What have I been up to lately…? KIT OPS SYNTH

Original vision for SYNTH (Credit: Chipp Walters)

I was approached a few months ago by Chipp Walters and Masterxeon101, famous for some of the most leading tools in 3D modelling such as KIT OPS and HARD OPS.

KIT OPS is able to apply a wide range of 3D objects (called INSERTs) that can be used to instantly cut and add to existing objects or create standalone ones with the goal of rapidly creating and exploring new designs. Read more about it here.

They had been interested in my generative modelling work in the Plating Generator and Shape Generator, and had a vision for an extension to KIT OPS called KIT OPS SYNTH.

The original requirement for SYNTH was to simply overlay these INSERTs in a grid like fashion on top of 3D surfaces, but with Chipp’s design patterns thinking and background in NASA we are taking it a lot further….

KIT OPs SYNTH early results, being applied with the new KIT OPS BEVEL (Credit: Chipp Walters)

Emerging features include:

  • A range of layouts can be used: Arrange INSERTs in rows, columns, grids, randomly, and around edges and borders.
  • User ‘layers’ of INSERTs to manage and apply groups of INSERTs in one go.
  • Control the frequency and placement of INSERTS with a variety of parameters: apply padding to the INSERTs, scale them individually, add random rotations.
  • Use Blender 2.91’s new Booleans feature for more accurate cutting.
  • Load and save your configurations to share with others or apply later.

This has already given rise to a variety of promising results you can achieve very quickly with SYNTH. Here is a short video of the random layout being applied using a set of INSERT cutters, by just changing the random seed value:

A short video showing SYNTH’s random layout…and this isn’t even the most powerful layout!
Results achieved in just as few seconds.

There’s still plenty of work to do and a good round of testing to be done before the first release, but I thought it would be good to show the progress so far. In the future, Chipp is looking forward to taking SYNTH to the next level with Machine Learning…but that is definitely a blog for another time.

Blender Add-On: Window Generator

My latest add-on will create many windows at once on the faces of a mesh:

Years ago, I had a very hard time modelling window patterns onto models like this one:


The user wanted more and more windows added to the 3D model, and each time I found myself painstakingly adding each one in a random pattern onto the faces.  This took up many hours and days of my time, far more than modelling the overall model itself. After this painful experience, I thought there surely must be a better way.  So when using Blender, I decided to create an add-on that would do the job for me.

The add-on has applications beyond just modelling spaceships, and would also apply when needing to quickly model many windows onto architectural buildings.


  • Select faces and then add a configurable pattern of windows, where the amount of coverage and randomness can be controlled.
  • Control how many windows are mapped across each face and how many are mapped down them.
  • The width and height of the windows can be changed.
  • Different window styles can be created by adding corner bevels, and outer bevels can be added to make the window edges smooth.
  • Option to disable top or bottom bevels to create different effects.
  • Ability to assign a material to the newly created windows by specifying a material slot id.
  • Also assign a lights-off material to give the impression that some window lights are switched off.
  • Introduce further variations by adding a random “jitter” to the width and height of each window.
  • Option to perform edge split operations to create a quicker clean look.
  • The process automatically creates uv seams to aid in uv mapping for textures.
  • Faces are mapped from the top-to-bottom of a face by default, but the orientation can be changed to either left-right or front-back.
  • Additional refinement options that will attempt to remove unwanted edges or vertices from the created window patterns.

If you have a new feature suggestion or feedback on the add-on feel free to contact me through this website or contact me on twitter @markkingsnorth.

Blender Add-On: Configurable Jet Mesh

DynamicJetFront_bnI have created a Blender add-on that will quickly create a configurable mesh in the form of a fighter jet or starfighter, available on the Blender Market.

In the past I have found it laborious and repetitive to model, mirror & subdivide the starting shape. This add-on does the job for you, first allowing you to dynamically configure the basic shape, then leaving you free to edit the base mesh by leaving the Mirror and Subdivision Surface modifiers intact.

For modellers who want to either generate different shapes for a jet or starfighter in their scenes, rapidly prototype plane concepts, or have a starting point to develop a more detailed mesh.


  • Add the Dynamic Jet mesh from the standard Add menu.
  • A range of configuration options allow you to quickly shape and concentrate on the overall design.
  • Once done, you can then move on to edit the underlying basic mesh as the modifiers are left intact.
  • Base mesh is based on quads which will help it to be quickly extended and used with other operators and add-ons.
  • The range of configurable options include: optional engines and tail wings, wing span & angle, cockpit size.
  • Also compatible with my Plating Generator add-on.

If you have a new feature suggestion or feedback on the add-on feel free to contact me through this website or through twitter @markkingsnorth.

I have also created a demo video:

Jupiter Approach and the ships that made it



After the Mars Picture, I have made more use of the modelling tools and compositing in Blender to create the above image.  Because you can’t see all of the models in detail though, here are some individual renders of them:

fighter1 fighter2 fighter3 fighter4For the fighter, I was able to quickly texture by using smart UV unwrapping combined with a layered brick-like texture to get the overall effect (the plane was originally intended only for the background and so didn’t need much detail).  However I was impressed with how it came out so I could do more close-up renders and perhaps re-use it later.

Here is the larger ship, slightly inspired by the Sulaco in Alien:


Note again in Blender I was able to very easily add some aft-boosters using the Emission material.

ship3 ship4Once more I am really enjoying Blender, mainly due to the wealth of tutorials out there, and after the initial learning curve it is incredible easy to model, texture, and composite all within the same application.  Admittedly, the final image had some final colour alterations and highlights added in photoshop, but overall everything was accomplished all in the same program.

A Mars Odyssey in Blender

mars_odysseyFurthering my work in Blender, I came across some useful tutorials by Dan Brown including how to model panels on smooth surfaces.  I combined this by modelling a planet atmosphere in Blender (a little old, but can be still be done for the latest Blender version) to create a slightly 2001-inspired space scene.

I also recreated my Avalon Station in Blender, very roughly:


I then learned a little more about UV mapping in Blender and to put together a space plane, following this tutorial to get the after burner effect:shuttle_profile1shuttle_profile3


shuttle_profile2This was all done using Blender’s Cycles node based texturer and renderer, which I’m very impressed with…hope you think this is an improvement on my last effort!