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Array Modifier

Mode: Object mode

Panel: Properties Window -> Context Button Modifiers CZ Modifier ContextButton.png

Description

Multidimensional array animated with motion blur.

The Array modifier creates an array of copies of the base object, with each copy being offset from the previous one in a number of possible ways. Vertices in adjacent copies can be merged based on a merge distance, allowing smooth subsurf frameworks to be generated.

This modifier can be useful when combined with tilable meshes for quickly developing large scenes. It is also useful for creating complex repetitive shapes.

Multiple array modifiers may be active for an object at the same time, e.g. to create complex 3 dimensional constructs.

Options

Array modifier.
Fit Type menu.
Fit Type menu
Controls how the length of the array is determined. There are three choices, activating respectively the display of the Curve, Length or Count setting:
  • Fit Curve – Generates enough copies to fit within the length of the curve object specified in Curve.
  • Fit Length – Generates enough copies to fit within the fixed length given by Length.
  • Fixed Count – Generates the number of copies specified in Count.
Curve
The Curve object to use for Fit Curve.
Length
The length to use for Fit Length.
Count
The number of duplicates to use for Fixed Count.
Notes
  • Both Fit Curve and Fit Length use the local coordinate system size of the base object, which means that scaling the base object in Object mode will not change the number of copies generated by the Array modifier.
  • Fit Length uses the local coordinate system length of the curve, which means that scaling the curve in Object mode will not change the number of copies generated by the Array modifier.
  • Applying the scale with the Apply Scale button can be useful for each one.


Constant Offset, X, Y, Z
Adds a constant translation component to the duplicate object’s offset. X, Y and Z constant components can be specified.
Relative Offset, X, Y, Z
Relative offset example.
Adds a translation equal to the object’s bounding box size along each axis, multiplied by a scaling factor, to the offset. X, Y and Z scaling factors can be specified. See Relative offset example.


Object Offset
Object offset example.
Adds a transformation taken from an object (relative to the current object) to the offset. See Object offset example. It is good practice to use an Empty object centered or near to the initial object. E.g. by rotating this Empty a circle or helix of objects can be created.


Merge
If enabled, vertices in each copy will be merged with vertices in the next copy that are within the given Distance.
First Last
If enabled and Merge is enabled, vertices in the first copy will be merged with vertices in the last copy (this is useful for circular objects; see (First Last merge example)).
Dev-ArrayModifier-FirstLastDiscontinuity01.png Dev-ArrayModifier-FirstLastMerge01.png
Subsurf discontinuity caused by not merging vertices between first and last copies (First Last off). Subsurf discontinuity eliminated by merging vertices between first and last copies (First Last on).
First Last merge example.
Distance
Controls the merge distance for Merge.
Start cap
The mesh object to be used as a start cap. A single copy of this object will be placed at the “beginning” of the array – in fact, as if it was in position -1, i.e. one “array step” before the first “regular” array copy. Of course, if Merge is activated, and the Start cap is near enough to the first copy, they will be merged.
End cap
The mesh object to be used as an end cap. A single copy of this object will be placed at the “end” of the array – in fact, as if it was in position n+1, i.e. one “array step” after the last “regular” array copy. And as Start cap, it can be merged with the last copy…


Hints

Offset Calculation

The transformation applied from one copy to the next is calculated as the sum of the three different components (Relative, Constant and Object), all of which can be enabled/disabled independently of the others. This allows, for example, a relative offset of (1, 0, 0) and a constant offset of (0.1, 0, 0), giving an array of objects neatly spaced along the X axis with a constant 0.1BU (Blender Units) between them, whatever the original object’s size.

Examples

Mechanical

A bridge made from a tileable mesh.
A cog created from a single segment.
Sample blend file
A crankshaft.
Sample blend file
A chain created from a single link.
Sample blend file

Fractal

Multidimensional array animated with motion blur.
A fractal-like image created with multiple array modifiers applied to a cube.
Sample blend file
A fractal fern image created with 2 array modifiers and 1 mirror applied to a cube.

Organic

Subsurfed cube array with 1 object offset, 4 cubes and a high vertex merge setting to give the effect of skinning.
A double spiral created with two array modifiers and one subsurf modifier applied to a cube. As above, the vertex merge threshold is set very high to give the effect of skinning.
Sample blend file
A tentacle created with an Array modifier followed by a Curve modifier. The segment in the foreground is the base mesh for the tentacle; the tentacle is capped by two specially-modeled objects deformed by the same Curve object as the main part of the tentacle.
Sample blend file

Tutorials

The 'Double Helix' tutorial explains the Array modifier. It is for an old Blender Version (2.44) but except for the keyboard shortcuts it is still valid.