TUTORIAL: Creating a masonry wall with RailClone and 3ds Max (beginner)


This tutorial is intended for new users of
RailClone, and provides a thorough introduction to some of the most commonly used features.
By completing this exercise you will be able to use the built in library, understand the
style editor, and easily create new styles. Before creating a new RailClone style let’s
look at how to use the extensive library that comes with the plugin. RailClone comes with over 280 predefined styles
allowing you to easily add common objects to your scenes. Using these styles is simple, often requiring
only the creation of a single spline to determine the path. Lets create one now. Create a new spline in the top or perspective
viewport. This will become the Base Object that defines the path use to create geometry. Go to the Create Panel>Geometry>Itoo Software
and click RailClone. Drag out a new RailClone object in the perspective viewport. The size
of the icon has no effect on the final geometry. With the new RailClone object selected, go
to the Modify panel and open the Style rollout. Click on the Open RailClone Library Browser
button, this will currently say “none” but will display the name of the style once loaded. The Library browser allow you to save, share
and load predefined styles. The window is split into two panes. On the left is a Directory
Navigator that allows you to navigate the current style libraries. Built in libraries
are represented by a blue folder and cannot be changed, editable user Libraries are green. The larger pane on the right is the Items
Grid that previews the styles in the library currently selected from the Directory Navigator. To load a style from the library into the
scene, simply Double Click on its preview, click Import Selected or Right-Click and select
Use Item(s) When a style is loaded, nothing will display
until you select a new path from the scene. To do this go to the Base Objects rollout,
here you will find a list of the inputs required for the loaded style to work. Select the “Spline” item from the list, click
on the Spline Object Picker and select the spline created in step 1. A new brick wall will now be created in the
viewport. The wall is linked to the Base object, if you edit the source spline the RailClone
object automatically updates. In the next section we’ll take a brief tour
of the Style Editor and look at how this object has been constructed. The style editor is used to construct the
relationships between Base Objects, Segments, Operators, and Generators that define how
a RailClone object is constructed. To examine the style ruleset used in the wall we just
created, go to the Style rollout and click on the Open Style Editor button. The Style Editor features an easy to understand
node based view, with an interface split into 3 panes. On the right is the Items List, this
shows all of the Generators, Objects, Parameters, and Operators that can be combined to construct
a Style. In the centre is the Construction View, nodes are created by dragging them from
the items list to this area. To wire nodes together, simply click and drag between their
respective input and output slots. On the left hand side is the Properties Editor, clicking
on a node in the construction view shows its editable parameters in this window. Now we know the theory, we’ll create a new
brick wall style from scratch. Open “wall.max”. This file contains 3 objects
we can use to create the wall. Create a new straight Spline in a perspective
or top view. This will become the Base Object that defines the path for our new Style.
Go to the Create Panel>Geometry>Itoo Software and click RailClone. Drag out a new RailClone
object in the perspective viewport. From the Modify panel, go to the Style rollout
and click the Open Style Editor button Create a new L1S Generator by dragging it
from the Items List to the Construction View. One dimensional arrays need at least a generator,
a spline and a segment to function. We’ll add those now. Create a new L1S Generator by dragging it
from the Items List to the Construction View. Create a new Spline object by dragging it
from the Items List to the Construction View. Select the spline node and from the Properties
Editor, rename the spline “Wall Path”. Wire the Spline node’s output slot to the Generators
Spline input by clicking and dragging between them with the mouse. Assign the spline by going to the Base Objects
rollout, Select “Wall Path” from the list click the Assign Spline button and pick the
spline we created earlier. Now the path has been assigned we need to
pick the geometry to clone along it. Create a new Segment Object by dragging it from the
Items list to the Construction view. Select the Segment node, go the Properties
editor and click on the Object Picker button. Select the mesh called “Wall-middle” from
the scene Wire the Segment’s output to the generator’s
Default input. The wall will be generated, cloning and adapting the mesh along the path.
By default, the RailClone object does not have any material assigned. Open the Material
Editor and assign the “wall” material to it from the Scene Materials.
To create a more complex style we’ll add brick piers at the start and end points of the path.
To do this, in the Style Editor create a new segment and pick the “Wall-Post” object from
the scene. Wire the Output slot of this segment to both
the Start and End inputs on the Generator. The wall now have a post at either end, but
if you zoom in on the joint between the post and the wall you will notice that there is
a small gap. This is because by default the bounding box RailClone uses to calculate the
position of adjacent segments is based on the widest point of the geometry, and this
includes the top piece of the post. To fix this issue, we will add a negative padding
value to both sides of the post segment, In the Style Editor access the post Segment’s
properties. From the General tab you will see padding for each side of the object. Set
Left and Right padding values to -5 to close the gap. Now you can experiment with the spline, moving
or adding vertices. Being a parametric object, RailClone will rebuild the wall automatically,
even bending Segments to follow curved paths. When you’re ready, unhide all objects from
the scene. You will find a spline (“rcline”), and a “Wall-Evenly” mesh object that which
will be used in the next part of the tutorial. To allocate the new spline to the existing
object, go to Base Objects, select “Wall Path” from the list and assign “rcline” as a path
using the pick spline button. For this wall, we will add posts on the corners
of the spline. In the style editor, wire the “Wall-Post” segments output to the Generator’s
Corner input. To stop the posts from rotating to follow the direction of the path go to
the Generator’s Properties, open second tab marked Rules and turn off Align to Path in
the Corners section. By Default RailClone applies this rule to
all the spline’s vertices of the “Corner” or “Bezier-Corner” type, though this can be
easily changed by selecting others from the Vertex Type drop-down menu. If you look at the result you’ll notice a
problem. The plugin tries to adapt the mesh in the corners, bending the segments and creating
an undesirable result. To fix this issue go to the “Wall-Post” Properties>Deform
and untick “Bend”. Finally, we’ll add some smaller posts evenly
spaced along the wall. Create a new Segment object and pick “Wall-Evenly” from the scene.
Wire this node to the Evenly input of the generator. To adjust the spacing, go to the Properties
panel, to the rules tab and set the distance to 250. This completes the tutorial, the wall is done.
Feel free to experiment by creating other splines, manipulating the existing, or adjusting
any of the parameters we’ve discussed while creating this tutorial Once you have completed this tutorial you
should be able to create new RailClone objects, load styles from the library, and use the
Style Editor, to create a new parametric object. For more information about every aspect of
RailClones features please see our reference section or visit the tutorials page for more
advanced videos.

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