In this tutorial I describe my workflow of creating basemeshes in blender and importing the objects to 3D-Coat for scultping and retopology. Of course applications like 3D-Coat also offer the possibility to create basemeshes with primitives, masking and slicing, but I like to define my basemeshes using vertices, edges and faces most of the time.

Creating a basemesh in Blender

When I define a basemesh the first thing I need is a piece of paper. Then I draw my object I have in mind in simple shapes: Circles, boxes, lines and so on, just sketching. When I am happy with my sketch I open up Blender and begin to add primitives. Here is a sketch-example of a robot I am modelling currently:

Very simple sketch of a robot

Very simple sketch of a robot

I know, very simple and every kid could do it – but it helps me to imagine and plan what I want to create.

I start with the head and add an UV-sphere. I use smooth shading for this object cause it gives me a good preview on how my object will look like when rendered. Most of the time I define the basic shape grapping and moving vertices and edges using proportional editing:

Propportional editing Blender

Propportional editing Blender

When I am done with the rough shaping I add a subsurface modifier for the object and add in some edge loops, especially for the hardsurface parts of the object. I don’t want to stay at a low-poly level because I want to add as many details as possible before I import the object(s) to 3D-Coat for scultping. I could add all details also in 3D-Coat during the sculpting process, but I like working with blender for the hardsurface parts also. For example adding details like seams or carves can be done very accurately using edge loops in combination with subsurface modifier:

Joint with subsurface modifier in Blender

Joint with subsurface modifier in Blender

The shoulder-joint above is a simple UV-Sphere for which I added edge loops that I have extracted and/or resized. I add all needed primitives in Object Mode. After that I am ready to export my model as obj to 3D-Coat.

There are 2 ways you can go:

1. Export the whole object as one piece. When exporting like this, you are not able for example to sculpt different parts of the model separately or at least, it is not so easy. Also defining different shaders and materials for appropriate parts is tricky.

2. Export as separate objects. When using this kind of export, you can import the obj as separate objects to the Voxel Tree in 3D Coat.

For my robot I decided to join objects of the armature as one object and the rest of the robot to another object (body parts). Then I define 2 different materials for the 2 objects and export like this to obj:

Export obj to separate objects

Export obj to separate objects

Import into 3D-Coat as obj

Importing to 3D-Coat is easy. Just open 3D-Coat, select File->New, Surface mode and choose an empty viewport. Then import the object for voxelizing:

Import obj for voxelizing

Import obj for voxelizing

Now your object should appear in the center of the stage, resize it to fit the view and select Merge without voxelizing to import the object to Surface mode:

Import without voxelizing

Import without voxelizing

Sculting in 3D-Coat

So why do I import the model from Blender to 3D-Coat? Well, I want to add details to the object with sculpting and features like Live Clay with Alpha-textures which are not offered by Blender in a way 3D-Coat does. For example I want to add some details to the joints and the torso for which I use Live Clay with an appropriate Brush (alpha). Then I select a metal-like shader for the model and the result can look something like this:

Live Clay 3D-Coat and metal shader

Live Clay 3D-Coat and metal shader

Now you can sculpt-in more and more details, add layers, plates and materials before you – if you like – retopo the model and texture-paint it. Have fun with it.

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