Node Menu Sidebar
Click anywhere on the node canvas to pan it.
Use your scroll-wheel to zoom in and out, centered on your mouse cursor
Choose a Circle from the Library sidebar menu
Click on the node palette to move it.
Click on the Output Parameter of the Circle Node (without dragging).
Move your mouse cursor to the righthand sidebar menu.
The sidebar menu has filtered the nodes so that only nodes that can receive the Circle Shape Output are displayed.
While hovering over the node sidebar menu, use your scroll wheel to scroll down to the Extrude node.
Click once on that node. The Extrude node should appear on the node canvas just to the right of the Circle.
Click on the node palette header bar or the thumbnail at the bottom of the palette and drag the node palette to a new position.
Move the Extrude palette to the left of the Circle palette, the connector between the two will wrap around to show that this is a directional relationship, i.e., the output of the Circle Shape “flows upstream” to the input of the Extrude node.
Mouse over the upper-righthand corner of the thumbnail at the bottom of the Extrude palette.
After a small orange sphere appears, click and drag the sphere to orbit the thumbnail view camera.
Dolly the thumbnail view in and out by holding down the ⌘ key (MacOS) or the control key (Windows) before clicking and dragging.
Open the Transformations foldout in the Extrude’s node palette.
Click on the Trans_X parameter and slide to the left and right.
Open the Controls parameters foldout on the Extrude node palette.
Click and drag the Extrude [Y] parameter. The hight of the extruded Cylinder will increase.
At the bottom of the Extrude node palette is a display showing the number of vertices and triangles in the output mesh.
Open the Geometry foldout on the Circle node palette.
Increase or decrease the number of segments using the segs parameter slider.
Notice the number of verts in the Circle stats display is updated, as is the mesh stats for the Extrude.
Click the first button on the menubar at the bottom of the Node Graph Editor window. This will re-fold all the parameters foldouts that you have currently open.
Clicking on the next button, the “”Close All Tools” button, will hide any Material nodes, Tool nodes and Shape Nodes.
Clicking on the third button will show all nodes in the Graph.
Note the stats summary displayed on the right side of the bottom menubar. This is the count of vertices and triangles that your entire model will have when built.
Parametric shapes are the heart of Archimatix modeling. Much of the form generation in real architecture is defined by shapes that are then extruded, swept and repeated. In this sense, architectural forms are a departure from sculptural forms such as organic bodies, automotive forms or geological formations which are more topological in nature and best model with 3D booleans and sculpting tools found in Maya and ZBrush. Much of architecture, on the other hand, can be described digitally using plan shapes and section shapes. In Archimatix, plans and sections are usually parametric shapes.
A parametric shape is a 2D form that is generated by a certain geometric logic and sized by input parameters. A simple but common example of a parametric shape is a circle, which is defined simply by a single parameter, the radius. The full description of a circle at runtime in Unity is a set of vertices that are in its circumference. Depending on the detail level, there may be dozens of vertices. But for the person using a circle for modeling, the radius parameter is a convenient way to think more abstractly about the shape.
More examples of parametric shapes, such as the ArchShape can be found in the Archimatix 2D Library. Many of the parametric shapes that ship with archimatix are listed in the sidebar to the right.
To create your own parametric shapes, you can start with an empty Shape node and code your own logic for the geometry using parameters you define yourself.
Let’s take a look at how Handles can help you take control of Archimatix objects in the Unity SceneView. When you grab an object from the Archimatix library, it appears in the scene and is automatically selected, revealing the Handles that have been incorporated into it. By clicking and dragging these handles, you can alter various parameters. For example, with the conical object above made from a PlanSweep Generator, clicking on the centroid of the Section shape lets you change the size of the cone and the angle of its slope.
If you interested in making your own parametric objects, you can add Handles to customize how your users will interact with them. If you combine two shapes in a PlanSweep Generator, you will automatically have the Handles associated with the individual shapes. But you can go ahead and add your own handles as well. To do this, open the Handles section on any Palette and click the “+” button. Once the new Handle has been created, you can name it and then fill in the X, Y, and Z fields to tell the handle where it should place itself at any given time. In the fields add numbers or expressions using parameter names from the Controls section and mathematical symbols or functions.
For example, if you would like an outrigger handle that is always at twice the radius of an object, then you could fill the X-field in with 2*radius. As you slide the radius slider, on the palette, the handle in the SceneView will always be on the X-axis two radius’ away. Now, to have the handle alter a parameter, you add an expression (below the position fields).
In the early nineties I began harboring a dream. “Someday,” I thought, “I will combine my experiences in architectural design, filmmaking, software development and game design to create powerful, parametric tools for for artists and developers to create architectural settings for their games.” While I have waded in here and there over the ensuing years (notice, I avoided the word decades!), making plugins for Softimage and Maya, other projects always took precedence.
Since 2008, I have been experimenting with both game development and customer editor coding in Unity and I find my development of Archimatix, a plugin soon to be made available for purchase in the Unity Asset Store, well on the way to becoming a comprehensive tool model building with the Unity editor.
In these posts, I will document the ongoing development of Archimatix and post as many images as I can!