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Power of Polygon modeling with with Voxels


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  • Advanced Member

After using 3d-coat for several weeks, I've really been able to appreciate the power of Voxel sculpting...however, I feel that the technology it is not being used to it's full potential.

There is a lot of comparison between 3D-coat and Zbrush, but the two programs are inherently different...kind of like Photoshop and Painter.

I would say 3d-coat is more like Photoshop, while Zbrush is more like Painter.

I think 3d-coat's strength would be in providing users more precision as opposed to simulating natural medium as Zbrush seems to do (can't really speak to this as I havnen't used Zbrush all that much, that's just the impression I get)

Anyways, 3d-coat has what I believe to be a huge advantage with it's voxel sculpting system, especially in combination with many of the other tools already in the package, such as the retopo tools.

To get to the point though...voxels would be better served if you could add geometry anywhere on your sculpture and edit it the way you would a polygon mesh...

so essentially, you could add one or more vert, edge or face, anywhere on your sculpture in voxel mode...using the tools that already exist (box selector, free form selection tool or circle selector) to create 'geometry' on your voxel sculpt.

It would be great if you could also use some of the stroke tools in the retopo room to create points, edges, edge loops, or faces...then use that geometry as a control cage to edit your voxel sculpture. Obviously since it is voxels, it wouldn't have to be a complete mesh...you would only have to have 'geometry' where you want specific details to be.

It would be great to either use this 'geometry' to edit the sculpt with or without falloff if it is surrounded by the regular surface of your voxel sculpt in local or global space, and if it is a central polygon face within a patch of them, it would act similar to a what would happen in a regular polygon modelling package like Maya or Blender when you move it...again, with or without falloff.

Further, it would be really nice if this dynamic(can't think of a better word) 'geometry' could also be 'pinned' in the sense that it would stay fixed and you could use your voxel or surface sculpting tools on the areas around it...at first, this would seem similar to the hide brush or freeze tool...the difference being...you could pin just a point or an edge...thereby creating very sharp, specific and precise details exactly where you want them to be.

Lastly, what would be great would be if the dynamic 'geometry' could act as 'hints' for the automatic polygon cage that is generated over top of the voxel sculpt in a way where the 'edges' or 'faces' that you create would be preserved and the rest of the geometry would align itself accordingly. This would allow for relatively crisp models even at low voxel resolutions.

Not sure how this would be or even if it could be implemented...maybe breaking the mesh up into patches along the surface of the voxels as opposed to a full skin...?

These tools wouldn't probably be involved in everyone's workflow, but it would nice to have the option. The result would be getting the best of voxel sculpting and basemesh poly sculpting all combined into one great sculpting tool.

Just my 2 cents...I have some images which illustrate this a bit more...but they're not on this computer...I'll post them later.

God bless,


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  • Contributor

Good ideas.I have thought about these techniques as well.You can achieve similar actions using the pose tool/select with pen option,but using lines and verts as control points would open more possibilities.One of the difficulties in modeling with voxels is precise manipulation of the surface,these "control cages" would help immensely.

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  • Advanced Member

Control cages +2

I've requested this before. create a cage in retopo room and use that cage in voxel room to deform masses. It would be easier to do larger more uniform manipulation and of course it would have to work in proxy mode too. Just add falloff and it would be a nice poly based voxel sculpting tool.

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  • Advanced Member

This is from Sensable Claytools/Freeform modeling website.

Yeah, something like that would be excellent, a lot of the pieces already seem to be in the program...it's just a matter of whether they can work together

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Advanced Member

That's pretty interesting. I've been working in Solidworks lately and thinking about how its Freeform functions and native booleans make it far superior to the kind of NURBS modeling we find in Maya etc. You can join objects together and alter them in unison without having to worry about topological consequences.

That kind of functionality partly exists in 3d coat's voxels...at least as far as the additive booleans goes but I really like the ideas you're proposing here..and it brings us that much closer to the ideal of effortless intuitive 3d drawing...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
  • Advanced Member

Finally got around to fleshing this out a bit more.

First of all, I have to say I'm really excited about Raul joining the Pilgway team. I am really excited...truly a blessing!

Anyways, here are some images of the functionality that I propose.







I have to say that, I believe this alone, would give 3d coat users tons of control over the shape of their sculpts. Combine these features with dynamic tessalation...3D-coat will be very strong.

I'd like to hear what others think and if the images I included even make sense :P



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