Spiros Manual

Index

  1. Version Requirements / License / Installation
  2. Spiros Overview
  3. Common Controls
  4. Spiral Tool
  5. Helix Tool
  6. Torus Knot Tool
  7. Curl Tool
  8. Help section
  9. Contact/Support

Version Requirements

3dsMax 2012 and higher.
Spiros has been tested succesfully on 3dsMax 2012 to 2018. It should also work properly on future versions. However, if you experience any issue, please report it to contact@splinedynamics.com

License

With every purchase you get 2 license keys. Each one is valid for 1 workstation for a period of 2 years.
You have the right to get customer support for 1 year (+ access to the online user forums)
You will get free upgrades for the same version of the product.

Installation

  1. Unzip the content of the .zip file and then drag the “.mzp” file onto one of your viewports in 3ds Max . The script automatically installs itself.
  2. A dialog called “Software Activation” pops-up. Enter your license key in the text field. (You received 2 license keys by email when you purchased the product).
  3. If the license key is correct, Spiros will start.
  4. To add the script to a toolbar, go to the Menu > Customize > Customize user interface…
  5. Go to the “Toolbars” tab and pick the category “Spline Dynamics”.
  6. The script’s name (“Spiros”) must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!

Spiros Overview

Introduction

Spiros is a 3dsMax script for creating beautiful curly splines like spirals, helices, torus knots and others.

Make ornaments, ironwork designs, jewelry, cloth accessories, symbols from ancient cultures, tentacles, paths for deformation/distribution/animation, and a lot more.

Spiros can produce gorgeous and graceful curves for your projects, with mathematical precision. From golden spirals to spherical helices; from flower-like shapes to complex ring-shaped knots.

This is a precious tool for prop modelers, animators and motion designers.

How it works

Spiros lets you create 4 main types of shape (with many variants each one): spiral, helix, torus knot and curl.

The process is almost the same as creating any shape or object in 3ds Max. For example, to create a spiral:

  1. Press the ‘CREATE SPIRAL ‘ button (at the top of the first section).
  2. Click on a viewport to place the shape.
  3. Drag to set the radius for the spiral.

The script uses mathematical formulas and functions to draw the curled splines very accurately.

The object created is standard 3dsmax Editable Spline. Any time you select it, you can modify its parameters on the Spiros UI.

The script can handle only one object at a time, but you can work with duplicated instances and also add modifiers on top of the shapes, just like you do with any other 3dsmax objects.

Spiros parameters are not animatable. However, there are ways to animate the shapes created by this script. For example, you can produce a series of shapes with the same number of knots and then use the Morpher modifier to perform a morphing animation between them.

Main Sections

Spiros has 5 main tabs wich correspond to the tools for creating the main shapes (Spiral, Helix, Torus Knot and Curl) and the Help section.

Common controls

All the tools have some controls in common, wich are the following:

Reset parameters (button)
It sets the controls of the current active rollout to their default values, affecting also the selected Spiro object.

Knots (spinner)
This spinner represents the amount of knots of the current shape. It is very important, because you can increase or decrease the “resolution” of the splines according to your needs. You can also ensure different type of shapes have the same amount of knots, in order to make some morphing effects between them.

CW / CCW (radio buttons)
Changes the direction of revolution of the current shape.

Curve type (radio buttons)
Sets the segments of the current spline to linear or curved. This way you can turn, for example, a circular spiral into a square spiral, or a torus knot into a star shape.

 

Spiral Tool

Create Spiral (button)
By pressing this button you start the Spiral creation tool. The cursor will change to a cross, allowing you to click and drag on any viewport to create the spiral shape.

Spiral Type (dropdown list)
Here you choose the type of spiral you want to build or modify the selected one.

Spiros can produce 4 different kind of spirals:

1. Archimedean spiral: it’s the standard and best-known spiral. It grows, moving away from the center at constant speed.

2. Golden spiral: it’s a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the golden ratio (1.618…). It’s widely used in Design because of its “divine proportions” and fractal nature.

3. Logarithmic spiral: it grows, moving away from the center in a non-linear way, using a growth factor. It appears often in nature, for example in snail shells. In this particular case, you can explicitly set the growth factor parameter.

4. Hyperbolic spiral: it’s a curl that rapidly grows to infinity, tending to a straight line.

 

Spiral Parameters

Turns (spinner): number of turns of the spiral

Width (spinner): size of the spiral in its local X axis.

Knots (spinner): amount of knots/vertices of the spline.

Growth Factor (spinner): determines how the spiral growths. A growth factor of 1.0 gives a standard spiral (Archimedean type). A greater value causes the spiral to grow faster. A lower value makes it grow slower.

Height (spinner): gives the spiral dimension in its local Z axis, turning it into a helix.

Bias (spinner): makes the height displacement non-linear, resulting in an uneven distribution of the helix’s revolutions.

