Artist-friendly parametric modeling and layout for 3ds Max
Tired of using fixed, hard to modify, assets that require time-consuming manual labor to edit? Wish it was easier to create smart parametric objects that are easy to update, can be used and reused again and again, but requires minimal time investment? Enter RailClone – the artist-friendly parametric modeling and spline-cloning plugin for 3ds Max that’s fast, efficient, and easy to learn.
RailClone is unlike any other tool on the market. Objects are created simply by assembling and repeating existing geometry using an easy-to-define set of rules. If you can model in Max, you can create procedural objects with RailClone
Choose from hundreds of built-in presets, adapt existing objects by adding your own geometry, or even create your own from scratch using RailClone’s easy-to-understand visual editor.
Thanks to Railclone, now anyone can create and use sophisticated parametric assets.
What’s new in Railclone 5?
RailClone was already the most powerful parametric modeling tool for 3ds Max, but with the latest update we’ve stepped it up a gear! With a wide range of innovative new features, RailClone 5 is now more optimized, more versatile, and more essential than ever before.
Bake RailClone objects to a proxy cache without destroying instancing or losing access to advanced features. Caches can be stored in the scene or exported to a separate file to minimize file bloat and make them easy to reuse.
Distribute Lights and VDBs
Distribute non-geometric objects including lights and VDB volumes. Combine them with geometry for hybrid styles and even use RailClone Colour with a light tint to create random variations.
Support for Groups
Precompose objects into standard Max groups and use them as segments that can be any combination of geometric objects, non-geometric objects like lights and VDBs, or both.
Intuitive banking control
Control the banking angle of geometry at any point along a spline by adding easy-to-manipulate gizmos via the RC Spline modifier. By simply rotating a marker, the geometry twists turns, and smoothly deforms to match.
New Evenly Modes
Distribute geometry at regularly spaced intervals along a spline with more control than ever before. Force an odd number of intervals, an even number, or simply use the original mode where the number is determined by best fit.
Drop Down Lists
Make it easier for users to select geometry, change materials, turn on and off elements, or control pretty much any attribute of a graph that takes a numeric input using easy-to-understand text-based drop-down lists.
Compatible with Arnold 7
Use the latest version of Autodesk’s built-in rendering engine, as well as the latest releases of V-Ray, Corona, and Redshift.
Control generators using Marker data
Use markers to control many Generator parameters when using Extend X/Y Size to area mode. Where multiple markers are found on a spline, the value is taken from the first marker found.
Improvements to clipping
Translate or rotate nested generators or composing objects outside the boundary of a clipping area and still retain all the segments. Great for creating 100s of randomized hinged or sliding doors and windows.
How Does It Work?
Learning Railclone Is As Easy As 1-2-3
1 – Base Objects
RailClone doesn’t construct an object from scratch, it works by assembling and repeating existing pieces of geometry along paths. To do this it needs two things – a spline for the path and of course, some modular geometry.
2 – Rule Generators
Imagine you’re explaining to a manufacturer how to build this bus shelter, you might say: “Put a glass panel at the start and the end, add mullions at 2m intervals, then fill in between with the roof and glazing.” If you understand this, you understand RailClone.
3 – Modifiers
Just like Max, use RailClone’s own modifiers, called operators, to manipulate geometry. You can group items, create patterns, and randomize transforms. In addition work with UVs and materials IDs, create conditional relationships, and much more.
Get Started With Railclone
Check Out Our Resources To Help You Get The Most From Your New Favourite Plugin
With RailClone there are no limits on your creativity. Unlike other scripts and plugins that are designed for a single type of model, RailClone can create almost anything.
Easy to use
RailClone uses an easy-to-understand visual Style Editor to create sophisticated structures. Unlike other tools, absolutely zero programming knowledge is necessary.
RailClone is fully multi-threaded and highly optimized for speed. This, coupled with the efficient viewport display modes, and powerful instancing means that you can create and render huge objects, made from thousands of highly detailed parts.
RailClone assembles, transforms, slices, and deforms geometry to create a seamless object. Just set a few rules, and the object is constructed for you automatically, even on curved paths!
Let RailClone do the thinking for you with advanced algorithms to deform geometry to follow sloping paths and surfaces. Inclined and uneven walls, stairs, handrails and balustrades, and stepped fences are no longer a chore to create in 3ds Max.
Ready to go
RailClone Pro comes with nearly 400 predefined styles, including fences, railings, barriers, traffic, walls, and much more. The library browser is fully customizable, allowing you to add new categories and models and share them with your colleagues.
