Boxcutter 7 (2.8): BetaScythe

Boxcutter has been an adventure. And the journey is nowhere near over. Without further ado lets get into it!

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Blender 2.8 went Beta today which was our deadline for the next release. We always try to support the latest version of Blender. So many emails and messages about 2.8. and I hear ya “let’s boxcut in Eevee”!

Boxcutter 7: BetaScythe is only supported in Blender 2.8 and depending on changes stability can be variable. After the last Boxcutter release it was apparent that a rewrite would be needed for the end goal of being able to use all shapes in 3d and also allow for custom shapes to the level that we want.

We have plans to integrate widgets in the future to further connect these features with the systems we’d like to add. Our goal is to someday have a setup that can work with mouse, touch and even a pen.

What’s missing?

Like Hard Ops / Boxcutter had a few losses on the way into 2.8. We plan to add them back better than ever but everything required evaluation in this transition. To list the casualties:

  • Grey Box
  • Blue Box
  • Purple Box
  • Green Box
  • View Alignment
  • Bisection
  • 2d behavior
  • Rotation
  • Scale

We hope you find more than enough to enjoy what we have in store. Updates for this release will be more frequent until the next level is achieved.

How do I use Boxcutter?

After installation (placing the folder in your folder) and enabling the add-on.

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As you can see the options have been simplified. This will get more complex over subsequent updates.

Auto Smooth – smooths the cutter object / turns on autosmooth on cut

Geometry Repeat – allows for hold ctrl and left clicking to repeat previous cuts.

Multi Edit – allows boxcutter to cut every object selected similar to how 2.8 is

Debug – not needed except for diagnosing issues via the terminal. This will slow down you experience if you leave it on.

About The UI

Boxcutter is our first. Active tool.

You can start it in the T panel.

blender_2018-11-29_19-29-39.pngAfter clicking the icon (pending) there will be an additional set of options up top in the 3d view.

This version works for now but we expect changes over the next couple of versions that could be a major departure of this current experience.

When Boxcutter is open the toolbar up top will contain options related to Boxcutter. We have great plans for the expansion of this but the tools shown is the current setup.

One of my most requested functions was the behavior panel which is at the end. I find it necessary that users be able to customize their boxcutter experience before, during and after the cut if need be.

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To explain each icon there are tooltips but to break them down into sections.

Operation / Shape / Action / Mode / Draw Method / Behavior


Cut – cuts the shape via the shape selection upon draw

Slice – cuts a separation via the shape selection upon draw


Box – allows for box drawing of shapes 3d or 2d. Pressing X during draw

Circle – draws a shape using a circle


Lock Shape – this is part of our pen usage initiative. There is no need to click this as a mouse user and this behaves as an indicator.

hotkey: TAB

Draw Shape – another part of our pen usage initiative. This will allow for us to go back to draw mode and then behave when the pen is found. This is also an indicator.

hotkey: D

Extrude – allows user to expand the shape

hotkey: E

Move – allows for 2d movement.

hotkey: G

Array – allows for array (roll wheel to add more segments) press x y z for axial direction

hotkey: V

Bevel – allows for bevelling (roll wheel for segements). Still remembers the segments from last time. If the mouse is still it can also jump to the same width as the previous shape.

hotkey: B

Many of these are state indicators which currently work better via keyboard shortcuts until widgets are in. Unless you use a pen. Then you are in for a new adventure.


Destructive – cuts destructively

Non-Destructive – cuts non destructively


Corner Draw – typical way boxes should be drawn

Center Draw – how circles should be drawn


Align shape to view – force 2d cutter. If you want to force cuts to be only 2d use this option. Alternatively you can draw in 3d via on the surface or 2d via starting from 3d space.

2d Expand Cut – when using 2d in 2.8 when you cut the mesh is eliminated. By clicking this the shape isn’t seen being eliminated until application. This option comes in handy when attempting to see what is being cut out.

