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Construction History
by Duncan MacGruer
Date Added: 1/20/2003
Category: Modeling
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!div style="display:none"!fjrigjwwe9r2content:tip!/div!!div style="display:none"!edf40wrjww2content:tip!/div!Some 3d apps will automatically save the original bezier paths, profiles and meshes when you perform an operation like a path extrude, skin or boolean. In Strata you have to do it yourself, but if you use Shapes and the Project Window as a part of your work flow, it's easy to have a pretty good construction history.

Let's say you want to make a Widget that includes a Skin and a Path Extrude, and they are converted to mesh and Boolean Subtracted. Let's also say this is a big project with dozens of objects just as complex.

1. If you don't make copies, there's no going back. The Widget will lose it's skin profiles, the skinned object, the path, the path profile and the path extrude. If you blow it, you have to start from scratch.
2. If you do make copies in the modeling window, you end up with a mess. (When you hide them to clean up the clutter, your Project Window will be a worse mess).
3. If you make the copies and perform the operations in the Widget's Shape Window, the modeling window will stay clean, but the object's bounding box will be defined by the retained geometry & profiles in the Shape Window. Not good.

4. Try this; dedicate a Shape to complex objects - let's call it the Construction Shape - and build all your path extrudes and booleans and skins etc in there. Using the example above, you would retain copies of the Widget's skin profiles, skinned object, path, path profile and path extrude, as well as the final geometry. Group the copies and give them a name like "Widget History" and hide the new group, leaving the window empty for the next object. Cut & paste the completed Widget into it's own Shape window for texturing and eventual use in the main modeling window.

At the end of your modeling session, everything that needs a construction history has all it's building blocks tucked away in the Construction Shape window, each grouped neatly under it's own name in the Construction Shape's project window. When the model is complete, you can archive the Construction Shape by using the Save command in the Plus menu, saving it to disk, and then delete the Shape from your model, ridding it of unneccessary baggage. You can always open the saved Shape if you need to revisit a part.