Is it okay to use a ruler during the 250 cylinder challenge?

3:43 AM, Saturday August 28th 2021

Question to instructors and/or other students on the second portion of the 250 cylinders challenge: Is it okay to use a ruler to draw the corner lines on the face planes as well as the minor axis running through the centers of each plane?

I'm currently constructing ellipses in boxes and am finding it frustrating to have to line up all the corner lines and minor axes without a ruler. I have no problem drawing the boxes themselves freehanded with the ghosting method, and I don't really mind if they're not perfect. However, whenever I don't hit the corners or the center of two planes with 100% accuracy, I just get discouraged about moving on to the ellipses because I know that my botched minor axis is going to throw off the rest of the cylinder anyways.

Between constructing boxes with proper square ends and fitting ellipses neatly within those squares, I feel like I already have enough things to worry about during this exercise. Having to painstakingly align the minor axis for every cylinder just adds an extra layer of tedium that, in my opinion, doesn't even contribute too much to my understanding of drawing cylinders. I feel that ghosting straight and accurate lines gets back into Lesson 1 material and detracts from the focus of constructing cylinders.

Please, someone tell me it's okay to use a ruler or enlighten me on why it is imperative to freehand everything for this exercise. I'll suck it up and do it if I have to, but I'd rather not have to. Thanks!

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2:28 PM, Saturday August 28th 2021

No, they do have to be freehanded. What you're describing is a normal part.of the exercise. Youndraw the box to the best of your ability, then use the cylinder's ellipses and their line extensions (minor axis and and two contact point lines) to test how far off you were from having the ellipse represent a circle in 3d space.

Each cylinder in a box is an attempt, you're expected to make mistakes and to identify them.

3:46 PM, Saturday August 28th 2021

Thanks for the reply! I was feeling overwhelmed when starting this part of the exercise and had nearly forgotten that it was supposed to be just that--an exercise. Constructing the cylinder correctly within the box is so much less forgiving than constructing around an arbitrary axis that it was giving me mental whiplash, but I suppose the fastest way to learn is by facing my failures head-on.

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11:15 AM, Saturday August 28th 2021

I think you are somewhat more competent at this drawabox thing than me although I am currently struggling with this same exercise.

I don't think the rules allow you to use a ruler. I would argue that if you have internalised lesson 1 then drawing these lines freehand should be reasonably straightforward. The overall purpose is to be able to understand and create a cylinder in 3d space without requiring drawing aids. This is necessary to internalising how cylinders work and help you to be able to vision them. Using a ruler would likely reduce your care and absorption in doing this.

I am not struggling with drawing the straight lines, in fact it is probably the only bit of this exercise I am OK with. The first type of cylinder wasn't too bad but using the flat planes method is destroying my brain. I will overcome.

3:34 PM, Saturday August 28th 2021

Thanks for the feedback! Your point about internalisation is well taken. I do want to be able to create cylinders without having to rely on any crutches, so I guess the only choice is to push on without the ruler.

There are a lot of straight lines involved in constructing each cylinder, so I find that the accumulation of small inaccuracies inevitably leads to larger misalignments. I was worried that working around these misalignments would only teach me to draw awkward-looking cylinders, but I suppose the line extensions are there to correct any bad habits.

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11:57 AM, Saturday August 28th 2021

I'm in the same boat as you, and oh my, there is a real difficulty spike going from the minor axis checking method to the box checking method.

However, I think you should push on with doing it freehand. If you find that the minor axis being wrong is throwing you off, try focusing on the box you have constructed as a reference instead. Part of the reason you draw the box is to check if your minor axis is aligning to the correct vanishing point as well. If you just use a ruler to construct it, you basically throw that out of the things you could learn.

That being said, if your corner lines are off, I don't know if it is a good idea to continue to construct the minor axis line off of something you know is already wrong, or try to guess the correct position based on the box as a whole instead of the two points. Personally I do the latter, because I think that allows me to learn to gauge my minor axis off more than just two points, but I could be wrong about that.

3:34 PM, Saturday August 28th 2021

Appreciate your reply! I definitely experienced a large difficulty spike when I moved on to the box checking method, so I think I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when writing my post. I like your method of using the box as the main reference for aligning ellipses when the minor axis is off, so I might try that for myself. My biggest worry about this exercise is reinforcing bad habits by aligning ellipses to an axis that I can clearly tell is off-center, so it helps to have another frame of reference (the box) to base decisions on.

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2:24 PM, Tuesday August 31st 2021


It is specified in the rules that you shouldn't use a ruller as one of the purpose of the exercice is to draw by hand straight line with a correct angle.

Feel free to use the gosting method and placing dots before doing your llines. As you will gain accuracy, your dots will always/ most of the time covered by your line.

Good luck!

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