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How to Make Chainmaille in Blender
Article © MAIL User: Levi

Welcome to my first Blender tutorial on how to make rings, chains and maille in Blender 2.68 or 2.69. If you don't know, Blender is a 3D animation program with incredible features and a price tag that can't be beat. Check it out at Blender.org. If you have not done so yet, install Blender and start it up.

This tutorial should help people feel more comfortable using Blender along with giving them enough knowledge to keep experimenting and learning with it. This tutorial started from a thread in the forums. You can read it here.

By the end of this tutorial you should be able to create rings, chains and sheets of maille then simulate how they react to gravity, colliding with other objects, or whatever else you can think of. Buckle up it's long ride but I think you'll enjoy the results in the end.

Image: allchains100k.jpg


The steps:


1. Getting to know Blender.
2. Changing Blender's default settings.
3. Adding a ring.
4. Giving the ring a saw-cut look.
5. Making the ring into a chain.
6. Applying materials to the rings.
7. Using physics to test the chain.
8. Growing your chain.
9. Making other weaves.


Step 1: Getting to know Blender.



Open Blender, click on the background to get rid of the Start-up splash screen. Your screen should look something like this.
Image: clean_ui_sm.png

Going clockwise from the top left we have the top menu
Image: top_menu_sm.png

which if you click the little circle on the left shrinks to look like this:
Image: top_menu_sm_mini.png

The top menu contains File, Add, Render, Window and Help menus followed by the layout menu which is used to change to scripting or animation views, next is the Scene selection, the last clickable option on the top menu is the dropdown for chosing the render engine Blender uses. The remainder of the top menu following the Blender icon are Blenders version number and the details for your scene, in particular how many objects you have selected.

To the far right side you have the right menu which has two main sections.
Image: right_menu_sm.png

On top is the Scene list which lists all of the objects in the scene. The scene list is an easy way to select the object you want even if you can't see it directly. The bottom portion of the menu is used to change the properties for, well, pretty much everything. You'll probably want to make the right menu a bit wider so you can see all the icons.
Image: right_menu_sm_sized.png

In the top of the properties menu there are a bunch of tiny icons in a row. From left to right, Render (small camera), Scene Layers (Pictures), Scene Properties (Light, Cube & Sphere), World (Globe), Object (Orange Cube), Constraints (Chain Links), Modifiers (Wrench), Mesh (Triangle), Material (Orange and Black Sphere), Texture (Red and White Checkerboard), Particles (Four Stars), Physics (White Ball with Blue Tail). The icons present will vary depending on what type of object you have selected and what render engine you're using.

The bottom menu has also two sections: the viewport menu on top and the animation/playback on the bottom.
Image: bottom_menu_sm.png

The top section lets you change the view of the viewport, select objects, manipulate objects, change between object mode and so on. Other than using Select to select all meshes or changing to Edge Select in Edit mode you don't need to worry about much else on this bar.
The animation/playback portion of the menu is a timeline of frames per second along with options to add keyframes and such. For now the only two buttons you need to locate are the > Play and |<< Rewind buttons in the center of the menu.

The left menu has the tools.
Image: left_menu_sm.png
Depending on the type of object or editing mode the contents of the menu will change. Most of the tools we need to use from this menu are done via keyboard commands but there are a few times when you'll need to find a button in this menu.

In the middle of the screen is your view port.
Image: viewport.png

The viewport is your window into the scene. Your scene currently consists of the following items. In the top left corner your current view is listed in white text, "User Persp". You also have a lamp:

Image: lamp.png

a camera:
Image: camera.png

and the default cube:
Image: cube.png

The cube will have three arrows a blue one pointing up for the Z axis, a green one for the Y axis and a red one for the X axis. These arrows allow you to move the selected object(s) along the chosen axis. The cube is sitting in the middle of a lighter grey grid with a green line representing the Y axis going from left to right (more or less) and a red line representing the X axis going from front to back. The center of the screen, where the red and green lines intersect is location 0,0,0 and everything is measured from this point in the scene. Each square in the grid represents a Blender unit. Blender units are not metric or standard (though you can define it to be either if you want). They are just an increment of space that Blender uses to move and position objects in a scene. I'll explain the whole XYZ axis location thing a bit more in a minute. The bottom left corner there is a tiny XYZ legend that rotate with your view, beside it in white text is the name of the selected object.
Image: legend.png
At this point you should now have a bit better of an idea where things are and what they will be used for.

