RandoMixer 3dsMax plugin

RandoMixer Manual

Index

    1. Version Requirements / License / Installation
    2. Overview
    3. The Interface (UI)
    4. Getting started
    5. Switch between objects
    6. Manipulate objects
    7. Combine sets of elements
    8. Create states
    9. Create/Edit Collection
    10. Render collection
    11. Utilities rollout
    12. Help/About
    13. Contact/Support

Version Requirements

3dsMax 2015 and higher.
RandoMixer has been tested succesfully on 3dsMax 2015 to 2023. 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 a lifetime license. It’s a node-locked license.
The Regular License lets you use the product in 2 different workstations. It comes with 2 license keys (1 domain per key).
The Corporate License allows you to activate the plugin on up to 10 workstations. It comes with 2 license keys (5 domains per key).
You will get free upgrades for the same major 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 plugin automatically installs itself.
  2. A dialog called “Software Activation” pops-up. Enter your license key in the text field. (You received a license key by email when you purchased the product).
  3. If the license key is correct, RandoMixer 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 must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!

Overview

RandoMixer is a 3dsMax plugin to generate multiple unique variants or states of your scene, model or character from sets of different elements and manage them within a collection.

This powerful tool helps you easily manipulate your objects in a variety of ways: mix, combine, reorder, randomize, switch places, apply transforms, manage visibility, etc.

It works this way:

  1. Provide RandoMixer with a set of objects to work with.
  2.  Choose the type of action/s to perform and adjust a few parameters.
  3.  Press ‘Create Collection’. The script processes the objects, produces the number of variants or states you required and stores them into a collection.
  4. You can easily navigate and edit every frame (state) of the collection.
  5. Optionally, you can render the collection with a built-in function or export it to 3dsMax timeline as an animation.

RandoMixer can be used for a different purposes:

  • Toggle between different objects with a single click.
    Example: quickly visualize a set of possible assets directly on scene and choose the more appropiate for your project (or render all variants!) .
  • Manipulate your objects. Apply random transforms, switch places, control visibility.
    Example: automatically reorder or rearrange a set of elements in your scene (books in a bookshelf, cars in a parking, decorative items in a room, products in a store, etc.)
  • Create combinations of elements to produce unique outputs
    Example: a) generate a variety of characters or expressions by combining different traits, body parts, accesories, etc.
    b) create diverse product concepts or modifications on a base model by alternating between a set of interchangeable pieces.
  • Create object states by saving transforms and visibility changes in a collection. 
    A simple and great alternative to 3dsMax ‘State Sets’ tool. Example: manually arrange the models  in your scene to produce different variants and easily navigate or render them.

The Interface (UI)

RandoMixer UI has the following rollouts. Depending on which working mode (main function) you selected, some rollouts will be visible and others not.

Here’s a brief description of each one and its functions:

  • Main rollout: Located at the top of the UI, contains the controls to create and manage the Master Icon (a helper that stores all the data created by this plugin) and a dropdown list to select the main function (one of the 4 working modes the plugin offers).
  • Objects  |  Sets/Elements: These 2 rollouts let you load and manage a list of the objects or sets of objects you want to work with and configure some related settings.
  • Manipulate objects  |  Transforms: These rollouts show up when you select the main function “Manipulate objects”. Here you can set the parameters to affect object transforms, visibility and manage randomization and variation.
  • Create/Edit Collection: Here are several controls to create, edit and navigate the collection of variants/states generated with RandoMixer.
  • Render: At this section you set the options for rendering the collection, such as frame range, output filename, ouput size, etc.
  • Utilities: These are useful tools to complement and extend the plugin’s functionality.
  • Help/About: Credits, links to help tutorials and documentation, license activation.

Getting started

The Master Icon
To start using RandoMixer, you must first create the Master icon. This helper will store all the data created by the plugin.
You must always save it with the scene if you want to keep it editable by the plugin. Do not delete it.
It also shows general information about RandoMixer’s data hosted in your scene: 1. number of Sets created, 2. total objects/elements loaded, 3. total frames of the collection.

