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The Basics - Making a Model by Dragging Dots

The key to using Shape Magic are the dots. The dots define bezier curves, which in combination with the number of bezier segments, define the profile of the Side View or the cross-section of the Top View. There are many things you can do with the dots as illustrated below.

One Dot

The solid round dots are the anchor points of the line. The line will start and stop at the solid round dots.

The hollow round dots create the curve. If it is in a straight line between the solid dots, as shown at the right, the line will be straight.

To move a dot, click and hold with the left mouse button, drag to a new position, and release the mouse button.

If you move the hollow dot to the side, you will make a simple curve. The curve shows the same on both the right and left side of the model. (In fact, the curve is the same all the way around the model; by moving the dot, you are basically latheing the model.)
If you move the hollow dot to the side and up, you will make a simple curve that is skewed towards the dot.
If you move the hollow dot above the solid dot, the curve will sweep up and past the solid dot, but then bend and end at the solid dot. In this case, it creates a lip on the top of the model.

You can move the dot anywhere on the page. By moving it towards, the center, the curve sweeps in.

So remember, the curve always starts and stops at a solid dot. The curve then moves towards the hollow dot. Typically the curve does not pass through the hollow dot.

Two Dots

By clicking on the icon shown with the arrow, you can change the number of bezier dots. Each click increases the number of dots by one until there's a maximum of three. The next click then resets the dots to zero.

The dots won't necessarily be in a straight line. If you ever want to reset the dots so they line up in the right top to bottom order, click on the letter S on the right side of the drawing.

One dot gives a simple curve. Two dots allow you to make an S-curve as shown at the right.
Of course, you don't have to make a S-curve. You can out both dots on the same side and make a simple curve that is somewhat more squat than a single-dot curve.
And you can move the dots anywhere on the screen to create more complex curves.

You also don't need to keep the top hollow dot on top. Here, the hollow dot that was originally at the top is now at the bottom. This causes the curve to have a sharp kink.

If you ever want to reset the dots so they line up in the right top to bottom order, click on the letter S on the right side of the drawing.

Three Dots

Three dots allow for the most complex curves.
By placing two dots on one side of the line and the middle dot on the other side, you get a double curve.
By clustering two dots low and together, you can form a small lip around the bottom of the model.
Another example of a complex curve formed by 3 dots.

Stack multiple sections, each with 3-Dot curves, and you can create a model with a complex side view. Here's the model on the right imported into Bryce and with stone textures added to it (the cross-section is a 4-lobed smooth petal):

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