Shape Generator

by Mark Kingsnorth in Models

What is the Shape Generator?


Quickly create an infinite variety of unique 3D objects with the Shape Generator. 

These objects can then be used by digital artists as a source of inspiration, a starting point for a new design, or to quickly provide background details.

Due to its popularity and support, the Shape Generator has evolved into an extensive tool that features customizable presets, random transformation, automatic UV mapping, and even animation.

  • Generate ideas and abstract concepts for inspiration which can then be edited or sculpted.
  • Create base meshes for further editing such as spaceships, game assets, and objects I haven't even thought of.
  • Create shapes for background assets or to add peripheral details.

When combined with our Plating Generator addon you can quickly create detailed models which can then be further refined. 

It can also be used to create libraries of curated objects which can then be used in kit-bash fashion or sold by others.

Getting Started Video

How does it work?

The shapes are created by specifying a random number and then changing a range of length, scale and rotation parameters of the resulting extrusions.

The add-on can also work to ensure that the faces of the shape won't overlap.

You can choose whether the shape is mirrored in the X, Y and Z axis by a mirror modifier (or not at all).

The add-on provides the option to add a subdivision surface modifier to the shape, and/or a bevel modifier to produce different effects.

You can specify whether the algorithm favours in the X, Y, or Z direction to produce flatter shapes if desired:

Scaling and rotation options allow you to change the overall profile of the shapes:

The addon also supports multiple object creation at the same time to create more detailed shapes: 

Once ready, the modifiers will be left intact if you want to do further editing to the shape. 

Compatible with our other addons such as the Plating Generator, Bevelled Extrude and the Window Generator, as well as other add-ons such as DECALMachine.

If you have a new feature request or any questions, either contact me via the Blender Market website or you can reach me on Twitter.

Houdini Version

A Houdini version of this add-on is also available via Gumroad.

Updates

Version 1.7.8 - Integrated Panel, Design Theory, Baking, and an Iterator


The latest Shape Generator comes with a host of new updates, described in the set of videos below.

Integrated Panel lets you revisit your shape

In previous versions, parameters could only be changed at creation time and once the panel disappeared those changes were committed.  

Now you can revisit and change your parameters by clicking on the object and going to the new integrated "Shape Generator" tab:

1. Apply Big/Medium/Small Design Theory with custom controls:

This update has been heavily influenced after talking with Marco Iozzi who has worked on productions like Harry Potter, Elysium, and Game of Thrones, and is currently doing concept art & design for Thor: Love and Thunder.  

Marco highlighted the topic of Design Theory by Sinix Design, the theory that the majority of good designs can be broken down into one large main shape; a medium shape or shapes taking up a smaller amount of the design; and some smaller shapes taking up an even smaller area.

The Shape Generator now has a dedicated section for creating Big/Medium/Small sub-objects that can make up the main shape.  See the video here:


2. Iterate Potential Designs with the Iterator

To see lots of designs at once so that you can select one or two to take forward, we can now use something called an Iterator in the Shape Generator.

The Iterator will use the camera in your scene to automatically render a range of Shape Generator combinations to a directory of your choosing.  See this video:

3. Bake objects ready for editing or sculpting

The generated shape is made up of lots of different collections of objects. The 'Bake Shape' operation will collapse all the objects into one overall object, applying any modifiers that were being used, and remove the Shape Generator parameters. 

This is useful for further applying edits to the model, or using the Remesh Modifier to sculpt the object further.  See this video:


Version 1.6.0 - Add materials

You can now add materials when creating a shape with this new parameter:

This will allow you to preview the material before the shape is created:

Version 1.5.0: - Animation and UV Projection

Animation with Animation Nodes

There is now an additional feature that will allow you to use the Shape Generator as an add-on in the freely available Animation Nodes Blender framework showcased here:

This will allow you to do the following key things:

  • Animate all the parameters for generating a random shape or shapes.
  • Dynamically configure the shape in realtime without losing the parameters.

I have included a zip file in the downloads section that contains a set of sample .blend files showcasing this feature.

In the future, I am working on similar functionality in the Plating and Greebles Generator add-on that will allow you create even more complex objects:

UV Projection

Along with this update I have also added more sophisticated UV Projection parameters that uses a version Blender's UV Smart Project function:

This should allow you to have much more control over the UVs that are created from the shape.

If you have any issues or questions don't hesitate to contact me via the 'Contact Creator' button. Enjoy!

Version 1.2.0: Random Shape Transformation


Exclusively for Blender 2.8 now, the shape generator which works as before, but now with the additional feature where the user can create lots of random objects at the same time & randomly change each of those shapes' location, rotation & scale properties. This creates lots more interesting combined shapes. 

See the video below:



Version 1.0.4: Blender 2.8 Beta

I have now upgraded the add-on for 2.8 beta and put it ready for download alongside the 2.7 version. You will be able to tell the 2.8 zip file version because it ends in 2.8!  I'll be updating the documentation once 2.8 becomes the main Blender release.

Blender 2.8 is still in beta, so if you have any problems with the add-on let me know.

Version 1.0.3

Presets!

You can now add, edit and save lots of preset configurations for different shapes.  I have included a small set of example configurations in a separate zip file - see the documentation on how to install them.