Boxcutter has received an update as part of our continuation of the 2.79 series.
It is with great pleasure that I release Boxcutter 688: GhostScythe. There were quite a few new additions and refinements to classic ones.
Even with 2.8 on the horizon it is our goal to continue as normal until the future of Blender is ready and stable. With modifiers present we are on our way but there are still some missing items.
Without further ado let’s begin.
The top file on the market is the latest. The top file is always the latest. The files below are always legacy support going back a couple of versions.
It is also worth noting that Buildbot appears to no longer have Carve present as a boolean solution. As a result the hard mode Bmesh may be the only algorithm going forward. But Carve will be missed.
RedFrost has been a new member of the team this release. AR continues to be the shadow boxmaster enigma. RF is special because he does my ideas even if they make no sense. AR is special because he’ll make an idea make sense and take it so far I don’t even recognize the core. Hard Ops / Boxcutter is nothing without the team so rest assured they were compensated for their efforts and continued contributions.
While drawing a box if you hold shift the box will be kept live. This is essential for situations where you want to cut but decide mid cut you want to keep it live.
Try it out! Hold shift while drawing a red box. It will remain live, allowing you to edit it after the fact.
Multi Object Cut
This was a big feature addition and one that really adds to the BC experience. With multiple objects selected you can now cut them with Boxcutter.
Also slicing is supported.
Now Boxcutter can live up to its name and Slice and Dice with multiple objects.
Edit Mode Cutting
Now edit mode supports all cutters instead of just blue.
In edit mode if you press X , Z or A the type of box will be changed.
This is another feature I am very excited about and am happy to announce is a part of Boxcutter. So cut anytime… anyplace.
*some conditions apply
Circle: Center Cut
While drawing a circle the center can be toggled to spawn at the 3d cursor with D.
This is useful for times where the circle has to be in the perfect center with 3d cursor precision.
This feature was a personal long time request of mine and am glad to finally have it in Boxcutter.
Custom Depth: V1
Too long have we been restrained by the 3d cursor when cutting to depth. How would you like a constant depth?
Cut depth is in the D menu and will allow you to use the 3d cursor differently than before.
In the old version cutting to depth was done by using the cursor as the depth indication.
The previous mode is still viable and usable however cut depth changes the approach a bit. The goal was constant cutting without realigning the 3d cursor.
Help System Improvements
Thanks to CGcookie our help system has improved. As a fan of retopo I always had my eye on their help and wanted to try something dynamic with it in BC.
Right clicking the help box closes it. The help box is also a good indicator of BC being activated.
RMB was used to prevent from accidentally moving the 3d cursor. This might be toggle-able in the next version.
You are also able to fine tune the corner and padding.
*some users have been reporting issues with this so a bugfixed has been pushed as the file at the top Boxcutter 0688 (zip). So this should be resolved.
Right Click Logo Snapping
Being able to toggle snapping without the D menu was an objective for touchscreens.
Right clicking the BC logo will turn it red. When the logo is red snapping is enabled. Hopefully in the future it will expand to cycle between grid and custom snapping but this was a final touch that was requested.
Orthographic Jump while Cutting
There is a pref that will make boxcutter jump into orthographic while cutting. This is useful for situations where numpads aren’t available and perspective cutting is not desired.
Notice that for every cut the view is jumped into ortho. Making it much more predictable. This drove me crazy when using Boxcutter on a laptop.
Hotkey / Color Coding Tab
Boxcutter now has a hotkey tab. In addition to hotkeys there are also UI prefs for color coding your cutting workflow.
This has become a common trend with our tools.
Also you can set a color for any alternate shape.
The defaults are as follows.
Red – cut (normal)
Yellow – slice (X)
Gray – null box (no selection / can also be toggled with A)
Blue – Edit Mode Knife (edit mode)
Purple – thickness slice (Z)
Alt + W starts Boxcutter. However now it loads up in the correct 3d view.
Fidget is pretty detached from HOPS and BC and is more of an experiment. However Hard Ops has an alt + V menu for viewport and Fidget pops up there was well if present.
FIDGET is a separate product that can be downloaded and installed similar to our other tools.
Fidget has many shift + w options in the node editor for mapping HOPS commands so give it a try!
Fidget like boxcutter can easily be closed with esc. Fidget will get documentations and its own blog post at a later time.
