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Spray-paint objects onto other objects with this new LAB plugin

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A crowded museum.

A dryscaped home surrounded by artfully arranged boulders, small stones, and grasses.

A wooded hill, with trees thinning at the edge of new development.

Most architectural presentations require more that a photographic backdrop to bring it to life. Entourage elements are not ust decoration, but serve to complete the site’s character, or to demonstrate how people will use the space. In the case of the museum, it will feel sterile and unapproachable if not sufficiently populated with small groups of visitors. The design intent of the house is mischaracterized if its edges are not ‘eased’ by the landscaping. And the development’s relationship to the existing natural context must be made clear to all stakeholders.

In the past, placing convincingly random entourage could be a bit of a chore. To instance a thousand randomly-oriented, unique stones might mean many thousands of clicks for placement, scaling, and rotation. And bear in mind that you won’t want those stones to self-intersect, so you’ll have to be careful. With the LAB’s new Paint Objects tool, placing those thousand stones is as simple as a click-drag of the mouse.

Paint Objects uses a spray-paint metaphor to dynamically place objects onto other objects. Select your source geometry, which may be any number of objects, groups, or components. Then, click on the object you’d like to spray the geometry onto, and drag to paint. Release that mouse button when done with your stroke. That’s the simplest operation, but there are many options to make this a flexible and powerful tool:

• Any number of source objects/groups/Components may be selected. They will be placed randomly, but in equal proportions.
• Go light or heavy with placement density.
• Brush diameter specified in real-world units.
• Use the Linear and Cubic brush falloff options to paint clusters of objects with convincingly natural areas of higher concentration.
• Automatically eliminate intersections between placements with three grades of collision detection.
• Random rotation control.
• Random scaling proportional to the original source object, or specified by real-world dimensions.
• Orient normal to the surface normal you are painting on, or to one of the planes (e.g. XY plane for trees growing strait up)
• Use the brush to paint on any and all objects in your scene- not just a preselected 'terrain’ object. (There is the option to paint on just the first clicked object, however.)
• Groups and Components are fully supported. Group hierarchies are preserved when copied and placed, and Components remain components to keep your resource footprint at a minimum.

Of course, Paint Objects is not limited to architectural uses. It can be used for any creative purpose requiring natural-looking distribution: Leaves on a reflecting pool, a mountain of chocolates, or an armada of spacecraft. We look forward to seeing what you’ll do with it. Please post feedback on the LAB forum, here.

The Paint Objects plugin is available for free, as part of the LAB Transform Collection. Full instructions and download link here.


Note: Requires the formZ 8.5 beta as of this writing.





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I've been looking for something like this for sooo long! I'll try it later when I get to my FormZ machine...

:D  B)

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great tool, thank you!


one thing, i cant manage to avoid intersecting mxs references. I try to spray the references with 'bounding box mode' on and with 'avoid best',  but they still intersect.


best regards,


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Lab.. Excellent... Thanks.

Is there a way to make the paint objects work inside an object and not go beyond the outside surface?

eg: if I have a clear plastic tube & want to fill it with wrapped candies that stay within the tube .

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Here's a test. We deleted the end faces on a cylinder and 'reversed' it, picked gumballs in 5 colors, and sprayed:



You might also look into formZ 8.5's volume scatter tool for this particular use case.



Thanks for head heads-up about Maxwell references. We will look into it.


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