Thursday, November 1, 2012

Introductory Tutorials #07a & 07b: The Lofty LOFT Command

LOFT contains just 4 characters.  That's not very imposing sounding, is it?

But, the actions behind this simple sounding command, are anything but not imposing.  LOFT is a LOT more lofty than one might suppose.  It is just plain impressive in function.

What LOFT does is to produce a special type of extrusion that moves from the outline of one shape to another in a series of shapes.  For instance, it can begin with a circle shape and morph into a rectangle shape in smooth transitions.

LOFT - Circle to Rectangle

It's ability to make these transitions smoothly is remarkable.  Here are just a few challenging examples of LOFT in action.  In the second example, we reverse a shape and move from the original profile to the reversed profile.

LOFT - Reverse Shape

In this third sample, we go from a 5 pointed star to a 10 pointed star.  This is challenging since it requires each high and low point to map to both a high and low point.

LOFT - 5 Point Star to 10 Point Star

This next example shows the result of LOFTing through a series of triangles mapped to a curve that closes back on itself.  Both items are the same object in different orientations.

LOFT - Series of Triangles along a Path (Closed)

But, the best way to see LOFT at work is with a video showing how to use it.  In this first video, we create a bugle using a series of circles that we placed along a path.

We continue to explore LOFT in this video where we try different combinations of shapes and placement of shapes to test the results.  A LOT of fun.

LOFT is one of those commands that invites us to simply explore for exploration's sake.  The wide variety of end results from LOFTing the same set of shapes that we can achieve by changing the combinations of LOFT options is amazing and sometimes downright surprising.  I urge you to play around with this wonderful command with no goals in mind.  Soon you will hit on something that ignites a creative spark and you will be creating things you never thought possible.