Friday, January 25, 2013

Shape node scaling tool

Here's a little thing that I made a while ago as a little hacked-together tool for some job I was working on. Eventually I added little bits until it ended up as this kind of done-ish version. (I know that's a real sales job, isn't it?:)
But it actually is pretty useful to me on a regular basis for everyday stuff, especially for scaling controls. The short description is that this grabs all of the components of each selected object (surfaces, curves and polys) and scales them. That is, your objects gets scaled without affecting the scale attributes or the transform node. 
The setup looks a bit confusing (and maybe it is), but there are a few things you can do. There are two ways to scale things, either drag the slider (which will automatically recenter itself. Kind of weird, but I felt it gave better sensitivity and still allowed me to scale things very large with a few pulls) or type a number and press "scale". When you use the slider, the value that you slid gets entered into the field, so you can repeat it on the same object by clicking the scale button, or use the same value for other objects. 

The stuff on the right is a bit more esoteric. What was happening was that I would scale a bunch of controls and then realize that I forgot to select one control. It was then tricky to repeat the same slider values, etc. So the top field on the right tracks the cumulative value change to the scales. So you can select a bunch of objects, change the values arbitrarily and this will keep track of the changes from where you started. You can then copy down that number and enter it into the text field if you need to grab another object and match it, though this will then change your tracked value. To get around that, you can "reset" the tracked value back to 100% once you select a new object(s). Similarly, if you do a bunch of scaling it can be tough to get back to the original value without hitting undo a bunch of times. So if you've tracked your changes (by starting with a "change" value of 100, via "reset") you can get back to the original state with the "orig" button (it will just figure out what you need to get back to 100% scale and multiply by that). This change will then be reflected in the "scale %" field if you want to apply it to something else (or just know what the number is). 

Whew. Sounds like a lot for a simple tool, but I feel like maybe the naming, etc isn't super clear. Maybe at some point I'll put a "help" menu in there or something. . . 
Hope it's useful! or you can find it on the shiny, new download page (there's now a button to take you there up at the top) . . .
import zbw_shapeScale

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