Plugins for 3ds Max 2013 – 2023 (official support from 2017+)
Native support for most popular rendering engines
A comprehensive library of ready-made presets
Over 420 parametric assets
Premium 1:1 fast-response email and forum support
Access to new free libraries and macros released during the maintenance period
RailClone comes in 2 versions
To explain, the fully-featured RailClone Pro comes with advanced modes to deform geometry on the Z-axis. In addition, you get an unlimited number of segments and generators, RailClone tools, and the ability to convert the geometry to an editable mesh. The Pro version also includes the full library of other 420 styles presets and the ability to edit libraries and add your own objects.
Use it commercially.
Includes a one-year extendable Maintenance Plan with prioritized technical support, early access to beta versions, and regular updates.
Unlimited segments per object.
Unlimited generators per object.
Use advanced algorithms to deform geometry and follow paths on the X/Y and Z axes.
In addition, RailClone Lite is free to use, even commercially. It provides many of the features found in RailClone Pro. Significantly there is a 3 segment limit, only 1 generator, and flat splines. The Lite edition has a limited subset of library styles and does not include RailClone Tools, the ability to collapse to a mesh, or user-editable libraries.
Used it commercially.
Free to use and never expires.
Does not include a Maintenance Plan, with no access to prioritized technical support, forum file downloads, new content, and betas.
Three segments per object.
One generator per object.
Use advanced algorithms to deform geometry and follow paths on the X/Y and Z axes.
Collapse to editable mesh.
A limited subset of presets.
Libraries cannot be customized.
Does not include RailClone Tools, and cannot be converted to instances.
You can download RailClone LITE from the link on the right side of this page.
System requirements updated 5/20/2022
Supported versions of 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design
Our plugins support the following 3ds Max 64 bit versions.
3ds Max 2017-2023
Unofficially supported. Due to Autodesk licensing policy Forest Pack is only able to officially support 3ds Max 2017 to 2023. The installer also includes versions of Forest Pack for 3ds Max 2013 to 2016 which should install and work as expected, but we are unable to test them.
3ds Max 2013-2016
3ds Max Design 2013-2015
RailClone supports native instancing in the renderers and versions listed below
Arnold 7.1 (MaxToA 5.2) and above is supportedPlease make sure the MaxToA plugin is up to date. You can download the most recent version from the Arnold Renderer website.
Mental Ray is supported in version 2012 – 2017 only.
V-Ray and V-Ray RT supported versions are 2.5 or greater for V-Ray 2, and 3.7 or greater for V-Ray 3, V-Ray Next, V-Ray GPU update 1.1 or above, V-Ray 5 and V-Ray 6
Thea Render 1.3 and onwards.
Corona Renderer 1 and onwards.
Redshift 2.6.24 or above
Mental Ray support in Max 2017 and 2018
From 3ds Max 2017 Mental Ray was an optional installation. RailClone for Max 2017 still has many dependencies on the Mental Ray libraries and is required by our plug-ins to operate correctly. Please make sure that Mental Ray is installed for 3DS Max 2017, even if you don’t intend to use it to avoid errors.
From 3ds Max 2018 Mental Ray is no longer included, as a consequence, RailClone’s native instancing features are not supported for Mental Ray in Max 2018.
For unsupported renderers, it is still possible to use RailClone using RailClone Tools to convert the objects to standard Max instances.
Each purchase of RailClone Pro gives you access to a single perpetual license for creating and editing RailClone Objects, the full library contents, and free unlimited render nodes. For the duration of your maintenance plan, you are also entitled to premium technical support and upgrades.
The versions released during your maintenance period are yours to keep forever. If you like to stay up to date with the most recent versions of RailClone we recommend you should stay on the maintenance plan, however, there are no penalties for allowing it to lapse. If you want to skip some versions, it’s no problem and you can jump back on at any time and download the most recent software paying only for another year of maintenance.
For network licenses, you will need to install the license manager on a networked PC. The license manager has the following OS requirements:
Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows 8/8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)
Microsoft Windows Server:
Windows Server 2019 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2016 (64-bit)
Windows Server 2012 R2 (64-bit)
Added support for V-Ray 6 (stable version).
Fixed Marker Data is not read correctly for clipping areas.
Added Unicode character support to RC Spline->User Data Sets
Fixed Y Offset in wrong direction when using A2S->Extend X/Y->Auto Align.
Large performance improvement with complex styles.
Statistic Data is updated when object is rebuilt and Stats window is open.
Fixed: Statistic Window shows zero seconds for all values (broken in one of the latest updates).
Fixed: Parameters of different type are not updated when reimporting from Library or using Style->Copy-To.
Fixed rare crash using L1S->Y Offset->Sync Offset or A2S->Y Offset->Aligned mode.
Added support for V-Ray 6 beta (experimental).
Fixed Evenly gaps in generators without a spline assigned (using X Size).
A new update of the software is available:
Added new Expression Attributes: XSectionAdjustedLength / YSectionAdjustedLength.
Return the size of the current spline section, substracting size of Start/End/Evenly and Top/Bottom/Evenly segments (for X and Y, respectively).
