drone83

BoxCutter 5: Switchblade Update Notes

BC5 is only compatible with Blender 2.78 and above.

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.

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NewBox –

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
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Classic Box And Tab Mode (New Box)
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Cut To Cursor In New Box

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.

NewCircle –

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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But to show one more example of it.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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And the new box tab mode is useful for switching to a rebool (with X).

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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.

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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.

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Support –

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

 

Q: How do you install?

A: same as always.

Q : When I use drawshape / ngon / circle I get an error! I am using 2.78 and above.

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A: Check the modifier stack. Make sure no other booleans are active.

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Without the inactive boolean modifier present in the stack you now can use BoxCutter without issue.

 

In Closing –

As always AR is in the shadows… killing it.

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.

 

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Hard Ops 8: Polonium (P4 Update)

Hard Ops 0084 can only be used with Blender 2.78 and above.

There is also new WIP documentation.

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.

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Kudos To MACHINƎ for allowing his drone to be the ad for this version. He is also selling it as an asset. I recommend giving it a study if you’re interested.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cameras also have a Q menu. With handy options.

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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.

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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.

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In preferences there are additional properties for the HUD and how long it displays. That way you can adjust this to your liking.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Enabling Pro mode to see Clean Mesh in Q menu

Clean mesh will dissolve all useless edges. This can be useful for simplifying meshes for boolean operations.

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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.

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Moth3r created the gun image which also was an Hard Ops ad.

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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.

The WIP manual is always being updated. I will begin making it the final documentation for hard ops so please check on it occasionally for additional information on how to use the tool.

Inspired by Machin3 and his tips on Hard Ops I was inspired to make some drones!

So get to work operatives! Box Cutter 4.5 coming soon!

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Hard Ops was featured in 3dArtist Magazine Issue #99!