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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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