2462 Posts
I recently started to rewrite the flex tool from the ground. During this journey I also decided to do the same for the translate and rotate gizmos as well as other parts of the code. Some improvements are visual but lots of others are also under the hood like GPU memory optimization. I posted videos on YouTube the past weeks but if you didn't see them, here are a couple.


9 Mar 2019, 08:56
Edited 9 Mar 2019, 08:58
308 Posts
Quick question about Flextest1 part, i'm not sure if this is a real part or just your test? Just wondering if it will be possible to rotate the end nodes in Z direction in the flex edit mode? The end points are rotated 90 degrees and i can rotate the end nodes in both X and Y but not Z direction? Is it a bug or is there a reason why?
Checked FlexTest2 and same there(no Z rotation) but it's more obviously that you don't need to rotate that part in Z axis. But if FlexTest1 is a real part it could be compared with 63140 and then you may want to be able to rotate the end nodes in all three directions?
9 Mar 2019, 18:52
2462 Posts
This a development version with half of the functions and special part configurations to test extreme cases.

What you are talking about is not rotation but tilt. Anchor points of a Bezier curve do not have a rotation. That is why rotating just one anchor point along local z (tangent direction also aligned with the handles) doesn't do anything.

Tilt parameter is included in the algorithm but user interface not yet made winking face
9 Mar 2019, 23:14
Edited 9 Mar 2019, 23:17
308 Posts
Ok, that explains why i couldn't tilt the anchor points! So there will be another parameter to set tilt and not use the rotation gizmo like the old style?
10 Mar 2019, 06:20
2462 Posts
The rotation gizmo cannot set the tilt parameter as it is different from the rotation. I know it is a bit confusing. You would think that the tangent axis (local Z here) would set the tilt but that is different. To understand, select 2 anchor points and rotate along the local Z-axis of one of them. There will be no effect on the point selected (obviously because handles are aligned with the tangent which is aligned with the rotation axis, but the other one will rotate around the centre.
10 Mar 2019, 07:16
308 Posts
For me it does not matter HOW it works, only that it DOES work in one way or another! smiling face with open mouth
I was just curios if it was a bug or not and I understand that it's still in development so keep up with your good work and I know it will be superb when it's finished! It's just so exciting when you come with new features! smiling face with open mouth

PS: Will there be an easier way to make knots on strings with the new flexible editor?
10 Mar 2019, 15:26
Edited 10 Mar 2019, 15:30
2462 Posts
I had to put my head around that too and that it is not easy for me as well face with stuck-out tongue in terms of maths, it is for sure the most demanding section of Mecabricks. It is line after line of matrix and vector calculation. Looking forward to finishing something.

I'll add these options after I release the first version. It shall not be too hard but just looking at the amount of work just to get to this point is already a bit scary!
10 Mar 2019, 18:42
2462 Posts
A new video with some of the latest additions:


The tool supports multi-paths flexible elements. Three types of points are available: Bezier path anchor point, Bezier path handle for anchor point and solid section point. Multiple anchor points can be selected together using CTRL click or the the select box.
I also managed to automatically recalculate the tilt value at the anchor points in order to keep the normal orientation. That was a tricky one but it is sorted and works perfectly. It will be a checkbox activated by default.

Maybe it doesn't look like it but it required a huge effort and that is not yet finished.
14 Mar 2019, 08:02
Edited 14 Mar 2019, 08:02
2462 Posts
Latest development:


I completed the new workshop set of tools for flexible LEGO elements.
Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts:

- B: Box select - add to selection
- B + Ctrl: Box select - remove from selection
- I: Inverse selection
- A: Select all / Deselect all
- Click + Ctrl: Add / Remove Anchor point to / from selection
- E: Extrude end anchor points
- D: Divide curve joining two anchor points
- DEL or BAK: Delete anchor points
- S: Snap anchor point or solid part selected

Only one handle or solid part can be selected at a time. Multiple anchor points can be selected at once.

Orientation at a point of a Bezier path is related to the shape of the path before this point. So if you would update the start point of a path, the orientation of all the next ones is likely to change. To avoid this issue, I introduced the Lock Orientation option which is checked by default. When it is activated, the tilt value of all non modified points is automatically recalculated to keep the same orientation.
20 Mar 2019, 21:35
9 Posts
The new flex parts system is fantastic, I need to go back to my models and add a bunch of flex parts everywhere! Really impressive work O_o
25 Mar 2019, 16:22
2462 Posts
Thank you smiling face with open mouth I still have some more options to add and to make flexible some parts that I could bend before.
25 Mar 2019, 18:31
1 Post
The Mecabricks menu for certain pieces (Especially minifigure parts) can be confusing. For example, there are tabs for minifigure top and bottom parts, but to find untextured parts you need to click on a separate tab labelled "Minifigures" which makes it tricky for newcomers to figure out how to build a plain minifigure. Can you maybe simplify this system? If there is a reason that it is like this, I would be happy to hear it.
26 Mar 2019, 19:27
2462 Posts
@bravecal9 Minifigure categories for Heads, Torsos and Legs only contain decorated elements. There are 1000s of them which warranted dedicated sections. For all other undecorated elements and special minifig parts, there is the Minifigure category.
26 Mar 2019, 20:39
2462 Posts
Today's main improvements
- Fixed bug crashing the gizmo when transformation was canceled with the esc key
- Fixed grid floor to resize when transformation is canceled with the esc key
- Fixed bug preventing to select a part point when another part was under the mouse
- Compositing tools can now be used for free
- LEGO logo on stud visibility option in the viewport is now transferred between modes - wireframe, shaded and rendering
- Added possibility to activate/deactivate LEGO logo visibility in the viewport in render mode
- Added possibility to activate/deactivate the lamps in the viewport in render mode
- Updated part panel in render mode with new UI design
- New number input fields now accept "," as well as "." as decimal separator
27 Mar 2019, 02:11
Edited 27 Mar 2019, 08:00
15 Posts
By the way, there's some kind of bug I found for Firefox (for some reason Chrome works right). After using flex tool with F button you can't scroll in Object/Transform/Move window. You should select different page and then return back.
Some offtop - I think dots in flex tool now are quite small and not so easy to click on them, but that's just imho.
UPD sometime that happens in Chrome too.
27 Mar 2019, 17:11
Edited 27 Mar 2019, 18:28
2462 Posts
Today's main improvements
- Added a checkbox in the top toolbar to disable the grid steps. Small grid was sometimes not accurate enough to adjust the bezier curves.
- Converted new parts to flex system - Weld Torch 13793 and whip 88704
- Fixed bug with panel scrollbars that would sometimes disappear. Thank you to SiMal for noticing it.

And to finish, here is a simple render of this welding torch that Benny is using in set 70834:
Image
Flexible Welding Torch by Nicolas Jarraud, on Flickr
28 Mar 2019, 02:53
Edited 28 Mar 2019, 02:56
132 Posts
Will you also make 47996 flexible (like the way it is used in 10175 Millennium Falcon)?
28 Mar 2019, 14:15
2462 Posts
Yes, I will try. I have to find the real part first. I shall do a trip under the stairs in my storage area but I may never come back =)
28 Mar 2019, 18:41
132 Posts
Make sure to pack your "Minifig w/ flashlight" flashligjt and some sandwiches!
28 Mar 2019, 19:37
15 Posts
There's another malfunction - while you using Control Point panel to set the coordinates of flex points and accidentaly click in the workshop before confirming the coordinates by pressing Enter keyboard shortcuts wouldn't work. You should reload the page.
28 Mar 2019, 19:58
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