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Exploring Nodes

Spirograph Example

Let’s make a drawing based on the Spirograph principle.

In short: we will create a shape and copy it a few times on top of each other with a difference in rotation.

Exploring Spirograph

Create a Freehand node and draw a small line in order to have a reference for the rest of the procedure. You can draw by clicking and dragging the mouse in the viewer pane.

Create a Reflect node and send the output of freehand1 to it.

  • Change the Angle parameter to 90.00. You should see the change in location of the reflected shape.
  • Change the X parameter to 0.0. Dito.

Create a Copy node and send the output of reflect1 to it.

  • Change the Copies parameter to 20.
  • Change the Rotate parameter to 18.0. The calculation of the rotation angle is based on the equation 360.0 / number of copies.

Render copy1 and click once on freehand1. Start drawing anything and see the spirograph appear. Not pleased with the result? You can start over and empty the path by selecting all numbers in the path parameter then press backspace and the return key.

Try out:

  • Different settings for the parameters in copy1 to create more or less complex spirograph drawings.
  • Insert a Color node between the freehand1 and reflect1 to experiment with colors.
  • Copy the four nodes, make a few variations and group them by sending all of them to a Merge node.

Exploring Spirograph Advanced

Resample and place.

Every node has a geometry object as output which means that you have access to the points. The Resample node creates a new set of points for an input geometry based on the distance between points or on a certain amount of points.

Lets create a text effect that works on that principle.

Exploring Resample Place

Create a Textpath node

  • Change Text parameter to NODE.
  • Set the Font to Helvetica Bold.
  • Set Size to 170.

Copy textpath1. You can copy and paste nodes by drawing a rectangle around the nodes that you want to copy. Use normal copy/paste shortkeys (e.g ctrl-c / ctrl-v) to create a duplicate.

  • Change Text parameter to Box.
  • Change the Y parameter to -200.
  • Set Size to 230.

Create a Merge node to bring both previous nodes together.

Exploring Resample Place Step1

Create a Resample node. Connect merge1 to it.

  • Set Method to by length.
  • Set Length to 2.

Create an Ellipse node.

  • Change the Alpha amount of the fill color to 2.0. You have access to the different color channels by clicking the color widget. Exploring Resample Place Fill
  • Change the stroke color to a semitransparent orange.
  • Change the Stroke Width to 0.2.

Create a Place node. As you can see it has two input ports instead of one. The upper port is called Shape and receives the shape that has to be placed/copied. The second port is called Template and receives a template on which the shape has to be placed/copied on.

  • Connect ellipse1 to the shape port of place1.
  • Connect resample1 to the template port of place1.

What you should see is that NodeBox draws an ellipse on each point of the template. The visual effect is created by layering all these transparent ellipses.

Try out:

  • Different amount of points in resample1. Change the method to by Amount and set an amount to the points parameter. See what results from that. Try the “Per Contour” option.
  • Change the ellipse into an other shape.

Exploring Resample Place Advanced

A pattern example.

Creating patterns is fairly easy in NodeBox 2. A key node for building networks that create patterns is the Align node. It allows you to change the centerpoint of a geometry. The base for these operations on the vertical and horizontal axes is the origin which you can toggle on/off in the viewer pane.

Lets create an example:

Exploring Pattern

Create a Polygon node. A triangle should appear.

  • Set Radius to 12.00.
  • Set Sides to 3.

Visualize the origin (in the viewer pane). The polygon is centered in its center point. The idea is to change it’s position so the triangle is on top of the horizontal line and at the right of the vertical line. We could do this manually by changing X and Y parameters. Using an align node is better practice.

Create an Align node and connect polygon1 to it.

  • Set Horizontal Align to Left.
  • Set Vertical Align to Bottom.

Create a Copy node to create a few copies. We will create a shell shape.

  • Set Copies to 18.
  • Set Rotate to 20.00.
  • Set Scale X to 10.00.
  • Set Scale Y to 10.

Exploring Pattern Shell

We will do the previous functions another time but with a few alterations in both nodes.

Create an Align node. Connect copy1 to it.

  • Set Horizontal Align to Right.
  • Set Vertical Align to Middle.

Create a Copy node to create a few copies. Connect align2 to it.

  • Set Copies to 4.
  • Set Rotate to 90.00.

Exploring Pattern Shell 4

We will transform this pattern by sending it to a Snap node. Create one and Set the Distance parameter to 50.0

Create a Grid node. This grid will be used as a template to place a copy of the snap1 result on each one of its points.

  • Set Rows to 3.
  • Set Columns to 3.

Create a Place node. Send snap1 to Shape and grid1 to Template.

Render the place node for the final result.

Try out:

  • Change Rotation parameter in copy1.
  • Change Distance parameter in snap1.
  • Change some other parameters..

Exploring Pattern Advanced

Node order.

A very import thing to keep your eyes on is the node order. The chronology of nodes and the way they are connected to each other, sometimes makes a big difference in the final result. Following example will show how it works.

Exploring Nodeorder

We are going to create two procedures for copying and transforming a shape.

  • The first one will create a shape, than transform it over a Wiggle node to finally be copied 6 times through a Copy node.
  • The second one will start from the same shape as in procedure one but will reverse the order of wiggle and copy so we will copy the node 6 times first and then wiggle the result.

Lets start with creating a shape:

Create a Rect node and leave the parameters as default.

Create an Ellipse node and leave the parameters as default.

Create a Compound node which does binary operations on two different shapes. Connect rect1 to the first input/port and connect ellipse1 to the second port. Change Function to difference.

You should see the difference path of the rectangle and the ellipse. Lets put an ellipse in the center of it.

Create an Ellipse node.

  • Set Width to 50.00
  • Set Height to 50.00

Bring it together by creating a Merge node.

Exploring Nodeorder Shape

Now we will do a few things twice:

Create two Copy nodes. One for each procedure.

  • Set Copies to 6.
  • Set Translate X to 130.00.

Create two Wiggle nodes. Again one for each procedure.

  • Set Scope to contours. This setting will only change the location of each contour within the shape.
  • Set Wiggle X to 10.00.
  • Set Wiggle Y to 10.00.
  • Select a seed.

Now connect merge1 to the copy1 AND connect merge1 to wiggle2.

The first procedure takes a copy first, the second wiggles the shape first.

Now connect copy1 to wiggle1 and connect wiggle2 to copy2.

The first procedure wiggles the copied shapes which results in a variation for each shape while the second procedure copies a wiggled shape hence produces a copy which looks the same for each one of them.

Lets put them beneath each other.

Create a Transform node to relocate copy2. Set Translate Y to 130.00.

Create a Merge node to bring the two procedures together.

Try out:

  • Create a grid of 4 * 4 to have an other template.
  • Change the starting shape.

Exploring Nodeorder Advanced