Thursday, May 16th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Uniform 1.0 is an intriguing iPad modeling and painting app

CozyBlanket developer Sparseal has released Uniform, its much-anticipated all-in-one iPad app for creating textured 3D assets for games and concept art.

The modular, GPU-accelerated app is intended for high-resolution digital sculpting, low-poly 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, retopology and PBR texture painting work.

And intriguingly, it’s designed so that you can use the same set of tools for all of them.

The second commercial iPad app from the former Blender sculpting tools lead
Uniform is the second iPad app from Sparseal, founded by former Blender sculpting tools lead Pablo Dobarro, and Godot Engine developer Joan Fons.

The first, retopology app CozyBlanket, lets users retopologise 3D models simply by drawing the new edge flows onto the surface of a high-res model.

Work directly on sculpts, low-poly meshes or 2D textures with the same set of tools
When it was announced last year, Uniform generated a lot of interest among CG artists – partly because, while it looks cool, it’s quite hard to describe.

The official description is a “multi-purpose, art-focused data editor”, but a more tangible description might be ‘an all-in-one tool for creating game-ready assets’.

It is intended to make it possible to create high-poly sculpts, low-poly models, PBR textures and 2D images using a single unified set of tools.

That means that the same brush used to paint directly onto the surface of a high-poly sculpt can also be used to paint a UV-unwrapped texture on a low-poly mesh, even within the same paint stroke, as shown in the video above.

Familiar sculpting, retopology and painting tools
The individual tools in Uniform will be more familiar to users of other 3D apps.

You can create 3D models by volume sketching or manipulating the surface of a simple base asset, using a standard basic set of sculpting brushes.

The brushes can be customized with stamps, alphas and vector displacement maps.

Geometry can be retopologized by sliding edges around directly, or by using the pencil tool from CozyBlanket to draw low-poly topology onto the surface of a high-poly asset.

The paint tools paint surface colors or displacement directly onto the surface of a sculpt – including low-poly meshes, since displacement is baked in real time.

Uniform also has a built-in layer stack compositor, which supports layers with masks on all object types: both 3D assets and 2D images.

Intended for use on assets with ‘several million’ polygons
The examples shown in the demo video are all simple 3D forms, so we aren’t sure how easy it is to create more detailed geometry with Uniform.

However, the tools and layer stack are GPU-accelerated, and according to Sparseal, it is possible to work on a model “with several millions of polygons without any lag”.

Rendering and file export options
For previewing assets, Uniform has a real-time renderer with support for PBR materials, non-photorealistic rendering, and both point lights and HDR-based lighting.

The lighting and shading information displayed – the visual quality of the viewport preview – can be adjusted via an innovative on-screen control, as shown above.

For final-quality output, Uniform uses Blender’s Cycles render engine.

And to exchange 3D models with other DCC applications and game engines, Uniform supports importing OBJ files and exporting OBJ and glTF files, both with textures.

Price, system requirements and release date
Uniform is compatible with iPadOS 17.4 is later, although the software is optimized for the latest iPads, rather than models from 2018 or earlier.

It is designed for use with the Apple Pencil, so some features may not be accessible through touch gestures alone. It costs $49.99.

Read more about Uniform on Sparseal’s website
(Includes tutorials on the key features)

Get Uniform from the App Store

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