Thursday, May 25th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

iToo Software releases RailClone 6 for 3ds Max

iToo Software has released RailClone 6, the latest update to its parametric modelling plugin for 3ds Max.

The update adds a new RC Slice modifier for cutting 3D models into modular parts, improves workflow in the plugin’s node graph, and begins a major overaul of the accompanying asset libraries.

A popular parametric modelling tool for architectural visualisation work
First released in 2010, RailClone makes it possible to generate complex 3D models by defining procedural construction rules using a node-based workflow.

Users can create complex 3D models by repeating simple base meshes, or ‘Segments’, along splines, using Generators to arrange them into arrays, and Operators to control their properties.

Although the workflow applies to visual effects or motion graphics, the plugin is most commonly used to generate buildings and street furniture for architectural visualisation projects.

RailClone 6.0: new RC Slice modifier cuts 3D models into modular parts
New modelling features in RailClone 6.0 include RC Slice, a new modifier for cutting a 3D model into the component parts used by RailClone.

Rather than generating “lots of small parts”, users can use the same sliced object at multiple points within a RailClone node graph, simplifying workflow.

Other changes include a new Free marker type for the RC Spline modifier, which controls parameters along an entire sub-spline.

When slicing into geometry, users can also now set material IDs for the capped faces separately to the rest of the model, making it possible to assign different materials to the new faces generated.

Improvements to workflow in the node editor
The update overhauls the Style Editor, RailClone’s node editor, which now remains open even after deselecting a RailClone object.

Users also get new Link and Reroute node types, intended to help declutter graphs; and the option to create Macro nodes by copying and pasting an entire graph into a Macro tab.

Pipeline integration improvements
Pipeline integration changes include the option to export the mesh pieces that make up a RailClone model to an FBX file, along with an XML file containing the properties needed to reassemble them.

In addition, User Properties are now retained after instantiating with RailClone tools; and RailClone tools can be be controlled via 3ds Max’s native MAXScript scripting language.

The RailClone Color texture is now supported in Chaos’s Corona renderer.

Start of an overhaul of the built-in asset libraries
RailClone 6.0 also marks the “first phase” of an ongoing overhaul of the asset libraries that accompany the software, with the update adding over 160 new assets, including masonry walls, street furniture and lighting.

iToo Software aims to “completely redo” the remaining assets over the “remainder of the year”.

The Library Browser used to search the stock assets has also been rewritten, with workflow improvements including the option to add assets directly from a 3D scene.

Pricing and availability
RailClone 6.0 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 6 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)