Studio 2.0 review


Studio 2.0 review
#1
With the release of Bricklink's Studio 2.0 and seeing its increased popularity I decided to have a closer look at it, here is a quick summary of my experience using it.

1 - Installation
Nothing much to say: download the installer and launch it... Nothing to configure, it just works.

2 - Building
I tested building with a small Technic model, 42001 Mini Off-Roader. Not the most general purpose test case, but it is my favorite domain, and probably the most demanding style for CAD capabilities.

Here is the result...
[Image: 42001-studio.jpg]
The Studio file is available here, and a raw Ldraw export is here.
Random notes:
  • Studio has a great feature, the possibility to import inventories of official sets from Bricklink (of course!) and create a specialized palette. This feature is also available in LDCad, but requires a few manual operations.
  • Creation of submodels is easy, but works a bit like groups in other programs: you have to select several bricks from current model then "Create into submodel". True submodels are created nonetheless (or at least they are exported as such in Ldraw format). This is possible only with at least two bricks, so if you need a submodel with only one part (useful to highlight a particular part in building instructions as a callout), you need to edit the submodel and remove extraneous parts...
  • I have not experimented a lot the coloring of parts (since the imported 42001 palette contained parts already in model colors), but I appreciated the filtering of colours, allowing to show only the shades of basic colors (eg. "show all green colors").
  • Finding parts is always tricky in most LEGO CAD programs. Studio does a rather good job by sorting parts in categories and with a text/part number search box. The drawback for me is that it uses BL names and categories, while I am more used to LDraw ones. I guess this is not an issue for most people that have the opposite training.
  • Overall, snapping and collision detection works well... but not always. Usage of Technic axles was especially cumbersome, as it is very difficult to place precisely parts on it. This gives some slight misplacement errors, as can be seen when looking at coordinates in exported LDraw file. This may not be seem a big deal as it mimicks real life behaviour, but flexibility of parts helps, and manual adjustements are easier to do with physical parts than with virtual models. LDCad has a neat feature for that, as position of parts on an axle depends on current grid, I missed that a lot.
  • Noneneless, there must be inaccuracies in snapping/collision definition: the panels for the doors were not placed correctly on pins (2 ldu too high), and the technic bush properly stopped against a beam on the round side, but was able to collide inside that beam on the notched side. The good thing (contrary to LDD) is that you can fine tune position and orientation of parts using "manual mode". Unfortunately I couldn't see any parts coordinates to make sure of what I was doing. Less user intimidating, but sorely missing for me!
  • Studio has no flexible parts generator. I had to use LDcad to generate a custom part for the rubber bands used as shock absorbers in this model. More on this in a separate thread.
As a conclusion... I'm not ready to change tool from the trusty LDCad, but it mostly gets the job done.

3 - Rendering
  • Studio has an integrated photo-realistic rendering tool. Depending on the quality you need and rendering time you want to wait, you can choose between two engines (POV and Eyesight), each with several quality levels and tweakable parameters. Seamless integration to Studio is very convenient! One trick: Studio seems to use the bounding box of parts to derive the floor level. As the wheels are rotated, their bounding box extend below the base of tire, and I got "floating in the air" effect. This can be seen in the last image below. I had to "unrotate" the wheels to get proper results.
  • POV renderer, "Low" setting, 17 seconds on my ageing machine
    [Image: povlow0.17.png]
  • POV renderer, "Medium" setting, 20 seconds
    [Image: povmed0.20.png]
  • POV renderer, "High" setting, 1.20 minutes
    [Image: povhq1.20.png]
  • POV renderer,  Custom settings, 2.30 minutes
    [Image: povcustvh2.30.png]
  • Eyesight renderer, Medium setting, 4 minutes
    [Image: eyesightmedfloor4.png]
  • Eyesight renderer, High setting, 7 minutes
    [Image: eyesighthq7.00.png]
  • Eyesight renderer, Very High setting, 15 minutes
    [Image: eyesightvhq15.png]
4 - Building instructions
Studio Instruction Maker is the major addition to version 2.0 (along with Eyesight renderer). An I must say - Wow!!! This is by far the best instruction generator I used. Concepts are very similar to LPub/LPub3d, but user interface is imho significantly better (in LPub you never know where you must right click to perform such or such action). More importantly, Studio Instruction Maker is FAST. You can navigate between pages, change layout, scale models in a snap. Rendering quality is very good, as you can see from the attached PDF.