That XYZ thing. Three dimensional space is made up of three different dimensions, imagine that. But, that doesn't help most people understand how this works. Without getting into a whole physics lesson that factors in time and space-time, simply put: we live in a three dimensional world. Everything around you is some combination of up, down, left, right, near and/or far from you. Up and down are pretty easy to grasp but left, right, near or far are always relative to your position around the object, that is, if you rotate 90 degrees around an object, what were right and left are now near and far and vise-versa. Keeping that in mind, for now we'll assign up and down to the Z axis shown in blue, left and right to the Y axis in green followed by near and far being assigned to the X axis in red.

Let's play around with the default cube for a few minutes and get used to the idea of moving things around in three dimensional space.

Image: start_cube.png

The default cube is two units cubed and it's positioned in the exact center of the screen at location X0,Y0,Z0 the cube is extending out in each direction by one unit. Objects are positioned relative to the center of the object so your cube is currently sticking out in each direction by one unit. Press Z to toggle wireframe mode, the cube will now just look like a bunch of lines. This mode can help see or locate the center point of an object.

Image: start_wf_cube.png

Press Z again to exit wireframe mode. Seeing the cube in wireframe may help you understand where the center of the cube is.

We want Blender to raise the cube upwards a bit so we specify the Z axis. Try it, with your mouse cursor in the viewport window press G , Z , 3 , Enter.

Image: start_cube_up.png

The cube is now sitting up above the grid instead of half way through it, the middle of the cube is three units higher than before. Lets move the cube back down a bit so it sits on top of the grid. To invert the direction of movement in this case move down, add a minus symbol before the number of units to move. Press G , Z , -2 , Enter. Your cube is now sitting on the grid one unit higher than it was when we started.

Image: start_cube_on_floor.png

Next let's move the cube to the left by pressing G , Y , -2 , Enter.

Image: start_cube_left.png

Now move it towards you by pressing G , X , 3 , Enter. Your cube should now be a bit closer and to the left of you.

Image: start_cube_closer.png

From the right menu click on the Object icon (orange cube), under the Transform section look at the Location: values for X, Y and Z they should be 3, -2 and 1 respectively.

Image: start_object_menu.png

So why is X a positive (+) value but Y is a negative (-) value?
That depends on which side of the line you're on. Here's how it works, from the center of the scene you can go in one of two directions for each dimension either positive or negative. Along Z + means up and - means down, anything on the left side of the red line is negative Y anything on the right side is positive Y. Likewise, anything closer than the green line is positive X and anything beyond it is negative X. All object locations are relative to the center of the scene where those lines meet. Think of this location as the center of the universe and everything is measured in either a positive or negative value in all three dimensions from that point.

Let's move the cube away from us by sliding it along the X axis but this time we'll change the cubes location via the Object menu on the right. Change the Location: value for X by clicking in the box that currently says "X:3.00000" and change it to "0", press Enter. The cube is now still to the left but directly above the green line at location 0 on the X axis.

Image: start_cube_x.png

To move the cube so it's all on the negative side of the X axis and further away change the value to "-1" and press Enter.

Image: start_cube_x1.png

While we're here change the Rotation: value for X from "0" to "45" and press Enter.

Image: start_cube_r45.png

The cube has rotated around the red arrow for the X axis. When it comes to rotation think of the specified axis as a small rod inserted through the center of the object that forces it to spin around that axis.

Image: start_cube_r.png

Change the rotation value for X back to "0". Try changing the values for Y and Z one at a time to better understand which one makes the cube spin in which direction.

Now that you can move and spin an object let's move on. Click on File, New then click on "Reload Start-Up File.

You now have a reset default scene with the default cube, with the mouse cursor in the viewport, press X then Enter, or left-click on the prompt to delete. You now have an empty scene that you can start working with. If you get lost or something just isn't working properly, reload the start-up file and start over.

Some other usage items before I go on.

-When you left click somewhere on the screen a red and white circle with cross hairs shows up, this is your origin. When you add an object it gets added to the scene at the point of origin. Holding left click when selecting an object will let you freehand move objects- avoid moving objects this way.
-Right Click: Selects an object. Shift+Right Click to select multiple objects.
-A full keyboard with a numeric pad is recommended. I normally connect a USB keyboard and mouse to my laptops that don't have numeric pads.