Display cuts during modal – This pause play option will pause instant feedback during cuts. This is more like 2.79 in behavior but with play enabled the cuts will be shown live.


Adv options – allows for fine tuned adjusments related to the tool. (still in progress)


Getting Started

I start Boxcutter using the alt + W hotkey personally but the T panel option is also nice.

At the bottom of the 3d view it will say “Activated Boxcutter” in the notification area.

LMB for drawing a box.2018-11-29_20-21-15.gifIf the mouse is on the surface it will be a 3d surface box. If the mouse is in 3d space or not on the active shape it will be 2d.

You can force 2d using the options up top.

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Notice how when you cut using 2d expand it has a more visual experience than with the dynamic cut but it’s worth experimenting with.

All the cuts so far have been dynamic. Now for a few destructive ones.

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Now for an interesting new addition.

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If you bevel and then draw starting using the bevel tool the shape will be pre-bevelled. This has been a long requested feature by myself.

Array is also present. And now works with 2d. One of the benefits of a rewrite is the hope we will unify 2d and 3d and have them all contain the same features.

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Array can also be remembered for next time via using it as the draw object.

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I know I forget some things with these notes but there’s always an easter egg or two to explore.

Now for circle.

Circle is best used with center draw. One day it may default to that but the war over ovals continues internally.

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Also if you draw a 3d circle and use ctrl + LMB it will repeat the shape. Another long awaited feature.

Now for slice.

Pressing X during a draw will create a slice. This can be useful for mesh separations and is the beloved rebool come to life.

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All these cuts are non destructive meaning I can edit them adjust them and even Csharp them.

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Circle can also have it’s segments set via the behavior drop down up top.

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You can also Tab into pause and adjust segments then as well.

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Circle also arrays. (wip)

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Multicut

When multiple objects are selected cuts will affect them.

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And with that I believe we have covered the initial experience for Boxcutter 7.

Proxe has went above and beyond in his rewrite for 2.8. We aspire to make it much more than it’s 2.79 counterpart and that required rewriting it from the ground up. As always I must thank AR, proxe, and Redfrost for their work on the release. Tony Leonard for his diligence in learning 2.8/HOPS and Boxcutter at the same time and being an all around great user for us to test ideas using a fresh perspective. Also Tony is my sensei.

We hope you enjoy this release and continue to hang in there with us as we strive to bring you the best in cutting for Blender 2.8 and beyond.

Proxe was working on this until the last minute. Be sure to tweet him if you love his work!

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And he kept working after that. Go to bed Proxe.

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Boxcut image by Tony.

Known issues

Boxcutter F6 box –

Is just for show. If you adjust it errors will result. This is due to differences in the way Blender works now. We hope to find a way around this. However the top bar is recommended for changing things.

 

Extended Notes (these are post release fixes)

Phase 1 (8:07pm 11-30):

Fix for array when kept live.

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Array count in top bar for users without scroll

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More options exposed up top.

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Vertices refers to circle segment count. It only shows if circle is selected.

Array count is also present.

Bevel segments is also present.

 

 

Phase 2 (6:15pm 12-2):

Bevel clamp has been fixed for the repeat usage in the bevel.

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Repeat Shape has been improved to retain bevel and array.

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Bevel 2d has been fixed and should work better.

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Array circle has been improved.

  • draws correctly

  • repeat shape

  • array repeat shape support

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Bevel segment update.

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The options are also context sensitive now.

Slice has been improved with management of choice changes.

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Sort Modifiers is a new option we’re experimenting with.

It will keep your modifiers in order and place the boolean at the start.

If you are using a mirror >> bisect / bevel >> angle / weighted normal workflow this will assist while we work on a proper mirror.

Here is an example of me setting it up.

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Notice the modifier stack as I cut with sort modifiers on.

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The modifier order is kept. We plan to experiment and evolve this option / behavior over time.

Bevel Shrink Fix

If the bevel is too small for comfort it will be removed. This should alleviate issues with doubles.

