Features



Here are the main features of the Sculptor software. You are invited to comment them or propose new ones by this form or by This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Any feedback would be appreciated.



Dynamic Mesh


While the artist shapes the object in Sculptor the mesh structure of points and faces is continuously updated in order to keep the desired detail level and smoothness of freehand deformation. In this way if you make large scale deformations e.g. drag a part of the mesh away from the other part there will never be bigger and longer faces connecting the two parts. It is because, while you are modeling, the dynamic mesh continuously generates new faces where needed or collapses the existing faces, if they become very small, to keep the selected LOD over the deformed area. This feature applies to usage of all tools as move, push and pull, displace, smooth, etc. and makes the artist work more concentrated in the art itself than in technical problems of the mesh topology. The dynamic mesh also enables different levels of detail in different areas all over the mesh. The LOD everywhere on the mesh could be changed anytime while modeling with the current selected LOD. For variable LOD read further.



Variable LOD


The level-of-detail is dynamically updated while the artist is modeling and it can be changed by the artist anytime for current tool deformation. It also could be applied to whole mesh if desired. With variable LOD of the dynamic mesh the artist could make any part of the mesh with the desired LOD without loosing any detail where it is needed or have useless detail in other areas. For example you can make the nose with some lower LOD and then make the eyelids with higher LOD or just some wrinkles on the nose with higher LOD, while the other parts of the nose remain untouched. Dynamic mesh with variable level-of-detail is a very powerful feature and it was researched especially for Sculptor.



Modeling Tools


Magnet is the push and pull tool. You can think of it as a source of gravity which force fades away from the center of the tool making it a "magnet" sphere. The force could be inwards and outwards thus making the push or pull effect. The force amount is variable as well as the radius of the tool sphere.


Sphere, as its name says, is a solid sphere you can use to push the surface to make bumps or "extrude" rounded shapes inside or outside the object surface. As with all other tools, the dynamic mesh takes care to keep the smooth deformation and desired LOD. The only adjustable setting of the sphere is its radius


Displace is one of the most powerful tools with a lot of settings. It is a 6DOF tool for applying common or custom displace maps to the object surface. Displacement maps are similar to usage of brushes in 2D painting applications, although in Sculptor they are 3D shapes instead of 2D patterns. They are predefined gray-scale images, where levels of gray represent depth (or Z coord) of any pixel of the image thus constructing a 3D shape used to displace the surface of the modeled object. The artist can choose from the set of brushes packed in with the Sculptor or define and use custom brushes. Each TIFF gray-scale image with or without compression and without restrictions in size can be used as a brush of the displacement tool. Lossless compressions are preferred because JPEG results in a low quality deformation shape. There are a lot of scale settings to adjust width, height and depth of the displacement shape of the tool which enable more possibilities than given by the static brush itself.


Move tool can also be called smear tool. It is a "gravity" sphere you can use to grab and drag the surface in space. The gravity fades away from the center of the sphere so the surface parts close to the center are grabbed stronger than that in the periphery, which enables smooth dragging and smearing of the surface. You can play with the adjustable radius and force to see the variety of possible applications of this tool.


Smooth is the tool for smoothing rough surface, to soften sharp edges, to dim some sharp details etc. Only the tool radius is adjustable.



Masked modeling


In modeling it is often needed to make changes on surface area while keeping the neighborhood untouched. In Sculptor the artist has a freehand mask tool to select areas to be locked for modeling. The masked areas become invisible. The object mask could be cleared and inverted.



Continuous or single touch


Each tool can be applied in a single touch or continuous mode. In single touch mode you have one touch per Firefly click which is usable for precise deformations. In continuous mode the tool apply its function to the object as long as the Firefly button is pressed and the tool shape intersecting the object.



Symmetric modeling


The most of all life forms have symmetric body, so symmetric sculpting is a necessity. In Sculptor all the tools could be applied with OXY plane symmetry. Any other plane symmetry could be achieved with object transformations. The symmetric mode could be turned on and off globally in the application and remains active for all tools.



Wheel modeling


The Wheel or lathe modeling is useful in making any objects with axial symmetry like pottery, round furniture, etc. or in making of some turbulent effects by smearing with the Move tool over the rotating surface and so on. The wheel mode could be turned on and off while modeling to start or stop the rotation of the object around the Y axis. Any other rotation axis could be achieved by object transformations. The wheel mode could be used along with symmetric mode for even more bizarre effects.



