Like Hard Ops 0087, Boxcutter 6 has also received abilities to cut materials via the Hard Ops connection among many other things. This means if you have Hard Ops installed and you set up the material cutting in the material helper or t panel subsequent boolean operations will use that same behavior.
Material Cutting –
This was something I have wanted for a long time. The process of cutting objects and assigning materials was significantly lessened with Hard Ops but BoxCutter just makes a joke out of the whole idea by making it a quick operation. The necessity that caused this feature to be born is undeniable…. spaceships.
Cutting Improvements –
Even in the last gif one thing was apparent. The cutting system has improved. This started in Hard Ops but has also been passed into Boxcutter. Thanks to enhancements by proxe and AR now the cutting process will not affect the naming which will protect complex relationships like modifiers and constraints which happened alot when using the yellow split with the old system.
*this isn’t to say it’s perfect. just improved dramatically. expect occasional glitches and odd behavior
Snapping Improvements / Grid System –
In Boxcutter you can start snapping with shift + z. Now there is a grid.
The snapping system was a novel implementation in the first version and now that has been taken to another level with the grid snapping. This is still very much still a work in progress so this is the initial implementation.
Now the snapping indicator will disappear in edit mode which was an annoying old bug. The grid will not show if the zoom level is too high or too low which also prevented a crash.
Roll / Dolly Unlock –
This isn’t a feature. We’re just giving back what we took.
alt + shift + scroll
ctrl + shift + scroll
This wasn’t supposed to even be an issue but here it was.
Rotate Box –
The box has always been an area where we test things that we want to do elsewhere. And now boxes can spin. While drawing the box press R.
This is just an experimentation so it may or may not be developed further depending on use cases.
Final Notes –
Hard Ops and Boxcutter are like 2 sides of a coin for us. When something is complicated it’s Hard Ops. But when it comes to the cutter that’s all Boxcutter. I hope everyone enjoys the latest update and continues to email me about bugs and feature requests. It’s the users that keep this tool alive.
I wasn’t kidding when I said the 008 series was going to be a longer one. With this upgrade there are many improvements to classic tools and I am quite happy with the state of this release.
Boxcutter is also getting prepped for an update at a later date.
The main goal of this version has been the focus of material cutting. I am sure I mentioned in a video long ago that it would be nice to cut materials. With the assistance of Proxe this has now become a fundamental part of Hard Ops.
(It is important to note that materials won’t normally show in the viewport unless you set the viewport color. Also it goes without saying to do material cutting you also need materials)
The T panel has options for it. And also the Modifier Helper / Misc Tab. We have it in both places because I couldn’t decide which area worked best. To be honest I would rather have it in the alt + m material menu but that is not possible at this time.
The default options are optimal for the result that we feel the user would expect from the material cutter area. This means it is not recommended to uncheck the dot or change it to object because those behaviors are different.
All – lists all materials from the scene
Object – lists materials that are on the recipient object. (to get this to work you gotta bring it up right before you use a boolean operation to see the materials listed.
Force Dot – forces the material onto the recipient cut object in order to receive the material. Initially I expect users to not have the material assigned that they intend to cut with so this option was important to me.
So without further ado here is the material cutter in action.
The important thing to note is when using multiple materials with the bevel modifier present it is optimal to have an even number of segments. As in 2,4,6, 8 is a little crazy however.
I was very much needing this for a spaceship I was working on for a contract and I can’t stop using this thing.
Booleans, slicers and rebool/slash all support material cutting.
Booleans and rebool/slash work best with material cutting with the slicers still being a work in progress so expect bugs and errors. We’re working on a better system for that.
To show that in an example.
So when it comes to material assignment I handle it during the process of creation. So now onto the next enhancements.
In my usage of Mira tools I hated going into the Q menu to lower spans then into the Q menu again to use the tool. So with that allow me to show off the Mira handler. All it does is show a number to set segments then upon pressing enter or left clicking the operator begins. I use Curve Stretch primarily so that and curve guide are supported by this system.
I used this heavily in my last work and can say this is a dream come true for managing curvature with complicated geometry.
I enjoy also setting it to two and watching the geo straighten out. The behavior is so perfect I don’t need any further enhancements except the frontend.
B-Width (show wire) –
When using Bwidth pressing A will show the wire. It will also get rid of the wire after applying.
As you know I personally try to work for as long as I can without an UI showing at all. When I exit fullscreen to access items I count it as a negative that represents an issue I must address.
The modifier helper was astronomically useful when it was implemented and the modifier helper was moderately useful. Mainly because it did not work properly. Now I am happy to announce.
Material Helper now works as intended.
Now you can assign materials via the helper, manage slots, set transparency and all that fun stuff and not to mention the Material cutter option as well.
Misc Tab now contains options as well. We plan to expand on it in the future but for now it contains the sstatus override and options for dealing for autosmooth and angles.
Many operatives report the ctrl + ` modifier helper to be one of their favorite additions.
To top it off the Hops helper will open to whatever tab you last had up. This was another bug that drove me crazy that AR went ahead and resolved.
Curve Taper –
I want the Q to have options for many different types of objects in addition to meshes.
If you select a curve and press Q you can now add thickness and spans. U and V spans are also now controllable.
1 and 2 (non numpad) at the top of the keyboard also have options for additional presets that I use on a regular basis.
1 is basic curve / 2 is denser but smoother curve
Mark Ssharp / Clear Ssharp Consolidated –
In this version going forward mark ssharp and clear ssharp is now consolidated into edit ssharp. This allows us to keep the menu short and lower the amount of options to confuse users.
This is used in cases where you would need to adjust the ssharps that are marked in edit mode.