CW / CCW and Curve type radio buttons were previously explained at “Common Controls” section.

Symmetry (parameters group)

This area lets you make the spiral symmetrical by producing a mirrored duplicate of it along the desired axis. The resulting spiral has the double amount of knots of the original one, to keep the spline integrity.

On (checkbox): turns on/off the symmetry effect.

Joining point (dropdown list): inner/outer. Sets the joining point for both spiral duplicates either at the origin (inner) or at the outer point (outer).

Symmetry Axis (radio buttons): sets the symmetry axis to XY or XYZ.

Helix Tool

Create Helix (button)
By pressing this button you start the Helix creation tool. The cursor will change to a cross, allowing you to click and drag on any viewport to create the helix shape.

Helix Type (dropdown list)
Here you choose the type of helix you want to build or modify the selected one.

Spiros can produce 4 different kind of helices:

1. Standard Helix: it’s almost the same as 3dsmax Helix shape, with the advantage that you can control the number of knots of the spline and choose whether to use curve or straight segments.

2. Spherical helix: this is a helix built on the surface of a sphere. The Radius parameter means the radius of the sphere.

3. Loxodrome: this is a special kind of spherical helix. It’s mostly used by airlines for planning the paths for flights. Considering the sphere is the Earth, it crosses all meridians at the same angle. This results in a sort of biased spherical helix, with a beautiful look. You can see the effect by modifying the Crossing angle parameter while also increasing or decreasing the Turns.

4. Toroidal helix: it’s a helical spline wich travels along the surface of a torus (donut), making a ring. For this one, you can control the number of turns and the inner/outer radius of the torus.

Helix Parameters

Turns (spinner): number of turns of the helix.

Start Radius (spinner): initial radius.

End Radius (spinner): final radius.

Knots (spinner): amount of knots/vertices of the spline.

Height (spinner): height of the helix, measured in its local Z axis.

Bias (spinner): produces an uneven distribution of the helix’s revolutions.

CW / CCW and Curve type radio buttons were previously explained at “Common Controls” section.

Symmetry (checkbox): it makes the helix symmetrical by producing a mirrored duplicate of it along its local XY axis.

Torus Knot Tool

A torus knot is a helical spline that travels along the surface of a torus (donut), making a knot shape.

Create Torus Knot (button)
By pressing this button you start the Torus Knot creation tool. The cursor will change to a cross, allowing you to click and drag on any viewport to create the torus knot shape.

# Foils (spinner): number of foils (or petals) of the torus knot. The most common torus knots are the trefoil (3 foils) and the Cinquefoil (5 foils), but with this tool you can make thousands of different and beautiful knots.

Variant (slider): depending on the number of foils you have set, this slider lets you visualize and try many different variants for a knot with that number of foils.

Star/Ring (slider): this control lets you change the general shape of the knot progressively to make it look more like a star/flower or more like a ring.

Radius (spinner): the radius of the knot shape measured in its local YX plane. It changes the size of the knot uniformly.

Knots (spinner): amount of knots/vertices of the spline.

CW / CCW and Curve type radio buttons were previously explained at “Common Controls” section.

Curl Tool

A curl for Spiros is a straight line wich is bent and curled to achieve a desired shape. Unlike the other shapes produced by Spiros, the Curl object is created starting from the first vertex/knot of a straight spline. Its pivot is located there. So you can easily align it and connect it to another spline.
This paritcular kind of spline was thought to behave as a rope or thread, changing its shape but always keeping its length.

Create Curl (button)
By pressing this button you start the Curl creation tool. The cursor will change to a cross, allowing you to click and drag on any viewport to create the curl shape.

Length (spinner): the length of the spline. Modifying this parameter looks the same as changing the general size of the shape.

Bend (spinner): rotates every segment of the spline uniformly until the total rotation angle equals this value. It behaves the same way as the 3dsmax’s Bend modifier.

Curl (spinner): this is equivalent of setting the number of turns for the curl shape.

Start (%) (spinner): percentage of the spline from which the Bend and Curl parameters will start affecting the spline.

Knots (spinner): amount of knots/vertices of the spline.

Height (spinner): amount of displacement of the curl in its local Z axis.

Bias (spinner): produces an uneven distribution of the curl’s revolutions.

CW / CCW and Curve type radio buttons were previously explained at “Common Controls” section.

Help section

This section include some links to Spiros Online Tutorials, this manual and the User Forums.

The About area shows the credits for this script.

Contact / Support

If you experience any issues using this script or need help, please check first the Spiros Forums. Maybe you can find the solution there and save precious time.

For custom support or making suggestions or business proposals, please don’t hesitate to contact us through this Contact Form.

You can also write us directly to contact@splinedynamics.com.

All feedback is greatly appreciated. We will try to answer all your inquiries as soon as possible.

 

Enjoy Spiros!

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