Array Tools Addon

Unlike other addons for making arrays, this addon doesn’t work with modifiers. One consequence of that is that you can add an array to metaballs (and even other objects like lights). And that gives an open door to another modelling technique. The Array Tools Addon works with scaling, translation and rotation which you can also apply to rows. And we can add some randomness to all these properties. So this addon offers a lot of features that other Array Addons don’t have.

How does the Array Tools Addon work?

Select an object and press “Start Array”. Like shown in screenshot below. You can find the addon in the N-Panel in Blender. I use blender 2.82 here.

Step one - Start Array
Select object and click Start Array

Once that is done, you see loads of options showing up. Look at the sections: Translation, Scaling and Rotation. These settings are for the first row, and see that the count is 2 with an offset in Global space of 2 units. So it looks like this:

Step two -  Sections
A look at the first sections for the first row

Let’s change some settings here so we can see better the effect. For now, I just put up the count so I can show you the difference between Offset and Global.

Step 3 - Global vs Offset
Global vs Offset

In the screenshot here above you see I have a count of 4 (three copies) and the offset shows 2m and Global 6m. Offset and Global are linked to each other, meaning that if you change one you change the other too. So: three copies, each 2m, is 6m. So now you get an idea how Offset and Global works in this addon.

Now some interesting stuff – Metaballs

Now I do something more interesting. I start all over, but then I use a metaball (Meta-Plane) instead, give some counts and play with the translation, rotation and scale. That gives something like this:

Step 4 Using metaballs in the Array Tools addon
Using Metaballs instead

And now we can add some rows. To see the rows you just added, you need to add a translation. You find the row options under the sections Translation, Scaling and Rotation. Optional is to change the Row Variation. What that does is changing the count per row and with the Align Buttons (Hamburger-like) you can define how the rows have to align up to each other. See screenshot below.

Row Options in the Array Tools addon.
Row Options

We are not done yet, we can also play with the Scale and Rotation for each row. And the last feature is the Random Options. With the Random Option we can add some randomness. Mind that you have to change the seed before you see randomness. Below an example which is not the best example, but you can imagine that this Array Tools Addon might give us a new modelling technique. This way we can do a kind of organic modelling and have control. This in comparison with other organic modelling techniques like working with particles and force-fields. So, first you have control over the first row (count, translation, rotation, scale) and you can also control the count, translation, rotation, scale and randomness of the rows you add.

Randomness in the Array Tools addon
Using randomness.

Where to download the Array Tools Addon?

You can download the Array Tools addon in the first post on Blender Artists. And there you see more information and updates about this addon. You can also check the Array Tools addon on Github.

Other addons related to Arrays

Check the Radial Array Addon if you want to make radial Arrays. Duplicate along curve might also be interesting if you want to make arrays and deform it with a curve.


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