The final tab is the Effects Tab. This tab has 7 effects each in their own collapsable panel that can be applied to your setup. I'll show a screen grab of each panel as when all panels are expanded the vertical height of the whole lot with all of their settings is quite a bit. In this section rather than try to explain everything as I've pretty much done so far I'll show the relevant Effect Panel and an image of that effect in action.
Scattering - I've already demonstrated scattering in the Bat wing animation so that rather than having each clone follow sequentially behind the clone in front on the spline you can scatter the clones or objects in all 3 axis and make the distribution of them look a lot more random and real world. The scattering can be defined by a curve so that more scattering can be applied along the length of the spline than in other areas. Here's one with more scattering at one end of the spline. I've also adjusted the settings on the Distribution Tab so that there are more clones at the front where there is more scattering. The effect looks like the clones go way off in the distance when in fact they aren't going that far back.
Formula Shift - As the name suggests this applies a formula to the objects or clones. Some very cool results can be achieved with this and I had a lot of fun just tinkering with settings and animating these parameters and in conjunction with other parameters.
Attract - The Attract effect is used in conjunction with the Attractor object that is in the Plugin menu. You can either manually create an Attractor or just press the Create Attractor button in the Attract effects panel. The Attractor has a spherical field of influence so that if the Path spline along with objects or clones moves into this feild the objects or clones are attracted towards the axis of the Attractor object. On the Attractor object you can use negative intensity values turning it into a deflector. The Attract Tab on the SplineSPREAD object has an intensity setting along with a field where you add Attractor objects. This is very similar to how MoGraph works with effectors being added to an effector field. The Attractor object has a Radius that defines the size of the influence field. You alter can use a curve to define the falloff. One thing that I would like to see on the Attractor object is an option similar to Falloff fields on MoGraph effectors where the shape can be defined as you don't always want a Spherical field of influence. Here's an animation where I have created 9 splines and 9 SplineSPREAD objects. They all reference one Attractor object that I have animated moving backwards and forwards.
Surface - The Surface effect is a very cool effect where the objects or clones can be made to divert from following the spline path and move across geometry. The geometry can be regular mesh objects, landscape objects, hypernurbs objects with a child mesh and relief object. What happens is the spline is internally projected on the target object or alternatively the objects or clones themselves are projected on to the geometry. You can then control things like offset to make your objects or clones move on the surface or in the air above the target object. The spline can be projected in each one of the 3 axes plus spherically so that you can move across and around the surface of a 3 dimensional object. Very cool. There is a whole heap of options to get exactly the result that you are after e.g. options to smooth out the target object. Here's an animation showing the route some hikers are going to take. I could imagine animations along these lines being used on Television news items.
Scale and Rotate - Scale and Rotate Effects are pretty straight forward and very similar so I'll cover them both together. With both of these you can scale and rotate objects or clones that are arranged along the spline. In the case of rotation this is on top of the rotation control that is possible using a rail spline. There are a number of settings defining minimum and maximum values then you can control where the scale or rotation is applied by using the curves. Here's an animation showing both scale and rotation along with the settings to produce it. You should be able to figure out how the curves control the animation from the screen grab.
SplineSPREAD Shader Effect - There is one further panel on the Effects tab and that is the SplineSPREAD Shader settings. These settings are to support the actual Shader itself when it is used. Like other effects there is an Intensity setting so having a value of 0% means that the SplineSPREAD Shader settings will have no influence. I'll cover the SplineSPREAD Shader in the next section. The SplineSPREAD Shader Effect as the name suggests is all about a material shader so no change to the geometry or position occurs when using this effect. Below is an example basic usage.
Like in MoGraph, currently there is no way to easily apply a specific material to a specific object or clone. Perhaps something for version 2?
Review by 3DKiwi / Nigel Doyle