Creating repeating sequences of objects like links in a chain is much easier and more accurate when done with the keyboard, so all of the duplication and rotating in this tutorial is done via keystrokes. Keep in mind Blender uses the keystrokes properly only when your mouse cursor is in a view port window. Pressing keystrokes with the cursor outside of the view port will cause other, probably unwanted effects.

Here is a list of the keystrokes/key combinations you'll be using and what they do.

-Ctrl+Alt+Q: Quad View, splits your view port into four different view ports each with it's own view. Not required for this tutorial but handy none the less. If you press Ctrl+Alt+Q again you'll go back to a single view port window, press Num0 then Num. (NumDel) to return to User Persp view.

Esc: Backs you out of your current operation.

-Ctrl+Z: Press and hold the Ctrl key and press Z once. This will undo your last action, if you wanted to undo your last two actions press Z twice then release both keys. If Ctrl+Z doesn't seem to be doing anything, press the Esc key and try Ctrl+Z again.

-B: Box selection: Selects everything in the box, handy for selecting a whole row of chain when used in quad view. My suggestion to hide the lights and camera later on stems from repeated accidental inclusions of lights and cameras while using box select then duplicating objects.

-G: Grab or move the selected object. If you only press G then move your cursor, the object will move freely along all axes which most of the time you do not want. To keep the object constrained to one axis press G followed by the axis you want to move it along. eg. Press G , Z , then move your cursor, the object will only move up or down.

-R: Rotate the object. Pressing R , X , 90 will rotate the object 90 degrees clockwise along the X axis. Just like with G (grab) it's best used when constrained to one axis at a time. Pressing R , Y , -90 will rotate the object 90 degrees counter-clockwise along the Y axis.

-Shift+D: Press and hold the Shift key, press D once then release both keys. This creates a copy of the selected object(s) and places the copy in the exact same place as the original.

Warning: Be careful you don't create "ghost duplicates", they wreck havoc with the physics engine when the duplicates are forced into existence; have to split into separate space as the physics engine violently nudges them away from each other.

This creates a full on "chain reaction" (pun intended) which in turn causes the physics to increase drastically making the simulations painfully slow and inaccurate. Check the "Scene List" from time to time and make sure your total ring count adds up to what you see. eg. If you see 4 rings in the view port, the "Scene List" should only have 4 rings listed in it, if you have more check for "ghost duplicates". To check for "ghost duplicates" select a ring, press G , Z , 1. Is there another ring under the one you just moved? If there is no other ring press Esc and the ring moves back to it original location, select the next ring and repeat. If there is another ring, press X or Del to delete the ring you just moved up. Select the ring you found and repeat the process until no other "ghost duplicates" are found, repeat for each ring you "see".

Obviously, this is best dealt with early on before you duplicate a unit into a large chain or sheet.

-Shift+D , Y , 1.5 , Enter: Press and hold the Shift key, press D once, release both keys then press Y once followed by 1.5, press Enter to confirm the operation. Much like the previous keystroke this creates a duplicate of the object(s) but you tell it to move the object along the Y axis 1.5 units in the same step. This way the newly created copy is moved away from the original making it clearly visible. This has helped me avoid "ghost duplicates" problem.

-Shift+R: Repeats the last action.

Now that you know what the keystrokes are doing let's get on with it.



Step 2: Adjusting Blender's render and physics settings.


From the top menu change the "Blender Render" to "Cycles Render".

Next make the right tools menu a bit wider by dragging its left edge towards the middle of the screen. You want to be able to see all of the icons under the "Scene list". Now that you can see all the options, the menu should already be on the "Render" settings, the small camera icon. Scroll down and click on the triangle beside "Sampling". Change "Clamp:" to "0.58" and "Render:" to "100". Image: render_settings.png

Now from the right menu click on the "Scene" icon (it's a lamp, sphere and cube). In the "Rigid Body World" click the "Add Rigid Body World" button.
Image: physics_add_rbw.png

Change the "Steps Per Second:" to "360" and the "Solver Iterations:" to "40".
Image: physics_settings.png

From the "Scene List" in the top right, find "Lamp" and click the little eyeball to the right of it to make the light invisible to us.
Image: hide_lamp.png

It still affects the scene but you can't select it. This avoids accidentally selecting the lamp while trying to select a ring. For this tutorial the light is fine just as is but if you wanted to move the lamp you can always click the little eyeball again and the lamp will become visible and selectable in the view port again. You can also hide the camera if you find it gets in the way.



