What is it? RailClone is an 'artist-friendly parametric modelling and spline-cloning plugin for 3ds Max'
What's new? 100s of new objects added to the library, always 'open' Style Editor, a new RailClone Slice modifier
Price $275 / £195
Company iToo Software
RailClone first hit the 3D marketplace in 2010, making it possible to create procedurally driven models. Artists were already in full flow with duplicating and instancing tools, but the concept of using set parameters in order to generate models wasn’t in many people’s minds.
At the time it was a game changer, and it continues to largely dominate the market. In the past 13 years, RailClone has evolved with the ever-changing needs and requirements of a fast-paced and demanding industry. In this latest release users get a major overhaul to the asset libraries, an all new RC Slice modifier, and an improved workflow for their node graphs.
The power and flexibility of parametric modelling is multiplied tenfold when it’s then partnered with excellent assets; an area RailClone has devoted a lot of time to over recent years. Artists can now enjoy a much larger array of libraries to choose from when setting up scenes.
For this latest release there has been a particular focus on exterior road and street-related assets. I’m especially excited by the road library, because this will make setting up roads and their associated line markings an absolute breeze. That has historically been a time-consuming task to get right, with artists having to rely on masks and complicated maps to achieve anything that comes close to realism.
Meanwhile, the new RC Slice modifier now makes it even easier to divide up your existing meshes for use within RailClone. This modifier means that users can link to the same sliced component from anywhere within their node graph. This has the obvious benefit of not having to create multiple parts, even if they’re the same component.
Another nice addition to this modifier is related to the faces that are left after slicing through an object. It’s now possible to treat these faces with separate Material IDs, ensuring that they are properly represented in the final image. These new improvements to RailClone’s slicing capabilities help it to further integrate into an artist’s workflow.
Aside from the more feature-focused additions and improvements, it’s also a relief to see that the RailClone Style Editor will now remain on top. The annoyance of having to open and close this during a workflow was a big bugbear for many artists. No more though, with the always-on-top editor.
If you've yet to try RailClone there's a Lite version to download and experiment with, which can even be used for commercial projects (though it has some omitted features, such as a limited subset of presets and a lack of customisable libraries. This is a plugin for 3ds Max, so read our review of 3ds Max 2024 for the latest on this modelling software, and read our guide to the best 3D modelling software for more apps.
This content originally appeared in 3D World magazine. Subscribe to 3D World at Magazines Direct.