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