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Making of 'Iron Cat'

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Date Added: 25th March 2010
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Hi guys! In this Making Of I would like to share with you the techniques with which my piece, named Iron Cat, was created.
Basically this started off as a study for work, in which I had to create accessories and ornaments to go with a building reconstruction I was working on (Fig.01). Once I had finished this, I started to think about all the different objects that could be created with this weaving-technique, which lets you build objects creatively.

Fig. 01

The Technique

As the recreation of the actual cat would take some considerable time, allow me to demonstrate this technique using a simple object instead.

Things you will need: An object that you would like to weave and a plugin to work with (Plugin: - a big thank you to the developers for this very user-friendly tool)

There are a few basic principles which should be followed to make life easier. If possible the object's size should be in proportion to what you would like to create. What does this mean? What it means is that, for example, if you want to create ivy (and its branches) then you shouldn't have the dimensions at 10 x 10cm. If your object is this size, then you will either have to readjust almost everything, or otherwise the plugin will only create a very small number of stalks, as in reality only about two leaves fit on a 10 x 10cm area. Therefore the object you want to weave should be realistically large enough depending on how many stalks we would like to place inside of it.

As the intended object is most likely not going to be a cube, you can play around with the gravity value on the plugin (I usually start generating with the default setting, then when the bottom parts have been woven I adjust the gravity to minimum so the stalks can run higher, not just near the bottom).

Adjust the 3ds Max Parents value depending on how many stalks you want. Remember that the more detailed the object is, the more detailed the weaving will be.

Create a sphere then give it a shell alteration (I'm using a sphere to demonstrate the process, but you can actually use any shape). A shell is needed so you can weave the inside of the object and not the outside! If you try doing the outside then the stalks will branch out of the object, and without a shell the stalks will protrude from within the object (Fig.02).

Fig. 02

Place the ivy inside the object and then start generating. It's worth mentioning here that is more aesthetically pleasing to have more stalks running through the object, however this also means a higher polygon volume! After using Turbosmooth I had 13,299,108 polygons! (Fig.03).

Fig. 03

Once you've reached the required amount, stop the generation and turn off the leaves. The ivy is now complete, however to allow for further editing, convert it to an editable poly (Fig.04).

Fig. 04

continued on next page >

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