Array (Pattern) is a modifier used to create multiple copies of an object in desired arrangement. Ends can be merged within the tolerance to have a continuous geometry and a smooth subsurface.
Multiple Array Modifiers can be activated to the same object to create complex and 3 Dimensional Arrays.
How to Access: We can access Array Modifier from Modifiers > Add Modifier > Array
Accessing Array Modifier
Now, Let us discus various options available under ARRAY Modifier like: Fit Type, Constant Offset, Relative Offset, Object Offset, Merge, Start Cap and End Cap.
This option calculates the Array Length to be generated. In blender it comes with the following three options
1. Fixed Count: Activating this option requires Number of Copies to make to be entered in “Count” Column, then it generates "Count" number of copies.
In the above example “Count is: 3” so it generated “3” number of copies in the specified Offset.
2. Fit Length: Activating this option requires length of the Array as input, with respect to the offset value it generates Copies with in the Length specified.
In the above example “Length is: 9” so it generated “3” number of copies with the specified Offset with in the Length of 9 units. If we increase the Relative offset value to 3, it can only generate "2 copies" with in Array length of 9 units.
3. Fit Curve: Activating this option generates copies with respect to the length of the curve. Curve should be given as input in the field provided. This option is useful when we are generating Curve Driven Arrays.
In the above example First add a cube for generating Array and add a Bezier Curve and scale it to a length of 9 units. Select Fit type as "Fit Curve" and in place of Curve select "Bezier Curve". With a constant Offset of 4 units it can generate “3” number of copies with in the specified curve Length of 9 units. If we increase the Constant offset value to 5, it can only generate "2 copies", since the center of next copy lies beyond 9 units of the curve.
There are Three different offset types are available in Array modifier to separate the instances they are: 1. Constant Offset, 2. Relative Offset and 3. Object Offset. Lets discuss about them in detail.
1. Constant Offset: Generates Array Objects whose center to center distance equal to specified Offset (Relative to the Object Center).
From the above example with a Constant Offset of 3 Units, Array generates copies at a distance of 3 Units from center to center. This can be applied for X, Y & Z directions to generate copies with offset in corresponding axis.
2. Relative Offset: Adds offset relative to the Object Bounding Box. The next object in an array is generated such that Center to Center offset is equal to “Relative Offset” number of bounding boxes.
In the above example, count is given as 2 nos and Relative Offset specified as “2”. Then the Center of the next Copy is at 2 Bounding Boxes away from the main object center in X-direction.
In the above example, count is given as 2 nos and Relative Offset specified as “X=1, Y=1”. Then the Center of the next Copy is at 2 Bounding Box away from the main object center in X-direction and in Y-direction.
3. Object Offset: This option is used to add another object’s transformation to the total offset. For example, to generate Array of Cube-1, we can use Cube-2 as reference, the generated copies will have offset from Cube-2 center as shown below.
Initially Cube-2 is at an offset of “3 Units” from Cube-1 after applying array modifier with a Constant Offset of: 4 units and with Cube-2 as Object Offset, First copy will be generated at 4 Units from Cube-2 center so the total offset from Cube-1 is: 7 Units. Then from second copy on wards it will be generated at 7 units (total offset). This is applicable in other directions also.
This option allows copies of the array to connect together to have a continuous mesh. In the following example, Circular array of the Instance before Merge option shows the discontinuity that can be seen in 3D as well as Mesh.
After applying the Merge option along with First and Last option (with distance) all the discontinuities will be eliminated and generates smooth transition between instances (Copies).
Before applying merge option mesh will not be continuous it confines to the individual instance, after applying Merge option it generates continuous mesh with smooth transition.
First Last: This option is used to merge the first and last instances of the Array without any discontinuity.
Merge option without "First Last" activated will not merge first and last instances it will only merge in-between instances. With First Last option activated will merge including First and Last instances there by generating continuous mesh.
Options like Start Cap and End Cap will be discussed in few days later.