Step 3: Adding a torus or ring.



From the top menu choose "Add" > "Mesh" > "Torus". A rough looking torus will now be sitting in the middle of you scene with an orange outline. To change the AR of the ring or the amount of sides or segments, press F6.
Image: adjust_torus.png

You need to add more segments to this ring or the "saw-cutting" looks a bit funny. Without moving the torus, press F6. You are going to set your ring to have an AR of 4.8. To do so, leave the major radius at 1.00 but change the minor radius to 0.17.

To estimate the AR, subtract the minor radius from the major radius then divide the major radius by the minor radius. 1.00 - 0.17 = 0.83 , 0.83 / 0.17 = 4.88.

Next change the "Minor Segments" to 48. Your ring will now look a bit smoother now, due to having extra faces. Side note, this is not the way to smooth an object for rendering purposes, use "Shade Smooth" to smooth the ring out once you're done editing the ring. Note: If you move your cursor outside of the F6 menu it vanishes. Press F6 to bring it back.



Step 4: Adding that saw-cut look.



This is a optional step for the most part, if you don't care about your rings having a saw-cut look, skip ahead to 4d.

4a: Scroll in nice and close to the ring.
Image: zoom_in.png

You want to be able to clearly see one of the horizontal ring sections.
Image: hori_section.png

Now press TAB to go into Edit Mode.
Image: edit_torus_1.png

Change to Edge Select from the bottom menu
Image: Edit_Face_Select.png

Select a horizontal edge
Image: Edit_Torus_2.png

then, without moving your cursor press Ctrl+R, left click, right click. Now on the left tools menu at the bottom you will find "Loop Cut and Slide". Change the "Number of Cuts" to 8. Next you need to select four of the vertical edges, here is the pattern of vertical edges you need to select.
Image: vert_edge_loops.png

! = unselected, | = selected.

! | ! | ! ! | ! | !

or from left to right: 2-4-7-9

From the bottom menu click "Select" > "Edge Loop" then press X followed by L for Limited Dissolve. Your segment will now only have five vertical sections, four large ones, and a single smaller one in the middle that sort of looks like this.

!----!----!--!----!----!
Image: after_limited_dissolve.png

Select a horizontal edge in the small section,
Image: central_hori_edge.png

again without moving your cursor, press Ctrl+R, left click, right click. Now from the left tools menu change the "Number of Cuts" to "3".
Image: central_vert_edge_loops.png

Select one of the vertical edges in the central ring,
Image: central_vert_ring_2.png

then from the bottom menu choose "Select" > "Edge Loop" then press X followed by V to delete the vertices.
Image: empty_ring.png

What's in the box that Hirosan is holding??? Nothing, Absolutely Nothing!

Ah, Weird Al you still make me laugh...

Much like the box that Hirosan was holding, your ring has absolutely nothing in it. How disappointing!

Maybe you want your rings to look like they are made from tiny tubes? Otherwise you'll probably want to close those ends up so they look like a solid ring.

4b: Right-click on one of the vertical edges on the left-side of your new seam,
Image: left_edge_selected.png

click "Select" > "Edge Loop".
Image: left_edge_loop.png

Now that the edge loop is selected press F to put a face over it.
Image: left_face_added.png

You'll have to do the same thing to the other end, choose a vertical edge at the seam on the right side.
Image: right_edge_selected.png

Click "Select" > "Edge Loop"
Image: right_loop_selected.png

then press F to apply the face.
Image: right_face_added.png

If you don't want to do the right side "blind" as it were, change the view just a pinch by pressing Ctrl+Scroll Wheel down once or twice to scroll left a little bit.

4c: Press A to deselect anything currently chosen then press A again to select all of the edges. From the left menu, "Mesh Tools" > "Deform:", click on "Smooth Vertex". Press TAB to exit Edit Mode and go back to Object Mode.

The last ring building step is to smooth the ring out so it looks perfectly round, unless of course you want the 48 sided wire look.

