Any 3DCoat users?



  • I am really having trouble getting my head around this program. Every tutorial I find is simply not covering what I am looking to do with it.

    I just want to bring in an existing Poser model, raise the polygon count and sculpt in things like wrinkles and folds, etc. then write out a normal map.

    I JUST want to create a normal map at this point. Nothing else for the moment.

    For the life of me I cannot figure it out. Any help?

    I can do it in Sculptris but I am unhappy with the normal maps from XNormal.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @Glitterati3D - ok, I don't have 3DCoat so any help I can offer will be limited. I have done a bit with normal maps & baking though using a variety of other apps, & looking at the docs for 3DCoat it seems that the Texture Baker in the Retopo bit would be the way to go.

    First question - why normals specifically? I ask because normal maps are unlike any other map, they are essentially computer code. Superfly uses MikkT tangent basis, Firefly uses its own, this can cause issues. Height maps would be compatible with both render engines. Tangent-space normals are also a total PITA with UV seams in my experience.

    Another question - I've had some good results from xNormal, what is it about the results that you're unhappy with?



  • @caisson I'm getting a lot of "trash" in the seams on XNormal lately. Which is why I went to 3DCoat to try the sculpting there, hoping to write out the normal maps from the sculpt.

    It worked beautifully for a while sculpting with Sculptris, using that object as the high poly one and my model as the low poly in XNormal.

    But, I suddenly have started getting garbage at the seams in XNormal.



  • Let me also add, eventually, I want to also use 3DCoat for texture work as well. But, for the moment, I just want to get a successful sculpt and normal map.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    Couple of questions with xNormal - is edge padding on? Are you using exported or averaged normals? Are you using a cage?

    Could you post a pic of the problem?



  • @caisson I don't know what a cage is nor how to use one, so it's No on that one.

    Here's my basic settings:
    0_1477696550886_XNormalSettings.jpg

    And this is what I am basically getting from that
    0_1477696581035_XNormalPants_normals.jpg


  • Poser Ambassadors

    Try changing the edge padding setting - I would suggest from 32 to 8 - & see if that does the trick. Edge padding (aka dilation or bleed) is in pixels & basically extends the contents of the UV shell outside its borders. It's to avoid getting any render artefacts at the seams so having some padding is good. 32 pixels is high for a 2k map though - plus of course when you make the UV's you have to leave that amount of space around each UV shell too. Also, do you have any mirrored, flipped or stacked UV shells?

    A cage is basically where you make an exact duplicate of the low poly mesh, then morph it so it completely encloses the high poly mesh, like clothing on a figure. If the high poly pokes through the cage the bake will have errors, as the baker then uses the cage to limit the rays it fires out when baking. It should give the best results as without it the baker is just using whatever ray distance you set, but can be a right fiddle to set up.

    Hope that helps!



  • @caisson said in [Any 3DCoat users?]...> A cage is basically where you make an exact duplicate of the low poly mesh, then morph it so it completely encloses the high poly mesh, like clothing on a figure. If the high poly pokes through the cage the bake will have errors, as the baker then uses the cage to limit the rays it fires out when baking. It should give the best results as without it the baker is just using whatever ray distance you set, but can be a right fiddle to set up.

    IIRC, there's a good number of xnormal tutes on youtube that go in-depth on using cages, padding and baking normals. I watched a really nice one that used a terrain model for its base object, years ago. (A game asset, perhaps?) I'd link that one if I could find the darn thing, since it was outstanding in just about every aspect.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @morkonan - the best resource I've found is the Polycount Wiki (& the forums) - it's written & maintained by people making games for a living, so the info on a lot of subjects including baking is as comprehensive as it gets ;)



  • @Glitterati3D have you looked into Zbrush or Zbrush core? I haven't used 3dCoat in ages. Don't recall the process for extracting a normal map.



  • OK so looking at:
    https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=pD_fcm9ahTo

    I see that there is a bake menu option. That would be where you would bake your textures.



  • @Teyon said in Any 3DCoat users?:

    @Glitterati3D have you looked into Zbrush or Zbrush core? I haven't used 3dCoat in ages. Don't recall the process for extracting a normal map.

    Hey Teyon! I can't justify the expense for ZBrush, and from what I understand ZBrush Core can't write out Normal maps. I was going to grab the Wacom tablet and ZBrush Core combo until I couldn't confirm that I can write normal maps using it.

    There are lots of tutorial videos on youtube, but most of them don't use the newest version. For example, there's this one:

    but right out of the gate, one of the first commands is Merge and it appears nowhere on a menu in 3DCoat version 4. Without that option, the rest of the video is useless.

    To say I am frustrated with 3DCoat is an understatement.



  • @Glitterati3D I have started spending some time with 3D Coat and it seems to me like I have stepped into some professional 3D designer's personal work space. The tools system makes sense but its like working in someone's tool packed garage - you have to learn where everything is stored, and its stored based on someone else's internal logic.



  • @meshbox said in Any 3DCoat users?:

    @Glitterati3D I have started spending some time with 3D Coat and it seems to me like I have stepped into some professional 3D designer's personal work space. The tools system makes sense but its like working in someone's tool packed garage - you have to learn where everything is stored, and its stored based on someone else's internal logic.

    ROFL, don't I know it! I can see the great potential of the software, I just can't seem to find the keys to unlock the doors yet.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @Glitterati3D - you wouldn't want to export normal maps from Zbrush :D I've tried it & unless something major has changed that I'm unaware of, they are crap. With 3DCoat & xNormal you've got the tools to get a good result, it's just a case of learning the workflow & the gotchas. While Zbrush & 3DCoat are quite different apps, the basics of getting the geometry to take to xNormal should be very similar - if you want I can write something up, see if it helps?



  • @caisson I would disagree about the crap normal maps but I do sometimes use other tools like Handplane and Substance Painter to bake.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @Teyon - lol, I wasn't very diplomatic about that! Put it this way, I've never had a result from ZB that can't be beaten flat by Knald, Substance or xNormal which are the three bakers I've tried. Big part of the reason is tangent basis - I don't know what Zbrush uses, but Superfly needs MikkT. Up to now my favourite is Knald - 16x AA, GPU accelerated, up to 8k - but 0-1 only. Trying to learn Modo Indie's baker as that will do UDIMs.

    Another workflow I've tried which has given interesting results is exporting 32 bit displacement from Zbrush & then importing that map to Knald to generate normals, AO, cavity etc.



  • @caisson said in Any 3DCoat users?:

    @Glitterati3D - you wouldn't want to export normal maps from Zbrush :D I've tried it & unless something major has changed that I'm unaware of, they are crap. With 3DCoat & xNormal you've got the tools to get a good result, it's just a case of learning the workflow & the gotchas. While Zbrush & 3DCoat are quite different apps, the basics of getting the geometry to take to xNormal should be very similar - if you want I can write something up, see if it helps?

    I would love it! Thanks.

    Good to know about ZBrush, especially given it's price. I hope to use 3DCoat to do some texturing as well as the normal maps, but the normals are my big challenge right now.

    I can sculpt in Sculptris, Silo and heck, even in Hexagon. I just can't get the normal maps I want out of anything.

    This is a WIP sculpting in Hexagon with the displacement brush, freehand.
    0_1478114316763_HexagonSculpting.jpg

    Other tools make it easier, but most of the modelers have some sculpting capability. And some do it better than others.


  • Poser Ambassadors

    @Glitterati3D - been familiarising myself with the workflow I've used; will do a write up & post tomorrow, run out of time tonight!


  • Poser Ambassadors

    Not forgotten. Trying to do a screencast as showing is better than telling. Should be posting it this weekend if it goes well ;)