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Monday, 4 February 2013

Ideas - a knotty problem

I find myself in need of some polygon mesh knots for one of my many ongoing projects. I've tried mesh-modeling knots before and found it really awkward. I've tried extruding a profile along a curve and converting that to mesh, but the results always seem to have very high polygon counts. Yes, the meshes can be decimated, or selected edge loops can be removed, but I find the results unsatisfactory. So I went back to modeling a knot mesh from scratch. This time I think I've got it right! Here's a simple dual-cord thumb-knot (which is my immediate need, for my S.E. Asian helmet's chinstrap) rendered from different angles in Poser 6...

I used 'Final' quality, 'Smooth Polys' and 'Use Displacement Maps' for the render, but would you believe that the actual model's only 308 vertices/288 faces? The dual cord is just an extruded pair of 8-vertex circles (slightly overlapped). The knot only required 17 extrusions total!

To get a nice rope-like texture I used my steel cable procedural shader (from the Railings02 freebie I just released): I changed the colours, multiplied the cable equation by the output of a procedural 'Mesh' node before applying it to bump, added some displacement, andadjusted the twist/strand parameters of the cable equation. Here's a screenshot of my settings...

As it stands it's not much use on its own, but the OBJ (and similar ones for other knots) could be very handy for anyone modeling cords, ropes, etc that require knots. Model your own rope, merge the end vertices with the corresponding ones on the knot, et voilĂ . I've done a really simple UV map too...

Anybody like the idea?

Thanks to amy_aimei for sparking the thought with her bow-knot ...

Edit: First batch released 8th March 2013 - see this post for details

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