Freestyle modelling is a method used in product design, which has traditionally been used in the realms of animation and gaming.
However, now we’re starting to see it sneak into the world of solid modelling, particularly engineering, and a couple of years ago the design software Creo Parametric introduced its own FreeStyle modelling extension.
One of the very first stages of product design is creating a mock up or concept design, and this is where freestyle modelling comes in, where is it used to make an early flexible surface model.
Speed is of the essence in product design, and getting a product from this prototyping stage to the actual manufacturing as quickly as possible is crucial.
When it takes so long to create a model, designers are wary of making substantial changes at the risk of messing up their hard work.
How does it work?
Freestyle modelling essentially allows a designer to take a simple 2D drawing or shape, and manipulate its edges, faces and vertices to create a solid 3D model, using a user defined mesh.
This allows for the creation of flexible, complex and smooth surfaces which can be tweaked and changed in minute detail to get the perfect results.
These changes are made by simply grabbing and pushing or pulling the object to create the desired effect, not dissimilar to Plasticine!
Why is it so popular?
Freestyle modelling offers designers a more flexible approach to product design, while still managing to be time efficient and robust.
For a designer, this means an easier and faster way to make even the smallest of changes to their 3D models.
These surfaces automatically resolve themselves as curvature continuous surface solid models, which makes it much easier to create prototypes and models through the likes of 3D printing and CNC machining.
This makes the design process a lot quicker, and more flexible, and makes things easier for both the designer and the client.
We spoke to design firm Cambridge Design Technologyn who said: “In design, getting the look of a product just right is a real challenge. Freestyle Modelling goes some way to making things a little bit easier, allowing us to mould the design by manipulating any surface that can be touched.”
“Think of it as a piece of on-screen modelling clay that you can mould however you want!”
So does freestyle modelling represent a new dawn for product design? It certainly could do, and as it becomes more and more widely used, designers and their clients will soon see the benefits.