Railclone (http://www.itoosoft.com/railclone.php) is a “3DS Max plugin for parametric modeling based on custom geometry parts, definable by the user, and a set of construction rules. This new concept of modeling lets you to build complex and realistic structures for Architectural Visualization, Civil Engineering and Interior Design.”
In essence, Railclone is Max’s railing tool on steroids. To put it simply, you choose a spline, choose a predetermined Railcone style (which include indoor and outdoor railings, fencing, traffic barriers, curbs, ducting, and roads) and you’re done. There are numerous controls to tweak once you’ve placed your Railclone object, including offsets, dimensions, spacing, scale, etc. The amount of tweaking that can be done is a little overwhelming at first, but through some simple trial and error (or watching the tutorial videos) you can make pretty quick sense of everything.
The 1st thing that makes Railclone worth every penny for me is the included library of styles. With over 80 different templates to choose from, you’d be hard pressed to find a style that you can’t use, and I’ve used at least 10 of them in already completed projects.
The 2nd thing that makes Railclone invaluable is the ability to create custom Railclone objects from geometry you’ve created. For example, if you needed a fencing system that was a stone column with a wrought iron fence panel, you simply create the 2 pieces of geometry, apply the materials and UVW maps, and assign them as geometry to the Railclone object. You can have as few or as many objects make up the railing system as you like; each segment, endpoint, and startpoint can have 3 different objects applied to it. Creating custom geometry and getting everything to line up correctly within the Railclone plugin can be a little bit confusing as well as time consuming, so be prepared to watch the tutorial videos to gain a better understanding of the process. With that being said, with the multitude of prebuilt styles that come with the plugin, I’ve only needed to create a custom style once, so there’s a good chance you won’t ever need to.
- Very Easy to use with prebuilt styles
- Over 80 prebuilt styles to choose from
- Prebuilt styles come with pre-assigned materials
- Ability to create custom railings
- Adding custom railing geometry can be overwhelming
- Manipulating prebuilt styles can be confusing