Saturday, July 13, 2024

3D Coat: A Unique Program

3D Coat is a software that provides the user with a complete set of tools for creating digital 3D models of objects. Whatever the surface of the virtual model – organic or solid – the program allows you to recreate it throughout the entire modeling process – from the block of virtual clay to a ready-to-use object.

It is an advanced comprehensive tool that allows you to create detailed three-dimensional models, impose textures in high resolution on them and apply various visual effects. It disposes of a well-designed interface since this program is a professional 3D graphics editor.

Most of it is occupied by a window for interacting with three-dimensional objects around which some menus and panels provide quick and convenient access to the tools and functions of the program.

Most graphical (2D) editors use layers with which you can break the illustration into separate parts and work with each of them independently of the others. 3D Coat uses the same approach.

Each layer in a three-dimensional composition can contain information about depth, color, reflection, etc. Layers can be edited by adding extrusion, transparency, contrast and changing the mode of mixing them.

In this editor, you can sculpt 3D models in the same way as from real clay. The editor offers a set of modeling brushes, allows you to perform Boolean operations, supports adaptive dynamic tessellation technology and much more.

3D Coat provides the user with a large set of visual effects and textures that you can use in your work. Thanks to the use of retopology, voxel sculpting, and UV mapping, it becomes possible to create highly detailed three-dimensional models of any complexity.

By combining a well-thought-out interface and a large arsenal of capabilities, this editor is a professional tool in which you can create realistic 3D models for use in various projects and areas.

Key features of 3D Coat:

  • Ability to draw 3D models both in pixels and in using Ptex technology,
  • The rendering technology fully supports the latest standard of game engines. It is based on the consideration of the physical properties of materials (PBR) and allows you to recreate a realistic look of models,
  • Easy customization of used smart materials,
  • Multi-layer drawing technology with an unlimited number of layers and ways grouping them, using various blending modes,
  • Textures up to 16384 px are supported,
  • A quick calculation of curve maps and background shading of objects is implemented, 
  • A wide selection of drawing tools,
  • The process of sculpting is not limited to the topology of the object and is similar to working with clay,
  • Retopology of objects is possible both in manual form, with conveniently customizable media, and in an automatic mode, with the ability to configure the parameters of triangles. The application provides the ability to import a reference mesh. For the convenience of controlling the process of retopology, the organization of retopological groups with a color palette has been implemented,
  • An intuitive and fast tool for creating sweep sets (UV-mapping) that support the management of multiple sets,
  • The deployment algorithm in the program is native, which determines its stability. The program also supports ABF, LSCM, and Planar deployment algorithms,

The 3D Coat program also includes a specialized export module that prepares the model you created for 3D printing. Using the module makes it possible to get a printed model as close as possible to the design you created.

Retopo Room

Here 3D-Coat is one of the best options, as it has the best toolset up to date to do the job of retopologizing your model. It excels Zbrush in it as well as specialized programs like Topogun, not to mention plug-ins, add-ons for 3DsMax, Maya packages, etc.

UV Room (Module for creating texture coordinates for your model)

Here everything is also obvious. Today 3D-Coat has a very powerful mapping toolbox. Although there is still something to work on, in most cases it copes with a bang. Sometimes there is already a rather dense mesh, technologically this is not entirely correct, but here it is: it needs coordinates and there is nothing to be done about it. In such cases, only 3D-Coat will cope with it – what has been tested many times.

Paint Room

3D-Coat supports the following drawing technologies: Per Pixel Painting, Micro Vertex Painting, PTEX, Voxel Painting.

In Per Pixel Painting the quality of the texture depends on its resolution.

In Micro Vertex Painting the quality of the texture depends on the density of the mesh (number of vertices).

Disney’s PTEX technology allows you to change the resolution on a texture locally and eliminates the need to create a manual scan; in fact, a face scan is created automatically.

In Voxel Painting voxel painting is used.

Drawing textures in 3D-Coat is very convenient. There is a large set of tools as well as flexible and convenient features. It also includes: drawing at the same time on several channels, support for UV tiles, resolutions up to 16k (for comfortable drawing you need more than 2 gigs of RAM for video); many strokes, drawing with masks, materials, deformation for masks/materials, color correction tools, working with individual channels, transferring information from channel to channel, layers and various operations on layer; custom brush settings; ability to create brushes in many ways.

There is symmetry and topological symmetry, also in the presence of 2D Grid and 3D Grid.

Excellent work with 2D editors: Photoshop, Gimp, Paint Net, Krita, etc. Ability to export projections in an enlarged size, work with specular maps, colors, etc.

Render Room

This is the weakest side of the program, in my opinion, as it uses outdated methods of model rendering. Except for viewing with shadows, it cannot be used for anything else. Significant processing of rendering, light, and shading in the 3D-Coat program is expected soon.

A new version of the program 3D-Coat 4.5 has been released. The developers have added many new interesting chips.

The following formats are supported:

spline, SVG, eps, tga, BMP, png, jpg, DDS, tif, tiff, exr.

You can easily subtract some objects from others and combine them using Shift or Ctrl – it is simple and clear. Control over objects using voxel layers, control of visibility and transparency, easy and intuitive control of the hierarchy of layers are presented.

In hard-surface modeling, 3D-Coat excels Zbrush: in terms of speed and convenience in the first place. In addition, in the scene with a large amount of data, the layers can be cached to disk and also displayed in the proxy mode – a simplified display.

The degree of simplification is established by the user. Polygonage in the scene can reach tens of millions of voxels (up to 50,000,000 or more).

General changes:

– Physically Based Rendering and Smart Materials

The physically correct rendering is a rendering that takes into account some features of materials. PBR materials are sorted by type: plastic, metals, wood, fabric, paint, rubber, etc.

Metals and insulators reflect and diffuse light in different directions. Nonmetals diffuse scattering capabilities and weakly expressed reflectivity (fabric, plastic, wood, etc.).

Metals (gold, silver, steel, iron, etc.) are elements without light, but they have distinct color images.

– Symmetry

Now all tools support new symmetry. Presets also supports symmetry (optional). The Symmetry dialog box now pops up and can dock.

– Tapering angle

Bas-relief and Undercuts now have a tapering angle parameter. This is useful for 3D printing.

– Compatibility / GGX / Blinn-Phong shading

This shader preserves colors as well as the previous 3D-Coat shader, but it still takes full advantage of PBR (Physically Correct Rendering).

– HDR support for panoramas

And, of course, bugs were fixed and other changes were made!


3D-Coat is a very useful program in which you can perform several stages of work. And, in my opinion, the combination of 3D-Coat and Zbrush is wonderful in every way.

These two can solve almost any problems arising while producing 3D content, from the initial stages to the completion of models. Currently using Zbrush for organic sculpting and 3D-Coat for everything else (creating texture coordinates, drawing textures, mapping maps, retopology), I recommend using this bundle.

It is important to remember that there are no working recipes for all occasions or for all times. Each project can set its tasks. It is important to know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of a program to use it skillfully in the production process.

A very great program and most importantly, all of its declared characteristics are true. You can make any model or whatever comes to your mind from scratch. This is a new level of 3D printing and it has all the tools to realize any of your ideas.

To start using the program, you need to buy it. In terms of price, the 3D-Coat program is very affordable. You can buy a licensed version of 3D Coat.

Attachment to 3D-Coat is one of the best investments in specialized software for creating 3D content. As a rule, for this price, you also get about 2 years of free updates.


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