Workflow Wednesday: NURBS 101

Posted by Joshua Cooper on 5/1/19 2:20 PM  |  1 min read time

Designers, picture this: you’re working to taper, bulge, and bend a roof from its original form. You find that the roof needs some special tweaking to achieve your vision of a rounded surface. For this kind of free-form design, you might consider a NURBS curve.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 9.45.45 AM

NURBS stands for Non-Uniform Rational Basis Spline. It’s a mathematical model used in computer graphics to represent and generate curves and surfaces. The term comes from the boatbuilding industry, back when boat designs were drawn on paper. Lines would be transferred — or “lofted,” which is where the Loft Surface Tool gets its name — onto a big barn floor. To prevent bumps, the loftman would draw lines with a long, thin strip of wood called a spline.

NURBS curves were first available on Silicon Graphics computers in 1989. Since then, they’ve become the industry standard for sharing complex curvilinear geometry.

Now, you can use NURBS curves and surfaces in Vectorworks software to efficiently draw the designs that best suit your needs. Check out this guide to learn the basics of NURBS curves and surfaces.


Topics: NURBS, Workflow Wednesday, 3d renderings, Vectorworks 3D, vectorworks 2019, Loft Surface Tool

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