Controlling the mouse


In Sculptor you can control the mouse with Firefly to get rid of changing hands on devices all the time. You can switch mouse mode with a key shortcut - for example, the default is F12 key - while it is pressed you have the mouse emulation, otherwise you have the usual Firefly 3D space navigation. It is very usable for quick touching some GUI controls which are not mapped to key-shortcuts. You can also turn the mouse mode by GUI button to use it for longer time. This mouse mode works even outside the Sculptor tool in whatever application you want i.e. painting in Photoshop, modeling in other applications, internet browsing, changing the track in the music player etc.



Mesh Transformations


Sculptor supports object translation, rotation and scale offering simple interface for adjusting the transformation parameters and a real-time scene preview of the new mesh position and form before the transformation is applied. This is a general purpose modeling functionality and in Sculptor it has more value combined with the wheel and symmetric modeling to select any plane or axis of symmetry. NOTE: Please keep in mind that object (mesh) transformations are not the same as the view transformations. You can rotate or pan the view, zoom in and out and even in the scene view it could seem almost the same but it is actually not.



Environment


Sculptor working environment is very flexible and offer ways for adjusting of every of its elements to meet your needs and to ensure your working comfort.


Style Themes The GUI colors when it comes to graphics are different than in the usual everyday office use of computer systems, so using the default system theme for painting, animation or modeling is not a good idea. 11D Sculptor offers the option to use the current system theme if you set your entire system with your preferred colors and want them in the Sculptor too, as well the option to use custom theme e.g. the default Sculptor dark gray theme. It is also possible to customize that theme or make your own entirely different theme. Whatever you like you have full access to the colors and style of the Sculptor interface.


GUI Layout is customizable too. There are some predefined layouts which you can load anytime while working with Sculptor. If you need more custom layout you are able to make and use it editing an existing one or creating new one from scratch.


Scene Background color is adjustable too. You can change it anytime and the new one will be also saved in application settings.


Scene Lighting You have full control of scene lighting in terms of OpenGL lights. You have up to three lights with adjustable position and colors.


Object Material As with the scene lights you can also change the object material colors and shininess to match the properties of the modeled object.


Camera transformations could be done with the Transform tool or with GUI controls for zoom, transition to predefined camera positions as front, top, left, etc. and changing camera projection to perspective or orthogonal. As it is said above, these are the View transformations and they should not be messed up with the Mesh transformations.


Helpers are visual elements inside the scene which may help in modeling, e.g. grids, etc.


Indicators are other visual elements which show some state of the tools or scene. The Scene Indicator is a box in the left down corner, showing the scene current view transformation and lighting. The Firefly Indicator is a circle spot in the left top corner, showing the current state of the Firefly device and notifying the artist when the Firefly leaves the visible state or warns about eventual error conditions as IR noise.



Snapshots


In Sculptor there is no automatic undo functionality, but on every point in time the artist could save current mesh state as a snapshot and return to it anytime later if needed. There are no limits in the count of snapshots or transitions back and forth between them. Although it is not the popular undo, it gives more possibilities for branching the workpiece and to have more than one directions of modeling process. It also enables jumps to any saved state of the modeling at any time. In some meanings it is more than the linear undo/redo functionality.



Working with files


Currently there is support only for OBJ file format, which is very common in the industry and could be imported by all popular modeling tools or converted to almost every mesh file format out there. There is also a restriction for input object files which have to consist of a single and closed mesh.



Scripting in Python


Python is used to build the top layer of the Sculptor software structure, so it can be freely used to control every aspect of the application interface and functionality.



Plug and Run anywhere (Setup free)


Sculptor software does not need any installation. It is stored on the Firefly device and is running directly from it. Of course, if a local installation is needed, it could also be done e.g. for faster startup or any other needs the artist may have.



User-friendly License


Owner of the Sculptor is free to use the software on whatever computer system she/he wants without any restrictions. Like in usual licensing practices to lock to a specified system where the software is installed on or need internet connection to activate floating license and so on. The Sculptor software is locked to the Firefly device it is purchased with and the owner is not able to transfer the Sculptor software to other Firefly device. The Sculptor software purchased with a specific Firefly device will operate only if the same Firefly device is connected to the system. This is the only restriction of usage. So if you have purchased Firefly-Sculptor pack, you will never worry about any licenses and permissions to use it or not, so you can feel free to go anywhere and run it on any computer you want.