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Documentation


INTRODUCTION

FastCutter is an artistic mesh-cutting for 3ds Max, developed in 2006 and 2007 to help the hand-cutting of thousands of pieces of geometry in the road destruction sequence for "2012".  Since that time it has been used in dozens of Hollywood films and other independent projects.

The beauty of FastCutter is its speed and artistic control - the cuts are applied exactly as you draw them and there is an "auto-cut" mode to quickly apply the cut after drawing.

It works by hand-drawing "cutting splines" that are extruded and applying noise modifiers, and includes various other options and an Undo function.

It can cut multiple objects at once and there is an option to update the noise parameter per cut-object for a nice staggered offset cut appearance.

FastCutter works especially well with Thinking Particles for destruction shots, and can also be used for creative mesh modeling.




SUPPORTED 3DS MAX VERSIONS

Currently, FastCutter has been tested with 3ds Max:
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • Other versions may work or may require some debugging.

BASIC USAGE

1)  Start the script
2)  Pick the object(s) you want to cut
3)  Click "Start"
4)  Double-click to begin drawing the cutter
5)  Double-click when done drawing the cutter
6)  Modify any other desired FastCutter settings
7)  Click "Cut It!" to apply the boolean cuts

IMPORTANT

1)  The object being cut must not have any overlapping faces – this will create bad booleans.
2)  NEVER draw a cutter that overlaps itself – this will create bad results.
3)  Be sure to start cutting far outside the object, and extend far beyond.
4)  Cutting in Perspective view requires that you start and end your cuts outside the source object's bounding box.

TIPS

1) Cutting geo in a fresh scene by itself seems to produce a more stable result if you are having crashes during the cutting process.
2) Cutting high-res meshes will be slow.
3) Using a high-res cutter will be slow.
4) High XY fractal noise values will increase the chance of bad results, due to overlapping cutter faces.

MAIN OPTIONS


Start - begins the process of drawing the cutter. You must have one or more objects selected first.
Cut It! - will peform the cuts
source - select one or more objects and click source to define the source object(s)
cutter - select ONE object to define the cutter object
s - these 's' buttons will select either the source(s) or cutter

update - automatically re-calculates spline normalization and extrusion subdivisions based on the bounding box the selected source object(s).
    TURN THIS ON the first time you want to cut an object (and turn autocut OFF)
    TURN THIS OFF to keep consistent settings based on your object's size.

autoCut - automatically cut the mesh after finishing drawing the spline. 
    Use this for fast cutting once your settings are dialed in (and turn update OFF).

close - will prompt you to close the spline. Good for cutting out holes.

Cap - will apply a Cap Holes modifier to the source before cutting to ensure it is watertight.
    Recommend using this, especially for difficult-to-cut objects.

NOISE OPTIONS


1:1 - sets the Extrude value to match the Normalize value

N/E checkbox - forces Normalize and Extrude to maintain their current proportions

Normalize - controls the cutter spline resolution. Smaller = more

Extrude - controls the cutter extrusion subdivisions. Smaller = more

MatID - controls the MatID of the cutter, and the new “inner” faces of the results.

<< less - decreases the size of the UI and hides some of the options

>> more - increases the size of the UI to show more options

Noise1 & Noise2 Options

There are two rows of noise values to allow adding layers of noise to the cutter. These are called Noise1 and Noise2.
Each noise has two checkboxes on the far left. 
     The first checkbox enables the noise. 
     The second checkbox makes the noise a fractal noise pattern.

Clicking the 1:1 button forces the X and Y values of the noise to be the same (uses X as the main value).

XY binds the X and Y noise spinners together.
XY has two spinners and two Power Buttons. Use the spinners to set the strength of each noise.

The Scale spinners control the world-scale of the noise pattern.
Seed controls the Noise modifier Seed value.

nUpdate controls whether the seed is updated when cutting multiple objects.
    Using this creates a nice staggered effect when cutting multiple objects.

POWER BUTTONS

  
There are some small “Power Buttons” next to some of the spinners.
These buttons provide quick functions to set values to a specific value, e.g. 1, 10, 100
or to multiply or divide the current spinner value by another value.




SHELL DISP Options  (aka "Rift Cutting")


Shell disp
applies a Shell modifier to the cutter, adding thickness.
    The spinner to the right controls the thickness.

disp size controls the world-scale size of the displacement.

disp seed sets the random seed for the noise.


ADDITIONAL OPTIONS


STL check
checks if the object passes an STL check, adding a Cap Holes if needed.

lock transforms locks the transforms of the results.

collapse results controls whether the results are re-combined or left as separate objects.

parent wirecolor if checked will apply the Source object's wirecolor to all resulting pieces.

random wirecolor will randomize the wirecolors of the results.

XRay will set the results into “xray” display mode (see-through)
    The XRay button will toggle the currently-selected objects between XRay or not.

shade obj switches Max's display mode into “Shaded Object Color”

shade mat switches Max's display mode into “Shaded Material Color”


QUICK LAUNCH, UNDO, and UTILTIES


The Layer Isolator dropdown is actually part of the Quick Launch Menu for future options.

Layer Isolator itself is a tool to quickly isolate objects onto their own layer for easy viewing, with the ability to Restore the objects back to their original layer.


Undo last set of cuts is a simple undo method that removes the current results and restores the source objects.
    NOTE:  if you close the FastCutter UI and re-open it, this Undo function will not work

flush removes all backup sources & cutters and removes unoccupied FastCutter layers.
    This keeps only the current results and the original Source objects.

kill grid removes the FastCutter drawing grid used for creating splines.
    Normally the drawing grid is removed after each set of cuts.
    However, if the grid is not automatically removed during cutting, then use this feature.

Presets opens the “Prefs” window where you can load or save FastCutter settings.


PRE and POST-CUT OPTIONS



ProOptimize Cutter applies a ProOptimizer modifier to the cutter before cutting.
    This results in optimized “inner faces”.

Add Turn to Poly modifier adds a TurnToPoly modifier which can sometimes be useful for controlling face edge evaluation and removing mid-edge vertices.
    The on/off button to the right will affect any result who still has this modifier present.

Keep Cutter will keep the cutter object present so you can use it again if desired.

Delete Small Results deletes result objets whose world-size bounding box is smaller than the spinner value.


UTILITIES


Restore Ori Xform - restores the cut result transform. 
    All cut results have their original transform stored when created. This way you can move or rotate the cut result in order to inspect the quality of the cut. Then press this button to restor the original position, rotation and scale.

mMat - when you spin or enter the value this utility creates a Multi-SubObject material in the material slot #1 using Standard materials.

OTHER OPTIONS


Result Suffix - each cut result is assigned a prefix and a result number (e.g. "_r1", "_r2_r1", etc.)
    Use this option to control the prefix name for the cut results.

Skip Undo warnings - removes the confirmation when using Undo Last Cuts

SUPPORT


Help Docs - launches this page
Contact - launch email program to send feedback to developer




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