# Boolean in Carrara or Hexagon or am I a fool?

Posts: 166
edited September 2012

Hello everybody
Just found Cripeman's tutorial on making a facade. Seems like that method will work. So I am good.
But I did notice Carrara Cafe tutorials don't seem to work anymore. Found them on Youtube.
Thanks

I have a simple task. A faceplate for a piece of electronic gear. Picture a 1/4 in thick plate, about 4x10 inches.
This plate would have a few rectangular cut outs for meters, and about 10 small holes for adjustment screws to poke out.
Normally This would take me 5 minutes in Sketchup, then export, then Meshmaker, then it still needs to be messed with in Carrara for the holes to look right. I saw boolean operations in Carrara. This method ' Looked similar to what I did in sketchup , make the plate , draw a bunch of circles and rectangles and subtract. I tried that , and well It's just not sinking into my thick skull in carrara. I have read the section in the manual, but it suggests a menu should pop up asking if I want to subtract etc.
I have seen odd french video's that make it look like it can be done in Hexagon, but when I searched these forums for tips, all I see is
no mention of Boolean in Carrara, and lots of warnings of using this method in Hexagon.
Is there a different method in Carrara I'm missing ( just point me in the write direction I'll read the manual and find tutorials.
Does this work in Hex?
Thank you for any tips in advance!
Carrara pro 6
8068

Post edited by 8068 on
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• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

Yeah, I'd do it in Hex because Carrara's modeller sucks.

It's pretty simple, draw out your plate, then make a cylinder the shape of the circular hole, select the plate object, select boolean, and subtract (or whatever the tool is that gets you what you want).

• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

By the way, one reason why I try to never use booleans is you're gonna get some real nasty polygons when you get it into Carrara. But if it works, then cool.

• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

Oh, and another by the way...

If you can get away with square holes, just do a tesselation by slice in Hex to form the four sides. Much cleaner. And if you're gonna have big ol' knobs in front of the holes, maybe you can get away with faking it and not even putting holes in? Or maybe just make black holes in your UV map to make it look like holes?

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

you get nasty ngons in sketchup too using the extrude punch but you can fix them in Carrara by triangulating ngons.
I find punching holes using boolean objects very hit and miss, always the wrong bit deletes!
the sketchup extrude tool is pretty cool, Carrara needs one.
my sad solution is to stick an empty polygon shape in an emptied polygon, bridge it with two lines, fill the two polygons between and triangulate.

• Posts: 2,003
edited December 1969

Hi 8069 :)

Unfortunately some of the advice here isn't going to improve your modelling skills, or your knowledge of Carrara.

Carrara has a Spline modeller, and a Vertex modeller, and the shape you want to create can be made using either modeller, and all without resorting to using Boolean operations.

Boolean tools are like chainsaw,. powerful an useful for some tasks, but its not a general multi-purpose tool.

Booleans should be used when there's no other possible way to create the shape you want.
but you should really learn what's possible using basic "Box modelling" skills.

If you have a Vertex drawing program, you can draw the shape you need, and export as an Adobe Illustrator (AI) or Encapsulated post-script (EPS) .. you can then Import that EPS or AI file into the Spline modeller then set the depth you need (See pic 1)

Using basic "Extrusion" in the vertex modeller, you can create the shape you want, without spending much time, and without the mess that usually happens with power tools in the hands of a novice. (see pic 2 )

Hope it helps :)

• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

BOOLEAN it a disaster in Carrara and more than problematic in HEX! Learn to MODEL correctly and and do it the proper way!

• Posts: 0
edited December 1969

eDAGE is right! You could get away with it in Carraras Spline modeler. IF you have aa Vector modeler like Illustrator, you can make all the fine curves, then JOIN or combine them. Then simply import them into carrara SLPINE modeler and extrude them! I used to do that all the time.

• Posts: 2,003
edited December 1969

Hi Richard :)

You can still use the Carrara shaders / projection mapping, and the "layer shaders" to texture a spline model, or you can convert it to a Vertex model (edit / Convert to other modeller / vertex modeller). if you want to UV map it and export a UV template to texture.

Boolean operations can be very useful, but,..most people don't create the correct geometry before they use a Boolean and that Forces the application to create more edges and vertices than are absolutely necessary, and that's usually what causes the mess.

For example:
If you have a simple cube, and a cylinder, then the cylinder obviously will have more edges than the cube, and if you use a Boolean Cut or subtract on those, then the modeller has to add edges to link all the points together.

If you subdivided the cube first, to create those additional edges, then the modeller should be able to make a much cleaner boolean.