The first 3 buttons at the top of the UI manage the Master Icon:
Create Master Icon
Creates this helper at the origin of the grid. You can move it, scale it or hide it if you prefer.
Get/Reloads data from scene (Refresh icon)
It loads all data from Master Icon and updates the plugin’s UI. It’s useful when you open a previous scene with the plugin already running.
Show/Hide Master Icon (Eye icon)
Self-explanatory. We strongly recommend you to hide the Master Icon immediately after you create it, to avoid accidentally deleting it during your work on the scene.

Main Function (dropdown list)
After creating the Master Icon, you must choose one of the 4 options in this menu, depending on what you plan to do with the plugin:
1. Switch between objects. To alternately turn the visibility of a group of assets on and off, one by one.
2. Manipulate objects. To apply random transforms, switch object places and manage object visibility along the collection.
3. Combine sets of elements. To generate random unique combinations between different sets of elements.
4. Create states. To manually modify objects transforms and visibility to create a collection of states or variants.

The next 4 chapters describe in detail each of these options, their purpose, tools and how to use them properly.

Switch between objects

Compare possible assets to use on your scene by alternately turn them on and off, one by one, with the click of a button.
This method is the same as going manually hiding and unhiding every single asset. The big difference is that with RandoMixer way you are just navigating the frames of a collection back or forward with an arrow key, saving a lot of time and clicks.

Suppose you need to choose between different chair styles to place on your scene. You have already picked 5 possible candidates and you want to see them on stage to make the final decision. Or maybe the Art Director or your client asked you to show him some renders of all these alternatives to choose by himself.
So you load all these assets to your scene and place them at the same spot. Then you need to alternately hide and unhide every model by hand and make a render for each one. Or if you use 3dsMax State Sets, you need to create every state by hand anyway. This would be very time-consuming if you have many objects or many different sets of objects to visualize or render.

With RandoMixer, this task is super simple. Just load your models into the Objects list and press ‘Create Collection’. Then you can navigate the collection with the arrow keys.
To render all the states or frames in the collection, is also as easy as hitting ‘Render’. The plugin will render all the collection frames sequentially.

OBJECTS LIST ROLLOUT

In this section is where you load your models into the plugin.
This rollout is common to all Main function options except for ‘Combine sets of elements’, which uses a more advanced interface.

The icons above the list have the following functions (from left to right):
Undo
Undo the last action made with any of the 3 icons on the right side.
Select objects in scene (cursor icon)
This button selects the objects in your scene that correspond to the selected items on the list.
Add objects to list
Load objects. If there are selected objects in scene (only geometry allowed), it adds the object names to the list. If nothing is selected, then it opens 3dsMax dialog ‘Select from list’ to pick objects by name.
Add from layer/s
Load objects from certain layers and add them to the list. It opens a dialog to select one or more layers by name.
Remove from list (X icon)
Unload objects. Delete selected items from the list.

To learn how to create a collection from this list, navigate it and edit it, please refer to the section Create/Edit Collection in this manual. Also bellow that one, you will find the Render Collection section, with instructions for that purpose.
Here you will find a practical tutorial about this method: Switch between objects tutorial.

Manipulate objects

Imagine you have a scene with a lot of models of the same type and you want to rearrange them. For example, books on a bookshelf, cars in a parking, decorative items in a living room, toys in a children’s bedroom, products in a store, etc. Maybe your client doesn’t like the current setup of those objects in the scene. Or maybe you downloaded those assets from a library and want to change the way the are arranged.
Making that task manually usually takes a lot of time and dedication. Fortunately, RandoMixer can greatly speed up the entire process by automatically moving objects around, applying transforms and controlling the amount of elements to display. It will generate any number of variants you desire so you can choose one or more. Then you could make minor manual adjustments if you want to.
This method is also very good to quickly generate variation in a scene or to produce many different variants for a set of objects.

This method also uses Objects list interface, described in the previous section, to load the objetcs.
Additionally, 2 more rollouts will show up:  Manipulate Objects and Object Transforms.

MANIPULATE OBJECTS ROLLOUT

Manage Object Display
In this area you can control the amount of objects to display in every frame of the collection. If this option is off, all objects will be always visible.
Amount (%): Minimum and maximum amount of visible objects expressed in percentage.
Variation (dropdown list):  4 options describing how to range from minimum to maximum value along the frames of the collection. Options: constant, increasing, decreasing, random.