4d: From the left menu, "Object Tools" > "Shading:" click on Smooth. You can also press Space Bar and type "shade smooth" followed by Enter.

Now would be a good time to save the ring as a .blend file so you can get back to this point or import the ring into another project at a later date. Name it as "basic ring.blend"



Step 5: Duplicating and moving the second and third rings.



With your ring selected,
Image: Step5.png

rotate it by pressing R , Y , 90 , Enter
Image: step5_ry90.png

then duplicate the ring and move it down along the Y axis by pressing Shift+D , Y , 1.5 , Enter.
Image: step5_sdy15.png

Now rotate it by pressing R , Y , 90 , Enter.
Image: step5_ry90_2.png

The first ring "Torus" will be vertical and the second ring "Torus.001" will be horizontal. Select the first ring and press Shift+D, Y, 3, Enter.
Image: step5_sdy3.png

To off-set the saw cuts if you created them press R , X , 50 , Enter.

Now that you have three rings you should give them names. From the "Scene" list in the top right corner, find and double-click on "Torus", rename it to "Copper Anchor Ring". Next, double-click on "Torus.001" and rename it to "Stainless Ring". Last find "Torus.002" and rename it to "Gold Ring".
Image: scene_list_changes.png

All three rings should be lined up along the Y axis, Copper Anchor Ring, Stainless Ring and Gold Ring.

Ok, so you now have a very minimal 2 in 1 chain that's only three rings long but it's enough to start testing. Once you've applied the materials and physics to the rings you can duplicate the rings until you run out of RAM. But for the time being let's keep it at these three rings. Let's save this mini chain to another .blend file so you can get back to this point easily. From the top menu click on "File" then "Save As". Give it a different name, call it "basic chain.blend" and click the Save button. Have you checked your scene list for "ghost duplicates" recently?



Step 6, Making your rings look like copper, stainless and gold.



I'm only going to cover the very basics of applying a few materials, some lighting and a scene background but it should be enough to get you going. If you press F12 (F11 to return from render view), your computer will render the scene which as it turns out is kind of bland and grey so let's give it some sparkle.

With the first ring selected, Copper Anchor Ring, click on the materials button on the right menu. It's a circle with orange and black marks on it, then click the "+ New" button.
Image: new_material.png

Click in the second box down where it says "Material" or "Material.001" and type a new name for the material. Let's call it "Copper", press Enter or click out of the box to set the name.
Image: name_material.png

Click the triangle beside "Preview" and you should now see a checkered scene with a white sphere in it.
Image: preview.png

In the "Surface" section change Surface: Diffuse BSDF to Mix Shader. The sphere in the preview window is now flat black, this is ok.
Image: mix_shader_1.png

Going down the options, Change "Fac:" to 0.100.
Change the first "Shader:" from "None" to "Glossy BSDF".
Leave the next box set to "Beckmann".
Change the "Color:" to hex E7A066.
Lower the "Roughness:" to 0.000.
Leave "Normal:" at "Default".

Change the second "Shader:" from "None" to "Diffuse BSDF".
Change the "Color:" to hex E7B38C.
Change the "Roughness:" to 0.000.
Leave everything else at it's default.

The sphere in the preview window is now copper colored.
Image: copper_mat.png

Click on the triangle beside Settings to expand it, you'll probably have to scroll down in the menu, then click in the "View port Color:" box and change the color to hex E73700. That's a bright red. I'll explain the view port colors in a minute.
Image: viewport_color.png

With the second ring selected, Stainless Ring, go to the materials if you're not still there, you may need to scroll the menu up a bit. Click the checkered circle with the up and down arrows and choose Copper from the list.
Image: choose_copper_mat.png

In the second box that now says "Copper", click the + symbol between F and X.
Image: copy_copper_mat.png

A new identical material will be created with a name of "Copper.001" rename it to "Stainless". Now you need to change the colors so your Stainless doesn't look identical to your Copper material.

For the first shader change the "Color:" to hex EBEBEB and set the second shader color to use ACACAC. Change the "View port Color:" to 0039E7, blue.
Image: stainless_mat.png

With the third ring selected, Gold Ring, choose "Copper" from the material drop down. Click the + symbol between F and X. The new identical material will be created with a name of "Copper.00x" rename it to "Gold".