Modelling without using the boolean , and learning to join different poly-meshes together correctly,.. is a better approach. (in my opinion)

Quick example :
Sometimes all you need is the illusion of a hole in an object, and that can be done using an Alpha map ..
this is a cube primitive, with a couple of shape Layer shaders applied to it,. One is the Bio-hazard label (texture map), on a rectangular layer, and the other is an alpha map, on an Oval layer, which creates the illusion of a hole.

An alpha (texture map) would probably be the simplest method for the OP to create the illusion of a metal plate with holes.

:)

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

I meant to follow up my "advice" with screenshots but had to leave for work, just got home now, on android, so I better fire up my desktop and show you how I punch whatever shape holes I desire in flat faces on objects using my bassackwards method!
I know it sounds stoooopid but when I show you you will see it actually is not! ;-P

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

here goes

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

....

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

Unfortunately some of the advice here isn’t going to improve your modelling skills, or your knowledge of Carrara.

or you will learn some thinking outside the box ways of doing stuff that only raving loonies like me could possibly come up with :lol:

• Posts: 10,359
edited December 1969

viola :red: uhm I had not meant to refer to a stringed instrument, just bad spelling wallah, gallah, ta da!

• Posts: 2,391
edited September 2012

3DAGE said:
Unfortunately some of the advice here isn't going to improve your modelling skills, or your knowledge of Carrara.

Awww, Andy, was that a little bit of a shot at the advice I gave? I thought we were buddies :)

A bit surprising, because you pretty much said the same stuff I did. As I've always said, booleans suck, but in some cases (very few cases) they are the quickest and most efficient way to get what you want. And in this case, unfortunately, is probably one of those few cases. You can knock out what he's describing very quickly, and UV map it, without having to have external drawing programs which I assume most hobbyists don't have.

And it sounds like you agree with my UV mapping approach instead of using a modelling solution.

BTW, here's a couple images of a plate very quickly modelled in Hex using booleans, UV mapped, and brought into Carrara and shaded. Looks fine to me, UV mapping is fine, and it was really quick to do.

I agree, booleans suck, but sometimes it's more important to get the job done well than it is to worry about technique, cuz it may not matter. And IMO, that is good modelling technique...knowing when to hold 'em, and knowing when to fold 'em...

Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
• Posts: 166
edited December 1969

I managed to get by in the spline modeler. The holes were a bit polyish, but it seemed that turning fidelity up to 500% smoothed it out
a bit. I did look at the " Voltmeter " in the carrara stock objects, and noticed even though certain parts looked more like a polygon in the model room they looked very smooth when rendered. This still confuses me a bit. Next time I'll give the 3Dage's idea of a import a try.
Again Thank you all again. It never ceases to amaze me how deep this program is!
8068

• Posts: 1,885
edited December 1969

Quick tip - you want a perfectly round hole, delete a perfectly square poly and smooth the mesh.

Just a follow-up on Wendy's method - this is very simple, easy in hex, a bit more of a pain in Carrara, but doable.

Draw your squiggly curve - be sure the ends are closed. Copy/paste and expand the copy until it completely surrounds the original, with some decent space between the nearest points. Square off the sides, making sure not to get any cross-overs - this is the easy part in Hex and the pain in Carrara - maybe someone can give a simple method? Do a Ruled Surface and shrink the outside square to the size needed. All quads, no messy n-gons or tri's.

• Posts: 80
edited December 1969

the answer to booleans, is CSG, something I hope they add to Carrara, or Hexagon... CSG is great,.

• Posts: 1,885
edited December 1969

OK, I'll bite...CSG is what?

• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

Roygee said:
OK, I'll bite...CSG is what?

It's some more super awesome software that makes super awesome models that nobody really needs, and also gives guys another excuse to play with cool software instead of learning how to model in the first place.

Basically a super boolean application where you combine simple objects using booleans to get cool complex shapes that look cool.

• Posts: 98
edited December 1969

I have never gotten a boolean to work in anything other than the app it was modeled in. When I boolean in Carrara or Hex, it looks like crap in DAZStudio and Poser.

• Posts: 2,391
edited September 2012

UVDan said:
I have never gotten a boolean to work in anything other than the app it was modeled in. When I boolean in Carrara or Hex, it looks like crap in DAZStudio and Poser.

One of the many reasons why professionals tend to avoid booleans like the plague. Booleans cause weird polygons, and different apps handle them differently. Non-planars, n-gons, normals, etc., can be handled differently when modelling and rendering and all other stuff in different apps. So if you are in a professional environment where you use multiple apps to do different stuff, booleans are evil.

But probably for most people here who work in one app, and who like the ease of using booleans, it might be fine.

