The goal of this tutorial is to make an animal, recreating its volume using helical splines. In this case, we chose to do a goat but you can pick any animal you like.
To accomplish that, you should first search for reference images on the web to observe the volume of the animal body. Then, find or make a vector drawing of the profile of the animal in a pose you like. (Here’s the silhouette of the jumping goat to download).
Open 3dsMax and create a plane with this last image in the front view to use as reference.
Next, you should draw spline curves along the center of the silhouette. One curve for the body and head, one curve for each limb and another curve for each of the appendices (tail, horns, antennas, etc.). See the image below.
(In this example, we only needed to draw 4 curves).
Now run SuperHelix to start creating the helical splines.
Hide all curves, except the one for the body, to have a cleaner view.
In Superhelix, create a simple gizmo with the “Basic Spring” default preset.
Then, click “Pick Custom Path” button and select the body curve. The main path of the gizmo is replaced for a copy of the selected curve.
Now click on “Move to path” to align the gizmo to the current curve.
Next, you need to create sections along the main path of the gizmo, as if you were placing scale keyframes along an extrusion path.
Tick the checkbox named “Add one section per vertex”. This will help you make things faster.
Then click “Add Section”. One section circle is created at every knot of the curve.
Adjust the scale and rotation of every section to adjust them to the body shape and “flow”.
Now click “MAKE HELIX” to see how the resulting helix looks like.
Smile! You almost have the body ready. 🙂
Try varying the thikness of the spline (at the Display/Options rollout) untill you are happy with it.
At this point you’ve probably got the idea of how to continue.
Just repeat the same procedure for all the parts of the animal with the curves you drew. This way you will build all the gizmos you need to generate the splines.
Note for users of SuperHelix Free version:
The Free version can handle only up to 3 gizmos at a time per scene. So, if you need to create more than 3 gizmos, like in this case, do the following:
1. Once you have your first 3 gizmos ready, select them by their layers into the layer manager, and then save the selection to a new .max file.
2. Then, delete them from scene.
This way you are ready to start creating new gizmos and all your gizmos will be saved for future edition.
If you need to do this frequently, consider to purchase SuperHelix Pro for a very affordable price.
For creating limbs in pairs (for example, for legs and arms), you only need to have one gizmo ready and then duplicate it with the “Duplicate current gizmo” button. It is located below “CREATE GIZMO” and named “DD”.
You can move, rotate or scale the gizmos using the point helper of each gizmo (displayed as a box).
You can also perform a non-uniform scale on section circles to have a better look on joints or other parts.
Make final adjustments. Try changing the number of turns and the spline thikness. Check the volume and flow in general.
That’s all for now!
We hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
You can post your comments bellow or at the users forums.
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