Week 02: Computer-aided design

Vector graphics

In the area of vectorial design I have some years of experience working with software like Illustrator and CorelDraw, but since I finished my license I use web based software like Gravit Designer and Figma, lately I use Figma a lot because it allows me to share projects and add more people to collaborate in the same design, besides it has a very simple and intuitive interface that allows me to make designs very fast and without much effort. Many times I have tried to incorporate Inkscape into my workflow but at least for me I feel that the user experience is not very intuitive, but from time to time I use it to do very specific things and take advantage of the plugins it has.

This time I am using Figma.

For this section of the assignment I decided to create a vector version of the sketch I made last week for the project description, for that I started with the basic shapes of the drawing without adding much detail, this with the objective of delimiting the figures I needed to use and then stylize them a little. Also at this point the color does not play an important role so I simply used grays to represent the brightest and darkest areas, and activated the external lines of the shapes to clearly see their limits.

Then deactivate the lines to see the result of the basic shapes.

Now it's time to start detailing the basic shapes, I decided to start with the wheels which have some very sharp corners that need to be smoothed, this was done using the rounded corners function that any vector software has, the result is shown in the image below.

Although the vectorial design is a type of 2D design using shadows you can create the sensation of three-dimensionality, for that I use a function that is present in all vectorial softwares, that function is called masks, it consists of using a form that defines the area then another form that is the one that we want to insert in the mask, if we select the two it creates a figure that we can use as a shadow for the center area of the wheel.

The result is shown in the following image.

Shadows can not only be achieved using masks, it is also possible to create a shape with the shape of the shadows we need, in the following image I create a shape that I then use to create a relief and separate two sections of the robot's body.

In the next image I use the same technique to create the shadow of the front area of the robot.

At this point we begin to notice a little three-dimensionality in the figures but the shadows are not always hard in the sense that they have the same intensity as the ones we have created so far, the shadows also have a gradient that makes them more intense in the places where it originates and as it spreads it becomes more diffuse and loses intensity. This same effect can be simulated using gradient shapes.

In the following image I make basic shapes in the areas that I want to apply shadows, after those I apply a fill but not a solid fill but a linear gradient fill (center image), you can see the places where the shadows are but they do not integrate very well the design, that is because the last step is to apply masks with respect to the figure that we want to shade, after applying the mask the result is much better.

In the following image you can see a comparison between the way we started and the final result by applying shadows and mascaras to add more volume.

Now it was just a matter of continuing to repeat the process with the other view of the robot.

The final result of both robot views is shown below.

3D CAD

In this 3D CAD design section I have decided to design the internal skeleton of the robot, the previous week in the project description section there is a hand drawing showing the internal structure of the robot. For this task I am going to use Fusion 360 to design the parts and do the assembly of the internal frame.

In the first instance I started by making a quarter of the aluminum profile and then applied mirror twice to complete the profile but I did not notice that the amount of constrains that appeared in the sketch edit view were too many.

Due to the amount of constrains I decided to do it another way which consisted of simply making an eighth part of the profile and mirroring it to have a quarter of the profile, then I closed the shape to allow me to extrude it.

I extruded a small distance from the profile to serve as a reference and in the future change that distance to the desired length.

I applied a Filet on the edge of the profile to round it a little.

With the fourth part of the profile rounded and ready, it was a matter of applying a mirror to obtain the upper part of the profile.

And one more mirror to obtain the lower part and complete the shape of the profile.

This is the final result, nothing so impressive but very useful for the final project.

3D CAD Assemble
Render

For this last section I decided to play a little bit with very simple rendering in Blender, just playing a little bit with the distribution of the lights and the camera.

The rendering configuration of the scene is shown below.

In the lighting I am using a configuration of three points of light where the back light is the main one, the top and side only function as support and soften the very hard shadows that are generated. Regarding the camera I wanted a low angle shot with a focal length of 50mm, at first my idea was to use a focal length of 12mm to give the object a slightly larger perspective but I didn't like the result.

The configuration of the lights is as follows.

The configuration of the camera is as follows.

This is the final render, it doesn't look too bad even though there are no materials applied to give it a touch of realism.

Softwares
  • Figma
  • Fusion 360
  • Blender 3.8.x
Files
Final composition SVG
Alu profile 30x30 mm (Fusion 360)
3D Assembly (STEP)
3D Assembly (Original - Autodesk Cloud)
Render in Blender