For the first shader change the "Color:" to hex E7E06C and set the second shader to use E7C854. Change the "View port Color:" to E7CA00, yellow.
Image: gold_mat.png

The "View port colors" are assigned for two main reasons. First off, you now know at a glance which rings are gold, stainless and copper. The second reason comes into play when you start applying physics to the rings, the red rings will become "anchor rings" that don't move, they provide something for the rest of the chain (blue and yellow rings) to hang and dangle from. The view port colors have no effect on the final image, they are just visual clues that make future adjustments easier.
Image: mats_applied.png

Press F12 and be prepared for disappointment. Ok, it's a bit better but without more light the scene is too dark and the rings don't shine like they should.
Image: first_render.png

Press F11 to return to working view.

You'll need to add a plane which will serve as a floor but more importantly a surface for light to reflect on and off of. From the top menu click "Add" > "Mesh" > "Plane". In the scene list find "Plane" and double-click to rename it, rename it to "Floor". Click the objects button, little orange cube in the right menu. In "Transform" set the "Location:" to X:0 , Y:0 , Z:-2 then change the "Scale:" for X:10, Y:10, Z:1.
Image: add_floor.png

Click on the materials button and click "+ New", change the name from "Material.00x" to "Floor". Click the triangle beside "Displacement". Next change "Default" to "Voronoi Texture". Change "Intensity" to "Cells" and adjust the "Scale:" to "15.000".
Image: floor_settings.png

You now have a cracked looking floor which helps lighting and will later provide a surface for rings to pile upon when you apply physics to the scene.

Let's add a light, only you are not going to use a light, you're going to use a circle for a light. It's an easy way to light the scene. Click "Add" > "Mesh" > "Circle". In the object menu under "Transform" change the "Location:" to X:0, Y:-5.5, Z:5, change "Rotation:" to X:45 and the "Scale:" to X:2, Y:2.
Image: circle_settings.png

You now have
Image: add_circle.png

Press TAB, F, TAB to apply a face to the circle.
Image: circle_face.png

Click the materials button then click "+ New". Change the "Surface:" from "Diffuse BSDF" to "Emission", change "Strength:" to "50".
Image: circle_light_settings.png

Now you have a circle that emits light evenly from its whole surface.

Press F12 to render the scene. Now you're getting somewhere, the rings are starting to look like metal.
Image: render_2.png

You will need to assign something to the background so that there is something to reflect off the rings. From the right menu, click on the "World" button, which looks like a globe.
Image: world_un.png

Click on "Use Nodes", under "Surface", click on the small box at the end of the "Color:" box and choose "Voronoi Texture". Change the value for "Scale:" to "0.8".
Image: world_settings.png

It's not optimal but it does the trick. This background/lighting setup is far from perfect but it can be replicated without having to download any textures so I choose to go this route.

Note: Final image renders are normally done with 500 + samples which means it will take much longer to render the image but it will look much better. I keep mine at 100 samples while working and bump it to 1000 once I'm happy with everything. The default setting of 10 is fast but a little too low. I found myself trying to fix non-existent rendering issues when all I had to do was increase the sampling.

Press F12 to render the scene now.
Image: render_3.png



Step 7: Applying a Rigid Body to the rings.



Select all of the rings and click the Physics button, the little white ball with what looks like a blue check mark under it on the right tools menu. Click on the Rigid Body button. From now on your ring will be outlined in green (instead of orange) when selected to indicate it has a Rigid Body assigned to it. You need to change two settings in "Rigid Body Collisions". Adjust the "Shape:" from "Convex Hull" to "Mesh" and adjust the "Sensitivity:" "Margin to 0.001".
Image: rigid_body_settings.png

From the left menu, click the triangle beside "Rigid Body Tools" to expand it now under "Object Tools:" click on the "Copy from Active" button.
Image: copy_rigid_body.png

This will apply the same rigid body to all of the selected objects.

All three rings will now have the same Rigid Body settings which will be enough to make the rings in the chain react to each other but there is nothing else for the chain to react with as you will see if you play the animation the chain just falls down and out of the scene after a few frames. You need to provide something for the chain to hang from, you may remember from earlier that you named the copper ring "Copper Anchor Ring". You are going to use that ring as an anchor ring to hold the rest of the chain and stop it from falling off into infinity.

