As with all modeling and sculpting applications, the use of primitives form the basis for many and varied starting shapes. Almost any model can be composed, almost entirely, from a positive and negative combination of basic primitive shapes. Each one can be modified by using a variation transform tools, placement, posing and sculpting.

- Add your own custom primitives by importing your own mesh files (.obj, .lwo, .fbx, etc.) adding to the Models and/or Splines panels. Using these two panels and its functions, you can interactively add new basic and custom shapes to your scene with various boolean operations to interact with existing forms.

- When using the Primitives tool you may toggle between two different transformation modes with the Transform/Lattice Toggle function in the Tool Options panel of the Primitives Tool. The Import tool has two modes you can use as well, the standard Transform and “On Brush”. Let’s look at these modes now.

Import to Separate Instances: Creates as a new VoxTree layer.
Import w/o Voxelization: Creates the mesh as a polygonal surface mesh, rather than voxels.
Import as Child: If a VoxTree layer is currently selected, and this option turned on, than the mesh will be created in a new VoxTree layer as a child to the selected layer.
Respect Negative Volumes: If the imported object has a secondary mesh item/object and has “_negative” in name this option will allow to subtract this volume from the scene as well as creating the primary mesh item/object with whatever boolean operation you decide to use.
Cut Through Volumes: Cuts through the selected VoxTree layer as well as all child layers.
Import w/ Thickness: If the mesh you are attempting to import is a single sided polygonal mesh or has holes, or you generally want to import something with walls, use this option to thicken the surface.
Select Mesh: Allows you to browse to a mesh stored on your computer or other drive.
Subdivide: Subdivides mesh to be imported, giving it more initial resolution before importing.
Close Mesh: Closes any holes that may be in the mesh upon importing.
Pick From Retopo: If you have retopology mesh in the Retopo Room, then you can use the mesh to merge to voxels. Note that all visible meshes from the Retopo Groups panel will be used. If you do not want this to happen hide the meshes you don’t want to use first.
Shift (X, Y & Z): Shifts the mesh to be imported along the selected axis.

3DCoat’s arsenal of usual and unusual Primitives proves itself to be the most powerful and flexible set available. Each one can be modified, within the Primitive Workspace, by means of unique Transform, Placement and Distortion interface elements.

Let’s look at these modes:

1. Common Primitives
2. Free-Form Primitives
3. Merging & Positioning “On pen”

As with all modeling applications, the use of Primitives forms the basis for many and varied starting shapes. Many mechanical models can be composed, almost entirely, from a positive and negative combination of basic primitive shapes.

When choosing from any of the Primitive varieties, you are presented with a temporary representation of that Primitive, complete with its unique “Gizmo” or “Widget” for manipulating and placing this Primitive into the scene with the desired orientation, distortion, scale and position.
You can adjust all of these parameters visually, or, if you prefer using, the numerical entry fields provided in the Primitives Panel.
If you’d like to use another point in space to base your Primitive Transform value from, choose the “Move only gizmo” option - and then reposition that Gizmo.
At any time you may “Reset” any axis or position of your Primitive shape.

Derived from the Standard Primitives, this variety allows you to define and use a Distortion Frame, composed of rows and columns of movable Points and Edges that determine the nature of the distortion you wish to impose upon your Primitive.

It is possible to begin with a very basic Primitive shape and alter it substantially using the Free-form lattice (or Distortion Frame) making extremely complex forms practical.

  • Add your own Custom Primitives by means of the “More Primitives” option.
  • Adding your .obj files to a standard folder gives you access to all of your Custom Primitives.

It is important to note that the Primitives Panel is only one, fairly limited method of adding and subtracting generic shapes from your Voxel sculpture. For even more convenience and flexibility, choose to use the “Merge Panel” and its functions to interactively add new basic and custom shapes to your scene or as boolean shapes to interact with existing forms.
Also, the “Models Panel” provides a visual interface and storage facility for your most often used Custom models, shapes, greebles and nurnies.

A few of the parameters for the new ffPrimitives are as follows:
Transform as whole: Gives you the ability to translate, rotate and scale using the default transform tool.
Local Symmetry: Enables local symmetry of the ffPrimitive, which gives you more creative freedom and control.
ResetPrim: Lets you reset any changes you’ve made to the object.

EditPoints: Allows numerical values for each visible point of the lattice cage. Inner/Outer Radius & Thickness are only applied to some of the ffPrimitives, such as ffDisc and ffTube, they allow for the radius of the inner section or outer section of the tube and the thickness of some of the primitives with keyable values. The drop down list also has a few more options, usually different .OBJ files with different cages for similar shapes, such as ffDisc. When holding “Ctrl” you can constrain the movement of your selection along its normal.

One of the most fluid and spontaneous ways to add nearly any predefined shape, model, greeble or nurnie to your existing sculpture is to use the “Merge Panel” or, for more frequently used elements, the “Model Panel”.

Just choose the “On Brush” option to access this powerful set of functions.
When this option is chosen, you can literally assemble a composite of any number of shapes, on-the-fly - interactively changing the shape’s position, scale, rotation and “penetration” or “levitation” on, into or above the surface of another object or shape.
Each and every shape added in this way can be positively combined or negatively subtracted from any existing shape.