Edit Mode Booleans
When it comes to integration with new features I usually wait and experiment before integrating it in order to make sure it doesn’t disappear or change dramatically.
In edit mode you can select an object and press ctrl + alt + numpad minus or plus to union or subtract geometry.
This is less dynamic than object mode booleans but it offers exciting new possibilities as well.
Red / Green Boolean System
Previously Hard Ops had an immense amount of focus on setting up booleans then applying them. Over the course of recent work it has become needed to keep them dynamic for a little longer than previously.
To show in action. This is the classic behavior.
In the Q menu pending boolshapes will have an option for green / red.
Green will allow it to go on and be applied.
Red will stop it from being applied and allow for more adjustment.
Notice I changed it to red to stop it and keep it dynamic and live and back to green to then apply it and continue.
Sounds boring. Why is it last? Because it’s the best.
Previously Hard Ops used a combination of symmetry systems brought together but still was complicated.
Symmetrize which we modified to our needs.
Mirror Mirror a previous tool I was involved with. Now built in.
Automirror by Lampagne which was great however unification was the ideal method. So this tool is no longer needed.
The modifier helper is brought up with ctrl + ~.
The modifer helper lists the modifiers present on the selected model.
Materials and misc are the other 2 tabs. Lets look at the misc.
Expanding mirror options we can see there are now all options built into Hard Ops. And the best part is the fact that its listed in the helper means you can configure the behavior before the tool is used.
Mod – adds a mirror modier
Bisect – splits the mesh then adds the mirror modifier
Symmetry – similar to symmetrize and is a form of one and done destructive mirroring
Relink – relink will create a group instance mirrored on the negative axis of an object. This one is a form of mirroring which uses no modifier and is a group instance.
The mirroring rewrite was the biggest part of this latest update. I hope all the users come to enjoy it and without issue.
I must personally thank AR and Proxe among the many others who email me for their assistance. Its amazing this tool is still going and I hope to unveil many more ideas before we tie the bow on it!
I should mention here booltool is no longer needed / required for Hard Ops. We support it however certain features require it not be enabled.
After the release of Hard Ops 0087 we immediately got to work on the next version working to unify things on a level that makes the workflow easier to explain and use. I plan to release videos for this version when possible to help explain but I will attempt to in this update log.
Let’s begin with the Hard Ops preferences in the add-ons panel.
Add On Prefs –
The hotkeys of Hard Ops are now listed in the preferences. It is recommended to uncheck them to disable them. (Do not click the Xs). This shouldn’t be needing any adjustments and is experimental.
The addons panel and which ones are recommended is also updated .The main change is the decalMachine. Clicking the Hard Ops link will get you a discount on the product. To find out more about decalMachine check this link to find out more.
There is also a Modal Scale for making the modals work at larger scales but we will go over this in its 2nd location. The misc menu of the Hops Helper (ctrl + `)
Ok so with the addon prefs aside lets get to the T panel. The Hard Ops learning tab is there for users to find out more on how to use Hard Ops and get help.
I hope the learning tab can be useful in helping more people get started with Hard Ops.
The Q menu has went through some changes. As you can see all options are listed however the context. For example merge and cslash (formerly rebool / cslice). These options are particular and will do nothing if the context is not correct.
But another thing to note is Cstep / Sstep / CBake are gone. The cstep / sstep workflow is now simplified into the Csharpen / Ssharpen / Step workflow.
Basically Step will bake the bevels and set up the bevel modifier in addition to putting the mesh in Cstep mode.
To demonstrate this in action. This is the normal boolean / Csharpen behavior. Just perform a boolean action and press Q and Csharpen. Also note the boolean object became sstatus: boolshape. This give the boolean object a special q menu. I bevelled using a neutral bevel instead of csharpen bevel due to the cutting of weights into geo is not recommended.
To take this a step further lets Step and then do a boolean and Csharpen again. Then use Step to bake the previous bevels and then adjust the bwidth of the new bevels. This is not much of a departure from the previous workflow except now ssharpen and csharpen work with cstep meshes. So the other operators were not needed. This should make the learning process easier for beginners especially.
CSharpen and Ssharpen now work on multiple meshes. As does Bwidth.
This isn’t even the best part.
