Bennell
There should be a tool for Maya similar to the AutoModeller Pro plugin for 3ds Max but with some differences. http://www.automodeller.com/ 
1. Use of 2d patterns like a voronoi pattern
2. Use of maps like density maps
3. Use of boundary regions
4. Use of flows.
5. Parameters for generated meshes.
Here are other references.
at 19:18
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pshipkov
There are couple of similar things in SOuP, but nothing specifically tailored to what the automodeller does, especially with the additional features you suggested.
The closest to being the instance manager - there you get points 1 to 4. Maybe #5 too, but not 100% sure what do you mean with it.
The obvious downside is that it does not trim and cut the instances based on underlying surface features and curvature.
But i can think of ways how this can be done when using it in "generate mesh geometry" mode.
Also, the tools is too generic and won't scale as good as the automodeller at the specific task.
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Bennell
Parameters for size and shape is what I mean.
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pshipkov
Gotcha.
That's in place.
Will add your request to my to-do list.
But it feels like dedicated toolset to me than patching the instance manager.
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Bennell
Would something like the the AutoModeller Pro plugin and RepTile system be an update for the instace manager or built from scratch?
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pshipkov
As i mentioned in my previous post, the instance manager does a lot of what the automodeller does but in a more generic way, except trimming instantiated geo around sharp features or holes of the underlying mesh. I can add that, but the overall usability will not be there.
The automodeller is clearly targeted at hard surface asset artists. The more technical and general approach of the instance manager won't cut it there. For such a toolset to be actually useful we need to narrow the scope and make it efficient for the group of people that will end up using it.
To summarize - we will need a dedicated toolset.
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JeremyR
Tiles seems like it has some relevance here. Using simple preset shapes that conform to irregular surfaces and can be boolean'ed. I wonder if that would be a good starting point.
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Bennell
You talked about the automodeller but what RepTile? Can you copy it's funtions like crease line boundaries and primitives generating shapes to fill their polygonal outline created by surface voronoi tessellation?
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Bennell
I'm still waiting for an answer.
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pshipkov
This kind of stuff is actually relatively simpler to implement - at least the core of it.
Making that core actually useful in production (user tools, workflow, automation, etc) is a whole different story.

There are couple of things in SOuP that are very close to what you are looking for but not quite there.
Check the vornoiTexture3d - it can generate the cells and place a concentric ramp inside them, but does not align the ramp along the cell's gradient. Also, it has little direct control from the 3D scene - masking, placement of cells, etc.
Take a look at the example scene attributeTransfer_pointCloud_pointColors.ma - there you will see the ramps inside the voronoi cells getting distorted and fitting the cells, but also they spill and blend, which is not what we want.
Also, check the attached scene - similar to the one i pointed you above but it uses the kdTree node.

If you search the forums you will find a solution i provided long ago for deforming scattered on surface point cloud with curves or other maya deformers.

Also, if you search for author "jujut" you will find bunch of interesting developments by Julien within the same context of our conversation here.

Now, most of these systems are on the Maya side.
To get proper scales system the generation of the scales has to happen at render time.
I am a bit hesitant to develop for any particular rendering plugin for Maya - the space there is so fractured that i won't be able to reach to more than 10-20% of whoever may benefit from such toolset.
The code that is currently exposed as Maya nodes can be largely repurposed as a render procedural.

Hope these notes make sense.
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Bennell
Quote: If you search the forums you will find a solution i provided long ago for deforming scattered on surface point cloud with curves or other maya deformers.

Can you tell me what category it's in?
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Bennell
Never-mind.
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pshipkov
Hope you found it. I need to search for it too, but it is somewhere around for sure.
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Bennell
http://soup-dev.websitetoolbox.com/post/scattered-point-cloud-follow-mesh-7541011?highlight=deforming+scattered+surface+point+cloud&pid=1288259306
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pshipkov
This one applies too, but to a less extend.
Check the attached scene.
You need a shader that does the same, but instead of sampling on the mesh topology (points), it does it on per-pixel basis.
After that you fit a "ramp" or a texture or whatever you want inside the cell along its gradient.
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