3D Coat SL Sculpty Retopo

3D Coat v 4.0.07B(gl)

OMG, I actually learned something today!  And became COMPETENT at it!!!


So here’s the deal.   You can’t export a Sculpty map from 3D Coat (you can import one).  So what you need is to get your voxel-sculpted object to be square-mapped, so you can use Blender or something to generate the sculpt map.  And all you need to do that is a flat-mapped cylinder, sphere, or — what I like to use — a capsule, exported as an obj file.  You import that into the retopo room as a retopo mesh.

Now I can’t find the blasted video, but the workflow goes like this:

  1. Import the retopo mesh; scale, rotate, move it into place over your voxel piece.
  2. Do NOT tell it to autoconform to the mesh.
  3. Turn OFF AutoSnapping to the mesh.
  4. Use the Brush tool to massage things into shape around your object, including smoothing.
  5. Then turn on AutoSnapping and use the smooth (shift) Brush to make the retopo mesh glom onto the model.

My probelm always is, I hit the smoothing, and the retopo mesh starts glomming, but then parts of it go nuts and start to spike out.  And then I get weird crap at the ends, and pieces crossing the symmetry line, and the mesh all folding under and over itself, and getting knotted up…!!!


Today I taught myself how to do it PROPERLY!  Same as above, but once you get it placed over the model, with no snapping, you can use any/all of these strategies…

There’s no “pose” tool or soft selection for transforms.  So if you want to taper one end of your retopo mesh….  Grab the select tool, go into face mode, and pick the rectangular selection.  Grab the end of your mesh, Transform, squish… Click the Select Tool, (at the top:) Clear Selection, Face.  Grab a little less of the mesh.  Transform to scale down… repeat…  Yes, irritating.

Then you’ll get this stepped shape, but don’t worry about that.  grab the Brush and used shift to smooth the steps out.  This smooth is da bomb.  It not only smooths the shape of your mesh, but it works miracles in straightening out your lines and evening out the quad rows.  It’s really brilliant.

Use the Brush in its regular mode to shove chunks of the retopo closer to the model surface.  Even out with smoothing.  Get it really close to the voxel model, but don’t sweat the little details and variations.  Also, if you have symmetry turned on, you might get the centerline of edges sticking up as you move the mesh.  Don’t worry about that, the smooth will take care of those no problem.


When you’re ready to glom the sculpty mesh onto the model, start at the poles.  These are the major trouble spots!  You might already have weird crap at the poles, like triangles sticking out of the mesh.  Try selecting one face or edge with the Select tool (remember to shrink the fool brush down to nothing, or you’ll grab a whole area), and then transforming it so it is a better size and orientation.

Next, use the Brush in smooth mode (holding Shift), and fairly small, and wave it over the pole.  If it goes nuts and spazzes out into a crazy spiderweb of crossing lines, hit undo!  Try turning OFF Auto Snapping again, and nudging the pole closer to the surface by hand.  You can also try to keep using smooth and see if that manages to untangle the lines… sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t.

Once you get the pole to glom onto the model, use a small-radius Brush and work in outward circles, smoothing to make the quads glom.  Remember to let up your mouse button every so often!  In case you need to hit undo at any time, you won’t undo 10 minutes of work.  :X

As the center of the mesh jumps down to the voxel surface, you may notice spikes and crossing lines.  Do Not Panic.  Remember to let up the mouse button, then smooth the messy area.  It helps sometimes to change the camera angle.  I don’t know why…  But especially if you find one of your vertices crawling under the mesh to halfway across the model somewhere…  Rotate the camera and smooth it again.  It might come back.

If not, undo is your friend.   So is Ctrl-S (save), when you get something working right.

Make sure you clear up any messes before you expand the radius of your glomming.  After you get about 1/4 of the mesh around the pole glommed, remember to stop and go to the other pole.  Do the same thing there.

Clean up by smoothing the heck out of everything.  Anywhere the lines are too tight, smooth.  Anywhere the lines are crooked, smooth.  Anywhere the mesh is a little thin over a surface feature, smooth.  Smooth everything!


The only thing I can’t figure out is how to more sophisticatedly (and with more control) bend and manipulate the retopo mesh to, say, go around corners (like a leg to a foot).  I managed with the paltry Retopo Room Transform tool and Brush, but it came out pretty wiggy.  :/


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