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Bezier Clone

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Bezier Clone Tol

The Bezier Clone tool will duplicate an object along a bezier path a user-defined number of times. The path can be pre-generated, or with the tool active, can be drawn and edited interactively while cloning the target element(s). A Bezier Curve is a type of curve defined by additional off-curve control handles providing users an intuitive means to control the amount of incoming and outgoing curvature for each control point.


The 'Bezier Clone' tool is found in the 'Duplicate' subtab of the default modeling toolbox. One may have to RMB+click to open the button popup menu to find it (by default it is located under the 'Curve Clone' tool button). Alternately, the tool is also found in the menu bar under "Geometry > Duplicate > Bezier Clone". LMB+click the button to activate the tool. Next, in the 3D viewport, click to position the first control point and then continue to drag the mouse cursor to create the bezier handle. Releasing the mouse button will set the handle length. Subsequent clicking and dragging will draw additional control points and handles with a curve segment drawn between each vertex. Cloned items (as defined in the tools properties panel) will interactively display on each new segment as it is drawn.

When drawing out the Bezier for cloning, control points will always be created at the intersection of the Work Plane and the mouse button click. The curvature of the segments between control points is defined by the bezier handles (called 'endpoint tangent vectors'). While the tool is active, users can hover over any of the control points (changing them from blue to yellow) and LMB click and drag to reposition it. Points will always move on the two axes relative to the current Work Plane, so rotating the viewport to change an axis may be necessary. Handles are edited in the same manner. Pressing and holding the 'Ctrl' key when editing handles will break tangency allowing opposing handles to be different lengths and/or angles, editing any handle without pressing 'Ctrl' will restore tangency. When editing (moving) control points, pressing and holding 'Shift' will move all downstream control points as a single unit.

There are three Bezier editing modes, allowing users to 'Add' any additional control point after the most recent selected control point, 'Edit' allows users to change a control points location and 'Delete' removes any control point that is clicked. Control points along the Bezier Curve can also be positioned precisely during editing by selecting the target vertex and using the Point X/Y/Z fields of the tools properties panel. Once the tool is dropped by pressing the 'Q' key, the cloned items will be in effect set and no further editing of the path is possible. However, using a pre-drawn path will allow the user to delete the resulting clones and re-create them with modified settings.

Pre-drawn Path

To use a pre-drawn bezier path for cloning, one will need to make sure the path itself is selected prior to activating the tool, this is done while in the 'Polygons' selection mode. With the target curve selected, activate the tool (by clicking the tools button) and then again clicking in the 3D viewport, this triggers the cloning of the selected element along the bezier. If desired, the bezier can then be edited in the same manner as if it were drawn with the tool.


The number of clones is determined by the 'PathSteps Generator". Adjusting the 'Steps' value will increase or decrease the number of clones along the path. The positions of clones can be further adjusted with the 'By Length' option which will evenly distribute the clones along the path, regardless of the control points. By default, what is cloned is determined by what is selected. Generally a user would define a selection within a single layer, activate the clone tool and then draw the curve that results in the cloned elements. If what is to be cloned is on a different layer, the users can adjust the settings of the 'Clone Effector' to specify alternate clone sources. This allows users to specify a specific layer, or use multiple layers randomly for each clone location, based on their foreground/background visibility.

Bezier Path--

Bezier Clone PanelMode: The various bezier curve mode options available are--
Add-- The default mode, when users click in the viewport, additional points are added to the curve. At each control point position two handles extend out that allow users to adjust the curvature of the curve segment between vertices. While drawing users can hover over any point or handle where it will turn yellow, users can then LMB+click and drag the control point or handle to further edit the curve. Control points may be added mid-curve by selecting the preceding control, highlighting it yellow, and clicking the position where the new control point is desired (point order is defined by the initial order in which the curve was created, press the 'F' key prior to activating the tool will invert the order).
Edit-- In edit mode users can freely LMB+click drag and of the control points or handles along the curve to change the look to the desired shape. While pressing the 'Ctrl' key, users may break the tangency of the control handles, allowing for sharp corners.
Delete-- In delete mode, users can LMB+click on any control point along the curve to remove it from the bezier.

