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!

3D World - - CONTENTS -

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.

06 in­te­gra­tion

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. •

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