Mouse gestures are used to adjust the scale, position and penetration depth of your “Merged” object.

  • Use the “Right Mouse Button” and drag to the left or right to Scale the Merged object.
  • Use the “Right Mouse Button” and drag up or down to adjust the surface penetration of the Merged object.

Change the position of this object, respecting the orientation “Normals” of the object that is being added to simply by moving the mouse cursor where desired, sliding its preview along the surface of the existing object.

If you’d like to use another point in space to base your primitive transform value from, choose the “Move Only Gizmo” option and then reposition that gizmo. At any time you may reset any axis or position of your primitive shape.

As mentioned above, you can import with this tool using boolean operations. These boolean operations allow you to create very complex shapes quickly with basic shapes, and are especially good for hard surface sculpting. These boolean operators are:

  • Add: Adds the mesh you’re using with the Import tool to the current VoxTree layer, combining them into one sculpt.
  • Subtract: Subtracts the mesh you’re using with the Import tool from the current VoxTree layer, removing said piece from the current sculpt.
  • Intersect: Retains the area inside the Primitive tools mesh of a currently selected VoxTree layer, and removes everything outside of the Primitive tools mesh.
  • Split: Separates, or splits, the area within the Primitive tools mesh from the currently selected VoxTree layer and creates a new layer in the VoxTree for the split item.

Move Only Gizmo: When turned on, allows you to move the gizmo without transforming the mesh, so that you can position the gizmo to another place in the scene.
Leave Rotated Axes: When turned on, allows you to keep the axes rotated after you rotate. Otherwise if this is off, the gizmo will reset back to world space for all rotational axes.
Scale (and Scale X, Y or Z): Allow you to numerically scale by keying values.
Rotate (and Rotate X, Y or Z): Allow you to numerically rotate by keying values.
To Main Axis: Aligns the gizmo to the geometrical axis, based on the object overall shape.
To Center Mass: Moves the gizmo center to the center of the current VoxTree layer or still to be applied primitive.
To Bound Center: Moves the gizmo to the bounding box center of the current VoxTree layer or still to be applied primitive.
Align to View: Aligns the gizmo axis to the camera view.
Reset Axis: Resets the gizmo axis.
Reset Space: Zeros out the local coordinates of the currently selected VoxTree layer or still to be applied primitive, and orients the gizmo axes to global coordinates.

Let’s take a more detailed look at this feature. (Thanks to our users Tinker and Daniel Yarmak for the descriptions). Greebles or Nurnies can be created in any 3D modeling application, usually with a series of arbitrary extrusions.
This method was referred to as “kit-bashing”.
To make your models look more interesting, you would probably want to create your own unique models for this purpose.

Details with angled surfaces look better than surfaces which are all parallel. For easier placement of details on a model, create a contour for the detail, an object with the name “_negative” which subtracts automatically from the model and leaves a slot for the detail.

It’s important to turn on “Respect negative volume” in the Merge Params Panel to permit contour exclusion. Because the “negative volume” width is larger than the width of the detail, we get an interesting effect. There is automatically generated a joint between the body and the object.

The detail looks as if it stands right on its place, and the body looks as if it has a special slot for the detail. Such joints look good with ambient occlusion. Above is an example of how would it look without that effect. Looks not so interesting, and also there is a problem that was caused by different curvatures of the body and the detail – the detail looks tumbled down (it wouldn’t happen with negative volume). Negative volume shouldn’t have the exact form as the body. You may change its form to get various effects. It’s time to detail the object.

Load the Greebles using the “Import” tool. Use the “On pen” mode and the “9” and “0” keys to rotate the brush.

Primitives Library form Tinker :

New Primitives Tool Options: Quick Placement & Boolean Modes: This video demonstrates some of the new options in the Primitives tool, in 3DCoat. Namely the ability to quickly place, scale and align the orientation of a Primitive onto another object in the scene. It also covers some Boolean options as well (Add, Subtract, Intersect, Split).



New Primitives Tool Options: Lathe Modifier: This video demonstrates the usage of the new Lathe Modifier, a component of the Primitives Tool. Other techniques are shown, to create objects similar to what the lather can produce, for comparison sake.

Primitives Tool: Fillet Option

Primitives Tool additions: This video demonstrates some of the new additions to the Primiitves tool in 3DCoat 4.5, including a new Text Primitive that is able to “Click to Place” and conform to the shape of another object.


Kitbashing with the Primitives tool: This video demonstrates the ability to take any model from the Kitbashing Toolset and immediately use it as a Freeform Primitive. Making very fast work of scaling and shaping an object on the fly.

Kitbashing Tools : This video demonstrates the Kitbashing Tools in 3D Coat, which allow for fast and efficient storage or retrieval of Voxel Layer content or standard OBJ format files. 3DCoat creates thumbnail images for each and displays them within a dockable pallet for easy access.

  • general/sculpt_workspace/primitives.txt
  • Last modified: 2022/06/14 10:59
  • by carlosan