Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Otoy unveils Sculptron

Otoy has unveiled Sculptron, a new GPU-based tool for sculpting animation caches and for converting mesh sequences into volumes. The software is currently available for free as a time-limited alpha.

The new application was announced alongside OctaneRender 2020.1, the next major version of Otoy’s GPU renderer, now available as a public preview.

A simple GPU-based tool for sculpting animation caches
Sculptron is a new GPU-based tool for sculpting static models or mesh caches, importing or exporting files in OBJ and MDD format.

In its forum post announcing the release, Otoy comments that it is “not a replacement for ZBrush” or other dedicated sculpting tools, being intended primarily for animation workflows.

Potential use cases include editing simulation caches to remove unwanted elements without having to re-run the entire sim, or fixing artefacts in character animations.

That puts it in the same sector of the market as NewTek’s ChronoSculpt – released in 2013, but not really updated since – and newer alternatives like Mush3D.

Former NewTek 3D artist Lino Grandi, responsible for some of the original ChronoSculpt demos, now works for Otoy, and posted the announcement for the Sculptron alpha on the company’s forum.

Still pretty basic, but Otoy has posted a rough product roadmap
In its initial release, Sculptron is fairly bare-bones, featuring a basic set of 3D sculpting brushes, including Push/Pull, Smooth, Flatten, Clay and Inflate, plus brush radius, hardness and strength parameters.

There is also support for 3D layers, plus a basic animation key editor.

According to the rough product roadmap in Otoy’s form post, future releases will feature additional sculpting features like alpha brushes, masking, a wrinkle tool, and support for displacement maps.

Proposed animation features include a proper graph editor, a range of interpolation types, animated deformers, bone-based deformation and the option to paint weight maps.

Otoy also says that it will also add support for the Alembic file format when reading or exporting caches.

However, one interesting feature that Sculptron does have out of the box is the option to convert any mesh or mesh sequence into a volume and export it in VDB or Houdini’s SDF format.

In its forum post, Otoy pitches the feature as useful for concept artists looking to create art-directable clouds, sculpting the forms directly, then converting them to volumes for rendering.

Pricing and system requirements
Sculptron is currently available in alpha for Windows only. Otoy hasn’t announced a final release date or pricing information.

Read more about Sculptron 1.0 on Otoy’s forum