Point X/Y/Z: Users wishing finer point control can assign specific XYZ values in these input fields for the currently selected (highlighted) control point.

Bank Angle: The orientation of the cloned elements is determined by the orientation of the geometry being cloned, and the 'Align' options, if enabled. The 'Bank Angle' option provides users an additional control, per path vertex, for banking or angling the clones from side to side. Bank value will then smoothly blend with the values of the previous and later control point positions.

In X/Y/Z/Out X/Y/Z: Users wishing finer handle control can assign specific XYZ values in these 'In' and 'Out' input fields for the currently selected (highlighted) control point.

Closed: The 'Closed' toggle option adds an automatic curve segment between the first and last control point positions producing a closed curve.

By Length: When the 'By Length' option is enabled, cloned items will be evenly distributed along the path by equal lengths rather than by the span (space between control points), which may produce uneven placement.

Create Polygon: When the 'Create Polygon' option is enabled, dropping the tool will leave the Bezier Curve path instead of removing it from the scene. This is useful should the user wish to use the resulting curve for additional purposes.

Make UVs: If the 'Create Polygon' option is enabled, this toggle activates auto-generation of UV texture coordinates along the curve. The generated UV values will be of a single vertical line ('V' axis in UV) positioning all the control point vertices evenly between 0 and 1. For example, this can be useful for applying a Gradient to a rendered curve (the 'Render Curves' option is available in the 'Mesh' Items properties.

Path Steps Generator--

Automatic: When the 'Automatic' option is enabled, MODO will assign the number of clones to the path based on the number of control points combined with the 'Smoothing Angle' option. This method will bunch-up the most clones around the curvy areas, and produce fewer clones on the straight areas of the curve, which may be desirable. For even spacing of clones enable the 'By Length' option above and disable 'Automatic'.

Steps: Available only when 'Automatic' is disabled, this option allows users to specify an exact number of clones along the path.

Smoothing Angle: When the 'Automatic' toggle is enabled, the 'Smoothing Angle' will determine the distribution of the clones along the curve. Smaller values will produce more clones, and larger values will reduce the number of overall clones. The 'Smoothing Angle' basically defines what the difference between two positions along the curve is, if the next positions falls within the 'Smoothing Angle' threshold, a new clone is generated.

Align to Path: This option when enabled, changes the orientation of the cloned elements along the curve. The first clone will retain its original orientation and subsequent clones will be angled away from the first based on the changing (vector) angle of the bezier curve.

Align to Normal: When this option is enabled, MODO will try to align the direction of the source objects to a straight up position before cloning the source item(s). If the item is already upright when cloned, this option will likely have no effect.

Start at Source: By default, MODO will clone items at the actual world position along the bezier curve. When the 'Start at Source' option is enabled, MODO will offset each cloned item the distance between the source items center point and the first curve point,producing an effect as if the curve were initiated precisely at the center of the first source item.

Clone Effector--

Replace Source: When this option is enabled, MODO will remove the source geometry and position it at the first Point along the path.

Invert Polygons: This option, when enabled will invert the normal direction of the cloned geometry.

Merge Vertices: This option, when enabled will merge coinciding vertices into a single vertex.

Distance: Used in conjunction with the 'Merge Vertices' option, the Distance value determines the maximum distance between vertices where merging will occur. Vertices outside this value will remain unchanged.

Source: Determines the mesh that will be cloned along the Pen tool path-
Active Meshes- This option will use the currently selected geometry as a clone source.
Specific Mesh- This option allows the user to specify a specific Mesh item as the clone source using the 'Mesh Item' option below.
All BG- This option will combine all the currently visible background items cloning them as a single mesh.
Random BG- This option chooses a random background item from all the currently visible background items at each clone position.
Preset Shape- This option allows users to clone Profile shapes from the Preset Browser. Open the Preset Browser 'F6' and select a profile before activating the tool.

Mesh Item: This option works when the 'Source' is set to 'Specific Mesh' and allows users to choose the mesh layer to be cloned.


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