Modal Bevel Weight –
Previously this tool behaved as the classic function of Blender did by allowing you to move the mouse to set the bevel weight amount however it wasn’t accurate. Now this snaps to the nearest 0.1 and with shift you can get finer numbers.
This allows for a whole slew of workflows of csharp with custom bevel weights on the object.
Most importantly Csharp will no longer overwrite bevel weights. Neither will ssharpen unless you use the resharpen function.
Bevels can be tricky to manage with multiple weights converging so I recommend playing with it to find the limits in your workflow.
CStep / Csharp Bake –
Many users requested the ability to bake bevels while keeping csharp sstatus and not hiding the mesh. This allows for alternative workflows of applying bevels while keeping a bevel modifier and continuing to destructively model on the mesh.
This option is experimental and can cause some issues if your bevel modifier is lower than 3 segments. I recommend 6 to prevent from resharpening areas that have had bevels applied.
Here is what happens if you bake using 3 segments.
This is an experimental option and should be used with caution.
Cstep also has a checkbox now to keep the sstatus csharp so you can bake the bevels easier. This is what (C) Bake is based off of. You just have to uncheck one box in the F6 menu.
Here is an example of it in action.
Csharp 3.0 –
It could be 4.0. We have rewritten this thing a bunch trying to get the most out of our most essential function.
I am pleased to announce.
Csharp no longer applies modifiers that are not listed. This has been behavior since the beginning.
This means the only modifiers we apply are boolean and solidify by default. As this thing was intended for.
Here you can see my set up a cube with a lattice. And use the custom Q menu to simplify the lattice because I did not want the interior spans and wanted only 4 points.
After csharp the bevel was added and the lattice was still in play. I cannot stress how much this was needed recently. This whole update was essential and even though we have found the limits of whats possible that doesn’t mean we can’t come up with new ideas using existing tools.
When AR first made Cslice I responded “That’s too fast. You’re missing the step where the user decides if he wants that.” Well now all the slicers and cutters / rebool have been combined into an operator that does what we want to all along.
Previously slicing was done in an optimal but sometimes inaccurate setup. This would affect naming and also modifiers that were dependent on naming. This was a dark shadow in hard Ops that has lasted as long as the csharp issue.
Now it is fixed somewhat. This is great because on large scale models I don’t find out the hard way that a small cutout has inherited the responsibility of many mirror mods.
This can still have issues but there has been a long standing debate between rebool(me) vs cslice(ar). And now it looks like AR won he just added the behavior and precision I needed and won me over.
Also works in local mode now.
Final Notes –
There were many changes to this version of Hard Ops with this I close the page on the 8 series and will begin work on Hops9.
Also I tested all the inserts and fixed the “killer insert” if you encounter one please let me know. Also I was thinking about expanding the inserts this version but I wasnt sure if they were still a thing. Anyways email me if you encounter and issues.
Boxcutter also has an update coming. We did a few essential things that make this cool as well that will be disussed in a later post. Also the discount is still up for the operatives with Hard Ops. Just launch box cutter’s link from the Q menu to go to the page!
Also videos / manuals will / may / might / could be made showcasing / explaining features. Just busy as heck lately. This video is my favorite floor vid. I might make one tonight….
*note (f) release contains a few final bugfixes to remedy matcutting issues found after release. Theres nothing major to say just bugfix.
BC4 works with 2.77 but not BC5. You will need 2.78.
Boxcutter 5 has been worked on alongside Hard Ops 8: Polonium. This means that they are working even better and on the same level with special behaviors working even better.
While the basic idea is to keep BoxCutter simple there has been some additional complexity added for more functionality.
People always ask the difference between Hard Ops and Boxcutter.
“Hard Ops is a toolkit. Boxcutter is a cutter.”
D Button Pie Menu –
The D button has been changed to be a pie menu with the most relevant options. This is only in boxcutter mode (or when the border is active). Otherwise this is still grease pencil. The options contained here are the most relevant and was something we had been debating on for a while. Turns out everyone loves pies.
The redbox has been enhanced quite a bit this version and now has
tab to edit / c to cut to cursor
bevel behaviors (MMB on one point or MMB outside for all points)
x swap cut out and rebool
same behavior as classic red box while also having new behavior
The reason this sort of behavior is needed is due to the fact I drew alot of boxes using the ngon tool for this level of control. It reduces quite a few clicks for myself.
Also the X to swap between rebool box and cutter seemed to be an essential and universally needed behavior among all tools.
New circle also shares the same behavior among all the tools. Aside from not having edit mode. X will swap rebool and cutout. We are still wanting to leave this tool open for another idea in development.
Better Mesh Behavior –
This one is about how it behaves with meshes that are not Csharpened (or bevelled). This was an irritation in previous versions with it bevelling meshes that didn’t need to be bevelled. In all the previous gifs I am slicing and cutting the mesh without changing the sstatus. This is is essential since it makes the workflow easier to control.
If the mesh is in Csharp sstatus then Boxcutter works a little differently as you all know where after every cut the csharpen operation is performed.
Alternatively if the mesh has no bevel it will leave it unbevelled which opens up for some interesting possibilities.
I have been experimenting with using boxcutter on boolshapes for advanced shapes. It’s hard to explain but here is a basic example.
In this example I am using boxcutter on a boolean shape that is still live in the primary shape. When you really get down and experiment with this workflow you can make some very interesting shapes that would be impossible or difficult to model. You can also use the boxcutter box to clean up these boolshapes for re-usability like a subset insert. Which can also be experimented with.