In the T panel and (ctrl + ~) Modifier Helper is an Sharp tab. This allows you to set the sharpeners S/C and step’s angle parameter. This can be useful in cases where you need a higher number before doing an operation. This makes the Hard Ops workflow much faster and easier to work with. Here is an example of how it can be used.
The easiest way to explain what is going on is.
Bwidth to show the bevel is still live
Step to bake the bevels
Changed Sstatus to Csharp for emphasis
Ssharp with 30 degrees (this bevelled the bevel with is undesired)
Changed angle using Mod Helper Sharp area to raise to 45.
Bevel is no longer effecting undesired edges because the limit is 45 and not 30
Bwidth has also seen some enhancements. In addition.
You can use Bwidth to turn off bevel modifiers by pressing V. In fact pressing H will show help. This is for all modal operators.
There are even more enhancements beyond this that I am sure am missing. On a technical level they perform even better with heavy scenes than before however with so many changes I expect glitches.
Reset Axis Operator –
We added an option to reset an object on an axis.
It comes in handy for orienting things on the x axis which is it’s main purpose.
Sharp Manager –
This was also an important feature that I am quite pleased with.
In short. This will convert sharps to seam / bevel mark / sharp / subdivision crease. This can be useful when using subdivision to block in a model and then applied and used with beveling which I do alot.
This panel looks complex but really the top is all that matters.
In my typical use cases I am holding shift and clicking sharp on the left side and selecting all the options on the right side.
When using subdivision block in and applying it via alt + c or clicking on the apply button of the modifier all the ssharp edges get converted to sharp edges so the converter just converts them back.
Modifier Helper –
The misc tab has been populated with options. This will be useful for using this in full screen mode and accessing quick options. In this screen all options are expanded for effect. I’ll go over what they mean.
Sharps (covered previously on page)
Bmesh / Carve (this will change the behavior of booleans in Hard Ops)
Bmesh is nicer but less stable / Carve is completely stable but gives undesired edges alot of the time.
Modal Scale – Sets the modals to a multiplier for working with meshes larger than usual or smaller. This is ideal for scale modelling or accuracy.
Status – sets the sstatus of the mesh. Replaces sstatus override.
Mesh Options (options for dealing with a mesh and smoothing)
Set smooth / flat shading / autosmooth angle and enable autosmooth.
Show wire / all edges. For times when wire must be enabled or disabled
Parent – just a test
There is still more we plan to do with the helper. It has opened the door for a whole world of functionalities. The modifier helper concludes a 3d long dream of being able to mess with modifiers without the panel.
The material helper is also working better than before.
Cutting Material is where you can specify a material to cut into another object.
This was covered in the last version where it made its debut.
Bevel Multiplier –
Sometimes when I finish a model I want to divide / multiply all the bevels present. This option fulfills that need. All selected objects will have their bevel width multiplied by two. Or divided with the checkbox which can also add some realism depending on context.
Sstatus Logo –
At the top of the screen it used to tell the sstatus of the object however this proved to be confusing to this has been replaced with a discreet logo for notifications. I want to expand its uses however this is the initial implementaion.
Someday it will do something in addition to be colored for notifications but that is for down the road. It is barely visible when the mesh is not in a sstate from Hard Ops. This should provide some assistance to following future tuts and understanding the upcoming “modes”.
Renderset 1 –
Renderset 1 is my default render setup I use for tutorials and basic rendering. It has been expanded to use filmic.
This is just the way I render and can help with setting up renders. GPU recommended.
Edit Mode Enhancements –
MDisp – Mesh Display –
This will hide ssharps from showing in edit mode. This was requested a while back.
Only a visibility change. No sharps are affected.
Edit Sharp Global –
If you need to adjust what edit sharp does the T panel allows this. You can also set it in the (ctrl + `) modifier helper.
Other than that there were no other notable edit mode changes at this time. Things are planned however but planning is required.
With that I conclude this update log and can’t wait to show whats next for Hard Ops. This has been a steady refinement over time and not a day goes by where we aren’t discussing what next to do with Hard Ops. I am honored to have received so much support over the course of the project. The community keeps this tool alive.
Also if you are curious of the official changes internally there is release_log.md file you can open in any text editor or even blender’s text editor.
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.
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.
Hard Ops has experienced many changes underneath while attempting to retain the same philosophies that have been used over the course of it’s development.
The menus have been revamped with many new options and new icons thanks to Adam Krol or AK.
