. The more complexity means being able to perform more deformations on the patch. It also means adding a greater number of triangles that must be rendered.

Insert(Menu: Curve->Insert)
Adding control points increases the complexity of a mesh. This action does not increase the physical size of a mesh. Additions are usually done before manipulating the patch mesh.

Delete(Menu: Curve->Delete)
Deleting control points reduces the complexity of a patch mesh. Be warned that the features created by the removed points are also removed. It does not make the mesh a less complex version of the former design. Deletions also change the dimensions of the mesh, removing the area created by the deleted control points. A mesh cannot be reduced smaller than a 3 column by 3 row complexity.

Matrix(Menu: Curve->Matrix)
This has nothing to do with Neo and Trinity. It's the patch mesh taken as a whole.

Invert(Menu: Curve->Matrix->Invert) (Shortcut: CTRL + I)
This command inverts the normals of the patch mesh. The normals control the direction of facing for the texture skin and the clipping surfaces.

Re-disperse(Menu: Curve->Matrix->Re-disperse)
This is used on a selected patch. When rows or columns are inserted or added to a patch, the dimensions of the patch are not changed. The distances between the new additions and the old points are not the same. This command averages out the distance between the points. It does not change the size of the patch. WARNING! Only apply this BEFORE adjusting the patch. Otherwise, you may lose your work on it. With some patches, selecting this command will destroy the patch itself.

Transpose(Menu: Curve->Transpose) (Shortcut: SHIFT + CTRL + M)
(Function undetermined)

Cap(Menu: Curve->Cap)
This command adds "cap" patches to the ends of the patch. The original brush and the caps are linked together as a func_group entity. A Patch Tool Bar button duplicates this command. The type of cap depends on the selected patch:
image032.png
Normal Capped Cylinder
Cylinder The ends of the cylinder are sealed with circular patches.
Square Cylinder The ends of the cylinder are sealed with square patches.
Cone Both ends are capped (open and point). You will want to discard the cap on the point end.
Bevel If you select to cap a bevel, a dialogue window pops up. A normal bevel cap covers the space between the curve and the center.
Inverted Bevel An inverted bevel covers the space between the curve and the outer corner.
Endcap If you select to cap an endcap, the same dialogue window pops up.
Patch Mesh The bevel/endcap window will pop up. Results will vary depending on the manipulations done to the mesh.
Square Bevel Capped in the same manner as a cylinder
Square End Cap Capped in the same manner as a cylinder

Cycle Cap Texture(Shortcut: CTRL + SHIFT + N)
Press this repeatedly until the texture on the cap patch looks correct.

Overlay(Menu: Curve->Overlay)
Overlay turns the grid of control points on for the selected patches and leaves them on until the Clear command is selected. By having the control points on a curve patch be visible, it is easier for the designer to align the vertices of adjacent solid geometry brushes.

Thicken(Menu: Curve->Thicken) (Shortcut: CTRL + T)
If you think about it conceptually, Thicken transforms a curve patch into a three-dimensional object. It does this by duplicating the selected curve and moving it a distance away from the copied curve, and, if the "seams" checkbox is checked, it will cover the space between the original and the copy with patches. The distance between original and copy is selected in a pop-up dialogue window. The direction is determined by the facing of the curve's normals (the textured side). The duplicated curve appears on the opposite side of the textured face. The resulting object depends on the nature of the curve primitive being thickened. The following are some examples:
Cylinder A pipe is created. Checking "seams" caps the ends.
Bevel A matching bevel is created. Checking "seams" creates a bent square tube.
Endcap A matching endcap is created. Checking "seams" creates an arch.*
Patch Mesh A mesh that echoes the shape of the selected patch is created, but with XY dimensions smaller or larger by the measure of the thickness (smaller if the normals are on the concave side; larger if on the convex side).

* Thickening an Endcap is not the best way to create this shape. Bending a square cylinder will produce better results.