I have began making all sorts of interesting elements with these by cleaning them up and adding sub cuts while they are live. It also behaves faster than working the other way.
Rebool Mod Mode –
When using Boxcutter there are multiple modes.
(C) Use Carve boolean for cutting
(B) Use Bmesh boolean for cutting
There is a 3rd option as well for modifiers that were kept live for reuse / tweaking / rebooling. This has been expanded into two additional modes.
(B)Mesh Mod – keeps the modifier and sets it to bmesh boolean on mesh
(C)Carve Mod – uses the classic modifier of carve for the boolean
This also now expands into rebool which can now be a modifier which can be tweaked.
But to show one more example of it.
The rebool being live is sometimes hard to see but when you csharp the main mesh it becomes real. The next thing is you may have to separate the object using P in edit mode after using L to select linked over the geometry your cursor is leaning over.
Blender has made many changes between 2.77 and 2.76 which of course change things for the better. It also makes changes to backwards compatability so I must stress Boxcutter is incompatible with previous versions of Blender as is Hard Ops. But I guess this isn’t a big deal since we don’t go back using old versions I hope.
Additional Notes –
The older feature of fast bisect is still very useful. I use it to but guidance lines on non quad flows. I hope everyone tries it out. Guidance lines can comes in handy for controlling the edge flow provided to the boolean modifier for mesh solving.
The left side shows the addition of a guidance loop for booleans versus the right side which doesn’t have one and therefore solves differently and less than optimal.
Ngon hasn’t changed much but that’s because it’s still pretty darn good.
And the new box tab mode is useful for switching to a rebool (with X).
Also the preferences have been changed a bit in the way the default settings are saved. Not to mention we removed experimental options to just simplify it while we work on said experiments.
Bevel Vs Curve –
In Ngon / Newbox mode you are able to MMB points to bevel them.
Pressing Q will change from bevel mode to curve mode. This was also in the last version. I don’t use it as much but it is there.
Q: My boxcutter 4 worked fine but boxcutter 5 does not work. Why?
A: Blender 2.77 works with BC4 / 2.78 and up works with BC5
So we are already at work on the next update discussing features like Viewline and multishape which didn’t make it. And on that note I’ll let Model 500 play me out. I hope everyone enjoys the latest update.
I also made an art dump of all the stuff I made using Hops8.
Hard Ops 8 has been the longest release of the series and continues even now as we use this number to focus on enhancement and stability.
As Blender 2.78 gets closer we also try to refine this version for public consumption. With some internal changes glitches can be expected but we are working to resolve them. Currently it is still in testing stage and is the top file of the Gumroad at this moment.
As issues are being reported and resolved and 2.78 comes closer it will be on the BM as well but once 2.78 is out.
A series of additional menus and panels have been added. The center and foundation of Hard Ops has always been the Q menu. In time I am sure we will no longer need the shift + Q hotkey and the pie and menu will toggle from the Q hotkey.
Sculpt Mode now has a Q menu.
In it’s current form it also has the view port menu attached which means if you choose matcaps as the option that matcaps will appear as an additional box.
In fact in the Q menu if you go into Settings >> Viewport the same functionality also exists.
Alt + V also brings up a viewport menu in object mode. This was just an experimental feature that was added that grew on me as I used it more and more.
Cameras also have a Q menu. With handy options.
Lattices also have a Q menu. My favorite is simplify.I use it to reset lattices to their simplest points and start over with deforming.
Alt + M brings up a menu of all the materials in your scene for fast assignment. This is for object mode of course since edit mode would merge geometry. This is also experimental but has proven useful recently.
In preferences there are additional properties for the HUD and how long it displays. That way you can adjust this to your liking.
Merge has also been updated a bit. While it is still being worked on we examined the naming and decided it was best the way it was.
When you select an AP and the mesh to merge with you have 2 options.
Soft Merge – merges with mesh while keeping it live. This allows for tweaking then for completion just select the main mesh and choose Q >> Csharpen.
Complex Merge – merge and is done. Places the OB. Deletes the BB and the AP. This is the option I would normally use.
So it’s just Cmerge and Smerge. In addition to this the inserts are being expanded with new ones for users to have fun with.
Mirror Mirror now mirrors across any object not just meshes. This is similar to the original mirror mirror and was a mistake on my part.
This is useful because sometimes I mirror across an empty. As a recap mirror mirror has been internalized into HardOps so the plugin is no longer needed.
Settings menu is a little cleaner. We discuss all the features often and what can be removed / enhanced / etc. All the remaining functions are near and dear to me even if the other teamsters don’t even use them.
CSplit / CSlice now behaves better. If a mesh isn’t beveled you can slice and it will respect that. This has also carried over into box cutter and it’s behavior with unbevelled meshes.
This can be handy for using the Cslice as a more utility function for alternate workflows. I like the fact that you can also use the status reset and then have cuts ignored by bevels.
Q >> Meshtools >> Sstatus Reset is quite a useful option when used correctly. I am unable to explain all cases in which you would want to reset your mesh to dupe the system but it has come in handy on more than one occasion.
As this post has gone on I am keeping the best for the later part. Now that the boring stuff is out of the way we can go over some of the larger changes.
The T panel has underwent changes again. This was done for stability and ease of use. There is also a learning tab added for new users. On a technical level this has made things more stable and it has a connection with the other menu systems with make it easier on us internally.
XUnwrap now behaves on multiple objects at once. I tend to manually unwrap hero items but for secondary stuff or quickies XUnwrap can be useful for quickly getting a mesh out to Substance Painter or a game engine.
Select your objects and press Q >> Meshtools >> Xunwrap
As you can see through the uv preview that both pieces are placed uniquely on the same UV space.
