GS CurveTools main function is to create and manipulate geometry that is bound to a curve.
This is useful in many ways. You can create hair cards for games. Belts and straps for characters. Tubes, pipes and cables for environments and much more.
GS CurveTools also allows for an advanced geometry manipulation, for example complex braided cables, hair braids, clusters of hair cards all controlled by a single curve in a natural way.
In this chapter we will go through the main concepts of the plug-in.
If you want in-depth functionality explanation, please select appropriate chapter from the Table of Contents on the left.
Basic Workflow Example¶
Start by creating a simple curve card with Add Card button. Now try modifying the curve that was created.
You can switch to “Control Vertex” editing mode by selecting “Select by Component Type” in the Maya Menu or by pressing F8.
You can also access Marking Menu of the curve by holding RMB. There you can switch between control vertex and object selection modes.
Now open Curve Control Window by pressing the button with the same name.
Here you will find all the main controls for the curve.
Now select your curve and click Duplicate button. You now have two curves with the same attributes, UVs and material.
To read about UVs setup, please read the appropriate section in the Table of Contents (Textures and UVs, UV Editor)
By default, Layer 0 is selected and all new curves will go there. You can switch between layers by simply clicking on them. All the new curves (except for duplicated ones) will go into selected layers. Duplicated curves will inherit the layer of the original selected curve.
Curve Control Window¶
Curve Control Window holds all the sliders and checkboxes that control the attributes of any selected curves. Window is dockable to any part of Maya UI. It is multi-selection capable and have 4 main sections:
- At the top there are controls for Curve Layer, Geometry Color in Colorization mode, Curve Name and Curve Thickness.
- Main Attributes Section holds all the main sliders and graphs for curve control.
- UV’s Section holds sliders for procedural UVs editing.
- Solidify Section holds sliders and checkbox to enable solidify (extrusion) of selected curves
Reset Sliders Range will reset sliders minimum and maximum values to preset default values.
You can always extend the range of the sliders by manually typing values into a value field.
Structure of the Curve Card/Tube Object¶
Curve Cards and Tubes are complex objects and thus they consist of multiple simple objects grouped together.
curveCard is the main group that holds all the elements of the Curve Cards and Tubes. This top level group can be moved, grouped and renamed.
The main object that you will interact with is pathCurve object. It is the only viewport selectable object by default. It is a control curve that deform the geometry based on its shape. This curve holds all the attributes and has no construction history which allows you to use default Maya Deformers, curve functions and other curve related options from Maya without loosing the functionality of the Curve Card group. pathCurve should not be renamed or moved outside the main group.
instances sub-group is a construction group and should be ignored by the user. It holds only functional elements that should not be moved to other groups or renamed.
geoCard is the actual geometry that is controlled by the pathCurve. The only way to interact with it is to enable “Geometry Edit” in the layer.
You should not remove or rename any objects inside the main group. If you want to organize your scene - use layers or/and rename and group the main group itself but not its contents.
Warp function will sometimes create additional sub-group called origCurves that should not be moved or renamed by the user.