Plating Generator

by Mark Kingsnorth in Scripts and Addons

Quickly create unique hull plating patterns using existing mesh topology.

One of the most time consuming things I've found is how to create an interlocking plating pattern on meshes such as spaceship hulls.  The most effective method is to manually extrude edge loops over and over, which can be very time consuming. The more detailed you want the mesh to be, the longer it will take.

With a background in software engineering I have created a plugin that greatly speeds up the process, allowing you to quickly create a selection in a plating pattern and and extrude the edges accordingly.

Features:

  • Quickly generate a plating pattern from a random seed. The pattern is an interlocking effect designed to be more advanced than the standard random face selection in Blender.
  • The pattern can be generated on a whole quad based mesh or on a sub selection of quad faces.
  • Control the amount of grooves cut between the plates.
  • Control the depth of the grooves.
  • Control the thickness of the grooves.
  • Option to split the edges on a smooth mesh to ensure the edges are cleanly defined.
  • Option to completely remove the grooves and leave the plates intact.
  • No hidden geometry created, actions are performed directly on the mesh.


New Releases

Version 1.2.0


Based on requests, I have made some additions to the plating generator which are free to all current users:

  • Define the number of segments on the sides of the plates and within the grooves.
  • An additional option of selecting the faces for the plates as well as the grooves.
  • Add a bevel to the edges of the plates, and define the number of segments.
  • This plugin is also tested on the upcoming Blender 2.79.


A short demo video of the new features is here:




Note that when installing the new plating_1_2_0.py file, remove the existing plugin via the Blender User Preferences window beforehand:

Any questions, do get in touch!

Version 1.3.0

A host of new features this time.  If you already have the existing add-on, remove it under Blender User Preferences and download the new file from the same place on this website.  It is now in a zip file.

A video covering the updates is available here:




New Features:

  • A newly designed user interface with more options (see updated documentation): 
  • Ability to create groove patterns based on your own edge selection:

  • Add a bevel to the main corners of your selected faces to create a finished effect:
  • Improved edge splits, that also split the corners of the edges.
  • Option to mark UV seams around the edges of the plates for texture mapping purposes.
  • Better segmentation between side plates and bevels - now less likely to overlap.

  • All existing features remain the same.

  • The add-on is now in a zip file to allow easier porting between versions of Blender.

Next time: Rivets. I promise.

Any questions, let me know :)

Version 1.4.0

Minor update to the corners feature whilst I work on other features - I've amended the code to handle a better effect in some cases:

This was bugging me so I've updated it! 

Installation

  1. Go to File -> User Preferences.
  2. Select the Add-ons tab at the top.
  3. Select the Install from File... button along the bottom.
  4. A file dialogue will popup. Navigate to the location where you downloaded the plating_generator zip file to and double click it.
  5. Search for the addon by typing "plating" in the search box. Make sure the checkbox next to the Addon (Mesh: Generate Plates) is ticked.
  6. Close the User Preferences dialog box and enjoy!

Creating Plating

In Object Mode

With the object selected, either:

  • Navigate to Object -> Generate Plates in the Object menu of the 3D viewport.
  • Press the Space key and start typing "Generate Plates" in the pop-up menu that appears.

In Edit Mode

With a set of faces selected, either:

  • Navigate to Mesh -> Generate Plates in the Object menu of the 3D viewport.
  • Press the Space key and start typing "Generate Plates" in the pop-up menu that appears.

Parameters

The add-on has the following parameters:

Plating Pattern

Configure how the plating pattern is created:

  • Mode - Choose between:
    • Generated - Automatically generate a hull plating pattern. In Generated mode, the following options apply:
      • Amount - the amount of plate cuts generated.
      • Random Seed - generate a different selection based on the whole number given here.
    • Selected Edges - Use the edges that have been already selected.

Grooves

This section controls the grooves between the plates:

  • Clamp Groove Width - prevent the grooves from overlapping geometry.
  • Width - the width of the grooves between the plates.
  • Depth - The depth of the grooves between the plates.
  • Groove Segments - Number of segments inside the grooves.
  • Side Segments - Number of segments on the side of the plates.

Plate Bevel

Add a bevel effect around the plates:

  • Amount - How bevelled are the top of the plates.
  • Segments - How many segments the plate bevel has.
  • Plate Bevel Type - The type of Bevel to apply. See the bevel documentation.

Main Corners

For each major corner in the surrounding selected region of plates, you can also add a curved bevel to give a more finished effect.

