Automatic Writing with Inspire 3D
by Tony Carretti (
Here's a simple tutorial for NewTek's Inspire 3D program that will show you how to model a pencil and then animate it to create an effect of "automatic" writing.

To complete this tutorial you'll need Newtek's Inspire 3D as well as LD Tools plugins by Linear Designs. These plug-ins give Inspire many of the numeric controls that it's big brother Lightwave has.

Part One - Modeling the pencil

Click on image for full view (image1)
Click on images for full view (image2)

First of all, make sure that your grid size is reasonably small so that your pencil will be close to scale. Using the Pen tool located under the Objects tab create six points in the shape of a hexagon in the Top viewport. Don't worry it looks a little lop-sided, you can always use the Move tool under the Modify tab to tweak the shape until you have it just right.

Click on image for full view (image3)
Click on image for full view (image4)
Click on images for full view (image 5)

(image1) Next, use the LD_Extrude plug-in that is located under the Objects tab, Custom flyout. Make sure that you select the Y axis, set sections to 3 and extent to about fifteen times the diameter of the hexagon that you just created to give your pencil body
good proportions.

(image2) What you should end up with is an extruded hexagon with three evenly spaced sections. It's already starting to look like a pencil, so let's keep going. (image3) In the face view, select the row of points that are second from the bottom and move them down close to the bottom. This lower section of polys are going to be the "point" of your pencil. Next select the next row up and move them down to create another section of polys that will be the "sharpened" section just above the "point".

(image4 & image5) Make sure that you now select the bottom two sections of polygons and use the Flip command under the Tools tab so that the surface normals face outward. Now, switch to Polygons selection mode and select the bottom or "point" polys in the Face view. Using the Stretch tool under the Modify tab, go to the Top view and place your cursor right in the center of the selection. Drag it down so that you create an even taper in both the X and Y axis.