Blender Array vs. Instancing - Kostack Studio comparisons - possible addon idea

Hi,

Not sure if anyone has seen this but it really showcases how crippling the performance gets when using arrays vs instancing (via a neat trick). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW0mMNeaHOA

Since the array modifier can’t be used on group instances, when it’s being used with objects the geometry is also being duplicated making for extremely slow performance. So to get around this he’s using a simple plane and dupliverts together with the array modifier.

My question/suggestion is, wouldn’t it be great if someone could make an addon that simplified the process of parenting then selecting dupliverts and then adding the array modifier into one step?

Simply select the object to use in this type of array then run a script/addon that would create a plane object, parent it to the selected object, select dupliverts (faces), and add an array modifier. An added bonus would be to include a path that would use the curve modifier to quickly and easily extend and orient this “array”.

It would be a huge workflow boost! Unfortunately this is beyond my knowledge, I wish one day we could record macros to create our own functionality.

any thoughts?

Or a developer can add (optional) true instancing support to the Array modifier (with a warning that it will disable the auto-merging functionality).

For simple arrays at least (not sure how well it would play with modifiers below it), it would be a very useful thing to have.

Is this the limiting factor as to why the current array doesn’t instance? Can anyone answer this definitively?

With Bmesh (starting with 2.63) the Array modifier got a big negative performance hit unfortunately.
Improving the Array modifier is on the todo list :
http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:2.5/Source/Development/Todo/Tools#Array_Modifier

Recently i noticed this attempt that could end into master, so there’s still hope :
https://developer.blender.org/D443

You can also use vertices + dupliverts + array modifier + constant offsets. The main limitation there is that you would want a bit of randomization in most real cases.

I sometimes dream about node based parametric arrays and whole modifier stack. Something like the railclone plugin that exists for 3dsmax fused with grasshopper.

awesome news:) I hope it won’t take too long.

You can also use ARewO for these kind of things. It will create instances but you cannot animate with it. Frederik afaik created a script for his personal use that creates instances from the array modifier as well…

Another warning to tell to let it at the end of modifiers stack should be added too. An array modifier generates deformable or UVremappable by modifiers geometry.

It is not a good idea to mix modifiers and instancing.

Duplication panel is grouping old features that are probably obscure to new users because they need a parent-child relationship with no obvious set-up.
We have to modify settings of duplicates parent and not in settings of object to duplicate for dupliverts/faces/group but not for dupliframes.

I think that nobody would be against changes in this panel.
I don’t know if parent relationship can be easily abandoned to a clear specified distribution mesh name field. That inverses the current logic.
But probably a dupliarray category could be created, in this panel, with options for constant or relative to bounding box array and randomization.