Switch Places
These options are very powerful to mix and combine a set of elements. It makes the objects to switch places with each other considering their bounding box, rotation and dimensions. When Switch Places checkbox is on, the depending parameters turn active.
Inherit Rotation (checkbox): if checked, every object moved to another object’s place will get its rotation. This is useful when working with objects or models that were initially correctly  aligned to 3dsMax world coordinate system.
Similar volume (%): minimum grade of similarity that 2 objects must have in their bounding box dimensions to be considered interchangeable. A value of 100% means both objects have identical bounding box size. When Inherit Rotation is off, this option considers dimensions in world coordinates. Otherwise, it takes the local bounding box.
Anchor point (dropdown list): choose between pivot, center or base as the object reference point. This is very useful. For example, maybe you have all objects laying on a surface and you need them to keep that way after switching their places. If they don’t have the pivot at the same height, they wont. But if you use the base as anchor point, the result will be successful.

OBJECT TRANSFORMS ROLLOUT

Apply Transforms
In this section you define some random transforms to apply to your objects. If the top checkbox is on, it will activate the settings.
– Reset values (little icon at top right): resets all parameters to their default values.
Move/Rotate/Scale (spinners): here you set minimum and maximum values for random transforms in every axis.
Anchor point (dropdown list): choose between pivot, center or base as the object reference point. This was already explaind above at Switch Places.
In this case, for example, if you scale objects that are on the ground, you will need to use the base as the anchor point.

Combine sets of elements

This is the most powerful method in RandoMixer. You can generate countless unique and original combinations between sets of different elements.
Like playing with Lego bricks, you can feed the plugin with diverse categories of objects, each one playing a specific role, to make creative combinations that produce amazing results.
For example, if you have designed a model that have a top, middle and bottom part, and you made different options for each part, you can load the 3 sets of objects into RandoMixer and then generate a collection of variants of your design. The same way, you can build multiple character variations by using interchangeable body parts, such as head, trunk, legs, arms, etc. Or simply changing different clothes or accessories to your character with this tool.

If you know about NFT art (Non fungible tokens), you can create a giant collection of randomly generated 3D NFTs with RandoMixer.
Starting with a few models of your character body parts, you can use this plugin to produce thousands of unique combinations in no time!
Load the assets, set the categories, adjust the rarity for each element, build the collection, edit it and finally render the entire sequence. Optionally, you can export the collection’s metadata (traits and values) to text files so you can process it later and upload it together with the collection to the NFT Art website of your choice, such as OpenSea.

SETS/ELEMENTS ROLLOUT

Unlike the other methods, Combine sets of elements uses a particular and more advanced interface to load and manage Sets (categories/attributes) and Elements (objects/values).
Basically, there are 2 list of items. The first one manages Sets and the other manages the Elements for each set. You can create Sets, rename them, add or remove elements, assign a percentage of occurrence for each Set or adjust the weight for each Element in the collection.

Since each Set contains one or more Elements, if you select a Set on the list, it will display all its elements on the Elements list. So both lists are tightly correlated.
If you double-clik a Set name, all corresponding objects on scene will be selected. The same applies to the Elements list for single objects.

SETS LIST
Undo
Undo the last action done to this list.
Create Set (light bulb icon)
Lets you create and name a new empty category that will be added to the list.
Create a new Set from selected objects
Build a new Set directly from your selected objects. It will give the Set a default name which you can change at any time. If nothing is selected, then it opens 3dsMax dialog ‘Select from list’ to pick objects by name.
This will automatically populate the Elements list with the corresponding object names for the current Set.
Create Set from layer/s
Build a new Set from the objects in one or more layers. It opens a dialog to select one or more layers by name. You can also choose to create a new Set for each of the layers you picked.
This option is very powerful because, if you already arranged your assets in layers by category, then you can load all Sets and Elements with a single action.
Remove Set from list (X icon)
Removes selected Set from the list, including all its Elements.
Occurrence (%) (checkbox + spinner)
This is an option, which you can activate or not, to manage how often a Set will show up in the collection. So this is a way to control the rarity of a Set in the collection.
By default, all sets have 100% occurrence. That means the elements of that Set will be always visible at all frames of the collection, once generated. Setting a value of 50% occurrence means it will show up in half of the frames of the collection.  This parameter cannot be changed after creating the collection because that will alter the whole collection itself.

