3D Coat - for making your SubD CAD models dance

Published 28 August 2014

Posted by Stephen Holmes

Article tagged with: autodesk, modo, maya, modelling, mudbox, sub-divisional surfaces, animation, zbrush, render, sub-d

Retopology tools like 3D Coat reduce the number of polygons of SubD models, making them ready for animation

As more product designers look to dabble with SubD CAD software for modelling, the more we get interested in the nitty-gritty behind it, hence our interest in retopology tool 3D Coat.

Software such as ZBrush and Mudbox allow designers to work with digital ‘clay’, but with the problem that the end result is millions of polygons that would be too much for an animation program to work with.

Tools like 3D Coat import your model from from your SubD software of choice and allows you to ‘paint’ a polygon mesh on top of it that is sympathetic to the original intentions of the designer.

Should you simply be wanting to 3D print a sculpture or concept then this is not really of your concern as all that process needs is a volume.

However, chatting with DEVELOP3D’s go-to CGI artist Jon Reilly, the top line professionals wanting to add movement (moving it into animations, movie CGI or games) or simply more quality to a model need a better arranged mesh.

By doing this contours can be smoothed, reducing ‘stepping’, and giving the model a much better ‘flow’.

For this they tend to lean towards one of two products - 3D Coat or TopoGun - which have their own individual quirks.

3D Coat includes its own voxel sculpting programme, allowing the user to model within it, but is more useful for its AppLink plug-in that makes it easier to move models from more established tools into it, before texturing and painting your polygon mesh onto it, ready for whatever you have planned for it.

 

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