5 - Conclusions
Overall I liked Studio. As mentioned above, model creation is the weak point (for me, used to LDCad), but it does work... The seamless integrated rendering tool is very convenient, and I'm really fond of instruction generator!


Attached Files
.pdf   42001 - Mini Off-roader_BIs.pdf (Size: 279.87 KB / Downloads: 15)
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#2
(2018-09-21, 13:53)Philippe Hurbain Wrote: Eyesight renderer, Very High setting, 15 minutes

Those settings are so High, the model is noticeably off the ground!

How does it handle an import of LDraw file? i.e. how feasible is it to make the model in LDCad and then generate instructions/renders in Studio?
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#3
(2018-09-22, 3:41)Owen Dive Wrote: Those settings are so High, the model is noticeably off the ground!
Big Grin
As I told above, this is caused by the bounding box of tires, artificially lowering the ground level. I was too lazy to regenerate the very high quality...

Quote:How does it handle an import of LDraw file? i.e. how feasible is it to make the model in LDCad and then generate instructions/renders in Studio?
Mostly, very well. Actually, the full flow was
  • create the model in Stud.io
  • export it to LDraw
  • Use LDCad to correct inaccuracies and generate the rubber band
  • Reimport the result in Stud.io
  • Generate renders and BIs
The import/export went on completely flawlessly. BUT (that's why I used "Mostly"), the latest parts added to Studio show incompatibilities when exported to LDraw. I reported the issue on BL forum, but no answer so far. See http://forum.bricklink.com/viewtopic.php...37efe1b3ee
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#4
One thing that I did not see mentioned was that because Studio uses LDraw models, you can directly import Custom Ldraw parts.


On Windows the path is:
.\Program Files\Studio 2.0 Beta\ldraw\Custom Parts\parts (the space is required in the Custom Parts folder)

On Mac it is 
/applications/Studio 2.0 Beta/ldraw/Custom Parts/parts (the space is required in the Custom Parts folder)

I have found that unofficial parts cannot be added to the unofficial folder and that if there are and sub-parts, the /s folder will need to be added as well. 

One trick that Philo helped me with recently, was that although Studio doesn't support flex parts, LDcad can be used to make them using the "generate a loose file" option and then place them in the Custom Parts folder. They will have no snapping data but that is not too hard to work around. 

This also allows the great render to work with flex parts.

Another tip is in the settings, you can assign brick movement to keys so that there is not the need to use the transform arrows.
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#5
I intended add a note on flex parts today, thanks for doing the work for me Wink
Just two links to complement my review above:
- the model file with included rubber band and building instructions layout informations
- the rubber band itself, to be placed in Custom Parts folder as explained by Cam.
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#6
OK, very interesting. I never took a look again since Stud.io, but this is impressive.
The renderer indeed is very nice and instructions generator looks promising.

So, I worked with it just now for 10 minutes or so.
For die-hard LDCad / LPub3D users (like me ;-) this might take long time to get used to.

But for beginners it seems the right tool to start modeling digitally.
Jaco van der Molen
lpub.binarybricks.nl
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#7
Stud.io Strength
  • Part Snapping
  • Renders (impressive) but only used in a few ocations
  • Buildings instructions (needs works but its on its way) its far more flexible than lpub
  • Easy to use interface

Stud.io weekness
  • No flexible parts available (by the moment)
  • Heavier interface compared LDCAD
  • Little other things


Its a serious challenge for Ldcad or LeoCad. Probably in the future will be the standard if development continues as its going now.

By the moment i will continue with LDcad but time will let us know who will be the winner.

this is a sample of a excellent easy render. it does not takes you more than 15 seconds to set the scene. then it took like 15 miunts to render but the quality is exceptional. 


[Image: SMXCo9u.jpg]
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#8
(2018-09-24, 14:21)tatubias Wrote: this is a sample of a excellent easy render. it does not takes you more than 15 seconds to set the scene. then it took like 15 miunts to render but the quality is exceptional. 

