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Spline Cleaner: Filters – Fixing Curves

Here are 2 videos showing a quick overview of Spline Cleaner‘s filters tool and the Splines Info Dialog.

Using Filters: take a look at how to select, attach, detach or delete spline curves in a smart and fast way with this great tool.

Video ThumbnailSpline Cleaner is an advanced batch processing tool for cleaning, repairing and managing spline curves in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Fixing spline errors: Discover how to use the Splines Info Dialog to interactively get useful data from your splines and monitor their changes. Learn to make an error diagnosis and resolve the most common errors that splines could have.

Video ThumbnailSpline Cleaner is an advanced batch processing tool for cleaning, repairing and managing spline curves in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Visit our SplineDynamics channel on Youtube for more videos.

Cheers!

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Spline Cleaner: Quick Start Tutorial

Welcome to Spline Cleaner, a set of powerful tools for cleaning, repairing and organizing spline curves in Autodesk 3ds Max!

INSTALLATION

Spline Cleaner UI1. Unzip the content of the .zip file and then drag the “.mzp” file onto one of your viewports in 3ds Max . The plugin 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, Spline Cleaner will start.

4. To add the plugin 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 plugin’s name, “Spline Cleaner”, must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!

SPLINES INFO DIALOG

This plugin comes with an interactive tool called the Splines Info Dialog, wich displays very useful information about the selected shapes/splines.

We strongly recommend you to keep this dialog open everytime you manipulate spline curves to have an instant feedback about their changes.

  1. Draw some splines and shapes  in your 3dsMax scene.
  2. Convert them all to Editable Spline (most of Spline Cleaner operations requiere Editable Splines to work. Otherwise you’ll get a warning message)
  3. Select the splines and open Splines Info Dialog (the topmost button).
  4. You’ll see there all the splines info: no. of shapes selected, no. of splines, segments, vertices, spline length, and more.
  5. Click the button Show/Hide Vertex Ticks to display all the spline vertices/knots.
  6. Make changes to the splines, add, delete and move vertices. Then re-select the splines or change the selection to update the splines info.

This tool can also make a diagnosis of possible errors on your splines, such as overlapping duplicates, double splines, overlapping vertices and empty shapes.

TOOLS, ROLLOUTS & QUICK HELP

If you scroll down the plugin’s interface (UI), you’ll see there are more tools and other rollouts.

The main tools are in the first rollout. In the rollout named More Tools there are some complementary tools, such as Flatten Splines.

In the rollout Basic Parameters, you will be able to change the basic parameters of all the selected splines at once. Try it!

On the right of every tool’s title there’s a question mark icon. When you place the mouse pointer over this icon, a tooltip with help appears. If you click it, in most of the cases, a dialog pops-up showing an extended help.

FIRST STEPS

To start trying the plugin, you can play arming and disarming shapes with many splines. You can do it very fast with Spline Cleaner.

Draw some shapes and splines and create some duplicates to have a bunch of curves. Use the tools Splines Info Dialog, Attach Selected, Explode and Weld Vertices to see how powerful this plugin is.

We hope you enjoyed Spline Cleaner. Check for more tutorials on this site!

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SuperHelix: Jumping Goat Tutorial

jumpingGoat_final

Hello fellows!

The goal of this SuperHelix 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.

GoatTutorial_01

(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.

Path_options

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”.

GoatTutorial_02

GoatTutorial_03

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.

GoatTutorial_04

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.

GoatTutorial_05

Make final adjustments. Try changing the number of turns and the spline thikness. Check the volume and flow in general.

GoatTutorial_08

GoatTutorial_10

That’s all for now!

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

You can post your comments bellow or at the users forums.

We want to see your amazing work with SuperHelix. Post your images or send us your renders if you want us to publish them in our Image Gallery.

Cheers!

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SuperHelix: Presets and The Gizmo

Here’s a clear explanation of Presets and The Gizmo in SuperHelix 3dsMax plugin, extracted from the tool’s 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 plugin performs, the user cannot see the resulting splines interactively. So, to give the user a live preview of the result, the plugin 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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