Friday, December 17th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

iToo Software releases RailClone 5 for 3ds Max

Originally posted on 17 December 2021. Scroll down for news of the RailClone 5.2.6 update.

iToo Software has released RailClone 5.0, the latest update to its parametric modelling plugin for 3ds Max.

The update adds banking controls for spline-based objects, new caching options to improve performance of complex scenes, and an experimental new system for distributing non-geometry objects like lights.

New banking controls for the RC Spline modifer create complex corkscrew geometries
New features in RailClone 5 include a set of banking controls for the plugin’s RC Spline modifier, making it possible to generate geometry that twists around the length of a spline.

Users can change the banking angle at any point on the spline, with options to interpolate the value from one end of the spline to another; or to override it for individual spline segments.

As well as setting numeric parameters, users can adjust banking via a viewport gizmo. In the video above, you can see it being used to create a complex corkscrew track for a rollercoaster.

Distribute lights, volumes or mixed groups of objects throughout a scene
Another major change is the option to distribute non-geometry objects, like VDB volumes and lights: a feature previously added to RailClone’s sibling application Forest Pack.

It’s still an experimental feature: V-Ray is currently the only renderer whose lights are instanced natively.

As a workaround, when using other third-party renderers like Corona Renderer or Arnold, objects are inserted in the scene before rendering and removed once completed.

In addition, users can now distribute groups of objects in a scene. Groups can contain a mixture of object types, making it possible to distribute both the geometry of a lamppost and the light itself, for example.

New caching options improve scene performance, and make it possible to reuse caches across scenes
In addition, RailClone 5.0 introduces new options for caching RailClone objects, improving interactive performance without having to convert RailClone set-ups to Editable Poly objects or native instances.

Users can cache a RailClone object within the scene itself, or to an external file, the latter option making it possible to reload a cache multiple times within a scene, or to reuse it in other scenes.

Lots of smaller features and workflow improvements
Smaller features include a new Adaptive mode for the Evenly Generator, which spaces objects evenly along a spline, making it possible to distribute only odd or even numbers of objects.

When using Material IDs to control the distribution of geometry along a spline, users can now specify multiple IDs, rather than being limited to a single material.

Workflow improvements include a new Selector parameter type, which makes it possible to expose parameters from RailClone set-ups in 3ds Max’s Modify panel as drop-down lists as well as numeric inputs.

Updated 14 July 2022: iToo Software has released RailClone 5.2.6.

The 5.1 and 5.2 updates are mainly bugfix and compatibility releases: a previous update added support for 3ds Max 2023, while RailClone 5.2.6 itself adds support for V-Ray 6, the latest version of the renderer.

Other changes since RailClone 5.0 include support for the Corona renderer’s new decal system.

Pricing and availability
RailClone 5.2.6 is available for 3ds Max 2013+. Feature support varies between the compatible renderers. New licences start at $275, including one year’s maintenance.

There is also a free, feature-limited Lite edition of the plugin.

Read an overview of the new features in RailClone 5 on iToo Software’s blog

Read a full list of new features in RailClone in the online release notes.

Visit the RailClone product website
(Includes a download link for RailClone Lite at the foot of the page)