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SuperHelix: Presets and The Gizmo

Here’s a clear explanation of Presets and The Gizmo in SuperHelix, extracted from the script manual.

The Gizmo

To start using SuperHelix you need to create a gizmo.

The SuperHelix gizmo controls the shape and volume of the resulting helix spline.

Due to the complex procedures that SuperHelix script performs, the user cannot see the resulting splines interactively. So, to give the user a live preview of the result, the script uses a control gizmo. This a great advantage because it shows a very simple representation of what can be a very complex spline.

The gizmo include 3 type of components:

the_GizmoRoot helper (a cyan point helper displayed as a box)
It controls the position, rotation and scale of the whole gizmo.
Main path (green central spline)
It’s the “spine bone” of the helix. Indicates how the helix flows through space.
Sections (one or more yellow circles around the main path)
They control the variation of volume and torsion at different parts of the helix.

The 3 type of components are simple 3dsMax objects and can be manipulated as so:

For example, you can modify the main path from the Editable Spline parameters, adding more vertices and moving them to change the spline shape. (Although it is preferable to use the “Pick Path” option for working with custom-shaped splines).

You can add or delete circular sections, as well as moving, rotating or scaling them to produce a different shape.

Presets

SuperHelix comes with a set of useful Presets. They are a quick way to start and learn this powerful tool.
You may also create and manipulate your own presets.
Every preset stores the values of all parameters in the UI. The default presets also store a uniquely modifed gizmo each one.

These are the Default Presets and their particular gizmos:

Basic Spring
00_preset01.png01_preset01_2.png

Cartoon Tornado
02_preset02.png03_preset02_2.png

Ball of Wool
04_preset03.png05_preset03_2.png

Snail Shell
06_preset04.png07_preset04_2.png

Rope
08_preset05.png09_preset05_2.png

Chinese Pagoda
10_preset06.png11_preset06_2.png

Fruit Basket
12_preset07.png13_preset07_2.png

Every preset was specially built to show the use of one or more parameters in conjunction with a particular gizmo structure.
For example, the presets Ball of Wool and Snail Shell make use of the Absolute Rotation parameter to achieve a kind of spherical volume.
Rope and Fruit Basket show the use of the Clone circularly tool to generate many helical splines around the path of the gizmo.
Chinese Pagoda shows how a low resolution value can be useful to give a geometrical look to the helix.

Take in consideration that the presets are just a set of predefined parameters and modified gizmos, but any gizmo shape and parameter settings can be achieved by starting from the default Basic Spring preset.

Here’s a Quick Start Tutorial to start playing with Presets and the Gizmo

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SuperHelix Quick Start tutorial

Welcome to SuperHelix, an Autodesk 3ds Max script for creating impressive custom helical splines for 3D modeling and animation!

 

INSTALLATION

1. Drag the “.mzp” file onto one of your viewports in 3ds Max . The script automatically installs itself.

2. To add the script to a toolbar, go to the Menu > Customize > Customize user interface…

3. Go to the “Toolbars” tab and pick the category “Spline Dynamics”.

4. The script name “SuperHelix” must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!

 

START: PRESETS & THE GIZMO

Fortunately, Superhelix comes with a set of various presets wich make your life easier. They will help you understand how the tool works and to experiment its power in a matter of minutes.

For starting, there are 3 main controls you need to know. They are shown in the image on the left:

1. Presets list (at the top)
2. “Create Gizmo” (big button below presets)
3. “Make Helix” (big button at the bottom)

The script comes with 7 default presets. They show you a panorama of different things you can achieve with this script. Every preset defines specific values for each of the script parameters.

-> Try selecting different presets and look how parameters change interactively.

-> Now set back the first preset “Basic Spring” and press “CREATE GIZMO”.

A pop-up dialog appears, asking you to type a name for the Gizmo.

-> For now, just leave the default “NewGizmo” and click OK.

Instantly, a new Gizmo is created at the origin. But what’s a gizmo for SuperHelix script?
As you see, a gizmo consists of some helping objects: a root helper, a central spline and some circles (in this case, two). These objects are connected in a specific way so you can manipulate them and have a preview of the volume and shape of the final helix before making it.

-> Just press “MAKE HELIX” and see what happens.

A helix spline is created, according to volume of the gizmo. By default, the splines are created as renderable objects, but you can change that at the “Display / Options” rollout, at the bottom of the interface.

-> Delete the spline. Now, with the standard scale tool, scale down the top circle and then press “MAKE HELIX” again.

The spline now should look like a cone.

-> Delete the spline and try rotating the top circle about 45 degrees in x or y axis.

At this point i think you get the point, right?

You can move, rotate or scale the circles (wich are called sections), edit the central spline (called main path) or manipulate the root helper to move, rotate or scale the whole gizmo.

-> Play around with the gizmo and try different setups.

-> When you have played enough, delete the gizmo. (You will get a warning message. Just confirm the deletion)

-> Then, move on to the other presets and try one by one, modifiying the gizmos. You will discover many interesting things SuperHelix can do.

 

FINAL WORDS

Just one important note to finish:

Each of the default presets comes with a singular predefined gizmo, but that’s just a shortcut. You can start with the Basic Spring preset and achieve any shape you want for the gizmo to create unique and amazing super-helices. As they say, the limit is your imagination! 🙂

Enjoy the tool, practice and come back for more! We have other tutorials and an image gallery waiting for you!

Cheers!

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SuperHelix Basics: Overview

Here are 2 videos showing a quick overview of SuperHelix script basics.

The Gizmo: example of what you can do with the gizmo and how to manipulate it to accomplish the style of helix you desire.

The Interface (UI Parameters): tweaking the script controls to get different results.

Visit our SplineDynamics channel on Youtube for more videos.

Cheers!

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SplineDynamics Gallery

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Welcome to SplineDynamics.com!

SplineDynamics.com is the home of a family of 3dsmax scripts that were developed to inspire a creative use of spline curves in 3dsMax.

These tools make easy to artists and animators to create stunning spline-based 3D models and animations in no time.

SuperHelix, a tool to create highly cutomizable helix splines, is the first member of this growing family.

Some of its brothers and sisters are coming soon to life: Spline Connections, Wrapping Tape and Spline Geometry Animator.

Enjoy these new and exciting tools for 3dsmax.

Try SuperHelix and and tell us your experience!

Cheers!

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