Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...



  • I need a good, versatile, 3D texturing package that gives me the most bang-for-the-buck in regards to 3D texturing, dynamic, editable, materials, baking, mapping, UV'ing tools and, as a bonus, whatever darn cool stuffs the package can bring to the table.

    Yes, I want it all, now, and I want ice-cream with that, too.

    So, for a handy reference, these are the packages I've done a cursory examination of:

    http://www.rockthe3d.com/20-best-3d-texturing-painting-softwares/

    I'm not going 3DSMax... (I've got an old student copy of 6 and I just don't want to mess with it, atm.) I really want some good experienced advice on this. In just about every app, there are benefits and caveats. Like all 3D workflows, people have come up with ways to avoid pitfalls of software while maximizing advantages. Considering my purchase could run from "cheap" to "darn, I better use this once an hour" sorts of prices, I want to make a good decision. :)

    Intended use is simply personal, maybe some freebies and such, but that's about it. I have an old copy of PS and basically know how to use limited bits and pieces of it to get what I want, but that's about it. With geometry, I'm fine... but I am critical of my lack of texturing skill and I really need some good software so I can devote some time to having an enjoyable experience in learning.

    So, what say you, Poser peeps? Yes, I'd love for the perfect app to have a bunch of other nice things that I could use, but I don't want to have to deal with extreme shortcomings in my ability to use it for texturing/material baking just to get those handy features.

    /confused
    /needs help
    /should probably not be so worried about it
    /wants your advice :)

    PS - I need versatility, so, for instance, if I choose something like Substance Painter, I'd also have to get Substance Designer, as well. (Or, the full pack.) It'd be nice to have some geometry/sculpting/retopo features, too, but I first have to be sure the texturing portion is the best for my needs.



  • @morkonan 3D Coat is probably what you want to look at closely.

    It definitely has the potential to grow with your needs while accomplishing the immediate task well.



  • @Glitterati3D

    Are you able to make any comparisons between it and Substance Painter? Substance Painter (the full pack, with Designer) looks pretty snazzy, but I'm unsure how its versatility and performance compares with 3D Coat. How is the material creation in Mudbox compared to Substance Painter? I do realize this may not get an easy answer, even for those who use both. IIRC, 3D Coat uses IRay PBR, natively, and can write IRay node structure, which may help for DS products. I have no intention of dealing with DS, though. I couldn't find anything that directly stated it could deal with Cycles except, of course, for Blender. But, Blender doesn't appear to have a materials designer in it, only painting/texture capability.



  • +1 for 3D-Coat. Awesome package. It is odd, but I found it better to work with than Zbrush once I got used to it. It is certainly better priced. As well as all the usual subdivision sculpting, micro displacement and baking things you'd expect, it also does sculpting in pure voxels - an amazing technology where you can sculpt first and figure out your polygon topology and UV mapping later. It has an amazingly comprehensive brush engine, layers, and enough tools to accomplish pretty much anything.

    It's a sculpt/paint package though, so though it'll do most things you want, it can't completely replace procedural node based texture tools such as those in Substance Designer, Blender, or major rendering packages. Poser itself has procedural texturing tools, but it is likely you'd want to create and bake such textures elsewhere in your pipeline. I mention this because a full 3D pipeline usually ends up having quite a few tools, with their strengths and weaknesses.

    I'd pick up 3D-coat and download blender to use with poser. All three share some developer talent and codebase; Blender Cycles = Poser Superfly so despite different UI experience in one maps to the other, 3D-Coat micro displacement and sculpting code makes up part of those functions in blender. Also, all three applications are exceedingly odd, so you'll feel right at home. ;)


  • Poser Ambassadors

    If you are talking about Poser, and building for Poser, or reworking Poser figures or content, I'd look deep and hard at the Poser-Blender-Krita combination.

    Blender is my Poser external choice for multiple reasons.
    a) it is free
    b) it is a complete app from modelling, to sculpting, to texturing, to rendering.
    c) there are a LOT of tutorials available with a LOT of good tips and tricks
    d) as from Poser11, you can learn a LOT between both apps as they both use Cycles based render engines.
    e) I made some video tutorials in the Poser2Blender2Poser video series on YouTube on how both apps can work together.

    For texturing I also use Blender and then finetune in layers in Krita that is also free and relatively new with a bright future.

    But whatever app you choose, I wish you all the best and remember:

    The apps are just tools; The work is in the learning curve, the motivation, and most of all : In the fingertips. :-)


  • Poser Ambassadors

    I use substance Painter ,Designer . The best choice I ever made. ZBrush. 3Dcoat i never could manage it well.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    I have both Substance Painter and Quixel and have to say for me Quixel is really straight forward and gives me more time with the modeling bit. Also love the feature where you can paint in the normal map in the 3d view. Downer for most people though with Quixel is that it only works with Photoshop CS 3 and later.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    My opinion in general -

    • there is no such thing as a perfect app
    • it's unlikely you'll find one app that'll do everything you want in the way that you want
    • lots of apps have online docs, help pages & forums etc - read lots then set aside the time to get as many demo's & free trials as possible & play!
    • when you find an app that does what you want & you feel comfortable with it, sink as many hours as you can spare into learning it.