ELEMENTS LIST
Undo
Undo the last action done to this list.
Select corresponding objects (cursor icon)
Pressing this button will select the objects in scene that correspond to selected items in the list. You can also use double-click on a single item to select a single object.
Add elements to list
Load selected scene objects as elements into the current Set (only geometry is allowed). If nothing is selected, then it opens 3dsMax dialog ‘Select from list’ to pick objects by name.
Add from layer/s
Load objects/elements from layers into the current Set. It opens a dialog to select one or more layers by name.
Remove from list (X icon)
Removes selected Elements on the list from the current Set.
Weight (%) (spinner)
This parameter determines the importance of each Element within the Set to which it belongs. In other words, it controls how many times an Element will show up in the collection with respect to the other Elements in that Set. The effect of this setting is similar to what the Occurrence parameter does for the Sets. Both settings together define the rarity of an element in the collection.
By default, the weight for all elements is 100%. That means they will be visible about the same number of times in the collection. This parameter cannot be changed after creating the collection because that will alter the whole collection itself.

Create states

This method can be used as an alternative to 3dsMax State Sets tool to create different states or variants of your scene. It has the advantage of being much more simple to use and straightforward. However, it is restricted to work only with geometry. Changes in lights, cameras or environment settings wont be recorded.
RandoMixer lets you store changes in object transforms and visibility (hidden/visible) as a collection. Then you can simply navigate the collection back and forward with arrow keys to visualize the different variants directly on your scene. Additionally, you can easily render the entire collection, that is all variants.

This method uses the Objects list interface we already covered when explained Switch between objects method.

The procedure is simple:

  1. First load all the objects that will change in your scene into the Objects list.
  2. Press ‘Create Collection’. RandoMixer will build the collection with only one frame that stores the current state of your objects (transforms + visible/hidden state).
  3. The you can modify the current state and go adding frames to the collection, recording the changes for every frame.

This way you end up with a collection of states for your objects, that is very easy to visualize and render.

To create, add, remove or change the frames of a collection, you must use the Create/Edit Collection rollout, that is common to all methods we saw and is always available. We’ll see that next.

Create/Edit collection

Once you loaded your objects into the plugin and/or defined the Sets/Elements to work with, you must create the collection of variants, combinations or states for your objects.
The controls in this rollout lets you generate and manage that collection. Let’s see the tools for that.

Max. Variants (spinner)
Here you set the maximum number of variants/states to generate. Depending on the amount of objects you loaded, the Sets you defined or the method you are working with, the plugin will be able to generate a maximum amount of unique variants or combinations. So this parameter will only take effect if the total number of variants generated are greater than this value.
Keep default state at first (checkbox)
This option is only enabled if you are working with Manipulate Objects method. It tells the plugin to keep the current state of your objects as the first frame of the collection.
Create Collection (button)
It builds a collection of unique variants, states or combinations of your objects based on the parameters you have set in the previous rollouts.

PREVIEW/EDIT COLLECTION (group of tools)

Total frames
Indicates the total number of frames in the collection.
Navigation controls (yellow arrow icons + frame number)
These intuitive buttons lets you easily navigate and explore the collection of states as if you were watching the frames of an animation.
From left to right: 1. Go to start of the collection. 2. Go one frame backwards. 3. See or set the current frame number. 4. Go one frame forward. 5. Go to the end of the collection.
Take snapshot (camera icon)
This is a very useful little tool to take a snapshot of the current state of your objects. It makes a copy of the objects at the current frame and attach them together as a new object.
Show Random (button)
Display a random frame of the collection.
Add new frame (+ icon)
Adds a new frame to the end of the collection that is a copy of the current frame. Then you can edit it.
Delete frame (X icon)
Remove the current frame from the collection.
Hide Selected / Unhide All
Hide selected objects that belong to the collection. / Unhide all objects in the collection.
Edit Transforms/Visibility (checkbutton)
This is a toggle button to start recording changes for the objects in the current frame. RandoMixer stores changes in object transforms and visibility (hidden/visible state). Other type of changes will be ignored.
You can use the navigation buttons to go making changes in other frames while this toggle button is active. Every time you go to another frame or when you deactivate this button, the changes are saved.

