DECALmachine

by MACHIN3 in Materials, Shaders, Textures

DECALmachine is a blender addon - a set of tools to simplify and automate working with mesh based decals, which  in turn facilitates quick design thinking, iteration and exploration. It does all that in a very non-committal, non-destructive way.

DECALmachine is supposed to be used with Blender's Cycles renderer.

Check out the release trailer, the 1.3.5. trailer and crate demo above or on youtube.

INSTALLATION

See the installation guide for instructions.

Go over the detailed documentation, including a custom decal creation guide and FAQs.

FEATURES

  • new instant and batch decal creation
  • new modal decal height adjustment
  • integrated asset/decal loader (deselect all + press 'd')
  • use decals on flat surfaces and project them on curved surfaces
  • 'cut' decal panel lines in a boolean-like manner
  • parallax adds convincing depth to normal mapped decals
  • retain sharp details at all scales, independent of texture resolution
  • decal and panel UV creation is automatic and base meshes don't need UVs
  • change panel decal width and panel type after a panel has been 'cut'
  • change the panel decal shape and direction after it has been 'cut'
  • retrieve the original un-pojected decal sources at any time
  • retrieve the cutters of panel decals at any time
  • material cutting and material decals
  • separate decal subset materials
  • separate panel materials for each side side and panel flipping to switch those sides
  • match decals to target materials
  • panel unwrapping for custom drawn or modified panel decals
  • quickly rotate decals in 45 degree steps without leaving face snapping
  • 111 decal assets supplied


REQUIREMENTS

Blender 2.78, Cycles renderer.
Only stable releases are supported, use the addon at your own risk with the latest builds of blender.

suggested tools for the best experience:

Please see decal.machin3.io for extensive and up-to-date documentation.

Installation

I have no idea how to install this, how is it done?

See the Installation guide and follow it precisely.

Principles

Can you bake the decal normal maps to a single normal map?

Out of the box, you can't, there's no support for it yet. That said, aMars on blenderartists has done it using xNormal. Also, Prime8 on polycount suggests it is possible in Blender itself.
I will investigate both of these routes, it looks promising.

For now it's pretty laborious work, as it requires manual decal atlas creation and adjustment of decal UVs to fit the atlas textures accordingly.

With the 1.4 release, which will focus on exporting decal geometry and textures, this process should be simplified and ideally completely automated.

Keep in mind however, that in regards to real time content, the whole point of using decals - in combination with custom/weighted vertex normals - is to stop relying on baked normal maps. The idea is to take the decal geometry into the engine and by utilizing deferred rendering techniques, have the mesh-based decals contribute to the textures of the underlying base mesh.
This is done very successfully and prominently in Star Citizen and Alien Isolation and this is the workflow DECALmachine is aiming at.

For now, the initial release of DECALmachine should be seen as a design tool inside Blender.

How do you export the decals to Unity/Unreal?

There's no export tool with the current 1.3.5 version. You can do it manually, but it's laborious work, as it requires manual decal atlas creation and adjustment of decal UVs to fit the atlas textures accordingly.

1.4 will be the export release and is actively being worked on.

Is the Asset Management addon required?

Since version 1.2. DECALmachine has its own asset loader, made possible through HardOps tech being graciously shared, and so Asset Management no longer adds a benefit in terms of bringing decals into the scene.

For all other importing needs(meshes, light setups, materials, etc) I personally still heavily depend on Asset Management and would recommend it to anyone.

Is there a way to make decals affect displacement instead of normals?

Technically it's trivial to change the decal node tree to do displacement as the height maps are already supplied. But think about it, a floating decal with actual displacement?
First off, the decal would need to be subdivided a lot, which can be done, but secondly what would happen to the displaced geometry? It would intersect with the base mesh the decals are floating above - you wouldn't see any of the displaced geometry, as it is sunk into the base mesh.

What you could do in theory is bake down the height map of the decals to the basemesh and then use that baked height map, without the decals for displacement.

Usage

How do I bring Decals into the scene? I can't see the asset loaders, when pressing the d key? What am I missing?

The asset loaders only show with nothing else selected. Context is important. Space in the pie is tight and most of the other tools already require the proper selection to be made, before they show up. If you have anything selected, press a to deselect followed by d to open the DECALmachine pie menu with the asset loaders.

I don't get any options in the pie menu, decal project, decal slice etc - they are all missing, the pie menu is incomplete. What should I do?

Context is important. Select the decal, then the object you want to project on. Then open the pie by pressing d.
Similarly, select one object, then another one to decal slice.

How can I add/create my own Decals to the library?

There's currently two ways to create custom decals:

  1. Instant Decal creation
  2. Batch Decal creation

Make sure you have an up-to-date version installed and see the Custom Decal Creation guide.

When I insert decals, they don't snap to the surface. How is this done in the videos?

When Decals are imported using the asset loaders, all snap settings are prepared - face snapping, align to surface, etc. Snapping itself is not turned on however. The suggested method to move decals and align them is by holding down CTRL while moving decals via g. This will turn on snapping for as long as you hold down CTRL.

Errors

ImportError: No module named PIL

You didn't extract the PIL archive for your operating system or didn't move it to the modules folder. Review the Installation guide and follow it precisely.

PermissionError: … Permission denied: 'C:\\Program Files\\… paneling.json'

You didn't install the addon to the user scripts folder. Review the Installation guide and follow it precisely.

ImportError: Cannot import name _imaging

If you are seeing this error on Windows when activating the addon, you need to install Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2015

ImportError: DLL load failed

If you are seeing this error on Windows when activating the addon, you need to install Microsoft Visual C++ Redistributable 2015

Any other Error not shown here

Please send a screenshot of the error message to [email protected], even better send a screenshot of the terminal/system console, which you can turn on under Windows or Help by clicking 'Toggle System Console'.

No FAQ's found for this product.

Item Rating

This item has an average rating of 5 from 7 ratings by the community.

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  • E12e88ce4f2d14eba1b6e12536030546

    pany112 17 days ago

    Speed up hard surface modeling, it is a must have

  • 89faa594d8702df7d3efa455a2ee7e6f

    papasmurf7777 20 days ago

    Great addon!

  • F6b6c1714506b6aaa3e02bbdb776f184

    tofmusik94 1 day ago

    Very Great Work !! Thanks

  • 2d0add8e8d9d4ab169e03c6c44977556

    Georjack 16 days ago

    It's an amazing tool!

  • 0f50454e31859a7ce864167d1758cff7

    patate3d 4 days ago

    une tuerie, un truc de dingue, fabuleux ! bravo

  • Large

    tcwik 20 days ago

    Works!

  • 090d52bbce4d2e6bf0825eb24d8077ba

    Team Csharp about 1 month ago

    Greatest tool since that other great tool...

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