Scaling with Tinker Tools

Using this little circle as a base, we can resize it to anything we want--without making a new version from scratch!
Using this little circle as a base, we can resize it to anything we want–without making a new version from scratch!

This segment of the Tinker Tools guides talks about scaling, which–like the Move function–uses both an Absolute and Relative modifier.

A handful of items at minimum and maximum scale.
A handful of items at minimum and maximum scale.

Rift has a variety of scales for different items, with only a few standardized across all types, and the way something scales can vary greatly from item to item.  However, the smallest any item gets in a hard number is .25–that is the minimum scale across every single item, barring those things that can’t be scaled at all.

Maximum scale for most decorative items and landscaping is 2.  For planks, max scale is 6, for cubes, max scale is 5 and for nearly every other building block, maximum scale is 12.  Does that mean that each rectangle is 12 game units in length?  Well…no.  The only building block length that equates exactly with a game unit are poles.  We’ll talk more about how these different scales affect things like offsets when dealing with the offset calculator, for now, the numbers are primarily a reference.

Going back to our original circle at the top of the page, if I want to use Absolute scale to try to make the blocks–currently at .25 scale–the default size of 1, I can’t do it in a group.  What I end up with is this:

Um...that's not right.
Um…that’s not right.

Absolute scale changed the size of all the blocks, yes, but did not allow the selection point to change, so every block is still trying to pivot around a point set for cubes scaled at .25.  To scale these cubes in a circle without laying down each piece from scratch, I need to use Relative scale.

So when do you use absolute scale?  Well, everyone is different (and my way is certainly not the only way, never forget that!), but I generally use Absolute scale when I’m setting the first block.  It’s much easier to work with items that are scaled in either whole numbers or half when it comes to offsets, and for most structural pieces, I’m usually using items at the largest size anyway.

Absolute scale does allow for uniformity, instead of manually trying to change the size of all blocks you want to use or adjust to be the exact same size.

That's more like it!
That’s more like it!

Where Tinker Tools really shines is in the ability to scale items as a group.  I used to make templates for everything–especially circles, because it’s tedious to make the same thing over and over and over again, and save those templates as a set to reuse as needed.  Having recently switched out computers, I lost most of my old templates, but I’ve got one new one saved–this circle that’s at minimum scale.  There really isn’t any need for more than that, because I can just resize this one to whatever size I want.

Relative scale is percentage based, so 4 = 400%, which equates to a .25 block becoming size 1.
Relative scale is percentage based, so 4 = 400%, which equates to a .25 block becoming size 1.

One thing I didn’t realize when I wrote the DT 2.0 scaling guide is that relative scale works off of a percentage–so I could never understand why my relative scales didn’t work unless I was beginning at the default size.  Once I figured that out, it was like a light kicked on.

For example, the circle above is currently at the default size of 1–a 400% increase in size over the original .25 scale.  Now, if I enter .75 in the text box, ensure that Relative and As Group are selected, then press the Scale button, it will resize all the blocks around a perfect pivot point to .75 scale–75%.

More importantly, this feature works on more than just circles:

To come up with the .8 scale, I honestly just tried inputting different numbers and reloaded this set over and over until I found the right scale.  It would have been faster to use a calculator to come up with the percentage–especially since I knew what size I wanted to try out–but I promised to use minimal to no math for these guides.

When scaling in a group and trying to keep everything lined up correctly, it’s important to remember to have As Group selected, as that is what adjusts the selection point/pivot point.

I wanted to shrink those planks further, so I went with a .5 scale of the 4.8 (so 2.4 is the new scale), but I unchecked As Group.
I wanted to shrink those planks further, so I went with a .5 scale of the 4.8 (so 2.4 is the new scale), but I unchecked As Group.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the planks still take up the same amount of space as they did at the previous scale, because the selection point never changed, only the size of the blocks did, so the gaps between each now are much larger than before.  If this is intended–great!  If not, then some adjustments will need to be made.

Getting used to the percentage basis of group scaling may take some getting used to and practice, but it’s worth it in the long term, especially when you find the method that works best for your building style.  I always encourage experimentation, and with group scaling, I would say it’s almost a necessity.

Happy Building!

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