algorithmic modeling for Rhino

Exoskeleton + Cytoskeleton Components

Daniel Piker and I are excited to repackage an updated Exoskeleton with his new Plankton-based mesh wireframe thickening tool Cytoskeleton into a single GHA.

Although both components have been tested and improved upon from their original setups, this GHA is still a work in progress, and hopefully in the upcoming months you'll find further upgrades to these in addition to new mesh thickening components.

For now, Cytoskeleton relies on Plankton for its functionality. You can read more about Cytoskeleton here:

The new exoskeleton has several fundamental changes to it, and therefore when you add it to your library folder, it won't overwrite the old one.

New features and changes:

  • One of the first major changes is in regards to strut radii. In the earlier version all struts were of uniform radius. In the new Exoskeleton, strut radii are variable not only on a per-strut basis, but they also can have different radii from their start to their end. So the new component takes lists of Rs (Radius Start) and Re (Radius End) values. If these lists are shorter than the total number of elements entering the component, then struts of greater number than values in these lists will simply take on the last value in the list.
  • The next major change is related to how the beginning of each strut is offset from each node. Before, all node offsets were determined by the "worst-case" offset required for generating a convex hull...So if you had one really acute angle going into a node, then all other struts (even those not affected) would be offset the same amount. This made for some really big nodes. Now, once the script has solved the convex hull, it allows for struts to "shrink" toward the center into non-convex hulls based on the targeted node offset and per-strut calculations of minimum offsets. This allows for only the most acute angles in a node to have significant offsets, and all others to remain relatively tight to the node center.
  • The "knuckle" solving has been changed as well. The knuckle basically accounts for when you have all acute angles coming out of a maintains depth for the hull. Before, a polygon was offset from the node in a vector negative of the average of all outgoing struts, and used for hulling. Now, each outgoing strut contributes only a single vertex, set at a negative of its own vector at a distance based on the minimum strut radius of a node, which has led to the removal of the "knuckle bumpiness" parameter, and also makes (I think) for a  better solution, in most cases. However, I am not fully satisfied yet with the knuckle treatment for all cases, and in the future, I may try to add back in different options for how the knuckle is solved. We'll see.
  • One of the chief complaints related to the first Exoskeleton had to do with how the mesh fubared when struts were too short...a bunch of vertices would move to the origin, and the mesh would look terrible. So now, if any strut is engulfed by its nodes (if the final node offsets for its ends > strut length) an error message is generated, and a simple cylinder mesh around any offending struts is output.
  • Lastly, because of a conversion problem going from Point3d to Point3f, any vertices that fell on any of the world planes wouldn't combine properly. This has also been fixed.

To install, take all of the files from the attached zipped folder (check their properties and make sure they are unblocked) and add them to your special folders -> components folder. If you have the most recent Plankton files, then you probably don't need to add the Plankton files, but if you haven't updated recently, then you will want to replace them with these, as they have been compiled from the most current version.

Here is a quick example file to get you uses Weaverbird:

simple example

If you're interested in more complex examples, you can take a look at these. One is inspired by Daniel's radiolarian. Here I've made a definition that takes advantage of Exoskeleton's new variable strut radius functionality. I've also included another quick look at Cytoskeleton, used in conjunction with an isosurface geometry wrapper script I've put out there already (and which I will tighten up and compile as a component in a future release of Exoskeleton). These files rely on both Weaverbird and Kangaroo (which you really must have anyway). Also, a couple of them use the excellent Human plug-in for its great shader component, but it isn't necessary for it to run. The Exoskeleton Vase definition and Cytoskeleton Phyllotaxis definition both run lighter than the others.

complex examples

Many, many thanks to Will Pearson, whose work on Plankton is amazing, and who also has given some invaluable contributions to Exoskeleton in terms of project organisation. I'd also like to thank Giulio Piacentino for Weaverbird, and for general knowledge and support, and Mateusz Zwierzycki for the same, as well as for sharing his code for convex hulls, which although not used explicitly here, was very helpful in many regards for the development of Exoskeleton. Of course I also have to thank Daniel for bringing me on board to this project and for the countless insights, resources, ideas and inspiration he's shared so generously.

Lastly, I'd like to just say that I am really, really keen to get a curve-based Exoskeleton component added to this component group. I think many people were hoping to have this sooner, and I apologize for not getting it out...some of the bugs have proven to be very tricky (for me at least!) to resolve, and a number of other projects got to me before I could put my time back on these tools, but if you hang in there, I promise that I'll get it out as soon as I can! And hopefully, these improvements to Exoskeleton can tide you over until then :)

Exoskeleton2 is open-source on Github, so if you'd like to see the code, please have a look around!

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Comment by Roger Quea on September 29, 2021 at 8:39pm

no se puede descargar, significa q ya no funciona el plugin?.

Comment by Erik Lander on April 5, 2020 at 8:06pm

Is it too much to ask for a click button tool for converting meshes, poly-surfaces, n' such into voronoi geometry?

Comment by Mengqi Huang on January 9, 2019 at 6:23pm

Thanks David for the great components!

....And I have some trouble thickening the edges of a voronoi structure with ExoWireframe. I want to build one smooth mesh as a whole, but it is thickening each individual curves.

Can anyone help? Thanks a lot!! 

P.S. I used this plugin to remove duplicate curves.;


Comment by ilyas ekinci on May 25, 2018 at 2:16pm

I need help.
I do not know the problem

Comment by ilyas ekinci on May 25, 2018 at 2:15pm

Comment by Ekaterina on November 1, 2016 at 4:23pm

Wow, that was fast! Thanks a lot!!

Comment by Will Pearson on November 1, 2016 at 3:43pm
Comment by Ekaterina on November 1, 2016 at 3:42pm

Is it only me or there is no attached zipped folder? Sorry for being lame, but I really can't get where are the exoskeleton or cytoskeleton gha files... I can only see the examples attached :(

Comment by DAFIK SMAK on September 4, 2015 at 12:27am

Please releases component PlanktonGh.dll from 0.3.0 to 0.3.4 Thanks you
Please to update the current release because it's actually the not correct DLL.
thanks very much

Comment by martyn hogg on August 2, 2015 at 10:06am

ah ok thanks. I'd put the mesh straight into a plankton mesh parameter and then used the regular decompose mesh to get the vertices so I guess this could get the vertices order mixed up?

I'll change it to the plankton decompose component





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