Sweeper

Benefits

  • Building window and door trim or moulding.
  • Building rafters, fascia, soffits, drip edges and guttering.
  • Building baseboards or skirting boards and other mouldings around the inside of a room.
  • Creating window and picture frames.
  • Automatic UV creation with consistent UV-to-polygon scale.

Overview

This is one of the most valuable tools in the kit and is a real time-saver. The 'Sweeper' is used to sweep a polygon profile along a path of vertices and creates an extrusion that has mitre-type joints at each point or junction along the path, making it useful for a wide variety of tasks; e.g. creating trim, moudling or fascia.

This tool creates auto-scaled UVs for the geometry and has many additional features including, support for sweeping custom, polygon (n-gon) profile shapes, quick alignment, lots of size presets for timber and interactive switching between open and close-loop paths.

Workflow: Custom Profile

  1. Select two mesh items. First the mesh, then the layer containing your profile (a single polygon).
  2. Select a path of vertices.
  3. Click the Sweeper button to active the tool.
  4. Use the tool handles to align the profile to the path.

Workflow: Built-in Profiles

  1. Select a path of vertices.
  2. Click the Sweeper button to active the tool.
  3. Select profile.
  4. Use the tool handles to align the profile to the path.

Tool Handles

  • Left-click on one of the four bounding box handles to align it to the path.
  • Right-click on one of the four bounding box handles to active move handles.

When one of the bounding box handles is aligned to the path you will see additional handles that will enable you to rotate or scale the tool to a target position.

  • Left-click on one of the round handles to choose rotate. Then click to select a target.
  • Left-click on one of the square handles to choose rotate and scale. Then click to select a target.

You select the target by clicking on a polygon close to the desired target vertex/point. To be considered a valid target the vertex must be in the same plane as the tool (as the profile). If you click on an invalid target, the bounding box of the tool will turn red.

User Interface

sweeper-tool-modo

Options

Size A and Size B
Set the size along the A and B axes. Turn on Show Dims to view the direction of each axis in the 3D view.
Uniform Scaling
Set the profile to scale uniformly. When this attribute is disabled you can set individual values for Size A and Size B.
T: 12-36mm (TxW)
A drop-down containing a wide range of commonly used timber size presets with a thickness between 12mm and 36mm. Use these presets to quickly set the size of the profile. Note: All presets are given as Thickness x Width (TxW), this was chosen as it allows common sizes to be easily group, for example, all of the imperial two-bys (2x2, 2x4, etc.) sizes are located next to one another. (Added: v1 r02)
T: 38-300mm (TxW)
A drop-down containing a wide range of commonly used timber size presets with a thickness between 38mm and 300mm. (Added: v1 r02)
Show Dims
Display the dimensions of the profile in the 3D viewport.
Reset Size
Reset the profile to its original dimensions.
Rotate
Set the angle of the tool, in degrees.
Spin Profile CW and CCW
Spin the profile in 90 degree increments. This occurs independently of the angle set for tool rotation, see above.
Flip Axis A and B
Use these button to flip/mirror the profile shape along the given axis. Note: Axis labels are shown next to the outline of the profile's bounding box.
Shapes
Set the profile shape. When the shape is changed the dimensions of the tool will be reset to that of the newly selected profile.
Auto-Size
When enabled the profile size (Size A and Size B values) will be set to match the original profile size each time when you switch between the profile shapes. Tip: Disabling this option is very useful in situations where you need to activate the tool on different occasions, but wish to keep the same preset size; e.g. for laying down lengths of sawn timber - see timber preset sizes above. (Added: v1 r02)
Snap Point-to-path
Enables you selected a point on the profile to be snapped to the path. Coloured points will appear on the profile, at each vertex location, when this option is enabled. Left-click on one of these points to align the profile.
Close Path
Create an extra segment of geometry that connects the last and first points in the path. This can be used for things such as picture frames where the geometry should form a continuous loop. To use this option, you must have at least three points in your path.
Cap Ends
Create polygon cap at each end of the swept geometry. This attribute is only applied when Close Path is disabled.
Orient Start
Set the orientation of the geometry at start of the path. It can be set to follow the path or aligned to the vertical or horizontal.
Extend Start
Offset the position of the geometry at the start of the path. You can offset it in either direction.
Mirror
Applies the values set for Orient Start and Extend start to the geometry at the other end of the path.
Orient Path End and Extend End
When Mirror is disabled, these attributes allow you to independently control the orientation and extension of the geometry at the end of the path.
Reset Path Ends
Sets the orientation of the ends to follow the path and the extend values back to zero.
Make UVs
Turn on automatic UV creation. UVs islands are created for each section of geometry between the path points.
Stack
Stack the UVs for each segment of geometry on top of one another in UV space.

Notes

  • If you import polygons for use as profiles, then it's a good idea to run the polygon correction command to ensure they are well formed and in good (vertex) order. To do this select a polygon and type 'poly.correct' into the command line - remember to hit the Enter/Return key to run this command. In future, I plan to add automatic checking for such things to this tool.
  • A polygon part name is automatically assigned to all swept geometry, which facilitates fast selection. Moreover, you can create a material mask that filters on the part name and then add a UV checker map to it, enabling you to see the UVs being generated in the 3D view whilst the tool is active - as shown in the video above.
  • This tool uses an internal UV ratio to ensure that the UVs are proportional between separate runs of the tool with different profiles shapes and sizes. This has the huge advantage of ensuring a consistent texture scale at the slight expense that the UVs might not be contained within the 0-1 UV space during creation. However, you can easily normalise the UVs at a later stage by using modo's Fit UVs command.
  • When starting the tool with a custom profile, you still have the option to switch to one of the built-in shapes.
  • The tool does not currently support interpolation or sweeping along a curve. However, you can freeze a curve and then sweep along the path of vertices. You should note that the nature of the tool means that UVs are created for each section along the path and in the case of a continuous path, where you have no joints between sections, it would be better to use mARCH's UV Peeler Plus script to create a continuous section of UVs.
  • The sweeper tool is currently limited to working in modo's default Y-up space. If you are one of the small number of people who use a different up-axis, then simply switch modo to Y-up before using this tool and then back to your preferred up-axis once you have finished.