2d Bevel was an idea based off of the mesh cleaner for bevelling 2d shapes. I must add… DO NOT USE ON 3d SHAPES . If you do that the results will be different. I must also stress the importance of modifier stack order as well with using this since it can have issues. I consider this an experimental feature.
In this example I used 2d bevel then Tthick to add thickness on top of the bevelling of the 2d shape. All it does it round corners using a limited dissolved mesh with a bevel set to only verts.
CleanMesh(E) is also a new feature that has been added. This will do a limited dissolve / remove doubles operation on the mesh. I cannot stress that this is for planar-ish meshes and will not give good results where linework is specific.
Also make sure you check pro mode under preferences to enable it. Since it is an experimental option.
Clean mesh will dissolve all useless edges. This can be useful for simplifying meshes for boolean operations.
This is something I think it’s best to experiment with and try out. It can be useful having useless edges dissolved when it comes to simplification.
These two videos have portions where I am experimenting with the simplification of the CleanMesh(E). Sometimes this can also make booleans easier to perform due to there being less errors. If you are using guidance loops for control then you may not want to use this on the main mesh but like I said use it at your own peril.
So with that I conclude this post and have fun operatives! Big shoutout to AR. He’s been down since the beginning and continues to be a big part in the shadows. He also rendered the apartment ad for HardOps.
As always it’s the operatives that keep this tool alive and kicking. I cannot stress how important it is to experiment with the tool and find a unique way of your own for using the tool. I often find people using it in strange and unique ways that get results far beyond even my expectations. Alot of the features I feel extend past hard surface modelling and are just the way I wish some things behave. It’s a understandable impression that Hard Ops is primarily a hard surface toolkit but it’s also a workflow assistant.
Boxcutter has underwent many updates thanks to the efforts of AR, Dima, Edgard and myself. I am happy to report many of the previous glitches are resolved and more than likely new ones have appeared but lets hope not.
Box Cutter’s T Panel is right below Hard Ops. It also still has the hotkey Alt + w.
The t panel has been expanded to show new additional parameters which we will go into more later.
The Hard Ops connection has been made better so Boxcutter and Hard Ops will continue to be the ultimate combo. There is also a special q menu for Boolshapes which are made via Box cutter in mod mode that will allow array, bevels and solidification.
So in a nutshell here’s the latest features!
2d Snapping / Help Display (NOTE: NEVER LET SNAPPING BE AT 0…)
Activate snapping – shift + z.
Change Increments – shift + mouse wheel or numpad + and –
As you can see it is capable of being precise in cutting things subsequently however an array would be better. This is a 2d plane snapping system so no snapping to verts / edges / faces also that would equal hot lining so that may be examined down the road.
Angle Snapping – Only For NGON TOOL
Activate Angle Snapping – alt + z
Change Angle in the T Panel
Angle Snapping Indication – Indicator Display
At the last minute. Dima just had to add to the angle snapping. Now when you activate it with alt + w after initializing snapping with shift + w. You get an indicator line making it more visibly obvious where your snapping for angle is going to go. Now I can say the angle snapping is set for the moment.
Alt + z – must be pressed after the initial points were set in order to see the angle snapping indicator.
Notice that it shows after alt + z is pressed after the first line is made. This may be improved in subsequent releases.
Advanced Ngon Behavior – Curve and Bevel Support
The ngon tool initially implemented has gone through quite a few advancements that I am quite excited about.
To Start – Hold ctrl + click and draw a line
And the best part. Pressing X toggles rebool and red cutter box. We plan to expand on this behavior much more in the future so this is just the start.
Only the ngon is this advanced at the moment. The box and circle have a specific behavior that is still being fine tuned and one shape feature is yet to be added yet.
This tool’s behavior allow you to draw a shape and adjust it before committing it. We have more plans for it however its current state is leagues above the former and now I can consider the ngon an essential and usable tool.
(edit: this tool has been enhanced 3 times since this update secretly. So if you have the latest version your help might display additional/ differentinformation.)
Circle Tool – Limit Break
The circle has had its limit broken so now you can insert cylinders more than 32 spans. That was the first glitch resolved after the last release.
We still have plans to consolidate circle and box into a new simple shape tool that will have a double behavior system of cut and run and also a hold in place type of thing.
Mod Mode Enhancements / Hard Ops Connection 2
Mod mode has been enhanced to impressive levels as well. Basically mod mode is similar to booltool in which all cuts are kept live and are available to be adjusted after the fact before committing. This allow hard ops to also get in the box cutting fun with bevels, arrays and solidification. Then at the very end. You can commit. It also treats unbeveled meshes differently and is more preferable to the older behavior.
alt + mouse wheel changes cutting mode.
This works in box, circle, and ngon mode.
When I first got this going I was off like a rocket. The speed of it compared to inserting cubes over and over is just miraculous. But it gets better. When I go back and select the boolshape meshes and press Q the hard Ops menu from Hard Ops 8 is there to do additional functions that are a part of that plugin already. With the hard Ops integration of mirror mirror there is now a quicker way to mirror things across other things now positioned in a way for expansion.
So I had to tweak alot of elements but this sort of experimentation is going to drive the next cstep system and its connection into box cutter. I have been able to make some pretty interesting shapes just messing around with it.
Shape Memory V1 (Circle and Box Only) (secret)
Shape memory is still in the works but basically it allows for repeating shapes.
Remember shape – ctrl + space
Recall shape – shift + space
Once you store the shape you will be in move mode.
But after you press shift + space while in the drawing state you will call the shape back. We hope to also extend this quite far into a library of sorts but this is the initial framework of the idea.
