BOOTCAMP: BODYPAINT 3D
Bodypaint 3D was one of the first 3D painting tools on the market, but even though it is long in the tooth, it should not be ignored!
Explore the 3D painting tool
Bodypaint 3D was a revelation when it was launched in 2000, as it allowed Cinema 4D users, as well as those who bought the standalone Bodypaint 3D application, a whole new paradigm for texturing CG models. Up to that point artists had had to work with clumsy workflows that involved roundtripping to 2D applications, or just choosing to ignore getting to grips with textures at all and relying on presets.
Bodypaint 3D enabled artists to paint directly onto the surface of their model, using tools that felt very familiar to those found in 2D applications, with a range of filters and a robust layer toolset.
Since those heady days, many applications have appeared and have either mimicked or stolen the march of Bodypaint 3D with dedicated painting tools.
This does not mean Bodypaint 3D should be neglected. While it has not received many key new features from Maxon for a while, that could be partly because the fundamentals are all there.
The greatest thing about Bodypaint 3D is that because it has been around for so long, it just works. The application provides an incredibly quick and robust way of adding textures to materials. While Bodypaint 3D does not have all the bells and whistles that come with the latest texture applications, there is a lot that can be done including projection painting, painting with bitmaps and painting in the UV view.
Multiple material channels can be painted on with a wide variety of preinstalled brushes and textures. This makes Bodypaint 3D an excellent way to try out ideas, and with the famed quality and ease of use that Maxon has built their reputation upon, Bodypaint 3D is extremely stable.
While it would be great to see Bodypaint 3D receive a makeover from Maxon (symmetry tools would be great), it would be a mistake to dismiss this application as anything other than a vital part of Cinema 4D.
01 prepare the Model
There are lots of different ways within Cinema 4D to prepare a model for Bodypaint 3D, as it requires UV maps to work. One of the easiest ways is to use the Paint Setup Wizard, which can helpfully create all the textures and even the UV maps for the model. If the model has multiple objects, you need to decide whether multiple materials or a single material across all the models is required.
02 paint with Bodypaint 3d
Once the model is ready, select a brush and colour and get painting. The brush in Bodypaint 3D is pressure sensitive if using a graphics tablet, allowing fine control over pressure and radius. Brushes can also be given a jitter to enable a much more natural placement for when creating dirt or grunge textures. Cinema 4D comes with a plethora of brush types to experiment with, and brushes can also be made from bitmaps for creating bespoke looks.
03 projection painting
There are two distinct painting methods in Bodypaint 3D. As well as just painting directly onto the model, projection painting can also be used, which allows the brush to be placed directly from the camera view plane and is great for stamping textures or working across UV seams. Be warned though that projection painting can look stretched or even broken when applied to acutely curved surfaces, as the paint only grazes the side due to the viewing angle.
04 layer up
Using layers for texture creation is almost identical to using layers in a 2D application like Photoshop. In fact, PSD files can be loaded directly into Bodypaint 3D for texture creation. As well as all the different blending modes such as Multiply or Add, Bodypaint 3D also supports layer masks and texture layers can also be grouped. This makes complex texture creation incredibly easy, and allows the ability to edit directly in an artist’s 2D image application of choice.
05 paint in detail
As Bodypaint 3D can create textures for every material channel in Cinema 4D, it is great for creating a whole texture set by adding bump and reflective detail for example to a model. As Bodypaint 3D can copy images from one material channel to another, it allows consistency of texture creation elements which can be freely moved around either in the 2D or 3D view. Sophisticated materials can be created easily using a simple but powerful workflow.
As Bodypaint 3D has been a core element of Cinema 4D for nearly two decades, it integrates seamlessly with the rest of the package. This means that texture appearance is consistent in the Bodypaint 3D view and in a Cinema 4D viewport as well. Using techniques such as making sure that a material is displaying a high resolution in a Cinema 4D viewport, means artists can see the benefit of their Bodypaint 3D work in the rest of the creative process. •