Patch Tool Barpatchtbar.jpg


The patch tool bar is turned on in the Preferences. Each of these buttons enables or disables a curve editing feature, or initiates a process on a selected curve patch.

Don't Select Curved Brushes
This button toggles the ability to select or not select curve patches in the map. If turned on (depressed), the user will not be able to individually select curve patches. Group selections will still include any curve patches within their boundaries.

Show Patch Bounding Box
This button toggles the display of the bounding box that defines the limits of the patch. On (button depressed) shows the bounding box.

Show Patches as Wireframe
This button toggles the display of patches between a fully textured mesh (off) and a wireframe-only mode (on). The wireframe mode makes it easier to see the deformations of the mesh and allows the user to see some control points that may be hidden by the texture when it is mapped on the mesh. It can also be a performance-enhancer for the editor (by setting the view to wireframe until you need to see the brush textured).

Design Tip: When manipulating the control points on a patch mesh, using wire frame allows you to best see both the control points and the deformations. Patch Bend Mode
If a curve patch is selected, this button initiates a multi-step bending procedure. There are tutorials available on several sites that address the fine points of bending a patch, whether it is a cylinder or a simple flat mesh. The ESC key will exit the procedure at any point. The following are just the steps:

"Use TAB to cycle through available bend axis. Press ENTER when the desired one is highlighted"

This highlights (turns pink) a row or column of patch control points. One of these control points will likely be the axis for your bend. Pressing ENTER locks in your choice and advances to the next step.

"Use TAB to cycle through available rotation axis. This will LOCK around that point. You may also use Shift + Middle Click to select an arbitrary point. Press ENTER when the desired one is highlighted."

This highlights the specific control point around which the patch will bend. Pressing ENTER locks in your choice and advances to the next step. You can also choose the control point by SHIFT + middle mouse button clicking on the map window. The click need not be within the bounds of the patch.

"Use TAB to choose which side to bend. Press ENTER when the desired one is highlighted."

This highlights the side or end of the patch (relative to the bend point) around which the patch will bend. Pressing ENTER locks in your choice and advances to the next step.

"Use the MOUSE to bend the patch. It uses the same ui rules as Free Rotation. Press ENTER to accept the bend, press ESC to abandon it and exit Bend mode."

Clicking and holding the Left mouse button on the map window and dragging it around will cause the patch to bend. Pressing ENTER or ESC at this point will accept any changes that you have made.

Redisperse Patch Points
This is used on a selected patch. When rows or columns are inserted or added to a patch, the dimensions of the whole patch are not automatically adjusted. The distances between the new additions and the old points are not the same. This command averages out the distance between the points.

WARNING: Only apply this BEFORE making adjustments to the patch, otherwise you may lose your work on it. With some patches, the patch itself will be destroyed.

CAP(put caps on the current patch)
This is used on a selected patch.

Design Notes:

Weld Equal Patch Points(welds equal patch points during moves)
(Patch Control Bar only) This feature, when selected (button pressed in) causes control points to weld together if they are moved to the same coordinates. Undo will undo the move and the weld.

Drill Down(selects drill down rows and columns)
When this is toggled on (depressed), clicking on a control point in a 2D Map view selects all the control points in the row or column beneath it. Moving Patches

Moving Selected Curve Patch
These keys move the curve patch around the map in discrete map grid increments.

Nudging the Curve Patch
These keys move the curve patch around the map in discrete map grid increments. The movement is in terms of the selected window, not in terms of XYZ coordinates.

Snap Selection To Grid(Shortcut: CTRL + G)
If you are using the map grid to keep curve patches in alignment, this is a great tool. Rotated curve patches and curve patches that have had their vertices tweaked can have vertices that no longer lie on map grid intersections. This snaps the vertices to align with the grid. Be warned that snapping to large grids may be hazardous to the health of your curve patch (Snap and it's gone! But that's what UNDO is for).