Adding Materials to Plating Patterns

A short demo of materials being applied to a simple helmet object.

The Plating Generator now comes with the ability to add materials to the plating patterns it generates on the mesh, an often requested feature. Jaroslaw Waskowiak tipped me over the edge with this specific request (among many great suggestions):

Material variations, randomizing UVs, assigning different maps to different “plates” at random

So I set to work:

Different variations can be applied without the need for displacement maps
A close-up of the underlying topology generated and different materials being applied.
A screenshot of the settings that control the colors on the plates.
A vertex color layer can be applied so the same material can be used with different colors.
A simple example of a material’s color being driven by a vertex color layer via the Vertex Color Node.

You can assign different materials which will be applied to the grooves and randomly assigned to the plates. You can also vary the vertex colors of the plates so you can get different colored effects from the same material.

The add-on works by using the existing topology to cut out grooves for the plates in an interlocking pattern. Once those grooves are cut, the faces of the plates can be grouped and different materials automaticaly assigned.

Animation Nodes version

A version of the add-on in animation nodes with materials being applied. The file is part of the supplied samples.

I’ve also included an Animation Nodes version if the add-on so you can play with dynamically changing the effect. The file is part of the samples.

Here are another couple of examples of the add-on at work:

The plating effect (triangular mode) being applied to a basic torus shape with vertex colors applied.
The standard Blender Suzanne object with the same helmet effect applied.

Read more about the feature from the documentation.

Houdini Version

Houdini Version of the Plating Generator

I am also working on a Houdini version of the Plating Generator, but it’s not quite ready yet…here’s a sneak preview of the settings:

If you’d like to test the Houdini version, let me know in the comments.

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:

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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.

Features:

  • 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: Plating Generator & Tutorial

testingAnimGifCap3plate_gen_front

I have created a Blender Add-on that can quickly create hull plating patterns on an existing mesh. One of the most time consuming things I’ve found is how to create an interlocking plating pattern on top of meshes such as spaceship hulls.  The most effective method is to manually extrude edge loops over and over, which can be very time consuming. The more detailed you want the mesh to be, the longer it will take.

You can view a tutorial on how to use the add-on here:

Features:

  • Quickly generate a plating pattern from a random seed.
  • The pattern can be generated on a whole quad based mesh or on a sub selection of quad faces.
  • Control the amount of grooves cut.
  • Control the depth of the grooves between the plates.
  • Control the thickness of the grooves between the plates.
  • Option to split the edges on a smooth mesh to ensure the edges are cleanly defined.
  • Option to completely remove the grooves and leave the plates intact.
  • No hidden geometry created, actions are performed directly on the mesh.

topols

The add-on is available for commercial download at BlenderMarket.

Any comments or queries feel free to message me via this page or on my Twitter account.