Personally, I almost never use them. I hate em. But interior circular holes on throwaway objects are one of those cases where I tend to use a boolean, but wince while I'm doing it. And I can't look at myself in the mirror afterwards.

Funny, I used to get a lot of flack from folks here when I ranted about how bad booleans are, and now we're actually getting people who are becoming strict anti-booleans. Cool.

Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
• Posts: 1,885
edited December 1969

Fully agree with Joe here - Boolean is basically nothing other than a short cut to something you could do better by proper modelling techniques and a bit of planning. Holes? Make the hole and build the mesh around it.

One very good application of Boolean in Hex is using it to cut complex shapes from curves. Another - and I'll challenge anyone to do this without Boolean - is to use text to make an engraving - such as in a headstone. But how often are we called on to make engraved headstones?

• Posts: 2,391
edited September 2012

Roygee said:
Fully agree with Joe here - Boolean is basically nothing other than a short cut to something you could do better by proper modelling techniques and a bit of planning. Holes? Make the hole and build the mesh around it.

In the vast majority of cases, yes, you could get a nicer result by using something other than booleans.

However, I don't think everyone realizes WHY booleans are (or at least can be) bad. And for amateur/hobbyists, those reasons may not apply. But as a general work practice, professionals don't like them for the reasons I mentioned, plus a bunch more.

One reason is because you can easily generate polygons that can cause troubles, either in your own app, or when exporting to another app. It might surprise some here, but not all apps handle polygons the same way. How they handle them can vary, and there's no "right" way. It can involve some tradeoffs or design decisions.

For example, if your modelling generates n-gons, such as with 3DAge's method of drawing out and extruding the faceplate with holes in it, you could have problems. Some apps don't accept n-gons on import, such as Carrara. It converts n-gons to triangles. So you can make a nice looking shape in one app, and when it gets to the other you get a trashy mess of weird triangles. Good modelling practice? Well, not much you can do. And handling n-gons is often fraught with other problems. How do you subdivide them? Some algorithms required quads for subdivision. What they gonna do with an n-gon?

So whether you generate n-gons with boolean operations, or with a "draw out and extrude" operation, you could have the exact same problems.

Booleans can also cause non-planar polygons that don't render correctly in some apps. A triangle can't be non-planar, but any polygon with 4 or more vertices (including n-gons) can be. So whether you generate a non-planar n-gon with booleans or with extruded spline modelling or whatever, you could have problems. If you have a quad polygon with 4 vertices, and you move any one of those vertices a micro-meter away from planar, you have a non-planar polygon. So what happens if you move two opposing vertices of the quad poly to form a sort of inverted V? How does the program and renderer handle it? Should it convert the quad to two tris like some apps do? Or should it just not render the poly and leave a black hole, like Blender and Lightwave and others do (if I'm remembering my apps correctly). There's no "right" answer. Now with an n-gon with 36 vertices, you have a whole lot more chances to make that a non-planar polygon, and what is the program gonna do with that mess when you start moving vertices? Probably why Carrara converts n-gons to tris, to get rid of the hassle.

Which is why I start just about all of my modelling with a primitive box ("box modelling") and modify from there. You know you have clean, planar, uniform polygons, and you just make sure you apply clean operations that don't generate bad stuff along the way. Anything else you do leaves you open to generating bad polygons, which may or may not cause problems depending on what you do with them.

I guess the point is, boolean operations themselves aren't bad, it's what they generate that can be bad. So if you're generating the same stuff using other techniques, it's still bad. Or at least can be bad, depending. But there are cases where you're not gonna generate an ideal mesh no matter how you handle it.

By the way, Roy, I'm fascinated by your idea of making a hole and building a mesh around it. I assume that was a joke, or do you have a cool modelling technique?

Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
• Posts: 2,003
edited December 1969

Hi All. :)

Just to clarify, I'm not having a go at any individual here. just the advice.

The points that got me were the advice to use Hexagon, and the presumption that Carrara wasn't capable of modelling an object like this.

That's clearly wrong advice, and perhaps more importantly, it doesn't help the customer to learn anything about the software they've bought. (other than it's not good enough) or how to approach a Modelling / Texturing issue like this, where there are several better and simpler methods of accomplishing the same effect without using Booleans.

Wendy, :)
Using the Bridge and Fill tools is something I often use since it gives you more control to specify what gets joined to where.
even although it takes a little bit longer to do,. some things are worth taking time with.
I also think it helps you think outside the box and look for different solutions, and that's a really Big chunk of what you need to do in modelling and designing.

Joe, :)
Yes,. I agree with most of what you've said. but not with the points that Carrara's modeller sucks, and,.. Use Hexagon.

Hexagon is a decent modeller, but Carrara has several adequate modelling tools and the OP is asking how to do this in Carrara.
It's also not a problem to which Boolean is the best answer, which is actually the main question.