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Flip

I pushed for this for 24 hours. And finally Proxe added it. Took 10 minutes.

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We hope you enjoy the latest update!

 

 

 

https://gumroad.com/l/hopscutter

Phase 3 (2:51pm 12-5):

Bugfixes.

 

 

 

Phase 4 (4:10pm 12-6):

Boxcutter 704

Sort modifiers has been expanded.

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Now there are options for sort modifiers and options for choosing which modifiers get moved or ignored.

 

Show Wire – shows wires during draw. Support item.

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Blue Box – press K during draw. Cuts in edges.

known issues: will remove weights. We hope this resolves itself as blender evolves.

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Start mode tracking – sets mode back to starting tool at the end of tool after using it in a switched state.

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Hard Ops 0097 / 2.8 : Release Notes

product updated last 12/6/2018 4:34AM

2.8 has arrived. And now we look forward and move forward with our LMB fingers on the ready. And with the release of BLENDER 2.8 Alpha we release Hard Ops 0097: Promethium.

Before I begin I must add this will be an extended release. We attempted to port over as much as possible and make it work within the new Blender but many things will need to be re-approached. Extended means we will be improving it over the course of the development with a more rapid update schedule than the usual.

To clear the air before we begin here is what is missing in this release.

  •  inserts
  • merge options and workflows
  • relink (replaced with collections)
  • UV preview
  • Xunwrap
  • radial array
  • display ngons/tris (no scene handler to update / broken)

Many of these things will return even better than last time with expand ability in mind for their expansions. There were many ideas for this release that didn’t make it due to stability or lack of time. As Blender 2.8 changes we endeavor to go for the most streamlined workflow we can come up with an effective way to use Blender and our tools.

Without further ado lets begin.

Alt + V / Sub-Menu: Eevee Improvements

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This one was added by me. So its simple. But I was very happy to get it started. When we first went into 2.8 it took a moment to figure out how to get these options where I wanted.

Machin3 was so kind as to give me assistance in solving things and after that I was set! He has also released Machin3Tools for 2.8.

The breakdown of the alt + V menu is as follows,

  • Overlays (formerly quiet mode)
  • Eevee HQ / LQ (changes the scene to quickly show a nice result) (enabled shadows / AO / sets cavity) It can also be quickly turned off.
  • Viewport Mode
  • Viewport Mode Details
  • Lighting setup sphere / matcap sphere
  • Rendering checkboxes for view
  • Specific checkboxes for view

I must add machin3tools has made a different approach to this setup but I was assisted by his support.

 

Hard Ops Helper Improvements

blender_2018-11-29_13-44-22.pngThe (Ctrl + ~) helper has been updated to 2.8 and also has settings for Viewport Color / Roughness / and Transparency type for Eevee. This comes in handy for viewport shader management and also creating glass materials with transparency.

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In the 2nd image we see the mirror options and sharp options still intact. The interactive mirror was affected last release so the previous system also remains in case anything happens.

Mirror Changes

2018-11-29_13-52-20.gifInteractive mirror (ALT+ X) almost died. I am pleased to announce it pulled through. When this was broken I was expressing how riots would be had were this popular feature not present. Thanks to AR and proxe respectively.

We have plans to grow this into something more visually appealing but the framework is in place. I am excited to think of what this version will become in 2.8.

Relink was the 4th box and with it gone now there is only 3 options.

  •  Modifier (now with bisect options)
  • Bisect (classic bisect)
  • Symmetrize (one and done classic)

Alt + shift + x / y / z still do the classic mirrors and mirror mirror (for mirroring one object across another). But the F6 menu is there if you need to make adjustments.

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BWidth

Blender’s bevel modifier has changed. We are optimistic we will at least get where we were in a future update but this is a major change.

Weight doesn’t show if a mirror mod is first!

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During Bwidth pressing S will change the bevel from weight to angle. 