Delete Collection
Use this button only if you want to delete the entire collection. The lists of objects and Set/Elements will be preserved but all current collection frames/states will be lost.

Render collection

RandoMixer comes with a built-in function to make it easy for you to render the entire collection of states as a sequence of images.
First of all, make sure to prepare your scene for rendering. Configure all your render settings and set the scene ready to just hit ‘Render’. Then go to this Render section of the plugin and adjust the parameters you desire. Then press ‘Render Collection’.

The plugin will sequentially display each frame of the collection and render it as a still image, saving the files as a numbered sequence.
Warning! If you fire the render form 3dsMax commands instead of from this UI, it will make a normal render of the current state. It wont render the collection.

Let’s see what are the options in this rollout.

Frame range
You can establish the start and end frame of the colledction to render.
Output Settings
Here you can overwrite 3dsMax Render settings and define a custom output filename and output size for the frames of your collection. If there is no output filename set, then the plugin will use 3dsMax output settings for both filename and image dimensions.
Overwrite existing files (checkbox)
If checked, the plugin will overwrite existing files. Otherwise, it will show a warning every time before saving over an existing file.
Export Metadata (checkbox)
This option only works when you are using the method Combine sets of elements. If checked, once the render is finished, it will create a folder at the same location of the render output file and save all trait/value data (Set/element) for each frame of the collection as a numbered text file and store them in that folder.
This is very useful if you are creating an NFT collection so you have the data that describes the combination of elements included in each frame of the collection.
Open folder (folder icon)
Open the current render output folder in Windows explorer.
Render Collection
Starts rendering the collection. The plugin will show a custom progress bar for the render process.
Once finished, it will display the total rendering time.
You can cancel the render of individual frames by pressing ESC key. To cancel the render of the whole collection, hold ESC key for a while until the render terminates.

Utilities rollout

RandoMixer offers you a set of dedicated tools to complement your work with the plugin and extend its functionality.

Show/Hide All Elements
Toggle show/hide all objects loaded into the Objects list or Elements list, depending on the method you are using.
Center Objects pivot
Centers the pivot for all the current objects you are working with, no matter if they are hidden or not.

Unify Objects Position (group)
These are tools for moving all desired objects to the position of a reference object, so they will be all overlaped. This is very useful when you are going to switch between elements and they are required to be in the same place of the scene.
First you must pick the Reference Object from scene, then set the desired options and press ‘Move Objs. to Reference’ to perform the action.
There are options to make objects match not only position but also rotation or all transforms. Also you can choose to align objects using their pivot, center or base.

Swap places
This is a quick way to make 2 objects to swap places with each other. Just select them and press ‘Swap Places’.
You can optionally use Inherit Rotation so each object will acquire the rotation of the other.

Multiple Attach
With this powerful tool you can quickly attach all selected objects together with a single click. But that’s not all.
You can choose the option to Attach them by group or hierarchy. So all objects within your selection contained in a group or hierarchy will be attached together with its group/hierarchy.

Export Collection to Timeline
Exports the whole collection to 3dsMax timeline as an animation!
The plugin sets 3dsMax animation range to match the total frames of the collection, makes a copy off all objects in the collection and animates them at every frame to reproduce all collection states on the timeline.
Once you do that, you can view every state of the collection by directly scrolling 3dsMax time slider. Now you don’t need the plugin and you can use 3dsMax native tools to edit the animated sequence or render it with your favorite render engine.
The animated objects are duplicates of the original ones (which are now hidden). The plugin place them in a layer called “Randomixer Collection”. You can delete this layer and objects by hand if you want to.
If you reproduce again the collection with the plugin tools, the exported collection will be automatically deleted.

Export Metadata to Folder
It lets you pick a directory where to export the current collection’s metadata (if you are using the Combine sets of elements method).

Help / About rollout

This rollout contains:
a) Links to RandoMixer online tutorials
b) A button to access the plugin’s License Activation dialog to activate your plugin’s license and turn off the trial version.
c) The plugin’s version number and credits.

Contact / Support

If you experience any issues using this plugin or need help, please check first the F.A.Q. page, the available documentation and tutorials. 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 RandoMixer!

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