By Neil Blevins
Created On: Apr 18th 2012
Some people have asked me for a practical example of using my
wirebundler script (for 3dsmax), available here.
Especially using the path deform mode. So here we go.
For this example, I will be using this tentacle, built using simple
poly modeling. My goal is to have a bunch of tentacles clumped together.
Preparing The Mesh
First, lets prepare our mesh. Follow these steps...
- Backup: Make a backup
copy of your mesh in the scene, so you can always go back to it and
edit what you've done.
- Attach: If your object
is made up of more than 1 object, like for example if you're making a
wire that has a number of connectors and other greebles, attach them
all together so they're a single object. Path deform works better on
single objects. In this example, since our tentacle is already a single
we don't have to worry about this.
- Rename: now's a good time
to give your object a decent name, since you're about to make a bunch
- Reset Xform: Path deform
works better on objects that have had their xform reset. So select your
tentacle, go to Utilities -> Reset Xform.
- Collapse: Lets collapse
the mesh so we don't have any extra modifiers. Select your tentacle,
right click and choose "Convert To Editable Poly".
- Place Pivot: Place your
pivot at the bottom of the tentacle, right at the origin (see image
- Turbosmooth: Apply a
turbosmooth to your mesh, this will add segments, which will help
your object deform smoothly. You should make sure when modeling your
original mesh that it will look correct once it's been turbosmoothed.
- Create a few target spheres, these will denote the flow of your
- Open wireBundler. Set "Wire Appearance" to "Path Deform". Set
"Number of Wires" to 8. Select your 4 spheres in order (first select
sphere01, then sphere02, etc) and click "Move Sel To Target List". Set
"Min Thickness" to 0.4 and "Max Thickness" to 0.7. Select the tentacle
click "Move Sel To Deform List". Click "Apply".
- Now select your 4 spheres and hide them so you can see your
So you'll notice that many of the tentacles intersect. This is because
the script has no collision detection. You can always click the
"Delete" button under "wireBundler Tools" to delete your current
bundle and then click "Apply" again, and keep doing that until you get
a bundle you like (each time you redo it it'll be a random
configuration), or another way is to just manually edit the splines.
Each tentacle is deformed based on a spline. So select the spline and
move its knots, the tentacles will go along for the ride. Here's after
2 minutes of editing the knots of the splines...
This technique of course is good for more than just tentacles. Bundles
of wires or pipes, rope, boat rigging, stylized hair, all sorts of
uses. Also, if you already have some splines, you can use the script
simply as a shortcut to
run meshes down your pre-existing splines, you don't have to have the
script create the splines.
So hopefully this quick tutorial gives you a basic idea on how to use
the script. I've certainly had fun using it...
This site is ©2012 by Neil
All rights are reserved.
Back to NeilBlevins.com