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lewis2e

All those brushes!

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Hi

One of the things I love about 3D Coat is that it has so many different sculpting tools. However, one of the things I hate about 3D Coat is that it has so many different sculpting tools...

Maybe it is just because my background is with Blender (which has only a few brushes), however, as a (relatively) new user of 3D Coat, I struggle a lot trying to get a good idea in my head of what different brushes are available and what they do and what makes each of them different. I don't think the description you get of the brushes when you hover over them is that helpful... they all sound like the same thing.

Don't get me wrong, some are quite obvious (crease, flatten, scratches etc.). Others, however, seem like the same thing with only slight tweaks. For example I have no idea how gum is supposed to be different form extrude, how airbrush is different from build or grow... or clay!. In terms of Live Clay, I have no idea what "General Clay" is, or why it differs from plain old Clay. I don't know what the difference between Liveclay build, extrude or inflate is... I could go on (please note I do understand the concept of Liveclay and how it differs to regular surface sculpting and voxel sculpting).

I am the kind of person that likes to have in my head what tools I have available and how they differ. At the moment, I feel like I am lost in a sea of options. I feel like I have a lot of powerful tools at my disposal for sculpting, but no real overview of them.

Does anyone else have this issue?

 

Edited by lewis2e

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Lewis:

You have hit the nail on the head.  There is no need to have so many tools.  Rather, there should be a handful of tools - each of which can perform many different functions - simply based on how you "wield" them.  The "Move" Tool is a great example of multi-functionality in a single "Brush".  Having fewer tools also immediately unclutters the workspace.

Having worked with so many different computer graphic applications over several decades - I am convinced that the present paradigm of making software that has all of its "guts" on the outside - ready for tweaking - is never going to go away.  Software design remains in the hands of the mechanics of programming.

If I may make an analogy:  the most prolific automobile mechanics usually love to produce whole automobiles as their primary joy - automobiles which display all of their handiwork and knowledge in places on the automobile which provide easy access for tweaking.  That's what mechanics love to do - they love to Tweak.  And they love the appreciation of other mechanics, as well.  So, to them, the perfect automobile is the one you can most readily perform Tweaks upon - with all controls (usually unlabeled) on the "outside", so to speak - for fellow mechanics and tweakers to appreciate.  The "look and feel" of the automobile is absolutely secondary to its function.

Of course, most users and purchasers of automobiles prefer to have many of those controls hidden away and invisible to their eyes and fingers (for sanity's sake).  This design preference only entered the golden age of automobiles when the overall design process was taken out of the hands of the mechanics - and into the hands of car designers.

We are still in the early 1900's (allegorically speaking) of graphic software design.  The mechanics run the business of making software for the end user.  Their desire and vision for producing the ideal software application varies widely from what an artist or graphic designer or animator really wants or needs.

Today's software is made for those "in the know".

 

Greg Smith

SubmarineGuts.jpg        I love this one .  .  .      

uboat-26.jpg

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Hi Greg

I agree with everything you have said, and I think, really, that you have come up with the perfect analogy (and I love the pictures!) . 3D Coat feels like it has been designed by the engineers. Crammed full of functionality, but just heaped on top of the functionality that was there before.  This is great, as long as you are the person who designed it. To your average user, it is difficult to grasp what is going on.

On 6/30/2016 at 4:37 PM, Psmith said:

There is no need to have so many tools.  Rather, there should be a handful of tools - each of which can perform many different functions - simply based on how you "wield" them.  The "Move" Tool is a great example of multi-functionality in a single "Brush".  Having fewer tools also immediately unclutters the workspace.

This is "bang on". This is actually more like how Blender works. Blender's interface is clumsy, and comes in for a lot of criticism (and a lot of it quite rightly) but, in terms of sculpting at least, I think it is quite good. You have a small number of brushes (all highly distinct from one another), but a lot of options that you can customise to make each brush behave differently.

This approach is (for me at least) more helpful. I can see all the brushes available, and I can envisage how changing the settings will affect them. Additionally, I only have to dig down into the settings as much as a want to. It doesn't take me long to understand the full capabilities and limitations of the software in-front of me. I know the tools I have at my fingertips, and I can focus on what I actually want to accomplish with them.

In 3D Coat, I only have a vague idea of what it is capable of. I can see the brushes, but I am left confused as to what they do or how they differ. Again, it all feels like it evolved over time, and no one has ever said "wait a second, lets stop and take a step back from this. Do we really need tool X when it is identical to tool Y apart from some smoothing? Should we not just add an option for smoothing".

I want to be clear, once again, that I love 3D Coat. Coming from Blender, 3D Coat is just so much more feature rich and... exciting! The issue for me is more or less isolated to the Sculpt Room. I cannot, for example, fault the Paint Room in any way. For me, that works nicely (for the most part). The tools are distinct, and I know exactly what I can and cannot do.

 

Edited by lewis2e

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There is no need for redundant tools, but I personally have no problem with having more brushes as opposed to less. More options is always better than not having enough. One such option is hiding what you do not need or use.

 

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"More options is always better than not having enough."

I think this phrase epitomizes the state and direction, today, of software development - as envisioned by the technicians - for the technicians.  Don is a technician and has done much to lead the development of 3D-Coat.

