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How to move vertices along a sphere?

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Oni Pliskin
How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 3, 2011 at 7:24:07 am

Suppose I have a sphere, I convert it to editable poly, then when I select one of the vertices and try to move it, the vertices does not follow the constraints of the sphere. I want to move it so it's still a sphere but am able to move the vertices along the sphere? Kinda like the vertices moves along the the sphere rather than freely. Any ideas?



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Tiago Ribeiro
Re: How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 3, 2011 at 10:32:58 pm

Try setting the working pivot to the center of the sphere. look at documentation for that, it's a simple thing. if you know how to move the object's pivot, it's in the same place, just look for "working pivot"
that way, on the toolbar, on the top, below the menu bar, where you select the coordinate system to use (world coordinates, local coordinates, screen, working pivot, etc..) you select to use the working pivot
now you can go into poly, select a vertex, but use the rotate tool.
this way you will be rotating the vertex by the working pivot, which is at the center of the sphere, which means that the vertex will move along the surface of the sphere

it's just a little trick. instead of actually moving, you will be rotating with a center of rotation offset, in order to make it move like you want
i'm not really sure about this solution (didn't try it out), but when i read your problem, i actually asked myself "good question, how do you move the vertex on a surface?"

i actually don't really know what i would do, if i wanted the vertex to really move over a polygonal surface (like a dot moving on a face for example). i'm sure there is a way, just never had to do that.

but since you are asking for a sphere, that is what i would try if i wanted to do it myself.
good luck


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Oni Pliskin
Re: How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 4, 2011 at 4:55:03 pm

Hi Tiago,

First of all, thanks for the tip, it's very useful and does move the vertices arround the sphere's pivot but there's gotta be a more efficient way to moving either vertices, polygons, lines, etc along the object's shape rather than freely. Thank you once again! Hopefully there is a solution to his problem. :)



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Graham Macfarlane
Re: How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 5, 2011 at 10:05:21 am

Try edge or face constraints (found under the "edit geometry" rollout within any editpoly modifier or poly object)

The only draw back with this is that you can slide a vertex/edge/polygon only as far as it's neighbouring vertex. At which point it will jam up.
Perhaps you only need to make small adjustment, in which case this shouldn't be an issue for you.

Hope that helps!

Graham Macfarlane
3D animator and VFX specialist
London UK


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Tiago Ribeiro
Re: How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 5, 2011 at 2:39:03 pm

That is interesting, i have never tried that.
It is always great to learn something new =)

does that work with soft selection?
maybe if you use soft selection they won't jam up. i can actually imagine a really interesting result, in which each soft selected vertice will move along its own moving edge. sweet =)


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Tiago Ribeiro
Re: How to move vertices along a sphere?
on Feb 5, 2011 at 2:48:00 pm

Graham, thank you

i just went on to try that "Constraints" section in edit poly, i have never even noticed it.

using soft selection and constraints gives really really nice results, i'm looking forward to using this on facial animation!
each constraint type produces a different but uniquely interesting result.


i'm not sure if this is what Oni was asking, but he might as well give it a try. be sure to try both face and edge methods. edge will preserve the sphere, face may kind of squash the surface, like if you're pushing a finger agains your skin. normal will do stretch and deform the sphere, so i guess that's not what you want.

anyway, it is very nice =)


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