I must remind you it is only for box and circle at this time. Ngon is important as well however in time I hope we will expand it there as well.
So the new defaults are blue because Adrian and Ivan made fun of my affinity for the warmer colors. cough red/orange.
You are able to change your colors for the border and the logo indicator. Credit to AR for coding the Boxcutter logo as an indicator and the Hard Ops one for that matter.
One particular glitch with pressing alt + w multiple times to start box cutter is resolved.
Also you can now use box cutter in any 3d view you want. But only 1 at a time. Thanks to Dima for the glitch resolution. The depth parameter has been refined along with the internal cutting calculation which now results in more predictable results.
Compared to the previous version there has been major upgrades.
Normally I press alt + F10 to maximize my 3d view. Then it works best.
As you may notice in the previous image there is now a help area when using box cutter. This will make it more clear you are in box cutter mode as well as provide information in an easier format. There is also a toggle to turn it off.
Even as I’m writing this guide we’re still doing last second pushes. So I know it never stops around here. So this release has to go out now. Or we’ll turn this boxcutter into a plasmasword.
Dairin0d / Dima was absolutely amazing in this release and cannot be thanked enough. I call him the mathmagician. Ivan has been our trusty and dedicated tester and lead complainer not to mention UI consultant. Adrian of course is leading this project and is always overcoming some sort of impossible thing it seems. The magic of seeing these tools come together can only compare the the results I see you guys make!
I hope everyone enjoys this release and pray for less issues than before.
So with that I release. Boxcutter: 4 – Plasmacutter.
It is with great pleasure that I present to you all Hard Ops 8. This release was focused on refinement and cleanup. I’m sure by saying that, we have cursed ourselves with new bugs. In the rush to 0079 it became apparent that a moment to reflect and refine existing systems while cleaning out antiquated code was needed. This release is a multi-part where we will expand on the 8 release with additional features. I just wanted to get you guys on the same page so I can at least demo the software without being in the future.
So first things first. Hard Ops has a different drawing system. This differs from 007 and 0079. The initial system was designed by myself and JL, however for this release AR took a shot at redefining the Hard Ops drawing. This was something we were experimenting with in 0079 however now it a part of Hops 8. This is still something being refined and we have much more planned for the updated drawing system.
The newer system is a bar at the bottom of the screen and was just an idea to make it more appealing in full screen. Also to try and present it as a notification.
Pro users can turn it off if needed but we still want to add clickable behavior to the text itself so that might be a thing in the future. As I said this is just the start.
The drawing panel is a new addition to Hops 8. This is where the features get interesting.
Hard Ops >> sets Hard Ops theme to my settings (I like color)
AR>> sets Hard Ops to Adrian’s Settings (he is a plain grey guy)
ThemeGrabber>> sets theme to theme based off of current Theme.
The theme grabber is one my favorites because no matter the theme you have. We can make Hard Ops fit for you. So I would recommend the theme grabber to all. However two alternative preferences exist.
The themegrabber was quite important to me personally and I pestered AR alot in order to fine tune it to be the way it is now. For customization, the border color and secondary border color are the two main ones that you want to change if setting something manually.
The drawing is just a small part of the improvements we have in store.
So the dependency mirror mirror has also been integrated. This means you no longer need mirror mirror. This was done so that it would be integrated into the new drawing system as well as expand on it in the future through Hard Ops and begin connecting it with BoxCutter.
The hotkeys of alt + shift + x / y / z for mirroring across a specific axis is also still present and will resolve the hotkeys if you disable mirror mirror before activating Hops 8.
The new features added to the Hops system we’re about to go over aren’t the most glamorous but definitely have their uses.
The first is Demote. This is an experimental option that simple removes crease and bevel width while keeping sharp. This is part of a workflow I have been experimenting with called Demotion. Which is basically the idea of removing bevel weight and immediately beveling manually. I use this feature quite a bit so it has been added to the edit mode Q menu if pro mode is enabled in preferences.
After demoting a selection I am able to bevel it manually. This is something I want to expand on further however at this time. It is a manual form of cstepping in my opinion.
Technically it is the clean ssharps without the clean sharps checked. Its just quicker than clicking that and pressing F6 then clicking twice.
So the next essential but less exciting idea is sstatus reset. When you take a mesh and csharpen it. It’s sstatus changes and therefore so does the Q menu that comes up. When you want to reset it back to the start without affecting the mesh or modifiers, you now have status reset. It is like status override except the only state you can return the mesh to is undefined meaning it is handy for starting over the Q menu process. I may do a video or blog post explaining this down the road. But the idea is that the menus will realign due to workflow and be adjustable for particular workflows and adjust dynamically.
This is all theoretical at this moment but expect it to be fleshed out by project’s end.
In the above image, I went from undefined, to csharp to cstep and back to undefined in order to keep the menu showing the items I want.
This is aimed more for those who are quite familiar with the ideas behind Hard Ops and are utilizing the sstatus system.
Additionally there were many glitches that were nuances that have been resolved.
Csharpen / Cslice / Rebool – now keeps your bevel information without modifying it at all.
This was a glitch since the start and was something I was used to. Over the course of Hard Ops it was harder to find but come version 8 it was resolved as soon as it was pointed out.
There was also quite a bit of code cleanup so I expect a few bug reports. The benefit is its lighter to load and isn’t wasting your memory with antiquated operators that have been remade many times over.
Boxcutter integration was also a large focus for Hard Ops 8.
While Boxcutter is a separate project with a separate team the leader is our own AR. We have been working on both Hops 8 and Boxcutter at the same time and there have been many small improvements made to empower both tools.