This state of mind and vision now controls the entire creative software manufacturing industry - and I don't think it will ever change.  Not for these developers, anyway.

Here on this forum, it has been repeatedly stated by forum Leaders that the target market for 3D-Coat is and should be the Studios, (i.e. Technical Directors).  

A thorough view of the computer graphics software manufacturing industry will reveal that this is the target market for ALL major CG software offerings.

What very few entrepreneurs of new software realize is that today's "studio-based" market is shrinking and will continue to shrink until many products will simply disappear (or be absorbed by the monopolies)  from the entire CG marketplace.

Just as the days of the megalithic movie studios vanished from the face of the earth back at the end of the 60's and beginning of the 70's - so will go the megalithic CG oriented studios of today.  That industry is unsustainable by any measure.

Yet, a market for creative, visual software exists and will exist and grow in the future.  Perhaps those who develop software for what is now considered a small "niche" market will lack the technical pride of today's monolithic software developers - but they may be prosperous, nonetheless.

Those who see this trend today may be able to survive what is coming tomorrow.

Those who refuse to see or change deserve what they will end up getting.

 

Greg Smith

 

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But everybody that tries to reproduce demi moore and Patrick Swayze in ghost at the local clay shop realizes their piece as a lump of clay on a spinning wheel. At some point, they realize they need more than a spatula to make something out of clay! lol

But on the other side of the coin, since the UI is customizable, maybe there could be made a "minimalist" UI that can be turned on. So a newb can start in "beginner mode" and make his first lump on a spinning wheel, then turn on the regular UI when he gets going....

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1 hour ago, BurrMan said:

But everybody that tries to reproduce demi moore and Patrick Swayze in ghost at the local clay shop realizes their piece as a lump of clay on a spinning wheel. At some point, they realize they need more than a spatula to make something out of clay! lol

But on the other side of the coin, since the UI is customizable, maybe there could be made a "minimalist" UI that can be turned on. So a newb can start in "beginner mode" and make his first lump on a spinning wheel, then turn on the regular UI when he gets going....

You have that, already. It's called Voxel Mode.  :D

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...seriously. For someone just wanting a few brushes, only, when you are in Voxel mode that is pretty much what you have. Surface mode is where you start to see a lot more....which is a good thing, IMHO.

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A so called 3D-Coat "Minimalist" UI is not a simple matter to engineer - since you would have to be a master technician of the application, already, to know which things can be safely hidden away - and which ones must be present - even for a very straightforward workflow of any kind.

Just go with what Don said, "More options is always better than not having enough." - and then commit yourself to watching several days worth of videos.

 

Greg Smith

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I think the problem is the design. All the tools are good, but the UI and UX are a little off.

Depite this, I find 3D Coat a lot easier than other similar softwares.

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On ‎7‎/‎6‎/‎2016 at 7:05 PM, AbnRanger said:

You have that, already. It's called Voxel Mode.  :D

Well, there's 15 choices in the first toolset in voxel mode... there's 16 in the next "adjust" set.... (already over 30 things and haven't got to "how to make a sphere" yet)

You are assuming that the new user "knows what a voxel is".....

I wasn't really talking about UI and entire UX engineering.... Just a simple menu toggle that would hide all except maybe 4 things.. A BEGINNERS look... "sculpt-move-primitives-cut....

Anyway....

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BurrMan:

Long ago, I made a series of video tutorials for people mainly wanting to learn to sculpt with Voxels (a Voxel can be imagined to be a "cubic pixel", since it is 3 dimensional - a pixel, a square, occupies only 2 dimensions).  The Voxel sculpting portion of 3D-Coat has changed very little since I made these - and I only use a minimum of tools.  You might find these helpful:

Greg Smith

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Hey Greg. Your videos were some of the first i reviewed! Thanks brother....

Although i dont have an issue navigating the ui, i am fairly competent in several areas. Alot of users who may be finding 3d coat, can be older machinists (among others) that are less than familiar with "this new stuff"... 

I might steer a guy more towards "sculpturis" for a foot wetting. But really, 3dcoat is an awsome tool for their applications. But with no confidence that an old codger could make any sense of whats presented, it becomes a road block of sorts...

 

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Being now an old codger, myself - I sympathize with all of the other struggling codgers in the world.  We are a species all our own.

Now, if we are viewing 3D-Coat as a tool for people machining things and printing things on a 3D Printer - I would have to recommend sculpting with Voxels using Primitive shapes.  3D-Coat has a rich abundance of Primitives (and adjustments to these, galore) - to make some really interesting and useful objects.  You can even make them to scale.  Since we are dealing with Voxels, subtracting and adding one shape to another or from another produces outstanding results.  I have printed many things using 3D-Coat as the final step in producing a model ready for printing.

When it comes time to print or mill whatever it is you have designed - you can quickly and reliably export an "air tight" model by simply choosing from the "File" menu:  "File/Export/Export Model".  Works every time without a hitch for me.  I print using Simplify 3D - and it can handle large numbers of triangles (which 3D-Coat typically produces).  Prints come out beautifully - and the possibilities for detailed organic shapes are endless.

 

Greg Smith

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