Whilst making some models for Daz Studio people were asking me about making rows and stacks of items. I found this was difficult to deliver – people like different things. So I came up with this plugin to fill the gap. It’s pretty easy to make simple stacks and rows of items and there are a variety of features that help accomplish this.
There is a Daz forum thread here…
Documentation follows. Screenshots may differ slightly as I develop it – ‘length’ has now become ‘depth’.
64 Bit Version of the Stacker Plugin for Daz Studio.
Tested on DS 4.8 and 4.9. Reported as working in DS 4.7.
32 Bit Version of the Stacker Plugin for Daz Studio.
Not tested by me. Reported as working fine, may be an issue with docking.
- Loading a group of models
- Shuffle & Hollow
- Random Offset
- Other Examples
- Change Log
Loading a group of models
Stack Dimensions is the target size of your stack of props or models. As you can see above I have entered 3 in width, height and depth. The information readout is telling me how many models I need to make that size stack. You’ll notice it also tells me I can make this hollow – which may be useful for large stacks to save memory – you need to check the ‘Hollow’ box when making hollow stacks.
To quickly load many models you can use the quick loader. You may select one or more props from the content library as shown. The order you select props in makes a difference – for items that you want on the top of the stack pick those first and so on – top to bottom.
Referring back to the first dialogue you can see it suggested 27 props for a solid stack. This is what we will do now. As I want a stack of 3 x 3, you can see that I can pick 3 props and load 9 of each making 27 in total. Yes you might have to do some maths still ! For odd numbers of props you can load them individually – for example just select one prop and enter how many to load.
Moving along with the example, as that’s ready to go, simply click ‘Load’ and then it will busy itself loading in the props.
Once it is done it will also select all those items it just loaded for convenience as the stacker only operates on selected props.
At first all the models will be loaded to the same place, so don’t worry if it looks like there is only one prop in the scene. At this stage lets see what this looks like when we click ‘Stack These…’ button with the default values….
As you can see it should stack them all up something like this above. Now that would be precarious in real-life, but this is only intended to demonstrate how it works.
Shuffle & Hollow
First lets look at ‘Shuffle’. Simply this takes all selected props and rearranges them randomly. So select that and press the ‘Stack These…’ button again. You can keep shuffling until you are happy with it. If you untick shuffle then it will revert back to normal stacking when you click ‘Stack’ again. So shuffling might be something to do after other things perhaps.
If you had chosen to make a hollow stack then the one right in the middle would have been ignored, so remember to account for that. To make a hollow 3 x 3 you would only need 26 props and so on. Hollow will probably work best on same or similarly sized props.
The ‘Normal’ positioning setting will stack props next to each other and will compensate for different sizes and rotations to some extent. There is basic collision detection that works for most things. This image above is just to demonstrate that with mixed sizes (here by scaling) and rotations it has a pretty good shot at stacking them without colliding with each other. With wildly different sized objects it may not work so well. Some tweaking may still be needed by hand.
The ‘Align’ setting simply centres one object with respect to the one below it. Like in the image above. The cans are centred on the tea boxes.
The ‘Precise’ positioning relates to the settings in the ‘Spacing’ group. So you can see that if you set X to 100, Y to 100 and Z to 100, that it will place things exactly at each meter and without accounting for the size of any prop. Not sure how useful that is, but it’s there. Incidentally the randomise setting for width spacing and the others will add a randomness that might be useful for this setting – more on that below. If that image above looks odd, it’s because the cans are floating a metre above the boxes – as if describing a cube. It’s not easy to tell from that without knowing.
Rotation works quite simply. The ‘Reset’ will set all rotations to zero, useful if props are already aligned some other way and you want them straight. The ‘Keep’ button allows you to store the current rotations and they will persist. The ‘Custom’ check box opens up the further rotation settings.
In this screen-shot above you can see I have selected ‘Custom’. The input fields from left to right are X, Y and Z as you can see from the check-boxes above them. I have set Y to 10 and so now when I click ‘Stack’ it will give everything a fixed rotation of 10 degrees on the Y axis.
If we now click the ‘Randomise Y’ check-box it will then give the props a random rotation between -10 and +10 degrees from zero on the Y axis.
A little more about spacing. Here I have loaded 6 milk cartons and in the Spacing section I have set X (Width) to 2cm. This has spaced them out by 2cm width-wise. Pretty simple.
All axis have a randomiser. When checked this will apply a space in the range of zero to whatever the width spacing is set to – so in this example 0 to 2cm. And you can do that on the other axis too.
The bottom row of scaling inputs again go from left to right as width(x), height(y), depth(z). With 100 in any input it will apply a 100% scale, ie. original size. If you put 80 in height, then it will reduce the height of props to 80% and so on.
You can also set a scaling range similar to the way you can for spacing. If you click the ‘Lower Height’ check-box for example it will open up an input for a lower scale threshold. So if I enter 30 as the lower threshold and 80 as the higher for height; you will see it does something extreme to the cartons. It is randomising the height (Y) scale from 30 to 80%.
And as above you can do that for all axis. It might be useful for something other than milk cartons, but you see the idea.
To manage things in a scene easier you might want to group one set of objects together. This is where the ‘Make As Children To New Parent’ feature comes in. If you have not already, then select the props you want to group together. Type a unique name into the box and when you press ‘Set Parent Name’ it should create a parent and assign them to it like above.
Now when you select the parent you can move them around all together and position a stack in the scene. This also allows them to be stackable in a new location – so they will not move back to zero. It is important to note that you need to make sure that the parent node is not selected if you do any more stacking – as that will confuse things ! So just select the children of the new parent.
This is useful if you don’t want things to be too tidy. For example here I have a row of books, and by setting the random offset of Z to 5cm, it pushes them around within the range of 0 to 5cm.
These were done prior to the latest update.
Rows of books are easy to set up.
Just a final example now. This one above has a few options set so that it looks like falling books. It could be used for leaves or something like that too.
And that’s that !
- Interface wording simplified
- Layout rearranged for simplicity and for better docking
- Minor interface changes
- Length changed to depth