This part is about Boxcutter integration.
When you draw a mod shape now the mesh is given a status that gives it a special menu. This menu allows for Hard Ops functions to be used quickly for box cutter mod meshes.
This was something I discussed quite a bit. The ideology of box cutter is no menus and panels. So the connection with Hard Ops was a no brainer. Now boolshape meshes will have a menu with bwidth (which applies no sharpening), array and tthick (which allows you to panel a boolshape instead of cutting).
If you want to make the object real. That is what the sstatus override is for. To reset the status and start over.
The integration go a little deeper however on the surface this is what is most noticeable. You are also able to use mirror mirror with modshapes in order to boolean with symmetry.
This is something we may expand on even further in the upcoming updates however this covers most of what is new in Hard Ops 8!
Also 2 new inserts! I meant to add about 20 more but that may come later when the new system is in.
Box cutter logo and copy machine button panel. Just in case you need some buttons.
In closing Hard Ops 8 is a release that we plan to expand on within the 8 series with a few more special features that aren’t ready just yet. We have significant changes planned and can’t wait to show you what that is. So you won’t be hearing about Hard Ops 9 just yet. This update still is in development. So like the 0079 release I try to release it earlier to allow more time to refine and bug fix after reports come in.
I thank everyone who has been a part of Hard Ops and it’s path. I am eternally proud of the works the users put out and it is always inspiring to the team as well.
Boxcutter’s latest update is out and is a massive update.
Legacy Hard Ops users will of course receive a discount.
Box Cutter is a brother of Hard Ops and a standalone product.
IF YOU HAVE THE RED BOX DEMO ONLY THE RED BOX IS AVAILABLE.
To start it press alt + w. To draw a sub box press ctrl + left click and drag. It requires a selection otherwise it uses the selection lasso.
BoxCutter is a secondary project focusing on cutting with a different perspective than the toolset we all know as Hard Ops. They are intended to be used together however separately they still work albeit behave differently.
Starting box cutter after enabling the add on is under the hard ops T panel.
The t-panel is worth looking into.
This step is important since it allows the sharpening to happen after cutting. The beveling and sharping helps in differentiating the shapes easier when they are the same color.
Also Hard Ops received a last minute update to support box cutter in the Q menu under mesh tools in object mode.
The last one isn’t necessary however it’s there for additional functionality. The hotkey at the moment is Alt + W.
In total theres 3 ways to start box cutting.
Alt + W
T panel >> hard ops
Q >> Mesh Tools >> Box Cutter
That is as easy as we can make it.
Now for the complicated stuff but very fun stuff.
Firstly when you are in box cutter the screen has indicators. This is important. Very very important.
The box on the right is AR’s idea of indicating Box Cutter mode. I wanted it red but haha its grey. On the left is the Cutter indicator.
This is something you want to be aware of.
D – changes mode (Box , Circle, Ngon) for now (while in box cutter state)
So basically in Object mode you can use D to change cutter mode. And cancel with escape. You want to cancel when you aren’t using it since we currently are still dealing with it. You can open multiple box cutters on top of each other by accident. Which is unexpected and unwanted behavior.
So now lets get cutting!
Holding down ctrl allows for you do cut out a shape in a box that you draw.
However this has a modifier to it as well. Holding alt while drawing makes it cut to the depth level of the 3d cursor!
This is quite an interesting behavior when you want to control depth however we are still examining other options. But there is more to it than even that.
If nothing is selected you can draw a white box. This is just for creating a quick box.
With nothing selected it draws white boxes and with a selection it draws a sub box. If you hold ctrl + shift when drawing with nothing selected you will draw a box from the 3d cursor’s position.
This behavior is intended for speed so pressing things without being aware can make for a crazy experience. Kinda like opening Zbrush for the first time.
While the sub and additive brushes seem awesome the real favorite for me is the slicer. This brush will slice out the mesh into a new section similar to the rebool but with a whole different perspective.
Holding ctrl + shift will bring up the slice/rebool box. The same modifier of shifting to alt during still applies for cutting with depth. The way Box Cutter is setup is that you can make quick cuts in quick succession then go in for the kill with finer detail and Hard Ops based workflow.
Admittedly this will take some practice but hey this is version 1. As with Hard Ops we plan to make large improvements over time and refine it the level of what we consider “finished”.
When it comes to the art of cutting in Blender it goes without saying that guidance edges are as important as ever when it comes to performing booleans successfully. So additionally the option to fast bisect has been mapped to ctrl + D. Pressing it will take you into an edit mode setup where you can quickly click drag and bisect.
For this basic example it is overkill but in the thick of things this is a very useful tool to ensure your bevels and booleans are working together. Otherwise this method of creation can become a game of luck when eventually you hotline and have to undo.
Additional shapes exist with the same behaviors like ngons and circles however they are more experimental at this time.
Ngons exist too but they’re my least favorite at this time. And also are the most experimental.
You have to click to start which provides no feedback until the 3rd point or so. This behavior I feel will be the hardest to get used to however it is available for those who want to use ngon shapes.
We still have much more planned on expansions for this in the future so stay tuned for more information. This wiki is a bit short at this time however a more detailed one will follow.
Previously there was Punwrap and Cunwrap. However that might have been overkill and not clear so they have been combined into a new unwrapper called the X-Unwrap.
It does the functions on both of them however its just a quick and dirty unwrapper for hard surface meshes. We have also made some additional improvements for ngons and cstepped meshes. Which is where this thing really shines. Sometimes you just want to unwrap and move on. Especially with pieces that aren’t the forefront. It really exists just to make it easier for people using texturing suites like Quixel or Allegorithmic.
