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In this example we will create an object and route its mesh through a modifier to change its appearance. This should give you a good conceptual overview of how plugins work together using the Visualization Pipeline.

  1. Start K-3D
  2. Use the Create > Polygons > PolyCylinder menu item to create a cylinder. You should see a cylinder in the Viewport Panel.
  3. In the Node List Panel (top left panel) you will see two new nodes called "PolyCylinder" and "PolyCylinderInstance".
  4. In the Node Properties Panel (lower left panel) change the Name property to "Cylinder Source", the Z min property to "0", and the Radius property to "3".
  5. In the Node List Panel, click on "PolyCylinderInstance".
  6. In the Node Properties Panel, change the Name property to "Cylinder Instance".
  7. We've renamed these two nodes to emphasize their relationship: "Cylinder Source" generates a mesh (the collection of polygons that make-up the cylinder). "Cylinder Instance" takes that mesh as in input and places it in the virtual 3D world. The pipeline in this case is: Cylinder Source -> Cylinder Instance.
  8. Use the Modify > Mesh > Taper Points menu item to add a TaperPoints modifier to the document.
  9. In the Node Properties Panel, change the Taper Factor property to "0.5". You will see that the cylinder has been tapered.
  10. At this point, the pipeline is: Cylinder Source -> Taper Points -> Cylinder Instance. The output of "Cylinder Source" is modified by "Taper Points" before it is finally displayed by "Cylinder Instance". You can go back and modify "Cylinder Source" or "Taper Points" and the changes will be displayed by "Cylinder Instance".
  11. Click on the render preview icon (first Icon to the left of the create tab). You will be prompted to choose a render engine for previewing - accept the default, and (assuming you have a RenderMan engine installed and working), you will see a preview image of your tapered cylinder.


  • You can continue adding modifiers to the Visualization Pipeline using the Modify > Mesh menu, and they will be connected together in the same way - if you added the TwistPoints modifier to the above, your Visualization Pipeline would be: Cylinder Source -> Taper Points -> Twist Points -> CylinderInstance.
  • Expert users can make manual connections between nodes in the Visualization Pipeline - for example, you could create more MeshInstance nodes and connect all their inputs to the same source - allowing you to place multiple identical copies of a source in the scene. Changes to the source would automatically be reflected in all the copies.
  • You can go back at any time and make changes to any source or modifier, and the Visualization Pipeline will display the new results.
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