It allows you to fit Default segments (simple or from a nested generator) in the spline section, taking into account the start and end segments.
We suggest not to use the new attributes to modify segments other than Default, because it would lead to recursion and return wrong values.
Fixed behaviour of Y Sequence operator when using multiple X Splines.
Fixed: Conditional->Line/Curve doesn’t work well.
Fixed support of non-geometric objects in nested Generators for some renderers (as Corona Renderer).
This issue cannot be fixed for renderers which have not support for RailClone API (as FStorm).
This fix introduced on 5.2.0 has been removed, because was affecting to existing styles: “Fixed wrong input order when using nested Sequence operators on Y mode.”
New features and improvements
Added support for 3DS Max 2023.
Added support for Arnold 7.1 (MaxToA 5.2 and greater).
Added Display->Proxy Cache mode. This new feature allows you to bake a RailClone object into the scene or an external file.
For the first run, you must add it using the Lister ‘Settings’ button.
The viewport display is limited to Boxes or Quick Mesh depending on the mode that was active when the proxy was created. Note that this does not affect the render.
‘Use Segment Material’ and non-geometric objects are supported in Embedded mode only.
Results may vary depending on the render engine that was active when the cache was baked. If you change the renderer, we suggest regenerating the Proxy.
Proxy Cache can be managed from Maxscript using $.setProxyMode <mode> <externalFile>
For Disabled, use $.setProxyMode 0 “”. It returns an empty string.
For Embedded, use $.setProxyMode 1 “”. It returns a proxy’s size.
For External, use $.setProxyMode 2 “proxyFileName.rcproxy”. It creates and saves the proxy (overriding the file if it exists), and returns a description error when failed.
To use a Proxy Cache as a segment in another RC object you must disable Display > Use Instancing Engine before enabling the cache.
Proxy Cache mode is available in RailClone Lister.
For the first run, you must add it using the Lister ‘Settings’ button.
Baked objects load and render much faster because RailClone doesn’t need to perform so many calculations to rebuild them. This is especially useful for complex styles.
A baked object cannot be modified or edited. When you want to change it, just set Proxy mode back to ‘Disable’, make any changes, and then bake it again.
The size of Proxy Cache depends on the object’s complexity, including the number of segments and their geometry. You can see the current proxy size in the Display rollout.
Added Proxy Cache mode to RailClone Lister.
Several limitations apply:
Added experimental support for non-geometric objects (including lights).
Includes native support for instancing lights in V-Ray 2.1 and above
There is currently no native support for other renderers. As a workaround, objects are inserted in the scene before rendering and removed once completed.
The size of some non-geometric objects may not be reliably read by RailClone or it may change depending on the active viewport. If it affects your style, we recommend using the Segment’s Fixed Size feature.
Non-geometric segments are previewed in the viewport with a Material ID defined in the Display->”Non-geom Mat.ID” parameter
Added support for 3DS Max groups in Segments.
To assign a group, use Selector by Name (H on the keyboard). It’s not possible to pick a group directly from the scene.
Groups cannot be ’embedded’ within a RC object. When a Group is deleted from the scene, it’s removed from RailClone as well.
Added a new type of Numeric Parameter called Selector.
This enables a parameter to be selected from a list of predefined items, which are shown in Max rollout using a combo list.
Each item has an associated float value, which is returned as the parameter’s output. It can be cast as an integer as well.
Added modifier modes to Generator->Evenly->Adaptive: Even, Odd and Any
Added Banking control to RCSpline:
It lets you adjust the banking angle along the spline. Basically, it works as Generator->X Rotation, but at multiple spline positions.
Banking points can be adjusted interactively in the viewport, or by modifying their parameters in the rollout (Percent / Angle).
When using multiple RC SPline modifiers, the Banking modifier can be selected per generator using the Rules->Banking->Modifier settings. Setting the value to 0 disables banking.
The Banking Angle can be forced for a specific segment, using a Transform operator’s new Deform->”Override Banking” parameter.
Banking Smoothness can be adjusted with the new Generator->Banking->Smoothness value. (0 = linear, 1 = smooth).
The angle can be any value (including greater than 360), but there is a limitation of -180/180 using the gizmo. You can overcome it by dragging the gizmo multiple times.
Added expression attribute ‘XSplineXRotation’: rotation angle along the spline for current segment (-PI to PI radians). Includes Generator->X Rotation and banking.
Added XSplineXDirection, XSplineYDirection, XSplineZDirection attributes to expressions. Return direction vectors along the spline for the current segment. Includes Generator->”X Rotation” and Banking.
“Always Show Markers/Banking” option in RCSpline.keeps gizmos visible when the spline is selected
iToo software's Forest Pack isn't just for foliage. This tutorials shows how Forest pack can be used to randomly populate large building floors with people and furniture of all kinds. And how Railclone can be used to create floor plates.
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