    Personally I use Modo Indie thru Steam for modelling - it also has the full set of tools like sculpting, UV's, procedural materials, dynamics, rigging, rendering etc. If I could afford it I'd buy the full version in a heartbeat. For texturing I use a mix of apps - Mari Indie (again on Steam) is my favourite & very powerful if demanding on hardware; Substance Indie suite is also very good; Photoshop is forever useful; xNormal & Knald are good for more than just baking.



  • @pavig said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    +1 for 3D-Coat. Awesome package. ..It's a sculpt/paint package though, so though it'll do most things you want, it can't completely replace procedural node based texture tools such as those in Substance Designer, Blender, or major rendering packages.

    Hmm... Would a 3DCoat + Substance package (Including Painter/Designer) be warranted, due to certain app-specific advantages in particular operations, or would it be overkill?

    I'd pick up 3D-coat and download blender to use with poser.

    I have Blender and play with it whenever I want to clear out my sinus passages. (It makes my brain bleed, which flushes out any allergens in my nose...:) )

    Voxels are are nice and fun, especially nice to convert to standard mesh, but what about edge-loop selection, vertice/edge/face selection tools? Are they "specifically" available in 3DCoat or other mentioned apps that include "sculpting" features?

    @vilters said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    If you are talking about Poser, and building for Poser, or reworking Poser figures or content, I'd look deep and hard at the Poser-Blender-Krita combination.

    I'm still trying to investigate procedurals in Blender and painting and baking them. It's difficult to see its real capabilities, since many tutes/descriptions make certain Blender knowledge assumptions. The few painting tutes I've read/seen don't seem to actually be "painting" with procedural textures. And, as far as baking these procedurals, I may be looking at older versions, but it doesn't appear ideal. There's a lot of mention of it, but the versatility in application that specialized packages contain certainly seems to put Blender behind the pack in that regard. (My ignorance of Blender and all of its capabilities should be considered.)

    @Ladonna said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    I use substance Painter ,Designer . The best choice I ever made. ZBrush. 3Dcoat i never could manage it well.

    Very good to hear! I have read similar testimonials concerning its capabilities, more specifically, though, of ZBrush's sometimes failing in this regard.

    @Ghostman said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    Downer for most people though with Quixel is that it only works with Photoshop CS 3 and later.

    I have only my old trusty copy of CS2, I'm afraid. I've thought about upgrading, but that won't do me much good until I really start getting into 3D texturing "for realz." Sure, I can map textures and make them, but I need to go to the next level before justifying such a purchase.

    @caisson said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    My opinion in general -> ... Personally I use Modo Indie thru Steam for modelling - (other indie licenses)<sic>

    Modo Indie has too many restriced features, considering what it's supposed to "be", despite the price. Forcing the "Steam Scheme" is strange, too. Still, the lower price does put a still very advanced 3D app in the hands of more people, so that is good in my opinion. (No scripting kills the deal, there, for me. :( )



  • @morkonan Yup! 3D-coat has really nice retopology tools, including hinted auto retopology - so you can have your edge loops where you want and let the AI figure out where to put the rest of the polygons if you want. I originally picked it up to handle UVs, retopo, painting and baking of models I was working on in blender.

    You can paint with "PBR" (physically based rendered) materials in 3D-coat, so you get most of the benefits of more dedicated procedural texture packages with the added bonus of being able to use them just like bitmap materials. In short, 90% of what you may wish to do with sculpting, texturing and preparing models for rendering is in there.

    Nothing beats dedicated node compositing renderers though, in both flexibility and complexity, and in driving you nuts. It'll pay to become familiar with a third party tool with these features, and I figured blender is probably the best option. You'll occasionally want a traditional modelling tool to punch out some hard surface stuff e.g. a table, vase etc. and you can knock one up in blender in minutes. You may wish to do compositing - blender - or just load in a 3d asset you downloaded and convert the format - blender - or create an article of clothing for a poser figure - blender. The secret to learning blender without nosebleeds is to get some basics, then use it for a single task at a time. Don't try to do it all in there - use it as a tool shed.

    The reason I usually recommend blender for this is because texture artists, concept artists, etc etc - most 3d artists in general - spend more time in specialist applications than in the main platform (max, maya, unity etc) and should really spend their money on the best toolset dedicated to their specialty/talents, and use a monolithic 3d app (max/maya/blender) only occasionally. If you're running apps side by side like that then blender is comparatively lightweight - the same reason people recommend krita (or I recommend pixelmator) over photoshop as a companion bitmap editor for 3d packages.

