Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Pilgway releases 3DCoat 4.9

Pilgway has released 3DCoat 4.9, the next update to its voxel sculpting, retopology and painting software, adding soft Boolean operations, and a new resolution-independent texture painting workflow.

There is also a separate Windows-only beta build with experimental support for sculpt layers.

New ‘soft Boolean’ system chamfers intersection edges
The first major update to the software since 2017’s 3DCoat 4.8, the 4.9 update adds a range of new tools.

3DCoat’s Sculpt room now includes a ‘soft Boolean’ system, which enables the edge of a Boolean intersection to be filleted or chamfered during the operation.

It’s currently supported for geometric primitives, volumes, and by the Cut Off tool, which cuts a form defined by a guide curve or spline into a mesh.

Cut Off itself has been “completely redone” to improve the accuracy of the cut, and now includes a new Depth Limit setting, as shown in the video above.

Holes in geometry are now automatically closed before voxelisation, and the closure operation is described as being “much more stable and powerful”.

New ‘To Stripe’ UV unwrapping automatically straightens UV islands
Changes to the UV toolset include a new To Stripe method for UV unwrapping (shown above), which detects thin strips of quads and automatically straightens the corresponding UV islands.

The new method is now used by default, but users can restore the default to the other methods supported in the software, including Angle-Based Flattening (ABF) and Least Squares Conformal Mapping (LSCM).

The retopology toolset gets the option to identify sharp edges on meshes.

Changes to painting and scene export
The Paint toolset gets support for resolution-independent texture locking, intended to help users to “paint materials [at] low quality … then get high quality at the end”.

Importing or calculating a new normal, occlusion or cavity map locks the paint layer and saves the texture to disk. On changing resolution, the locked texture is used instead of resampling the current layer state.

The software also now supports 16-bit PNGs for alpha maps.

Other miscellaneous features include the option to zip scenes automatically on export. You can find a full list of changes via the links below.

Still in beta: new curve modifiers and sculpt layers
Two further sets of modelling features are available in beta, one within the main build of 3DCoat 4.9, the other as a separate download.

The main build features what is described as “a really rich set of curve modifiers”, accessible via enabling beta tools from the Preferences settings.

They enable uses to create a range of forms – including quite complex organic shapes, as shown in the video above – by sweeping and lathing along guide curves.

A new system of sculpt layers hasn’t made it into the stable build, although they are available as a Windows-only beta. You can find download links in this forum thread.

Pricing and availability
3DCoat 4.9 is available for Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.7+. At the time of posting, the Linux version hadn’t been updated, the latest stable release being 4.8.2.

A commercial node-locked licence has an MSRP of $379 and a floating licence an MSRP of $568, excluding tax. The update is free to registered users of 3DCoat 4.x.

Read an overview of the new features in 3DCoat 4.9 on Pilgway’s website

Read a longer list of recent changes in the 3DCoat 4.8 beta testing thread