MAXScript - StackUp Instructions
With this MAXScript you can stack any objects randomly into anything you can imagine. It's been modified from the 3Disciple Magazine free script which was bundled with a tutorial. In production, it has been used to make neighbourhoods of houses and low-rise apartment blocks, as well as structural and industrial objects such as scaffolding and industrial objects. Before anyone starts comparing this to more complex parametric/array node-based tools, let's be clear, this is a very simple tool to use that does one function really well - random stacking pre-built assets. There's no learning curve, apart from the way you set up the models to use with it. If you spend a little time creating 3D assets to use with it, you can build complex cities or towns with little effort and in no time. The most time-consuming task is planning how the stacking will conform from level to level (stairwells, facade designs etc).
See the below video for an overview of what it does.
The MAXScript is installed with our universal installer.
- Open 3ds Max.
- Open Customize User Interface and select Toolbars.
- Under Category, select SiNi Software Scripts.
- Select StackUp and drag to a Toolbar to create a button.
At present StackUp only works in Meters units (m). It will work in other units but the setout height and spacing will be wrong. For example, if the building is 5 meters wide and 3 meters tall per floor, and your scene is in centimetres, then the width and height will be set out at 5 cm wide and 3cm per floor.
- DO NOT change the Folder Structure or Subfolder Names or StackUp will not work.
- Individual models in Subfolders can be named as you like.
- Subfolder - Bottom
- Subfolder - Middle
- Subfolder - Top
- Subfolder - Textures
You can rename the ROOT FOLDER!
If you choose to make your own models to use with StackUp follow the above guide for each StackUp preset and you'll be fine. For example, 'Modern suburban houses', 'Apartment blocks', 'Retail shops' etc.
StackUp works by importing 3D models from set folders and stacking them based on the parameters you set, from single level to 99 levels plus roofs. Depending on how many models you place in each corresponding folder determines how random your final stacked model will appear. For example, if you have 1 x model in each folder there will be no variation, whereas 10 x different designed models per folder will look much more random and awesome!
The MAXScript requires that each model fits within identical width and height dimensional boundaries. This allows StackUp to build the imported stack using set width/height parameters. The depth of models isn't affected, nor are the top heights as these models 'cap' the stack.
A model can be smaller than the set parameters, but make sure the bounding box remains the same as the others. Similarly, a model can extend beyond the bounding box parameters if you want it (adding a basement under a ground floor model, for example).
- All edit mesh 3D models pivot points must sit at coordinates 0, 0, 0 (X, Y, Z). This allows StackUp to import them correctly.
StackUp places imported 3D models into a grouped stack generated at a set distance, placed along single or multiple splines.
You can select single or multiple splines to use. StackUp will automatically convert shapes to edit splines.
- Open the script by clicking the button on the Toolbar.
- Select the spline or splines you wish to generate StackUp on. As this is a script and not a plugin*, it can take some time to create if these are long splines so be sensible. We advise creating one or two at a time to start with. Don't go crazy with it straight away!
Select Model Files
- To use Auto Path, select the main folder directory. StackUp automatically selects the sub-folders in this directory.
- Select the number of levels to stack. Limited to a maximum of 99 levels.
- Check the 'Create Random Number of levels' if you wish to generate a random layout.
- Set the Width and Height dimensions of all your models. The preset is set to the tutorial width of 5 wide and 3 in height. Please note the maximum size is 99 units (width and height).
- The Depth axis is set by default to Y.
- Tick 'Display object in box mode' if you are creating a complex scene.
- Random Scale Range adds a small variation in scale to each model. Range 0.1 to 2.0. Default 0.
- Position of StackUp on Path. Sets the layout pivot point to being Inside, Centre or Outside.
- Click to generate. It may take some time depending on the length of the spline and the complexity of the above parameters. Be patient on big scenes!
- StackUp will automatically convert all imported models into instances.
- When finished creating we recommend checking out our other tools to continue adding detail and finessing your masterpiece. Below is a list of tips to check out.
- Please note, if you do not have an active licence for our plugins you may be able to use the 30-day trial. See your User Dashboard for availability (if you have used these already). Licenses and Users