In other news there is also a Pro mode for Hard Ops now. It can be enabled in preferences and is disabled by default. This isn’t a pro mode as much as it is a way to keep Hard Ops under control.
I personally tend to take clicks, double clicks and repeated clicks into consideration. So some of the parameters exposed are my way of testing alternative ways of doing things however they may not be best for new users and users not familiar with my way of working. To new users coming to Hard Ops it might be overwhelming and confusing especially since most of the things done are under the hood.
Hard Ops without pro options is pretty straighforward. It is as direct as I can simplify the menus at this time however I am looking into ways to having the operators act differently as well.
So you can see all the additional options that are enabled. These aren’t used by most people however now it can be a choice and we can make a cleaner Hard Ops. I might begin polling to see how people are handling functions and which ones they like and maybe a vote for revamps or something.
Speaking of revamps. AR in the shadows always improving things, has improved the Tthick to an amazing level. Previously the Tthick was adding a solidify however I wanted to use this as a tool for robot workflows by being able to shift the thickness offset and rim primarily to get a very specific and interactive solidify.
During Tthick you can press 1,2,3 to toggle -1,0,1 offsets on the solidify. This was a very exciting feature and I did a whole series of robots as a result.
So did everyone like the modifier helper? I hope so. It’s one of my favorite additions to Hard Ops. Thanks to MKB, AR, and everyone else it has been expanded! Now in additions to modifiers you can also adjust materials on a basic level. It’s still a work in progress but I didn’t want to hold up the release on a material panel.
The material helper is part of my lifelong dream to use blender with no UI until I need it. The power of python astounds me repeatedly when I keep telling myself I’ve seen it all. Blender and its expand ability and customization is top notch compared to other software and I hope the spirit of 2.8 is still that same power in the hands of the users. Everyone should code something in some way. It’s the best way to understand this dragon called Blender.
Radial array is also added in the preliminary stages. I want to have it be less destructive on the meshes being rotated but it’s a nice start. Jyri wrote it a version ago and I forgot to enable it! It might be added the the Q Array as an additional functionality but that’s for the future. Atwist 360 is also still available. However this might replace it once it comes to fruition.
Some of the additional options are status override and status reset. These two are under pro options but are a fun time when you get to using them.
The 3 options at the top of the Q menu change according to mesh context. There is also a panel to change the context of the mesh manually basically allowing you to override your workflow with Hard Ops. This sounds boring in context but in usage is quite exciting since you can force the mesh into different workflows.
So being able to work like this opens up new possibilities for me however when going from cstep to csharp you will want to use a larger angle than 30 degrees for recalculating bevels in order to prevent ruining your mesh.
Inside of meshtools is the status override we discussed previously. However there is also the status reset. This is the most used part of status overide. Just reset it back to undefined. By doing this I can start over at any point on the mesh and use the basic options to work.
If you need help spacebar >> learning >>
The tools are just as important as being able to teach people how to use it effectively. I read a review where they said there wasn’t enough training. So I took it to heart and tried to fix it for new users or those who could use a helping hand. Same goes with criticism and comments. I take it all into consideration. Negative or not and try to find what information can be used to improve the user experience. People get passionate about their buttons… I understand.
There’s many more improvements and resolutions for previous glitches not to mention new ones added. I’m sure I am also missing more new features but I’ll leave that for the users to discover.
So I hope everyone enjoys this latest update from TeamC and thank everyone for reading this and your support. It keeps this product alive.
Also if youre making awesome stuff with Hard Ops let me know! I’m always looking for more operatives to add to the gallery!
When it comes to using Blender I feel that the user experience presented is as important as the tools when it comes to working in 3d for extended periods of time. I always talk about what I call setting yourself up for success, or starting Blender in a way that doesn’t hurt the eyes.
While I personally try to keep Blender as vanilla as possible I felt it would be good to make a post discussing my default scene and workflow.
When it comes to storing your default scene. Its as simple as ctrl + U in the 3d View. You will get a box confirming the save which will ensure the next time you open Blender it will be exactly like that. This is important since you don’t want to have to deal with mapping every time.
Ctrl + U – saves user pref
Ctrl + Alt + U – open user preferences
The first SFQ to take care of is my theme. I don’t download themes from other places because then I’d have to link them but the defaults that come with Blender suffice. I am also using the one from Steam so your themes may differ. Just go in user preferences and change it. Its refreshing to change it from time to time to something that matches your mood or project. It helps me get into the zone.
While you’re in preferences I also enable the plugins I need and set up Cycles to use my GPU under cycles but thats beyond the scope of this post. However I do want to point out some useful things that might be worth pointing out.
In the 3d view of user prefs there is an area where you can adjust the size of vertices and outlines. In certain cases where the geo isn’t very dense I like the larger verts. Just something worth checking out sometime if you haven’t.
Enabling region overlap allows the T and N panels to be transparent. This is also handy for being able to close and open the panels without interrupting view-port renders plus it looks futuristic!
Strangely enough. I also like setting my smooth view up high like 800 so the transitions from the numpad keys are gradual. Also the numpad period focus (.) is also more graceful. These things are cosmetic but it makes Blender feel more tactile to use.
Now at this point I also want to discuss quick prefs. This is an add on that you can get here.
Once installed and enabled you can use this to change the default viewport shading. Personally I find this to be one of the most essential cosmetic changes I do to Blender.
Between the default and the Dark Grey the way the forms are being presented are much different. As strange as it sounds, I feel this improved the quality of my modelling immensely just due to the fact the initial presentation of default shaded meshes might not be the most efficient for someone like me.
