3dsMax 2015 and higher.
Stractals has been tested succesfully on 3dsMax 2015 to 2024. It should also work properly on future versions. However, if you experience any issue, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org
This script is totally free for personal and commercial use. It comes with a default versatile template to work with, experiment and become familiar with the tool.
Additionally, you have the option to acquire a selection of professional addon templates at a very affordable price, that extend the main script’s functionality. Each of these templates is a separate product with its own license, which is a node-locked lifetime license. You can find more details about this license at each product page.
- 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.
- To add the script to a toolbar, go to the Menu > Customize > Customize user interface…
- Go to the “Toolbars” tab and pick the category “Spline Dynamics”.
- The script’s name must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!
Stractals is a fractal generator script designed to swiftly produce a wide range of intricate geometric structures and sceneries for your 3dsMax projects.
The tool is very user-friendly. With just a few parameters you control the size, shape and complexity of the model. The generated structures consist of simple 3dsMax instanced meshes with varying scales, all conveniently linked together, enabling easy editing and manipulation for further modeling.
Stractals is designed to function with template files. Each template employs distinct types of geometries and construction rules to generate structures, yielding a diverse array of outcomes suitable for various applications.
The script works by connecting basic geometries together, following certain construction rules, to build complex volumes made of clusters of instanced meshes.
The Interface (UI)
Stractals UI is very simple and easy to use.
It has 3 rollouts:
1. Main Rollout, where you build and parametrically edit your structures/models.
2. Utilities Rollout, whith handy tools to edit and manipulate the models manually.
3. Help/About Rollout, with links to tutorials, documentation and a button to access the Template Activation dialog.
The following are the usual steps to work with this script:
- Select a Construction Template from the list (each template employs different type of basic geometries and certain construction rules).
- Pick a Container object to delimit the general volume of the structure to generate.
- Press (Re)Build Structure to create the model (which is a group of geometries).
- Adjust the parameters and rebuild the structure until you get the desired look and level of complexity.
- At Utilities Rollout, press Make Editable Structure to enable manual editing of the structure.
- At this point, you have 2 paths:
– Make individual changes to the instanced meshes (manually or using the tools in Utilities Rollot)
– Use the Fuse Structure tool to consolidate all meshes into a single mesh for further manual modeling.
Creation: Templates / The Container / Settings
This is a dropdown list containing the default template plus all the installed templates with an active license.
If you have installed templates and they don’t appear in the list, you need to activate their license. You can do this using the Template Activation dialog, to which you can access through a button at the Help/About Rollout.
Each template uses certain type of basic geometries and a set of construction rules to produce a different kind of structure.
Pick Container Object
Before building a structure, you need to setup a Container. This represents the area where the structure will be created. It can be any object convertable to Editable Poly. Press Pick Container Object and click on the object to pick it.
Then you can alternately hide it or unhide it using the eye icon next to this button.
Single Mesh Size
This parameter represents the size of one of the basic geometries that make up the structure. The value corresponds to the size of the side lenght of a cube at the first fractal iteration.
This value must be always at least 1/3 of the container size to produce a valid structure.
The maximum number of meshes or basic geometries to employ for building up the structure.
iteration means the repetition of a process. Fractals are complex structures formed by the repetition of shapes/geometries at progressively smaller scales.
The number of fractal iterations corresponds to the number of scale reduction steps to utilize.
This value goes from 1 to 12 and represents the proportion of meshes to generate after the first iteration (which will be smaller than the ones produced at the first iteration).
It’s a way to tell the script how to distribute the total amount of meshes you have set at Max. Meshes over the entire creation process.
A value of 1 means there will be very few of small meshes in relation to big ones. A value of 12 means there will be a lot of small meshes in relation to big ones.
Each of these parameters has a great influence in the final output and should be change in a small proportion each time to avoid having totally unexpected results.
Also, these 4 parameters are highly correlated. This means you may probably need to adjust more than one parameter each time to compensate the imbalance and produce just a small change.
For example, if you decrease the Single Mesh Size, you will need to increase the Max. Meshes if you want to preserve the general volume of the structure. Also if you increase the Fractal Iterations, that will make the same amount of meshes but some of them will have a smaller scale, so the general volume of the structure will be reduced.
The final output is always a product of the combination between these 4 settings, the container volume and the construction rules defined by the template.
If there’s nothing selected, it generates a new structure. If there’s a structure selected, it rebuilds it with the current parameters.
A structure, for the purpose of this script, is a 3dsMax group of meshes with certain custom properties that makes it procedurally modifiable by the script.
You can ungroup the structure group if you want to, but that will brake the connection with the script, so it’s not recommendable unless you are absolutely sure. In the next section, we’ll see how to enable manual editing of the structure while keeping some connection with the script.
Editing: Utilities / Manual Editing / Fuse Structure
Make Editable Structure
This command “bakes” the structure allowing you to start editing it manually. It’s not a 3dsMax group anymore but a hierarchy of meshes, which are all instances.
Now you can easily perform changes on individual meshes, that will reflect throughout the whole structure. You can also use now all the tools availbale in this rollout.
Select the meshes in the structure using filters: by size, by shape, by material.
Assign New Materials
Apply new basic materials to the structure elements using filters: by size, by shape, randomly.
The materials are standard 3dsMax Physical Material with a random diffuse color.
You have also a button to randomize the existing materials on the structure.
This is an amazing feature that consolidates all the meshes of same scale in the structure into a single mesh, with clean topoly and no overlapping faces. This way you can apply, for example, a Turbosmooth modifier to the resulting mesh.
The Weld Threshold parameter determines the welding distance between vertices while fusing the structure.
A.I. Techniques and Advices
Stractals can produce impressive and unique models in no time. A novel and powerful use of this tool is to rapidly generate architectural concepts from a set of 3D volumes.
You can take a basic render from a Stractals model, without materials, and use it to fed an A.I. specialized in architectural renders. This yields multiple hyper-realistic finished images in seconds.
This way you are combining these 2 powerful tools (Stractals’ generative modeling + A.I. rendering) to get stunning results amazingly fast.
To install and activate a new template you have purchased, do the following:
- Drag the mzp-file onto a viewport. (The template files are automatically extracted and installed)
- Stractals script opens and the Template Activation Dialog shows up (see the image below).
- Enter the license key you got in the email of your purchase order.
- If everything is correct, you will see the message “Activation successful!”. That’s all!
The new template name will be listed at the Templates dropdown list.
Alternative way to activate your templates
If you want or need to activate an installed template in other moment, you can do this:
Go to Help/About rollout. Press on Activate Template License.
A dialog window will show up, where you can pick the desired template file to activate. Then just follow the steps 2 to 4 previously described to perform the template actrivation.
Help / About rollout
This rollout contains:
a) Links to Stractals online tutorials and documentation
b) A button to access the Template Activation tool.
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 email@example.com.
All feedback is greatly appreciated. We will try to answer all your inquiries as soon as possible.