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RailClone 5 introduced several caching options that bake in the geometry without losing any of the instancing power and advanced effects that you would if you converted it to an editable poly object or exploded it to native instances. In this tutorial we'll explore how they work
To access the caching options, go to the Display/Build rollout. You’ll see that there are two Proxy Cache modes. The first caches the RailClone object and saves the results directly into the scene. This will cut down on calculation times but will add to the size of the file. You can see the size it will add to the scene files directly in the rollout.
If you want to convert a whole scene, you don’t want to have to do this for each RailClone object separately. To batch change this property for multiple RailClone objects, you can use RailClone Lister.
As of RailClone 5.2 there are two new fields that can be added to the lister UI. To find them, open the Lister Settings and add Proxy Mode and Build Time. Click OK and they’ll now be available in the lister view. The Build Time column give you a handy at-a-glance view of the impact of your RailClone objects on file operations and render pre processing. You can change the embed mode directly using the drop-down list in the Procy Mode column. Notice that when I enable a proxy mode the build time drops to 0. To change several proxy modes at once hold down CTRL to select an extra object, or click with SHIFT to pick a range. You can then batch change proxy modes just by selecting an option from the drop-down list.
There’s a second option that can save the cache, once generated, to an external file. Not only does that remove the calculation time, but it does so without adding to the size of the scene file. Perhaps even more usefully, this mode also allows you to load the same cache multiple times should you want to re-use the object in the scene. You can even create a cache and load it into a completely different scene, using RailClone as a simple asset loader. To demonstrate this, let’s take the rollercoaster we created in the previous tutorial and add it to the background of city scene by following these steps
- Open the Rollercoaster file, select the RailClone object, and head to the Display/Build rollout.
- Create the Proxy Cache by changing to Embedded mode.
- You can now click on Export and save a .rcproxy file.
- Open the city scene. We import the rollercoaster by adding a new RailCLone object, going to the Display/Build rollout and changing the mode to External File. Click on Browse and find the file you just exported. Load it and you’ll have the rollercoaster in the scene, with nearly all RailClone’s features still supported.
Note that external file mode does have a few limitations. For example, the viewport display mode is limited to Boxes or Quick Mesh depending on the mode that was active when the proxy was created. This does not affect the render. 'Use Segment Material' and non-geometric objects are only supported in Embedded mode so materials in particular need to be applied directly to the RC object in external file mode, the same behaviour as versions of RailClone before 5.
I hope you can see how using Proxy Caches can speed up your workflows and use RailClone even more flexibly. In the next tutorial we’ll take a look at how RailClone can be used to add road markings. Stay tuned!