Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Pilgway releases 3DCoat 2023.26

Pilgway has released 3DCoat 2023.26, a major update to the sculpting, retopology and 3D painting app.

New features include support for vector displacement maps for sculpting, including the option to export maps to other DCC software like Blender and ZBrush, and a new Python API.

New Vector Displacement Map system adds complex surface details to sculpts
Pilgway releases new builds of 3DCoat every few days, so features are added over the course of multiple updates, but 3DCoat 2023.26 is the first version since 3DCoat 2023 that the firm has specifically promoted.

At the time of writing, the online release notes haven’t been updated, but according to Pilgway’s email newsletter, one of the main new features is support for Vector Displacement Maps (VDMs).

Also supported in ZBrush and, more recently, Blender, VDMs may be used to add detail to surfaces during sculpting, like standard 2D alphas.

However, rather than displacing the surface in the normal direction, they displace it in three dimensions, making it possible to create complex overhanging 3D forms with a single dab of the brush.

The implementation in 3DCoat makes it possible to convert geometry under the brush cursor to a VDM and transfer it to another mesh – shown in the video above to copy the nose of one 3D head to another.

The software comes with a built-in library of VDMs for common use cases like detailing skin and rocks.

It is also possible to export VDMs in EXR format for use in other DCC applications that support them.

New Python API for automating repetitive tasks and creating custom tools
The other key change in 3DCoat 2023.26 is the new Python API.

Like the Core API introduced in 3DCoat 2022, it can be used to automate repetitive tasks, customise the functionality of the software, or create new tools, but uses Python, not C++.

According to Pilgway, the two APIs are very similar: an “almost 1:1” correspondence.

However, the Python API can be used without any extra set-up, and makes it possible to use existing Python libraries within 3DCoat, at the cost of reduced performance, particularly for complex tasks.

Price and system requirements
3DCoat 2023 is available for Windows 7+, Ubuntu 20.04+ and macOS 10.13+.

For individual artists, new perpetual node-locked licences of 3DCoat cost €379. Subscriptions cost €20.80/month or €169.85/year. Rent to own plans require 11 continuous monthly payments of €41.60.

For studios, new perpetual node-locked licences of 3DCoat cost €539; floating licences cost €579. Subscriptions cost €29.85/month or €299/year for node-locked; €34.85/month or €319.85/year for floating.

You can find details of educational pricing on Pilgway’s website. All prices exclude tax.

Read a detailed list of new features in 3DCoat on the product forum
(Changelog is in the third post: individual posts about 3DCoat 2023.x start on page 91 of the thread)