Friday, July 29th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Otoy ships Sculptron 2022.1 in early access

Otoy has released Sculptron 2022.1 – the next version of its GPU-based sculpting tool, intended for editing animation or simulation caches exported from other DCC applications – in early access.

The initial XB1 release added support for grooming hair exported from other software, more sculpting brushes, new modifiers that can be used to add secondary motion to animation caches, and a toon material.

The latest build, Sculptron 2022.1 XB3, adds a new cloth brush and wrinkle deformer, and adds dynamic sculpting capabilities to several of the software’s existing sculpting brushes.

An interesting GPU-based tool for sculpting animation caches
First released in 2021 after a year in alpha, Sculptron is a GPU-based digital sculpting tool.

Unlike software like ZBrush or Mudbox, it isn’t designed for sculpting static meshes: instead, it is intended for use in animation workflows, for editing animation or simulation caches.

Use cases include removing unwanted elements from simulations, or fixing artefacts in character animation.

It can exchange animation caches with other DCC applications in Alembic, OBJ and MDD format, and can also convert meshes to volumes for export as OpenVDB files.

Support for hair grooming workflows
The first early access release of Sculptron 2022.1 – Sculptron 2022.1 XB1, released in June – added support for a number of new workflows, including hair grooming.

Sculptron now supports Alembic curves, making it possible to import and sculpt hair caches as Alembic files; and supports the LWO file format, which can be used to export FiberMesh hair from ZBrush.

Once imported, hair can be groomed using three new brushes: HairClump, HairComb and HairMove.

New sculpting brushes, including a Mask brush
Sculptron’s set of 3D sculpting brushes has also been fleshed out with several that will be familiar to users of other applications, including Clip, MoveElastic, Rotate and Scale, taking the total to 21.

A new Mask brush lets users paint masks to restrict sculpting operations to a particular part of a surface.

New deformers make it possible to add secondary motion to animation caches
The update also expanded Sculptron’s deformer stack, which can be used to make larger procedural modifications to a mesh, or to add new secondary motion to an animation cache.

New deformers include Camera Lattice, for freeform deformation; a self-descriptive Jiggle deformer; camera Motion Blur (shown above); and Push, which displaces a surface outwards along its normals.

Other changes: new toon material, light types and support for rendering preview animations
Other changes include a new toon material, for use on cel-shaded animation; new Spot and Area light types; and the option to render an animated preview of a scene to disk, including with Otoy’s OctaneRender.

Alembic support has also been extended – as well as Alembic curves, Sculptron can now import and export sequences of Alembic files with changing topology; and can import animated cameras, joints and nulls.

New cloth brush, wrinkle deformer and dynamic sculpting capabilities
To that, Sculptron 2022.1 XB3, released today, introduces a set of features that replicate the behaviour of real-world cloth.

Dynamic sculpting capabilities have been added to several of Sculptron’s existing brushes, automatically deforming the surface of a mesh into cloth-like folds and wrinkles, as shown in the video above.

The same underlying technology also powers a new wrinkle deformer, which can be used to add dynamic wrinkles to the clothing of animated characters. You can see more demo videos in this story.

More new features to come before the stable release
Otoy’s XB releases are alpha builds, so more tools will be added to Sculptron 2022.1 before the stable release. Other features scheduled include vertex map painting and variable topology mesh sculpting.

Pricing and system requirements
Sculptron 2022.1 XB3 is available for Windows 10 only. The software does not support Intel GPUs, but otherwise only requires OpenGL 4.6, so both AMD and Nvidia cards should work.

Otoy hasn’t announced a final release date, but in the past, it has taken between five and nine months for new versions of its products to go from initial preview to stable release.

The software is rental-only, with subscriptions costing €9.99/month (around $10/month).

Although it isn’t listed as a subscription benefit on the firm’s website, Otoy tells us that Sculptron is also available as part of its Enterprise subscriptions to OctaneRender.

Read a full list of new features in Sculptron 2022.1 on Otoy’s forum
(Includes a link to download the software)