Join Henry Santos for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding replicators, part of MODO Essential Training.
- [Instructor] As we've seen in previous videos, complex models may need to have recurring copies or instances of specific objects. Building or duplicating these objects will not only be a ton of work, it would create a huge file. A great solution to this problem is to use replicators. These are instances of any selected objects. Let's take a look at how we can use that in a pertinent project. So in the previous video we matched this terrain to this other terrain, and now we'll see why.
What we wanna do is bring in a tree. So this is an environment, and I wanna have trees just along this other swatch of polygons here, called the Tree_Point_Source. So let's go to to our presets window. It's in the upper-left corner of our screen. Click on presets, and let's navigate down to meshes. So assets, meshes, organic, and trees.
Let's get this first tree here. Double-click to bring it into our scene. Let's close this preset window, and there it is right in the middle of there, seen. It's kind of lonely, so we need to bring friends. So replicators can help with that. What a replicator is, is a particle generator of sorts. So we have to add that item in here, so we go to our item list right above our list of items we have add items. We can click on that downward arrow, scroll down to particles, and select replicator.
So now this replicator isn't doing anything right now. But, while we have it selected we have different properties that we need to fill in to make that work. So let's expand this palette or this tab up by clicking on the double arrows here, that expands it up, and there's still a lot more tools under there. Now what we'll do is go to instancing, and we don't need to transform anything right now so we can close that transform option, and go to instancing.
So now we can see all of our options here. So we wanna select a prototype, and that's gonna be the tree. So right now none is selected, so let's go to Tree 01, and the point source, this is that smaller polygon that we matched to the terrain. So let's go to Tree_Point_Source. What that is, is a source for points that the tree will sit on. So now we have a whole array of trees.
Pretty cool. Can't really see what's going on here, so let's bring up a preview window. Now this is a lot like the render preview that we have in the render tab, but since we need to be in this window we can bring that up separately. Let's go up to the render pull-down menu and open preview. And there we have our preview window. Let's hit the play button so it previews it. And again it is looking through our render camera.
So we can go ahead and move this around. It's looking at the lone tree, the source of all our trees. And there we have in nice, neat rows, an orchard of leaning trees, like a little army of trees. Alright, there they are. And as that redraws, let's look at the different options we have. What's happening because it is aligning to the source, I'm looking at the properties here and it says source mode, it says align to source, it's going perpendicular to the planes.
So it's going along the surface normals. A normal is a perpendicular line from a polygon. So what we wanna do is make that look upright. So we go back to our source mode under our properties, and change that to point data, and you'll notice how they will just occupy that point in space, but not change from the orientation or the angle of the original source, of the original prototype.
So I wanna break this up, and not have it completely cover each one of those points because that series of polygons has different vertices and each vertex is a point a copy of the tree sits on. Okay, so let's go down to our render density, and by clicking on these white arrows, the side by side arrows, we're gonna reduce the percentage value so it randomly picks the different points on that polygon and we can see here in our view window that it is kind of making them a little bit more organically separated.
But they're still aligned in the same way, and they're all the same size. Let's go to the different options we have here, and after all of these instancing options we have the variations. So we can change the random offset. Still, we wanna save that for later, 'cause we don't want it to be showing up above the ground or having weird stuff happen. So we'll just keep it at point source. If anything we wanna have it go through the terrain. But we'll change the twist along the y-axis, which is the vertical axis.
So are you seeing? They're all dancing. Pretty cool! So we have the random twisting of these trees. So that's starting to change around there. Now let's look at the scale. For the scale I'm gonna click on this gang edit, and then we wanna make all of these increase when I click and drag from side to side, change the values. 'Cause I want them to be random heights and random widths.
So we wanna change the uniform scale. You can turn that off or on. Uniform scale will make it look just like the original tree as far as proportions are concerned. If we turn off that uniform scale, you notice here in our preview window we have little squat shrubs and we have the big trees, and then we have these other squat shrubs and tall skinny trees. So it adds a lot of variety to our scene.
So by using replicators you can effectively add complexity to your scene without adding a lot more detail or a lot more time to your project, and it actually is pretty fun. So go ahead and play with that and see what you can come up with.
- Building simple 3D models
- Working with primitive and preset objects
- Using deformation and duplication tools
- Subdivision (SubD) surface modeling
- Understanding replicators
- Creating a fusion model with MeshFusion
- Adding lights
- Shading with materials and UV mapping
- Painting and sculpting
- Animating your scene
- Rendering and exporting renders