Select the "Copper Anchor Ring", go to the "Physics" on the right menu. In the "Rigid Body" section remove the check mark in the "Dynamic" box.
Image: set_anchor.png

Now play the animation and the copper ring will stay where it is and the other rings will dangle from it.

As you probably noticed the rings stayed together but they fell through the floor like it doesn't even exist.
Image: animate_1.png

Well that's the thing, to the physics engine the floor currently does not exist. Select the floor, notice it's outlined in orange and not green, you need to apply a Rigid Body to the floor. Go to the "Physics" icon on the right menu and click the "Rigid Body" button. Remove the check mark in the "Dynamic" box and change the "Shape:" from "Convex Hull" to "Box".
Image: floor_rigid_body.png

Now the floor will stay where it is and the rings will collide with it. Play the animation and see what happens. Because the chain is only 2 units above the floor and the anchor ring is holding one end of the chain, the drop is pretty uneventful but I think you get the idea.
Image: floor_physics.png

Now that the floor is working to catch the rings, you may or may not want to have the copper ring act as an anchor. So let's turn off the anchor and see what happens. Select the Copper Anchor Ring and go to the "Physics" settings and put a check mark in the "Dynamic" box. The copper ring will now fall to the floor with the other two rings attached. Play the animation, hey that's a bit more eventful but you can only have so much fun with three rings.
Image: no_anchor.png

Let's move on to the next step and make the chain longer.



Step 8: Growing your mini chain into a longer 2 in 1 chain.



Note: If you used a different AR, ring size or scaled the rings to a different size, the value of movement on the Y axis (3 in this case) will need to be either be reduced or increased to get the rings to link up properly.

Now that the physics and materials are applied to the rings you can make the chain longer by duplicating the stainless and gold rings. Select the "Stainless Ring" and the "Gold Ring" then press Shift+D, Y, 3, Enter and the chain will now be five links long with the two new links aligned nicely at the end of the chain.
Image: 2in1_chain.png

Now would be a good time to save what you have to another file, this time call it "2in1 chain.blend". Some of my examples further down build upon this chain.

Press Shift+R and your chain will grow by another two links. Keep pressing Shift+R and the chain keeps growing.

You now know how to grow a mini chain into a much longer one with a few simple keystrokes. From here all you have to do is figure out the space and rotation between two weaved units for any other chain and duplicate away. I cover this process in the next step where I show you how to build a few common weaves from either the base ring or the 2 in 1 chain you just made.



Step 9: Making other weaves.



Here is a quick run down on how to make some other common maille weaves out of what you've created thus far.

Refresher, to add physics to ring: Physics button, Click Rigid Body, Change "Convex hull" to "Mesh", change "Sensitivity:" to "0.001".
Refresher, reuse materials: Reuse one of the materials from the 2 in 1 chain. Click File > Append, locate the save file for "2in1 chain.blend" and click on it. Click on the "Material" folder then click on the material you want, Copper, Gold or Stainless (Shift+click to select more than one). With the material(s) you want selected click on the "Link/Append from Library" button in the top right. Now any appended materials will be available from the material list.

Note: The "basic ring.blend" has no materials or physics applied to it, keep that in mind before you simulate or render. See above refreshers for a quick fix.



*2 in 1 Chain into a 4 in 2 chain*



Load the "2in2 chain.blend" file if your not at that point.
-Select the two blue horizontal rings and press G , Z , -.2 , Enter.
-Now press Shift+D , Z , .4 , Enter. That will have doubled and spaced the stainless rings, on to the vertical rings.
-Select the red and yellow vertical rings and press G , X , -.2 , Enter. Duplicate and move by pressing Shift+D , X , .4 , Enter.
You now have 4 in 2 chain. Save your new chain to a new file so you can come back to this point.



*2 in 1 Chain into a sheet of Japanese 4 in 1*



With the "2in1 chain.blend" freshly loaded.
-Select all five rings, press Shift+D , X , 3 , Enter followed by Shift+D , X , 3 , Enter.
-You will now have three columns of five rings.
-Select the third ring from the first column (the first gold one) and press Shift+D , X , 1.5 , Enter. Next press R , Z , 90 , Enter followed by G , Y , -1.5 , Enter
-First ring in place, let's make the second. Press Shift+D , X , 3 , Enter. Next select both of the new rings and press Shift+D , Y , 3 , Enter and you have all four connecting rings.
There you go, a tiny sheet of J4in1.
To grow it wider, select the two connecting yellow rings, press Shift+D , X , 3 , Enter. Next select all of the rings and press Shift+D , X , 9 , Enter. Your sheet is now twice as wide, press Shift+R to keep repeating the sheet.
To grow it longer, select the three blue horizontal rings that are not linked to the red ones. Press Shift+D , Y, 3 , Enter. Select all of the ring and press Shift+D , X , 9 , Enter. Keep expanding with Shift+R.



