Hard Surface Detailer

by Jacques Diringer in Scripts and Addons

Speed up your hard surface workflow

Hard Surface Detailer boosts your sci-fi modelling workflow by generating the tedious and time consuming details automatically, while still giving control on what is being generated.

Select quad faces from which to generate technological details with infinite variety.

Three main styles are available:

  • Hull (red): separates faces into metal plates which shapes are controlled by settings with a high degree of abstraction
  • High frequency (blue): greeble looking small details. Varied visual languages can be achieved through the settings by playing on the recursive depth or repetition parameters
  • Structure (green): X shaped customisable support beams


Who should use the add-on

The types of details generated are suited mainly for sci-fi content. This can range from spaceships, to futuristic buildings, as well as robots etc...

The three main use cases for now are:

  • Help you refine the geometry of a final model, saving time on small tedious details creation
  • Try several shapes for a new design/concept and quickly get a feel of what they would look like with a more finished geometry after putting it through the Hard Surface Detailer
  • Quickly iterate on different visual languages over an existing shape. Trying many styles and rythmes in various areas.


Features

  • Random generation with a user defined seed
    • Gives you infinite variety by modifying the seed value
    • Maintain the possibility to recreate a previous result by using the same seed
  • Deep control on how the random seed is repeated: providing a sense of order or "man-made" through repetition, while retaining variety by diverging on the smaller details (see "Iterations before diverging" in the documentation)
  • See the effect of modifying a parameter instantaneously on the resulting geometry
  • Assign a material automatically to a part being detailed and create UV sets to facilitate interesting material creation
    • Different UV coordinates for each hull plate, to help you discriminate between them if needed for the material
    • Different UV coordinates for each subdivisions with the "high frequency" style, for the same purpose as for the hull plates
    • Different UV coordinates between the rivet parts and the rest, for the same purpose as for the hull plates
  • Flat and smooth normal on vertices are already defined in a way that makes sense with the generated geometry


How to use the add-on

After installing the add-on, a new "Detailer" panel will appear to the right for 3D views in Edit mode (the "Detailer" name can be changed in the add-on preferences):

Select the quad faces you are interested in detailing and simply click "Ok" after choosing a style and the related parameters.

Once the generation is done, parameters can still be tweaked thanks to the mirrored menu that will appear on the bottom left of the 3D view:

The controls here are the same as before, the difference is that modifying a parameter will instantly trigger a details generation corresponding to the new value. This allows for quicker iteration and refining, while offering a more direct understanding of what a parameter drives.

For information on the role of each parameters, please refer to the documentation page. Lots of different styles can be achieved by tweaking the parameters.

Many times, the key is to just browse through the random seeds until something that suits your needs is generated!


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