  • Amount - bevel width of the corners.
  • Segments - the number of segments in the bevel.
  • Main Corner Bevel Type - The type of Bevel to apply. See the bevel documentation.

Selection

  • Select Groove Geometry - select the created groove faces.
  • Select Plate Geometry - select the created faces for the plates.

Other Options

  • Mark UV Seams - mark UV Seams around the plates for texture mapping purposes.
  • Edge Split - this will split the groove edges to make sure the outer plates remain smooth.
  • Remove Grooves - completely remove the grooves and just leave the plates. Useful with Solidify modifier.
  • Edge Selection Only - only select the edges, without the mesh being edited.  Useful if you want to perform custom operations on the selection.
I have a new feature suggestion or issue with the addon. Who do I contact?

You can either contact me through this website, or visit www.markkingsnorth.com, or contact me through twitter @markkingsnorth.

What sorts of meshes does the addon work best with?

The addon works best on meshes containing quad faces - that is, faces with 4 edges each. This doesn't mean your whole mesh has to be made of quads, as you can operate the addon on a sub-selection of faces.  Other mesh topologies may work but are untested.

I have a new feature suggestion or issue with the addon. Who do I contact?

You can either contact me through this website, or visit www.markkingsnorth.com, or contact me through twitter @markkingsnorth.

What sorts of meshes does the addon work best with?

The addon works best on meshes containing quad faces - that is, faces with 4 edges each. This doesn't mean your whole mesh has to be made of quads, as you can operate the addon on a sub-selection of faces.  Other mesh topologies may work but are untested.

I have a new feature suggestion or issue with the addon. Who do I contact?

You can either contact me through the website, or visit www.markkingsnorth.com, or contact me through twitter @markkingsnorth.

What sorts of meshes does the addon work best with?

The addon works best on meshes containing quad faces - that is, faces with 4 edges each. This doesn't mean your whole mesh has to be made of quads, as you can operate the addon on a sub-selection of faces.  Other mesh topologies may work but are untested.

What sorts of meshes does the addon work best with?

The addon works best on meshes containing quad faces - that is, faces with 4 edges each. This doesn't mean your whole mesh has to be made of quads, as you can operate the addon on a sub-selection of faces.  Other mesh topologies may work but are untested.

Item Rating

This item has an average rating of 5 from 6 ratings by the community.

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  • 90751bd2fa3c769f6d1e80fce150520c

    arghpics 3 months ago

    I've just started to use it and it works great. Its useful for adding detail to large objects and environments or even as cutout shapes. It would be cool if there was a way to add rivets along the seams automatically to suggest panels. Noticed that the random number doesn't create as many variations as you would think. Especially if you use lower numbers. Would definitely recommend it though. Wish more products here were as reasonable in price.

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 3 months ago

      Thanks very much for your positive feedback arghpics - rivets would be tricky but possible and I'll look into it for a future update. The random number generator should in theory not be an issue as I am using the standard built in Python library...perhaps this is might be changed in future Blender versions?

  • Ee136630f13f3cc117b6c5133f8884e0

    Predrag 4 months ago

    So, I just wanted to comment on this great product, first for me on the Market. It really makes these kind of things simpler, even with the occasional hiccup (not always perfect result complex meshes, but not a big issue). I wanted to ask if it would be possible to add the edge loop option, to choose how many edges you'd like to fit inside the chosen depth of the grooves? Similar to how you can choose when doing a bevel? Just a thought, it would make further customization way easier.

    Either way, thanks for making this addon, I hope you'll continue with making it even better.

    Sincerely, Predrag

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 3 months ago

      Thanks for the great review Predrag! I have just added an update following your suggestions. It should be available for download from the same place. Let me know if this was what you were looking for.

  • 89ce9ef917758a232dde2002e3109e78

    ohsilentone 4 months ago

    Brill!!

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 3 months ago

      Thanks very much!

  • Large

    bodenarr 3 months ago

    easy to use - rigth that what I was looking for - wonderful !!!

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 15 days ago

      Good to hear thanks!

  • D3b261965f06533cccf56d6dadb08d78

    Rikatty 17 days ago

    Wonderful and Amazing tool.
    You can save the time.

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 15 days ago

      Thanks again Rikatty, glad I saved you some time.

  • Db9eac0f6571f646662f5b6c1b265f63

    plrang 2 days ago

    I use it all the time now, great work

    • E6d9aac9d9b155b1c848c7aa40b6bc22

      Mark Kingsnorth 2 days ago

      Thanks! If you've any example images do send them over.

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