*Japanese 8 in 2*



Follow the same process as making j4in1 from 2 in 1 chain only you use the 4 in 2 chain as a base and duplicate both of the yellow rings after creating the columns. Change the movement values from 1.5 to 1.7, from 3 to 2.6 and from 9 to 7.8



*Byzantine*



Load "basic ring.blend".
With the first ring selected press G , Z , -.2 , Enter. Shift+D , Z , .4 , Enter. R , Z , 25 , Enter to off-set the saw cuts.
Select both horizontal rings. Shift+D , Y , 1.4 , Enter. R , Y , 90, Enter.
Select the closest vertical ring. R , Z , -20 , Enter. G , X , .35 , Enter.
Select the other vertical ring. R , Z , 20 , Enter. G , X , -.35 , Enter.
Both vertical rings should now be angled apart in a V shape.
Select both angled rings. Shift-D , Y , -.25 , Enter. R , Z , 180 , Enter. R , Y , 90 , Enter.
Select first two horizontal rings. Shift+D , Y , 2.6 , Enter. R , Y , 90 , Enter.
Select all four angled rings. Shift+D , Y, 2.6, Enter. R , Z , 180 , Enter.
Select all rings. R , Y , 90 , Enter. Shift+D , Y , 5.2 , Enter. Shift+R to repeat



I've gone to a slightly shorter notation for the next three weaves. By now you should have no trouble understanding it.



*Jens Pind Linkage (JPL3)*


JPL3 is always a tough one when it comes to AR, 2.8 seems to work well enough. Create a new ring with minor radius set to "0.26".
Ring 1: Set Rotation X115, Y-15, Z10, via object properties in the right menu.
Ring 2: Shift+D , X , .75 , Enter, Set Rotation X175, Y-15, Z-5, via object properties in the right menu. Move it down Y a pinch. GY-.1
Ring 3: Shift+D , X , .75 , Enter, G , Y, .1 , Enter. Set Rotation X60, Y0, Z-15, via object properties in the right menu. Move it down X a pinch. GX-.1
Ring 4-6: Select first three rings. Shift+D , X , 1.9 , Enter
Grow: Select all six rings. Shift+D , X , 3.8 , Enter. Shift+R to repeat.



*European 4 in 1*


Ring 1: Set RX-20,RY0,RZ0 via object properties in the right menu.
Ring 2: Shift+D , X , 2.5 , Enter
Ring 3: Shift+D , X , -1.25 , Enter Change RX to 20 via object properties in the right menu. GY.75
Ring 4-5: Select both outer rings. Shift+D , Y , 1.3 , Enter
One five-let complete.
Ring 6: Select central ring. Shift+D , Y , 1.3 , Enter
Grow on X axis prior to the Y axis, Select four rings on the side of the X axis you want to grow on, depending on which side you chose, you will need to change X modifier from positive to negative. To grow it on the positive side press Shift+D , X , 2.5 , Enter. To grow on the negative side press Shift+D , X , -2.5 , Enter. Shift+R to repeat either way.
Grow on Y axis, select all of the rings. Shift+D , Y , 2.5 , Enter. Shift+R to repeat.



*Persian Sweet Pea*


Load "basic ring.blend".
Shift+D , Y , 1 , Enter. G , X , .35 , Enter. Shift+D , G , X , .7 , Enter.
Select all three rings. Shift+D , Y , .35 , Enter. R , Y , 90 , Enter.
Select all six rings. Shift+D , Y , 3 , Enter. Shift+R to repeat.



That's all folks! I hope you enjoyed it.

If you have any questions, comments or corrections please send me a PM via the forums and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

A big thanks to CMB for helping me get the article sorted and cleaned up.

Thanks for reading.
Levi
Original URL: http://www.mailleartisans.org/articles/articledisplay.php?key=678