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Every once in a while when you're building models you're going to need a part of that model all over, such as a screw or a bolt. And it doesn't make sense to keep modeling that same object or making multiple copies of that object, and that's where modo comes in handy, using instancing. So what I'm going to do here is model a bolt, and I'll show you how we can make multiple copies with instances. I'm going to start with the Cylinder tool and normally, we would just draw this out like this, but we're going to do two things. I want this perfectly even, so I'm going to click once to activate the tool and I'm also going to choose the number of sides, and in this case we want six for a bolt.
I'll hit the Tab key to get out of those selections. Then I'm going to click again, not on the tool, but right near it, and then I'm going to hold the Ctrl key, and I'm going to drag out. And that creates a nice flat, six-sided disc. You can also, by the same token, do three if you wanted a triangle, or eight, or anything else you'd like. So keep that in mind when you need a shape like this, rather than trying to edit it. And while I have this tool still active, I will just extend it up like this.
I don't need any segments, and that looks pretty good. We'll just click the tool to turn it off. And this is not as much about modeling as is it about instancing, but I'm going to show you just how we can very easily create this bolt. So in Polygon mode, I'm going to select the bottom polygon and press of the B key for bevel, click to activate the tool and we're going to grab the red handle, the Inset. I'll zoom in so you can see it. Shift+Click to activate the bevel again, and we're going to pull that down.
Spacebar to turn off the tool, and click in a blank area to deselect. Alt or Option key to rotate around, and we'll do the same at the top. So select it, Shift+A to fit it to view, press the B key for bevel, click to activate, and we'll come in about that far with the red handle. Shift+Click to activate another bevel. We will pull that down. Shift+Click, we will pull that in, Shift+Click to activate the bevel again, and we'll pull that up. Very simple. Click the bevel tool to turn it off, and then click a blank area to deselect.
And that's fine, but let's go just a little bit further, because we can. In Edge mode, I want to select the entire set of edges throughout this whole thing. Well, you would think using the right mouse would be good to lasso-select. The only problem with that is because we're in an OpenGL shaded mode, graphic library, that is, it doesn't get the back side. It only selects what we see. There are two ways around that. If you have a middle mouse button and if you have a wheel on your mouse that often is a button as well, you can hold that button down and that will select all the way through.
Okay, so the middle mouse button, usually the wheel on your mouse, just so you can just scroll in and out, also works as a button natively in modo. But if you don't have that, just jump to a wireframe mode and then use your right mouse button, and then you can jump back to shaded. Easy enough. Then press the B key again for bevel. Click and drag just a little bit. And you don't want it totally square, but let's put a Round Level of just maybe 2 on there.
Now we'll make it nice and tight, just kind of like that, about nine millimeters on mine. Click Bevel turn it off and click a blank area to deselect. And I'm going to press F8 on my keyboard, and that is a preview window, and we can just see what a render would look like. So by beveling those edges, we just get just a nice little trim. Just give it a little bit more realism. Now for the fun part. We're going to get into instancing, and what an instance is, it's a copy of the object, but it's referencing the original. So in this case, we'll name this Nut, and I'm going to save it into our exercise files. And you're welcome to load this up. Nut.
Okay, so you can load this up and follow right from this point. We want to create an instance, and the easiest way to do that is jump to Item mode and then press Shift+D. And what you'll see in the Items tab here is a pink icon, rather than a blue, and you'll see it's italicized. That means there is an instance created, and what does that mean? Well, I can't really see it, but if I press the W for my transform, you can see that it made a perfect copy right on top of the other one. Now if you'd gone to Polygon mode--and this is why it's important to be aware of which mode you're in, whether it's a component mode or the Item mode--and I hit Shift+D, what happens is I get Subdivide Polygons.
That's not what we want. So you need to make sure you're in Item mode and then Shift+D, and you make an instance, and then you can move it around however you want. So now, these instances, they have this kind of purple, pink look to them. And what does that mean? That means if I choose to edit this model in any way, it will happen to these other ones. So let's press the O command, and my Inactive Meshes are set to Wireframe. Let's change those to Same as Active Item, and that will make my instances visible in OpenGL.
You can still see the purple outline though. Anytime we want to make a change, we'll come down to the original blue mesh, that blue icon, and now I can go back to Polygon mode and do whatever I want. Let's say I wanted a little more bevel on here. So select this top polygon, press the B key, and now whatever I do on this model happens on the others. So Shift+Click to create more of a bevel, and you can see that I'm doing it to all of them. If I want to bevel these edges, I can double-click, press the B key for bevel, and I'll bevel those out.
Maybe your client comes and says, "Oh, this particular nut has a longer stem on the bottom." So I'll select the bottom polygon, Shift+Up Arrow to expand my selection. And if you go too far, like I just did, Shift+ Down Arrow brings your selection back. And then you can hit transform and move this down. That's what's great about using instances. The other advantage is that they render much faster, because they are copies; they are virtual copies. And if you think in a larger scale where you've got an entire machine you've made with all these bolts, or you've got a field of plants or trees, all of those can be instances.
And it's a really great way to work and save some time with memory constraints. When you look at these instances, you can also come down and change Converted to a Mesh if you want one of those just modified in a certain way, that you don't want it to follow the original object. So using instances is a great way to create multiple objects without making a lot of geometry, and it also gives you the flexibility of making changes to that model across all objects.
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