Ortho updated to Blender 2.93 LTS

A bit overdue perhaps, but I have just made a version of Ortho available that is tested against Blender 2.93 LTS.



Ortho offers a collection of tools that allows you to move, rotate, scale, snap and align selections of a mesh relative to a user-defined reference plane. Working relative to a reference plane can greatly simplify the positioning of mesh parts and can help clean up distorted meshes. Blender already offers several tools to transform and snap mesh parts but they work in the context of predefined coordinates, which makes it difficult to position or align mesh parts in meshes that are transformed with respect to their local coordinates or in situations where orthogonal coordinates are not sufficient, for example when positioning a window inside a slanted roof.

Ortho offers a simple and interactive way to define a plane that fits a selection of vertices in a mesh and offers a set of tools that operate with respect to this reference plane. You can for example align and snap a selection to the reference plane or move this selection along its normal or its surface. Scaling is also an option, offering ways to rectify slightly distorted meshes even in situations where such a distorted plane is not aligned with any axis and scaling along individual normals with Alt-S gives strange results.

Availability

Ortho is available from my Blender Market store.

Units in Blender add-ons

It might not be immediately obvious how to make Blender to show units along with the properties you define in your add-ons, but fortunately it is not all that difficult.

There are two aspects to the display of units, representation and definition.

Representation

This determines how property values are displayed and is something that is is controlled by the end user.

It is configured in the Scene properties, specifically in the Units panel.



The main choice here is between Metric and Imperial, but you can also choose specific units for certain quantities, for example, you might prefer Celsius instead of Kelvin.

The Unit Scale property is convenient if you are working to scale. I work with model trains in the H0 scale and sometimes make visualizations in Blender. Then I set the unit scale to 87 (because H0 is 1:87 scale) and then building dimensions etc. will show up with their real world dimensions. 

Definition

This determines what kind of quantity we are talking about.

This is something you configure in you property definitions. For a FloatProperty for example, you have subtype and unit parameters. If you leave unit at NONE, Blender will not show any units!

Let's say you want to define add a property called floorarea to your add-on, you might want to configure it like this:

	floorarea = FloatProperty(
    	    name='Floor area',
    	    subtype='DISTANCE',
            unit='AREA')

So the subtype defines what quantity we're dealing with, and DISTANCE is used for anything that can be expressed as a length (or in the case of an area, length squared). Some other options for subtype are ANGLE and TIME.

The subtype determines the widget that is used too, which is especially important for properties that are lists of things, like a FloatVectorProperty, that shows a color picker when the subtype is COLOR and other widgets when the subtype is for example a DIRECTION.

Each type of property has its own set of possible subtypes and units.

The unit parameter defines the actual unit to use. For example, for a DISTANCE subtype you could use LENGTH, AREA or VOLUME. For an AREA the value of the property would be displayed as m²  or ft², depending on the Unit System selected in the Scene properties.

Snap! New features

The release of 30 September 2021 adds new functionality to creating snap-points as well as using snap-points. (For an introduction to Snap! see this article).

Easy snap-points for Bezier curve and Lattice objects

You can now position snap-points on selected vertices in Bezier curves and Lattice objects in the same way you can do this for Mesh objects. You could already define snap-points on any object but this makes it way easier to position snap-points accurately. In Bezier curves you can also use the positions of the handles, not just the control points themselves. Curves that are not Bezier curves are currently not supported (although you can position snap-point manually just like with any object).

Dup & Snap and Link & Snap


New operators have been added that copy and object before starting interactive snapping. You can choose to create a full or a linked duplicate and these operators are available in the Snap! Pie menu as well. If you add these operator to your quick menu (or add the Snap! Pie menu) you speed up your workflow in the common scenario where you have appended an asset collection and want to snap multiple copies of those assets.

Copy snap-points to selected objects

The new Copy snap points operator will copy the Snap! configuration of the active object to any other selected object. This is convenient for example if you want to create multiple variants of an asset with the same snap-points.

New preference override label color

Colorful labels for snap-points can enhance the aesthetics of an asset collection with snap-points, but the colors might clash with the theme chosen by the end-user, making it perhaps difficult to read. Therefore the end-user can now override those colors in the preferences  because I consider colors (as well as font-size etc.) an accessibility issue that should be under the control of the end-user.

Snap! is a time saving tool for people who often work with modular assets packs or creators of asset packs who want to make there product easier to use.

Snap! allows you to define snap-points with a predefined location and orientation on objects which can then be used to interactively snap objects together without the hassle of precise positioning.

Snap! is available in a personal and a redistributable version on my BlenderMarket shop.

Snap! Tip: snap-points on flexible objects


In a previous article I introduced a new add-on called Snap! 


This new video shows how you an approach to creating curve based assets with snap-points that allow for easy snapping while deforming an object at the same time.

Snap! is a time saving tool for people who often work with modular assets packs or creators of asset packs who want to make there product easier to use.

Snap! allows you to define snap-points with a predefined location and orientation on objects which can then be used to interactively snap objects together without the hassle of precise positioning.

Snap! is available in a personal and a redistributable version on my BlenderMarket shop.

Snap! New features

 In a previous article I introduced a new add-on called Snap! 


This video highlights some new features added in the latest releases, in particular an option to quickly align a snap-point direction vector to a normal, the new pie menu and the auto flip feature which can make a snapping workflow even easier if the snap-points all point consistently outward.

Snap! is a time saving tool for people who often work with modular assets packs or creators of asset packs who want to make there product easier to use.

Snap! allows you to define snap-points with a predefined location and orientation on objects which can then be used to interactively snap objects together without the hassle of precise positioning.

Snap! is available in a personal and a redistributable version on my BlenderMarket shop.

Snap! A new add-on to simplify working with modular assets

It is not every day I can announce a new add-on but today I published Snap! on BlenderMarket.





Snap! is a time saving tool for people who often work with modular assets packs or creators of asset packs who want to make there product easier to use.

Snap! allows you to define snap-points with a predefined location and orientation on objects which can then be used to interactively snap objects together without the hassle of precise positioning.

It is available in a personal and a redistributable version on my BlenderMarket shop.

Blender Market Summer Sale 2021


It's that time of the year again: BlenderMarket is having a summer sale until August 30.
This means serious discounts on participating products and of course my add-ons are on sale too!

Check out BlenderMarket to see if that special product on your wish list now has an orange 'on sale' label.