If your thought is, “Why not matcaps?” Well. Do that. But I prefer the feeling of the Dark Grey. So this is turned on by default and set as my default scene so now we are almost set.
The next changes are strictly for those who model with this sort of workflow and may not be efficient or handy for everyone.
Select boundary loop is remapped to shift + ` in edit mode. This allows me to make quick selections and then get the border only. Its very quick for panel related things.
The other is mapping the mark sharp and clear sharp to alt + and shift + alt +.
This is more of a preference however I find it useful in some situations not as many now that Hard Ops exists.
I try not to stray from the defaults too bad in case I have to use another PC or my settings are lost. So theres also pie menus you can enable to make life easier but so much additional workflow changes at once can make Blender feel alien.
Another thing is on layer 0 of my default scene is a material sphere.
It contains materials for the blocking in phases of modelling you often see in my videos. When it comes to texturing I lean more towards PBR in my current work however having some basic materials can make quick modelling session alot easier. I gathered my materials from various sites like Blendswap and the B-wide Node collection.
I must also stress that having too much clutter in your default scene will make life harder so don’t go bananas gathering materials and building the hugest set of unusable materials on earth. Find those that work for you. Fine tune them tweak them and make them work for you. Alot of the materials I have I customize a small amount but collecting them is part of the fun. I’m sure everyone has better solutions for this as well however on my end speed is the game so I try to keep it all flowing.
These are a couple of good reads about normals. Earthquake is my hero haha.
I recently got Substance Painter 2 and it was a blast! However I felt the need to do some rebaking to get a better quality product. It was fine for a demo but lets face it. These bake errors are unacceptable in normal situations. So let’s get baking.
So in the above image you see the test bake or the initial bake.
The iris area especially took the baking hard. Details are in the wrong areas. Without the color it would be more apparent.
Here you can see the bake in all of its glory. Now for the record. I exported the high. Exported the low. And then just baked from one to another. It’s the easiest way but its not recommended or practical unless you like cleanup. So let’s talk about fixing this.
This is the high mesh. I made it using Hard Ops. After the process you see in the video I retopoed it and uv unwrapped it.
I must admit in the earlier version of Hard Ops I was using unwrapping the highs and texturing them because real geo doesn’t need a normal map. However all the useless interior faces inside aren’t optimal for UV layouts. So instead just retopo.
If you don’t know what to do for retopo you have several choices. Icetools, Retopoflow, RetopoMT the list goes on. However you retopo it doesn’t matter. At the end we have both a high of 404k and a low of 3.5k. So now lets get exported.
The export process is important to how the meshes will behave in Substance Designer / Painter. Usually I’d join the low and send that out and do the same for the high. However to get this to work you must work a little differently.
Instead of keeping all the meshes together. I named them all correct names with the suffix of _low. We will be able to export it all as one at the end but in Blender the naming is important.
So now I export the mesh.
So I selected all the pieces and exported it. And that is how I got the low out. Sometimes I forget to resolve all ngons so then I use triangulate to just move on and deal with that later.
Now the high is a little more complicated. There might be an alternate way to this but the way I was able to get it to work after many frustrating hours is exporting each high piece with a suffixed name or _high.
As a note you dont have to do it this way. You can also export it as separate pieces but one OBJ and it will work as well. At the time of doing this I wasn’t aware yet.
So the high as you can see is different components with naming. I just hovered over the text field and ctrl + c and ctrl + v to get the name and export. I exported each piece with the idea of what would bake well individually. So its the same as the low breakup.
So Substance Desginer compared to Substance Painter is a little more flexible with the baking since it’s node based and all. You can do it in SP the same way but I like the additional control for baking and with subsequent rebaking.
So this was the initial bake. So many errors. It looked fine-ish on the mesh but this is just unacceptable.
After loading up the low mesh I right clicked it and chose bake model information. And set the following settings.
Because of the way it exported you can see all the groups on the left. You can also see I loaded up a high mesh for every group that is here. I also chose by mesh name under Match and set the AA to 8×8. This could explain why the bake took 15 forevers.
The results are much better. Still some issues but this is much better And at least now I can proceed.
With a bake like this the model is looking better than ever and now I can begin texturing this puppy! Now while the bake isn’t absolutely perfect. The amount of cleanup at this point is almost laughable compared to the previous situation.
I hope this guide was useful and clears up some things that originally drove me crazy. Before I go one last thing.
In SP5 I can’t bake color infomation from the mesh like I can in Substance Painter. The map is just black and I try it every darn time haha. This is the only facet of this workflow that irks me. You can bake color (ID) maps multiple ways for example.
Set highpoly to Blender Internal materials and set to shadeless and different colors. Select the high and then the low and do a full render bake to in blender internal or bake a diffuse pass.
Personally I like using Substance Painter for this. I exported the high with color information in the form of material IDs when I exported it so having that on the low makes initial material allocation much much easier.
Also by isolating the highs in SP we were able to get a nice ID bake too.
Here you can see my starting ID map. This will make blocking out the materials much easier. Hope this was informative!
For the next version of Hard Ops ( https://gumroad.com/l/hardops/ )the goal is to make it more game friendly. I generally do make to’s instead of exporting the high polys since it allows for better uv control and is more efficient. I plan to add more to the playlist about it however hopefully this gives some insight on how I use Hard Ops with Allegorithmic products.
I’ll be adding some videos to the playlist about this in detail however this guide should be a good enough jumping off point.
Ha I can’t stop talking! This plugin was just what I needed and it was made by Pawel Lyczkowski who also made the PUnwrap in HardOps and is a fellow Substance fan!