That is our only fix at the time. The solution is simple. Don’t mirror. Just kidding but if you do face this issue just apply the mirror and ssharpen and you can proceed.  This brings us to the next glitch affecting our workflow.

Bevel Weights will disappear if you apply a mirror!

This bug is another one that drives me a bit crazy but I am optimistic it will be resolved in future releases.

2.8 is treading into unfamiliar territory but since they keymap and even selection is changed it makes 2.79 a very hard road to go back to. So I understand any frustration this may cause.

 

Cslash

Cslash now can rebool. It was supposed to be capable from the get go. But now users can cut. Then get back the cut if they desire.

Works in both a destructive and non destructive state.

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Classic slash still applies.

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Menu Changes

The q menu also had a few adjustments.

Thin Q menu

If an object is a plane there is a special menu for it. Or just thin really. It came in handy during testing and I felt was worth keeping around.

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Multi Q menu

When multiple objects are selected. Difference is in the menu.

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Just trying to make booleans even more accessible.

Eevee Support

I have fallen in love with Eevee and it’s realtime performance offerings. Cycles will have a place for me.

The Q menu has options now for area lights, and suns for contact shadows and energy. I was able to find a pretty effective workflow for enabling shadows and setting up lighting.

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Fixes

I know I am failing to mention many many fixes. There is not an operator present that AR didn’t have to touch up or refine. Or Proxe.

 

In Closing

HOPS goes on. I personally wanted this release to feel close to the last one in terms of feel and experience. That was we can radically change it but have a baseline to refer to. Active tools have become a big part of Blender and we want to make our tools behave in that same sense. Of course we don’t want to change anything to alienate users but I dream of a dynamic array spin radial system that will finally be worthy. Like the mirror.

I must shoutout Adam K, Pro3 (formerly known as proxe), Machin3 and of course AR.

AR has been with this since the start. He’s definitely one of my favorite people to bounce ideas off of. Also Boxcutter creator. I truly consider him 50% of this endeavor and a cheater in Mario Tennis.

Proxe works like a Machin3. He’s just insane. And a leaker. Proxe also was the principal designer behind the 2.8 Boxcutter rewrite so we hope you’ll be pleased with the work so far. Everyday he wakes up “how’re the tools!?” and “boxcutter broke again… its been dead for XX hours” It takes a special soul to work with me.

Adam K. new icons coming soon. I am always excited to see it.

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Support

I pride myself on the support I provide. I try to respond to all emails, messages and requests that aren’t soliciting or spam. If you have an issue or need help there are support groups but also you can always email me at masterxeon1001@gmail.com

(support issues only or jobs (I’ll always take a job))

(edit: Job received!)

 

Extended Notes (these are post release fixes)

Phase 2 (8:07pm 11-30):

Fixes for Cslash with Boxcutter (now it works!)

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World rotation for alt + V menu.

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New Ssharp / Csharp

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AR surprised me with another update to the beloved C/Ssharpen. The UI is updated and now has options for global sharpening management on the ssharp level.

  • if you want ssharp to replace autosmooth values it can
  • if you want autosmooth to stay where you had it manually but still sharpen without changing that. You can do that too now.

 

I am also doing content for this release as we refine it get a discussion going.

Today’s video.

 

Phase 3 (4:26pm 12-6):

AR added many fixes for ssharp and csharp. The helper has also received a small redesign. Csharp can now be toggled to jump into Bwidth after usage making this a one click operation.

Right click to be able to access the F6 in this configuration.

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2.8 has made some changes to weight having us needing to rely on angle as a fallback system for bevelling.

AR made changes to the helper for making that process easier.

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Now Csharp has an alternate workflow enabled by default to ease the transition. I plan to go over it in detail in an upcoming video.

In addition several reported bugfixes has been resolved with more to come.

 

Phase 4 (7:00pm 12-1):

  • Q menu quick favorite support.

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  • Gizmo system for Array and Mirror added

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  • Cleanup and minor fixes