I'm not getting at you or Wendy personally, so please don't take it that way.

I'm saying that Yes, this can be done in Carrara, and No, Boolean isn't the best approach.

Also, having additional vector drawing and photo editing tools are (for me) essential to the design process, and many "budget" programs now come with the ability to create Vector shapes, and export the results as EPS or AI.

:)

• Posts: 1,885
edited December 1969

Joe - I kid you not. This is very common, standard procedure

1. Draw circle
2. Extrude and square off
3. Multiple copy and weld

SOP

• Posts: 10,359
edited September 2012

ok Andy, did not think you were having a go at me but until I posted images I did suspect you thought I had no idea what I was ranting on about! ;-P
basically the same as Roygee's idea, create objects around the hole!
and yes Joe, ironically using my method and Carrara text converted to "other modeller" in the vertex room I have done an engraved tombstone!!!
was actually sort of how I first came to do i!!!
I DID infact first do it making a Carrara block with a chipped corner!!!

Post edited by JaguarElla on
• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

3DAGE said:
I'm saying that Yes, this can be done in Carrara, and No, Boolean isn't the best approach.

Of course, you can do any modelling you want in Carrara. The question is, when faced with a modelling task, what's the best way to go about it? You're convinced that, in this case, a boolean is not the way to do it. No real reasons given, just a statement. I gave many reasons why your method is no better than a boolean. I showed an example of how a boolean can work fine for what he wants, and it UV maps okay and renders okay, and can be done very quickly. You discard all that and stick to your guns. That's fine, and what I expected.

I don't work for DAZ, and I have no need to steer everyone to solving their problems in Carrara. Apparently you do. Well, except for expecting people to do it in an external vector drawing program. Again, that's fine. But that's no need to discard some very well thought out and presented information on modelling technique that professionals use and consider, and instead make blanket statements that everyone else is wrong.

Like I said, in some cases, such as this, there is no "good" or "ideal" way to do it. It's a very difficult mesh to generate cleanly and without n-gons and other somewhat undesirable polygons.

• Posts: 2,391
edited September 2012

Roygee said:
Joe - I kid you not. This is very common, standard procedure

You and your "common, standard procedures" that are neither common nor standard :)

Roy, you've gotta stop reading stuff on the internet or wherever and taking it as gospel. :)

Yes, that's an interesting approach, but to do that for what the OP is describing seems like a lot more work than is needed. For a faceplate that you need to punch holes in at specific locations, doing it that way would take forever. Yes, it would probably give you a much cleaner mesh when you're all done. But as compared to the boolean method, which can be done in a few minutes at most, doing it from the inside out could take an hour or so. Squaring the circular extrusion, joining mesh, measuring hole-to-hole distances, matching to a plate mesh, etc. Wow, it gives me a headache just thinking about it. Even with a template in the background, the task seems, well, annoying. :)

Post edited by JoeMamma2000 on
• Posts: 1,885
edited September 2012

OK - first off - it is a very well-known and commonly used procedure - nothing read on the internet.

Secondly, it is very fast to do for those who know what they are doing.

Thirdly, as you say, it does give a cleaner mesh - and will export correctly into any rendering application - unlike the Boolean method, which you yourself said is avoided by professionals for the very reason that they often only work in the application they were made in.

Fourthly, this was not in response to the OP's question, but in response to your incredulity - although it is applicable to his/her question.

Fifthly - when I am forced to use Booleans for any reason, I always clean up the mess, as any modeller should do to make it acceptable to any application and spending time getting it right first time is better than wasting a lot of time later cleaning it up

sixthly....oh why bother...nothing will ever convince you of anything....

Post edited by Roygee on
• Posts: 2,391
edited December 1969

Awww, come on Roy, no need to get upset. Just give a reasoned explanation as to why it's a really good method. I spent my time giving a really good explanation of the downsides of booleans, so you can do the same for your method. And I promise, if it turns out to be take not much longer than doing booleans, then I'll be the first to stand an applaud your method. But don't be like other folks here who just proclaim something to be true with no rationale, then get angry when someone challenges you.

Granted, it is probably the only way to get a nice clean mesh. And I never even considered using that method. So it has a lot going for it. You just need to explain how to generate something like the image I posted with that method, and show that it doesn't take a week to do it. And explain how you "just square off the circular extrusion". I don't get it. But that doesn't mean I'm right, you could have a great method there, and I really would love to learn about it if it's workable.

So don't be a grumpy Gus, big fella. :) We're buddies right? Well, buddy, I'm rooting for ya !! Let's see if we can come up with a really cool method to do this.