So the menus have remained the same on the main level for the most part however the options inside are where the real changes can be found.
Its important to remember in Hard Ops.
The first 3 options are the recommended options. You should use those however if not you also have operations where you can use options that aren’t in the top 3.
Meshtools, Inserts, and Settings are used less often so they are the bottom. Usually the first 3 do the recommended job in most cases so it also can be an indication of the mesh status. But that is a bit of work. How about we do you one better?
Now the 3d view has an indicator in the corner for showing the status of the hard surface mesh.
In Hard Ops as far as the functions are concerned there are 3 mesh types.
-meshes that hard ops hasn’t touched intimately. Undefined meshes.
-meshes that have been Csharpened (thus beveled)
-meshes that have been Cstepped (bevels are baked but re-added)
Understanding these 3 mesh types will ensure your success with Hard Ops. One day the process will be made easier but it’s quite easier than it was in previous versions so progress is made with every release.
Also new to Hard Ops 007 is the on screen hud. This was added by the animation nodes master Jacques himself! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ABAuGEvBMmau-1xJsNw6w There are quite a few superstars involved in this version and code wise its more solid than it has ever been. But of course expect bugs haha.
The hud was something I wanted for a while and based off of user feedback it seemed obvious visual feedback would make things so clear.
Q-Array was added as the result of Jyri and further perfected by Jacque who I gave the code name Python because he’s a fierce coder. AR added the ability to set up 2 arrays at once on it then we realized we were making features we’d never use.
T-Thick is now T-thick2 and has an on screen hud now as well. All the visual feedback is making my goals of fullscreen working closer to a reality.
This is just the beginning. The features list was beginning to get so long that it was hard to keep up with all the changes. So lets continue with the features!
It’s not uncommon that I request a feature that is met with “that can’t be done” or “python doesn’t go that way”. However the modifier helper is one such thing. This was first implemented by my good friend, product visualizer and fellow coder Claas Kuhn https://www.youtube.com/user/cekuhnen/videos
By pressing Ctrl + (`) you can bring it up in the 3d view and edit modifiers on the fly. It was further perfected by the Python to fix glitches and now it works perfectly.
The goal is to someday open blender and press alt + F11 for full screen mode and then alt + F10 for full screen 3dview. With this addition, the goal is even closer and I plan to expand on it even more to make the menu more useful. Many who are using the preview found this little Easter egg already by it is one of my favorite.
You may have also noticed the preferences section with recommended add-ons. I have always recommended particular add-ons for the utility and functions that they offer that expands on the original behaviors.
If you are missing an add on it will simply show you where to get it. No errors. However some options may be missing that are special experiments with functions for Hard Ops to play off of. I am a big fan of the Mira Tool for example so in edit mode there’s a quick option in the Q for using the curve stretch when present. However this is just an extension for convenience and experimentation so it’s all unsupported. If it works for you just have fun and enjoy the ride.
Auto-Mirror is another plug I am quite a large fan of. As a left handed artist. I made a small adjustment to make it accommodate. When present in Blender with Hard Ops additional options are unlocked.
There is both a Mirror Helper popup window and an experimental option panel as well. Both of them function primarily the same however the open menu is a little quicker. It’s just something worth experimenting with as well. I enjoy the bisect and mirror behavior of the auto mirror so it’s utility in hard surface application was fairly self obvious. I do love the way it behaves.
That doesn’t mean the regular symmetrize hasn’t been left out. It has been updated with an on screen display and is now interconnected and rewritten from scratch. It also supports Cstep and Cshapen behavior so it can symmetrize and setup the mesh for cstep without messing up the bevels that were previously baked. This was something that annoyed me personally so I was glad to see it fixed.
There have been many overall fixes to the behavior and the psychology that was brought about with the introduction of the status mesh system.
What I mean by this is….
When working in Hard Ops I assume by now you understand sharpening and stepping. You sharpen the mesh to perfect and set up the surfaces but once it’s detailing time you cstep it. You don’t go back to csharpen and ssharpnen then. Because the default settings will bevel your bevels. Which will never look good and can cause artifacting.
So now if the mesh is in cstep you can no longer use the sharpeners which is much better for the geometry and the psychology of the user. This update was added as the result of me watching one particular user. Who will remain nameless.
