Itoo Software Forum

Author Topic: Calatrava Railing Workflow Question  (Read 1307 times)

ralphr

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Calatrava Railing Workflow Question
« on: September 25, 2014, 12:48:57 PM »
Heyo, sadly I have another workflow related question where I'm currently stuck.
I have to do a larger construction which is pretty similiar to the one Calatrava did for a university in florida (Have some pictures attached.)
At first it doesn't really look that complicated and I'm sure I could build this by hand fairly quickly at least the repeating ones and clone them with railclone along a spline.
But since I don't have the final design I'd like to be able to have a more flexible setup. Like being able to change the slope or choose how many pipes I have evenly distributed.
I get close to what I want but the main difficulty at the moment is that the two main bars have differen angles so its not easy to get the pipes to line up.

Since the rotation needed doesn't seem to be linear I'm not sure if what I want is even possible and I should just build the main construction (including pipes etc) and clone that along the spline and just do upcoming changes manually.

I attached a few pictures of what I have so far.

Cheers,
Oliver

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
Re: Calatrava Railing Workflow Question
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 11:19:55 AM »
Hi,

Thanks for contacting us, this is an interesting example and sadly rather difficult to solve with RailClone alone. The problem is that we don't yet have a generator that is able to use two parallel splines to define the top and bottom of an array, it is however on our wish list.

I have been able to get close though by combining RailClone a few other native 3ds Max tools. Please see the attached file, you may need to move the animation slider to frame 5 to see the final result. To achieve this I tried the following:

  • Create two splines, one for each slope, align these so that they are parallel and flat for now.
  • Create two separate RailClone objects, one for each spline and create the main supports
  • Create a third RailClone object for the pipes, don't use a spline path but instead set it to free object then use the X Length property and create and align a ladder to go between the other two RailClone objects, you should end up with something like this:
  • If you adjust the splines the supports will update fine, however the pipes will not. To deform the pipes you can apply a Skin modifier to the RailClone object and then select the two splines as bones. Make sure that at frame 0 the splines remain flat, like a ladder.

  • As mentioned, to make updating the railclone object work we need to ensure the ladder stays flat on frame 0, so to adjust the curvature, turn on Autokey and then move the animation slider forward a few frames and reshape. Any time you adjust the curves, turn on autokey, the splines should always remain flat on frame 0
  • You can now use these 3 railclone objects inside a 4th, new Railclone object to assemble the style, using a sequence operator and mirror to create the correct pattern:

  • Using this setup you should now be able to adjust the evenly distance of the pipes, and the curvature of both supports (provided Autokey is on and the ladder stays flat at frame 0)

I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any more questions or need further clarification.

Cheers,

Paul
« Last Edit: September 26, 2014, 11:22:33 AM by Paul Roberts »
Paul Roberts
iToo Software

ralphr

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: Calatrava Railing Workflow Question
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 03:51:20 PM »
Paul first of all thanks a bunch for your continuous effort!!!

I took a good look at your file and it really works great. I only have two question in regards to your file. Since I have no experience wth the skin modifier. Can the deformation of the individuals pipes be avoided? (pic. dents.jpg). Secondly would there be a way to force the tubes to stay between the two main bars? Some of them sadly start floating outside the frame.

Please don't missunderstand this as me nitpicking. I really appreciate everything you have done :)

Now I have another question related to the same construction but a different solution. Yesterday I built the main construction per hand at least the big parts and cloned that via railclone. Not as pretty as being able to do it procedurally but oh well. :) (pic. parts.jpg)

For the most part what I did works well on a straight spline but on a curved one I get a problem with the part the whole construction sits on at base level. The bending on it looks really wacky and I'm not quite sure what I'm doing wrong here or if I have to split the base in more parts to get a proper result. (pic. bend.jpg)

Again I attached a few pictures, which display the problem. If needed I can upload the scene.


Cheers,
Oliver

Paul Roberts

  • iToo Software
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1517
Re: Calatrava Railing Workflow Question
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 06:21:11 PM »
Hi Oliver,

Your version is looking good and is probably the way to go.  The strange deformation you are seeing at base level  in your models may be due to the number of interpolation curve steps in the base spline. RailClone allows you to override the interpolation value and use numbers greater than Max's limit of 100. You can find this property in the Style rollout:



If you did want to continue experimenting with using skin, to lock the poles onto the spline more accurately you need to ensure that the vertices can only be affected by one spline at a time. At the moment they are at least partially influenced by both splines which is why they are coming adrift. To do this open the Advanced rollout in the  skin modifier and either set the Bone Affect Limit to 1 or alternatively turn on Rigid Vertices, which essentially does the same thing.



Though this technique also has the benefit of reducing the unwanted deformation at the end of the poles, it doesn't remove it completely. Instead I've attached an example that uses skin in the same way to deform a splines object which is then used to drive a railclone object to create the poles. The parameterisation is a little more clumsy in this case, as you need to adjust the number of poles by dividing the base splines instead.

I hope that makes sense, let me know if you have further questions
Paul Roberts
iToo Software

ralphr

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
Re: Calatrava Railing Workflow Question
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2014, 12:04:35 PM »
Thanks Paul,
I was playing around with the curve steps before and to be completely honest I stopped at 100 I never even thought about trying to go past it. Increasing it to around 1000 made the deformation look smooth and I can work with that. :)

I didn't get to check out your new file yet but I'll do so on monday. Hope you have a great weekend.

Cheers,
Oliver