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Modo to 3DCoat to Modo Workflow


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Here's a quick and dirty way to get content from Modo into 3DCoat (and UV and Paint) and then back out to Modo to render... This is not at all optimal or ideal for final work, but just a starter workflow that I have discovered while learning the process. This is just UV and painting for starters. Sculpting will require additional retopologizing and UV unwrapping steps.

  • In Modo, create a pretty good sized Box with 3x3 divisions on each side. Export the Box as an .FBX file.
  • In 3DCoat, import the .FBX file by choosing "Paint UV Mapped Mesh" in the welcome dialog, then click the folder icon.
  • Go to the UV room. 3DCoat has kindly unwrapped the UV for you. You can do manual unwrapping in Modo before you import if you want, and 3DCoat will use those UV maps.
  • In the Paint room, rename the UV from Default (to avoid confusion later on), and select a resolution (i.e., 4096).
  • Rename Layer 0 (the content layer) and Layer 1 (the paint layer). Make sure you are on the paint layer.
  • In the Smart Materials tab, choose the "blue metal" color. 3DCoat will have to do some work analyzing your mesh. In this case, Curvature Baking. It may take some time. Curvature Baking hates straight angles.
  • Just click through the dialogs accepting the defaults for now.
  • Right-click on the "blue metal" material and choose "Fill Entire Layer" and the entire mesh will take on the material's properties.
  • Click on the big X in the smart materials palette. Now you are painting with your default brush and color (etc.) properties.
  • Drag on the mesh. It will probably create a "dimensional" (raised and recessed) look. 
  • Add another layer (the [+] button) and click on the "red metal" layer. 3DCoat will need to do some processing (like occlusion calculations). Just accept the defaults and let it do its thing.
  • Now paint on the mesh with the new material. It should blend in with the other materials.
  • Now, from the File menu, choose "Export Objects and Textures." In the dialog, click the Output Mesh blank text box to choose the file type and location. Choose FBX (it keeps quads) and save.
  • Now, in the same dialog, choose "Modo Physical" from the Export Presets section. You can add additional texture layers, if you would like. Right now, there are four for this preset: diffuse, normal, roughness and specular color. Export the .FBX and textures.
  • (Save your 3DCoat file if you haven't already)
  • Back in Modo, choose "Open" from the File menu. Find your exported .FBX file and open it. Accept the defaults from the dialog. Ignore any warnings.
  • In the Render room, click on the mesh and press the A key to center the mesh. Do a quick render. It's a white box.
  • In the Shader Tree under the default material, add an image layer. Choose the diffuse file you just exported. The default "Effect" should be Diffuse Color (if not, Diffuse Color is under the Basic Channels menu option). You should see the color data appear on the mesh in the render viewport.
  • In the Shader Tree again, under the default material, add another image layer. Choose the normal map file you just exported. For the "Effect" choose Normal from the Surface Shading menu option. Click yes on the dialog that pops up. You now have some "dimension" to the applied materials.
  • Under the default material, add another image layer. Choose the roughness file you just exported. For the "Effect" choose Roughness from the Basic Channels menu option.
  • Finally, under the default material, add another image layer. Choose the Spec Color file you just exported. For the "Effect" choose Specular Color from the Basic Channels menu option.
  • Now the render preview window should be looking similar to what you painted in 3DCoat.

I have some screenshots I will add to this thread if anyone is interested. I think I covered all the basic steps. If I left anything out, let me know.

Again, this is a very simplified workflow for starters. There are many, many, many other options in both 3DCoat and Modo to produce much higher and more professional quality digital content.

Hope this helps someone else who is learning 3DCoat like me!



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