If you wanted to really reset the mesh to use the sharpeners you could always clear ssharps under operations. Which resets the mesh status.
In fact. Clear Ssharps has a hud now too. Everyone gets a hud this release. Sometimes I look over the plugin and ask. Who else needs a hud?
The addition of subsets was in the 0065 release.
These inserts are different than the regular inserts in both behavior and usage. Subsets are basically inserts that are built to be inserted within a surface and then csharpened or sstepped to integrate it into the surface. Personally I like to use cstep for this since it allows for individual bevel configuration in between bakes. However this is a finalization workflow. There is no going back. At least without a little pain.
Subsets are made up out of 3 meshes. Subsets also insert always to the 0,0,0 of the scene and not on faces and at the 3d cursor like regular inserts.
AP which is what you use to set it on the surface and the merge. It is an X-ray mesh.
BB which is the mesh that is being cut out to make room for the…
OB which is the mesh that is being inserted into the surface.
This is a system I have been working on so I can expand its usage even further. However in its current state when you insert a subset. It selects the AP automatically so you have to do nothing.
Except hold ctrl and snap it to the surface. After pressing G to grab.
Then shift select the underlying surface and choose merge to finish the job.
The subsets are not built to be customized but are just me experimenting with different mesh systems so for those who long to add their own assets…
Wazou has played a major role in the initial insert system implementation however the idea of user added inserts have been taken to another level with Asset Manager or AM for short.
Users of AM will be pleasanly surprised to see that Hard Ops utilizes the AM plugin in its menus when present. You also have an option to turn if off if you wish to keep them separate. The support of AM was an important thing to me personally and even if it’s not present you still have inserts to play with. Consider our insert system a demo of what AM is capable of.
AM would be it’s own post and they already have documentations so check it out.
While we’re still discussing inserts. The classic insert system has been upgraded immensely and is using an entirely different system. When you insert meshes to faces they are already sharpened and have material groups for quick mat layouts. They also insert in a modal scale mode so you can perfect the size before applying.
The internal process of inserts was rethought and re-coded with an entirely different approach than before. Thanks to the python the inserts are more stable and better than ever. Not to mention the on screen messages and the auto grouping upon insert.
The insert system of Hard Ops is quite different than previous versions and also has a tear away version so you can have it on the screen for a moment. And thats not all!
There’s now an asset scroller for cycling through them without the big window. Just in case you’d like to try it.
“The Python” implemented quite a few features this release and also rewrote many of the sharpeners to increase their stability and to get them to interconnect. So Csharpen calls on Ssharpen while Csharpening.
Rebool also has support for Cstep/Sstep mode where it will keep the mesh status.
Theres many small glitches that have been fixed for example the menu not showing when nothing was selected. Or the menu not showing when there were no objects. “The Python” fixed that.
The settings area has also had some additional parameters added for convenience. For example there is an option to rename an object. Or make the name display in 3d view.
These were more options that were an inconvenience to locate manually. However if you think that’s it, we’re only getting started.
In addition to renderSet improvements I also added a parameter for the cycles samples for times when I just want to boost it a little. If you select a camera the options are a little different. This was also something that I felt needed to be done since sometimes the N panel can be a visual mess to sort and find things in.
Under Operations there is a panel you can use to set the bevel segments on an object to something else. It has been surpassed in usage by B-Width but is still available.
Some of these options may seem excessive however they are just ideas to see how well they work. I might do a poll on how some of the features are working and see about removing some but that’s for later. I like the usage at this time.
The goal is to have some smart context menus that come up with Q for particular options with parameters that are useful to the users.
The next topic is sure to cause some disputes.
The Pie Menus have been upgraded. As have the Menus. As have the Panels. In fact completely rewritten.
Since version 006 the pies have fallen into disrepair and behind on the latest tool enhancements. So we took the opportunity to rewrite their logic and make them behave like the menus themselves.
The menus are 3 options / Operations / More Options
So that same thought process was taken to the pie menus.
While the arrangement may seem odd this is AR’s take on it for the 007 version. It contains the same psychology of the menu with the arrangement being optimal for preventing the 3 main options from being the spotlight. There are also boolean options when multiple meshes are selected thus reducing the need for the 2nd pie menu. Also inserts show when nothing is selected.
The pie menus had been ignored for a bit previous to this so it’s good to have them usable again. There’s even more feature and glitches to go over however this should suffice for an introduction to Hard Ops 007.