[Image: SMXCo9u.jpg]

There's definitly some rendering artifact, probably due to bad smoothing, on the nose of the model but overall an impressive rendering.
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#9
(2018-09-24, 17:39)Orion Pobursky Wrote:
(2018-09-24, 14:21)tatubias Wrote: this is a sample of a excellent easy render. it does not takes you more than 15 seconds to set the scene. then it took like 15 miunts to render but the quality is exceptional. 

[Image: SMXCo9u.jpg]

There's definitly some rendering artifact, probably due to bad smoothing, on the nose of the model but overall an impressive rendering.

It's not an artifact it's my self doing a bad design. Lol. The artifact is my self lol.

What i want to say it literally took 3 click to have this level of rendering
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#10
Mmmhhhh... Wedo2 parts do look wrong with Studio, both with the editor AND with Eyesight render! POV render is OK.

Studio editor
[Image: wedo2-studio.jpg]
Studio Eyesight
[Image: wedo2-studio-eyesight.jpg]
Studio POV
[Image: wedo2-studio-pov.jpg]
LDCad
[Image: wedo2-ldcad.jpg]
LDView
[Image: wedo2-ldview.jpg]
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#11
(2018-09-25, 9:03)Philippe Hurbain Wrote: Mmmhhhh... Wedo2 parts do look wrong with Studio, both with the editor AND with Eyesight render! POV render is OK.

I think the eyesight (and studio's editor) smoothing is only using angles between planes for averaging normal's.

LDCad also uses type 2 lines to force splits and LDView does the averaging based on type 5 lines.
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#12
(2018-09-25, 17:02)Roland Melkert Wrote: I think the eyesight (and studio's editor) smoothing is only using angles between planes for averaging normal's.
It must be a little more complex. The stud2 are OK on the hub bottom, but look wrong on the motor. Same part, same color, different look?!?!
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#15
(2018-09-25, 9:03)i furure it out how to remove that artifact. its very easy.1 - open your design2 - click on Edit3 - Preferences4 - clicl on tab apparece5- lower the render quality 1 or more steps6 - you can or not enable outline The final render this was with the application smoothness in lowest valuePhilippe Hurbain Wrote: Mmmhhhh... Wedo2 parts do look wrong with Studio, both with the editor AND with Eyesight render! POV render is OK.

Studio editor
[Image: wedo2-studio.jpg]
Studio Eyesight
[Image: wedo2-studio-eyesight.jpg]
Studio POV
[Image: wedo2-studio-pov.jpg]
LDCad
[Image: wedo2-ldcad.jpg]
LDView
[Image: wedo2-ldview.jpg]
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#13
Can you tell which parts are from LDraw and which ones are sourced differently?

What is their alternate source? LDD/Directly from LEGO?
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Non LDraw parts in Studio library
#14
(2018-09-26, 18:15)Gerald Lasser Wrote: Can you tell which parts are from LDraw and which ones are sourced differently?

What is their alternate source? LDD/Directly from LEGO?
I scanned the unofficial Studio library against three criteria:
- Empty author line
- usage of 0 FILE in description
- usage of color 16 edge line
and mostly got the same 44 files (list attached). The least reliable was color 16 edge line, as some files have no line at all!

I think from LEGO. Not from LDD for sure, some parts are not in LDD, and some others (eg. flower 18853) are significantly more detailed than LDD version.
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#16
[Image: 85OPKDq.png]


[Image: NmcGn8x.png]

top fix the artifact go to edit --> preference -->> apperance --> change the rendering quality . you can enable the outline edges

[Image: zdjSxrh.png]
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#17
Thanks for the tip, Tatubias!
But it is possible to keep rendering quality high AND avoid artifacts. Actually, Studio doesn't seem to properly understand shortcuts, only elements of shoutcut in main color get properly shaded. So the solution (apart from fixing Studio of course!!!) is to inline shotcuts (export from Studio to LDraw -> inline with LDCad -> open LDraw file in Studio)

[Image: eyesight-inlined.png]
[Image: studio-inlined.png]
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RE: Studio 2.0 review
#18
(2018-09-30, 16:22)Philippe Hurbain Wrote: (export from Studio to LDraw -> inline with LDCad -> open LDraw file in Studio)
Actually LDCad doesn't always work as some of these shortcuts contain elements that are not parts. I had to resort to LDDP instead. Here is the Studio file with inlined Wedo2 parts.
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