    If texturing is all you want to do, then go substance painter/designer, but if you're after a full 3d pipeline including sculpting etc (and you own a graphics tablet) go 3d-coat. Compared to substance suite, zbrush, mudbox etc you'll get more done in the app itself and spend less time messing about in your monolithic 3d app, which is good for productivity and creative flow.

    The only other texturing app I've found invaluable is pixplant, though it is very specific. Basically you dump a bunch of photos into it and it magically assembles a bump mapped seamless texture from them. A couple of clicks and tweaks and it's ready for export. It's a one trick pony, but it's a great trick and has saved me many many hours faffing about with the clone tool producing boring textures that I'd rather not have to fuss about. Bitmap2material does the bump thing, but not the fancy AI autocloning, and of course you don't "need" it - you can do all this stuff manually in photoshop - but life's too short hey. ;) ...anyway, you can export the channels from pixplant (rgb/bump/spec) and drag them into 3d-coat material library and paint with them. Hooray!

    Ultimately it's up to you what you choose. This is all just my experience. Your mileage may vary.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @morkonan - I strongly recommend playing around with as many demos as possible before committing to any particular workflow. The Substance Live Indie Licence is a no-brainer on the rent-to-own scheme though at 20 dollars a month. If you want to texture 3d models it's an excellent set of apps at a good price ;)

    @pavig - looking at pixplant with great interest, I haven't seen it before. Looks like it's got all the tools I need in a single package - thanks for posting about it!



  • @pavig said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    @morkonan (wrote an awesome bunch of stuff) <sic>

    Great post! Exactly the sort of things I was asking about.

    General question: Many of these apps mention their great sculpting tools, etc. That's fine and I'm sure I'll enjoy these. But, one of the things I've noticed when sculpting in traditional polygon modeling apps is that I always, without fail, combine sculpting with traditional "manipulator" work on verts/edges/faces in order to get what I want done. IOW - Having the ability to work with a standard manipulator tools to push verts is something I am hesitant to give up, just for better surface sculpting/deformations. (I do realize that they're not all designed for actual 3D creation work.)

    Do most, or which, 3D texturing/sculpting apps also have good geometry selecting/manipulating tools at the individual vertice level? What about actual editing/construction, beyond retopo? (Some appear to have this, mentioned on the box, yet others don't mention this specific feature.)

    Really great post! Much thanks!

    The only other texturing app I've found invaluable is pixplant, though it is very specific. Basically you dump a bunch of photos into it and it magically assembles a bump mapped seamless texture from them...

    Very nice! I've seen several of these sorts of apps, some of them being free. Being able to easily grab a photo-based texture for use as a material/seamless text, is, of course, awesome. I'll look into pixplant, for sure! I've already got a couple of freebie texture converters, but they're mostly a sort of brute-force app that don't always give good results. (Or, for pay versions, I'm a bit hesitant, since I haven't delved fully into them in a production capacity.)

    Ultimately it's up to you what you choose. This is all just my experience. Your mileage may vary.

    Your experience, and the experience of others here, is exactly what I'm looking for! I started 3D way back when with XSI and the first release of Sculptris. But, I only really started pushing things in the past ten years or so... :) I get into it, then real-life hits, then I come back to it, etc.. But, I know my shortcomings and they're entirely wrapped up in texturing. I don't suck at it, compared to some, but I am no 2D "artist" and some of the technical and knowledge-related work is, frankly, beyond me. At least... doing it all by "hand" and spending the time necessary to learn it all.

    So, I want a texturing package to help offset my deficiencies. Because, after all, as you have said - "Life's too short." :D

    @caisson said in Advice: 3D texturing ++ software...:

    @morkonan - I strongly recommend playing around with as many demos as possible before committing to any particular workflow. The Substance Live Indie Licence is a no-brainer on the rent-to-own scheme though at 20 dollars a month. If you want to texture 3d models it's an excellent set of apps at a good price ;)

    Hmm, that's an interesting option - I could just get a month-to-month to check it out, then upgrade if I want it or cancel. Good call!

    I'm thinking I will probably go this route: 3dCoat AND the Substance pack. Between the two, I should be able to get a good workflow going. To prepare, and get some hands-on experience, so I can really know their capabilities and whether or not this is really a benefit, I'll get trials or month-to-months for each.

    And.. I'll have to add Blender to my workflow. It's a no-brainer, really, since "free" and "powerful" and "full suite" are three words that are almost too significant to resist when they're all mentioned together. With the community support it has, and if I really learn it well, I won't ever "need" anything else for 3D model construction. Of course, they'll have to pry UVMapper, Hexagon, and a bunch of other really old programs I cling to, from my cold, dead, fingers...

    Last question, for anyone reading this far: Any links for good, sensible, overviews and sample workflows for these products that aren't 2+ hour vids? (I don't mind long vids, since fast-forward-for-the-win), but I like conciseness when looking for such info, even though I, myself, am a blow-hard and write far too much, for too long. :)