Home FAQ Gallery Downloads Tutorials Purchase Freeware Links

Making a Picture Frame - Part 1: Using Shape Magic

Note: If you don't own Shape Magic 2, you can use the Shape Magic 2 Demo to follow along.
Instead of a hexagon, make a rectangular or pentagon frame which can be saved.

Picture Frame - Side View

Step 1. To start, click on the square icon shown at A. This will give you a basic square to work from.

Step 2. Now click on each of the square dots at the right of the shape. Hold down the mouse button as you drag the square dot into a new position.

A - drag the red square to about the 11th grid line from the bottom and the 8th grid line to the right of the orange triangle
B - drag the green square to about one grid line above and one grid line to the left of the red square
C - drag the blue square to about one grid line above and one grid line to the left of the green square
D - drag the black square to about one grid line below and one grid line to the left of the blue square

Note that D is set down into the frame since the black square is lower on the screen than the blue square. This makes the frame project forward from the glass or surface of the picture. The picture or mirror surface will lie on the green line between the black circle and square.

At this time, do not worry about the curves on the side of the frame. We will work on that in Step 4.

Step 3. Before we finalize the shape of the picture frame, we need to set the number of bezier dots and segments.

The top and bottom sections of the frame will have sweeping curves - so we want three bezier dots. Click on the icons at A and C until three colored dots appear.

The middle section is to have a shape that first curves one way and then back - so we want two bezier dots as shown at B.

I usually use about 12 bezier segments per section, but since we have some complex curves, more segments help give the frame a smooth flow. I set 16 as shown at E, F and G. Either use the slide bar to set the value or click on the box and type in the number.

The top and bottom faces are flat so set 1 at D and H.

Step 4. The final step is to drag the hollow dots into position.

To help show you what to do, I've labeled the top, middle and bottom hollow dots in the image below with the letters T, M, and B. The letters are color coded to the dots. The inset shows the dots as they appear if you click on the red, green and blue letter S on the left side of the shape (S stands for straighten - this is a good way to get the dots in the right order). Do this first.

Next, start dragging and dropping the hollow dots as shown below. You don't exactly have to match what I have. In fact, you can have hundred of variations by how you position the dots, the number of dots you use, and whether or not you keep the dots in the order B-M-T or change it to something else like T-M-B.

We are finished with the side view.

Picture Frame - Top View

The top view is looking down at the face of the picture frame. Instead of a conventional square or rectangular frame, we are going to make a hexagonal frame.

First, we select a polygon cross section by clicking the button Polygon at A.

Second, we drag the solid blue dot to the line numbered 6 as shown at B. This makes a hexagon. If you want a square frame, select 4 instead.

For a polygon, you can ignore the bezier segments and the bezier dots. Also ignore any red solid or hollow dots that might be showing.

We are done with the top view.

Creating the Picture Frame

Click on the tab at the top of the screen labeled Create File (see A).

Be sure all special effects are turned off. An easy way to do this is to click on the button labeled Reset All on the lower left of the page (see B).

(Optional) Click on the button at C to get a 3D preview. It will look a little odd because the top face is embedded down into the model.

Last, click on the button at D to create the model. Go to the Save File page and save it. Your picture frame model is ready to be imported into your 3D program.

Making a Picture Frame - Part 2: Importing into 3D Programs

Importing into Bryce

Importing into Vue

Importing into Poser

Return to Top

Return to Tutorials Home Page

Shape Magic Products are designed by Rich Schafermeyer.
© Copyright 2001-2011. All rights reserved.