Taper Controls In Renderable Splines:
When modeling things like trees or tentacles, it's very common
to want to build some long cylindrical structure, and have it reduce in
size as it follows the path. For example, in the Extrude Along Spline
function in Editable Poly, there's controls for tapering along the
extrude. Lofts also have this control, you can affect the size of the
shape traveling along the lofted path. I'd like a simplified version of
these controls added to the Renderable Spline controls.
You might ask why not use a loft? Simplicity is the answer. To get the
same effect with a loft, you need 2 splines and a loft object, so
whatever number of tree branches you want will need to be multiplied by
3. Plus, lofts are not maxscript accessible, which makes trying to
automate their use impossible.
What I propose is adding two controls to Renderable Splines, a taper
control, and a bias control. Taper shows how much smaller the
crosssection should be at the end of the spline. So if you're initial
size is 20, and you choose a taper of -0.9, that would give you a size
of 2 at the end of the spline. Taper's larger than 0 makes the final
size bigger. This is indentical to the controls found in the "Extrude
Along Spline" option in Editable Poly. Bias defines where along the
spline should the taper start. So 0 means it should start immediately
from the first knot of the spline, 0.5 means the first half of the
spline is unaffected by the taper, and the tapering starts at halfway
along the spline.
Now it's way faster to create objects like branches without the need to
manage a ton of extra shapes and loft objects...
These functions could also be added to the Renderable Spline Modifier,
and the Sweep Modifier.
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