Green Rascal Design

 
 
I'm going to try to do some quick things to introduce new tools for today, so I think using the ceiling from Thursday will be a good start. Right now I just have a curvy form floating in space being held up by studentite - otherwise known as the magical force that holds things up in 3D computer space. I need to figure out at least some way to hold this thing up. I'm no expert on suspended ceilings, but lets at least do something basic.
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I'm going to draw some lines going vertically from where the actual ceiling is down to where the suspended ceiling lives. I'm going down far past the curvy ceiling here because I will want all the lines to actually connect. I started at the corner because it made it easy to draw the line from the correct point straight down.

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I moved the line over and down by two feet because I think the wall will have a rail along it to secure the edges. Now I will array this line to fill the room. (At 2 foot intervals it takes an array of 11 in the x and y directions to fill my 24' by 24' space.) Then I will split all the lines using the surface. I'm also hiding the lines used to create the surface so I can see better. And I don't want to accidentally delete the curvy ceiling lines when I delete the lower portions of my suspension lines.

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suspension lines
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surface
Now I want a grid in plan, so I create a plane in the front view that goes past the edges of the curvy ceiling. Then starting in the top view I will array the plane in the Y direction to coincide with the suspension lines (2 feet). Select the planes I just created and the curvy ceiling surface and type in Intersect. This command creates a line at any intersection. So I now have contour lines in one direction on my curvy ceiling. I will do the same in the X direction starting in the right view.

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array
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intersect
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array
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ceiling grid
I can leave it at that for a simple reflected ceiling plan. In the future I might need to divide up the curvy ceiling using those contour lines if the manufacturer of the ceiling wants more details for their shop drawings. But for the purposes of the class model I think we're fine.

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Unless I plan to light this room with all wall sconces or floor lamps, I'd better get some lights in the ceiling. I'll do some simple recessed can lights in a few locations. I'm starting with a square drawn at the top of the suspension lines. Then I'll draw a circle snapping to the center of that square. In this case my can will be 6" in diameter, which is the size of my circle.

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I extrude the circle down far past the curvy surface, and then copy the resulting cylinder to all the locations I want my lights to be. I'll snap to the tops of the suspension lines whenever possible, but all I want is the cylinders to be centered on the "panels" I just drew.

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Now I select the curvy surface and split it with the cylinders. (I use my right mouse button on the "lights" layer in the layers window to say "Select Objects," and all the objects on that layer become selected.) I'll delete the cylinders after the split, and select the resulting green circles and put them on the "lights" layer (by using the right mouse button and saying "Change Object Layer").

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Realizing my Curvy surface has no thickness, now is a good time to extrude it up one inch or about the thickness of an acoustical panel. (I'll turn off my lights layer so you can see the resulting holes.)

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Now I'm going to select all the circles on the lights layer and move them up an inch so they're even with the new top of my curvy ceiling. Then I will extrude those surfaces up to make the cans. Okay, they're not flat on the tops, but you won't see that in your rendering. What I want is a seamless transition from curvy ceiling surface to can light on the under-side.

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Next I'm turning off all the layers except the lights layer, and I type in SelSrf for "Select Surface." This selects only the bottoms of my cans because the rest of their parts are polysurfaces. I can delete the surfaces now, and am left with a nice hollow can.

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Briefly lets talk about making something bigger. I want to make a sculptural curved suspended ceiling first today. I'll start out with a room where the walls have been extruded straight up to 10 feet as a start. But say this is somebody's existing building, and the actual space is 18 feet high and the new ceiling is to be at 12 feet.
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I exploded the walls and turned on their control points. Then I selected the top control points and moved them up by 8 feet to get my interior space of 18 feet. The outer walls' points I moved up by another foot to leave some room for structure. I'm not sure how much taller the roof is than the ceiling, but it's an estimate. I'll also create planes at these levels, but I'm going to keep that layer off so I can see what I'm doing.

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Now I think I'm going to change the layer of the original lines I drew for the walls, and copy them up to where I want the suspended ceiling to start and end: 12 and 18 feet. I'll use these lines to construct my curves instead of being totally random. (and I'll put the original lines back on the wall layer since I won't be working with them.)

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I drew some lines in plan, selected them, and typed in Reb for rebuld. I said I want 10 points in 3 degrees. F10 to turn the points on. Now I move points straight up and down in the front and right views, and I can delete points in between until the curves resemble what I have pictured in my head, or model, or photographs, etc. (tracing carefully taken photographs of models also works well.) So I'm just going to loft these 4 curves and see that happens.

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It gave me a rounded end which I don't want, but there are also gaps to address. I'm turning the white lines off and the walls back on to finish my ceiling.

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Now I'll see if I can Extend Surface to fix the small gap by one foot. Then I'll Extend Surface by 10 feet to fix the two large triangular gaps because I want this ceiling tight.

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Now I can use Split to get rid of all this excess.