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The D-Form Spline Editor

The D-Former by default will apply it’s strongest ’r;pull’ at the center of the D-Former’s Field, fading off gradually towards the edges of the field, wherever the mesh lies within that field. However, you can alter that behavior, and how much strength is applied to all points of the mesh from the center of the field outward. This is done by clicking on the Edit Spline… option within the D-Form tab.

Before we detail how to work within the Spline Editor, a bit of concept will familiarize you with what a spline is and how it works. If you are already familiar with splines, you can safely skip the next part and get to the inner workings of the editor itself. For those who are not familiar with splines, the sections that follow will likely be of use to you.

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What is a Spline?

The strength of the field will always reach outwards from the center in a 360° consistent radius, in all directions. In order to represent this radius of force from the center, the D-Form Spline Editor presents us with a Spline, which in 3D terms is a single-line intersection of given points in space, which in our case is from the center of the field to the outer edge. In the editor above, the spline is shown as a blue line on a graph. The left-hand side of that spline represents the center of the field, while the right-hand side of the spline represents the outer edge of the field.

Out from the Center

Think of each point along this spline as a spot sitting at a given distance from the center of the field in all directions… sort of like a shell inside the field that is shaped just like the field, only smaller, as shown below.

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The center of the three spheres (blue) is the center of the field, or the point represented by the left-most end of the spline (as shown in the graph.) The outer sphere (in red) is the field’s edge, or the point represented by the right-most end of the spline.

The darker sphere in-between them (gray) represents the area affected by the blue dot between the ends, as shown on the graph. As you can see in this example, that blue dot is actually representing a sphere within the field’s edge. It’s size depends on where it is along the spline… the closer to the center that dot is, the smaller the sphere it will represent.

Give it some 'oomph'!

The editor’s graph also shows the relative strength of the field’s ability to “pull” mesh at certain points along its spline, by representing strength with height on the graph.

The top of the graph represents the greatest strength, while the lower edge of the graph represents the weakest. This means that if a point on the spline is at the top of the graph, that area of the field will have the strongest amount of pull.

Working Within the Editor

Let’s take a look at the Spline Editor itself, and see how one goes about editing the D-Former Field’s behavior. To open the Spline Editor, first open the D-Form tab (View > Tabs > D-Form), and then click the Edit Spline button in the D-Form tab.

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The D-Former Field drop-down menu allows you to select which D-Former Field effects you want to modify. Click on it to see and select from all of the D-Formers you have loaded in your scene (if you have only one, you get only one choice to pick from, though that one will already be shown by default.)

The three Action modes available to you are there to control what you want to be within the spline itself:

  • Move: When this mode is selected (default), it allows you to move existing points (dots) on the spline up or down to control the strength along that point of the spline.
  • Insert: This mode allows you to insert additional points along the spline (which shows up as new dots on the spline. The further to the right along the spline, you insert a point, the further out from the center of the field the effect will be. To insert points along the spline to manipulate, select the Insert option, then insert as many points as you wish along the spline by clicking on the spline where you wish the point to go. Note: Before you move any points along the spline, go back and select the Move option first, or you’ll end up inserting additional points instead.
  • Delete: This mode allows you to delete any additional points along the spline that you don’t want. Select this option and then click on all the points along the spline that you don’t want.

Tip graphic TIP! Something to keep in mind is that as you delete a point along the spline: The spline will try to compensate for the missing point by re-drawing itself in a smooth curve between the two points that surround the now-missing point.

Tip graphic TIP! Before you manipulate or move any other point, be sure to select the Move checkbox before you do, else you may accidentally delete points along the spline that you didn’t want to.

  • Undo Last: Clicking this button allows you to fix a mistake when editing the spline. Simply click the button to undo the last thing you did to the spline.
  • Undo All: Clicking this button resets the entire spline to its default curve. If you become completely lost or turned-around when editing the spline, click this button to get a smooth curve once again. Note that all points along the spline (except the two default points) will also be removed.
  • Show Grid: Toggles on and off the background grid on the graph. The grid represents no real numerical value, but rather they are relative divisions in space that you can use as a convenient reference. If it gets in your way, use this option to shut the grid off.

The Graph itself is where all the action is. To manipulate it, you simply add points to the spline (or use the two default points supplied) and move them up and down to increase or decrease strength of effect, respectively. Note that you have to add a point to the very spot on the spline where you want the effect to take place - you cannot move points left or right along the spline. The points only move up or down. As you manipulate the spline, keep an eye on the Viewport and look at the colors change on the affected vertices as you change each point. Vertices will turn red as strength increases, or yellow as it decreases along any given vertex. (Move the editor window out of the way if you can’t see the Viewport.)

When you’re done editing the spline, there are the Accept and Cancel buttons. Depending on which button you select, your changes to the spline will be applied to the Field (Accept) and the editor will exit, or ignored and not applied to the field (Cancel), then the editor will exit.