I hope everyone has been enjoying it as much as I have and I thank everyone for their support. Without the immense team you see in the credits and author list this plugin would never be what it is now. I hope that the future holds many more enhancements and improvements.
Also demos galore!
So cubes are how I have come used to testing Hard Ops quickly. Over the course of this adventure I am proud to see these cubes looking more and more serious. I implore everyone to try on one before diving in just to make sure the tools are working as predicted. Its a hoot.
I’m sure there’s many many more missing here I could be listing but those were the ones I liked and was most grateful for. Feel free to make a donation and support them. They are all free so there’s no reason to not download them all!
edit: i forgot to add myself! I got some freebies too!
I did a unique type of UVing that worked around the materials that I set up during modelling. I found this to be slightly easier but we will know during the UVing and texturing phase. Also for UVing I have a tutorial that explains my workflow in depth.
I am going to be releasing the full course soon to gumroad which is a direct sequel to my last tutorial course for DPS on using Zbrush/Substance Painter/Blender. This course hopefully will expand on that knowledge and demonstrate my workflow in creating a character that in my opinion is superior to the first in both modelling and execution. I have also been honored to get advice from professionals on design aspect and how to effectively showcase the character even under all of that armor.
So recently I discovered this software called Paintstorm that is just amazing. The behavior of paint style behavior on each and every pixel that the brush touches is inspiring and intuitive. I am not a concept artist by any means but the acquisition of this fine program is just the kick I needed to move forward. I definitely recommend going to their site and picking it up!
In other news. I have been so lucky as to get mentoring from Anthony Jones on design and art in general. He has taught me so much in a limited time that its staggering so I’ve been hard at work on refining and pushing my style to the next level. At this same time I have also expanded my software collection even more and am even becoming more familiar with fusion 360. It’s definitely a learning adventure finding out how real parts are made. I did this helmet as a test to get better at overlap and making more unique designs. I plan to release the timelapse soon on YouTube after narration but I am already digging the look before refinement.
So while I’m yammering on I am also giving away stuff over at my Patreon if you’re interested in supporting me more closely on my journey as an artist. But for the people that are in support I am working night and day to give them inside access, materials, clothes, mech parts, models, etc. So also check that out if you’re interested.
I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. It’s the people that keep me going with this endeavor even as working day and night makes my body hurt haha. But seriously I’ve been hitting the PC extra hard this month so I’ve been quiet these last couple of days but I can’t wait to drop gold on my patrons and silver on my community.
I have also been doing some studies in Substance Designer to get more acquainted and fast but something I have been enjoying lately is Unreal Engine and sbar support.
By installing this plugin for substance support in Unreal you can import just sbars and deal with textures without linearzationi ssues or graph tomfoolery. I have just fallen in love with this since it just goes to show how important substance designer is in one’s pipeline. For another reason to use substance designer let this man explain it.
Really I think this is the future. Having 4-8 maps per asset and multiplied across characters can be a tedius thing to deal with and manage and this workflow is the future in my opinion and is worth a look. Allegorithmic is even having a sale right now for 40% off! So at least try the demo. Its complicated because its awesome.
Also for my patrons I am working on some sbars to throw up as well based off of stylized textures I have been admiring. One of my pastimes is taking classic textures and converting them to full PBR. So patrons, expect this little sbar soon to test in UE, Maya, Marmoset, and Unity! Still getting the grasp on making that epic mold that substance designer is known for making but that’s all for tonight!
Ugh… I’m still here. Hahah just kidding! The fabulous Skin Vibes has come up with the most marvelous of theme songs for “The Servant” (details coming soon) but I am always impressed with this man’s work. He’s also a Blender user so thats always a plus too!
He seriously drew it in like 30 seconds. It was just amazing. Check him out. He’s a large part behind my rapid improvements.
I modeled it in Blender and did some last minute scaling to get it to be a pistol. Afterwards I did a paint-over of the render in Photoshop.
Afterwards a quick render was setup to show him with the gun this time before he goes back to the editing bay. Had some 2d heroes drooping some advice on the composition and pose. Fun times.
There was no reek on GOT this week. Sup with that. Team goldmask amirite? They was pegging the hell out of that dragon. Ain’t seen one in forever and was dropping unsullied and giving dragons the business. Hahah.