[Blender] DECAL Machine : A quick way to create decals for Hard-Surface

polycounter lvl 3
Offline / Send Message
Yadoob polycounter lvl 3






DECAL Machine is a new Blender add-on focused on the mesh based decals worflow popularized by Star Citizen. It allows to quickly and easily place and project decals who simulate details. It works in a non-destructive, easy to modifiy and keeps clean and optimized geometry.
It also comes with a bunch of ready-to-use decals assets.

DECAL Machine has been developed by MACHINE3 




FEATURES:


  • 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
  • ~100 decal assets supplied

TUTORIALS



REQUIREMENTS

Blender 2.77a and above, Cycles renderer for preview. For a better exerience, it's recommanded to also use add-ons such as : 

DOWNLOAD LINK

The add-on can be downloaded on Gumroad : https://gumroad.com/l/DECALmachine#



Replies

  • littleclaude
    Offline / Send Message
    littleclaude polycounter lvl 8
    Amazing, great job!
  • NoRank
    Offline / Send Message
    NoRank triangle
    That is amazing. Hope unreal makes a decent support for this kind of stuff
  • Michael Knubben
    Of particular interest for us game artists:
    "Export to Unity/Unreal incl decal atlas generation is coming!"
  • Obscura
    Offline / Send Message
    Obscura greentooth
    awesome

    but Blender k h m
  • Electro
    Offline / Send Message
    Electro polycounter lvl 12
    Looks awesome, good job!

    Now if someone would make this for modo....  o:)
  • chrisevansart
    Offline / Send Message
    chrisevansart polycounter lvl 2
  • CybranM
    Offline / Send Message
    CybranM polycounter lvl 4
    This looks amazing
  • Dataday
    Offline / Send Message
    Dataday polycounter lvl 5
    $12??!? You are breaking my balls here! So expensive!  (sarcasm).

    Great work! Wish this were for Modo as well. Just another reason to get back into Blender at some point.
  • Phoenix995
    Offline / Send Message
    Phoenix995 polycounter lvl 5
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?
  • Gazu
    Online / Send Message
    Gazu polycounter lvl 5
    One more reason to start learning blender and to give a .... about expensive 3D packages which are 200 bugs per month...pfff....
  • MACHIN3
    Thanks guys, warms my hard that this is well received here as well! You know, when I started working on this a few weeks ago, I kept wondering why this hasn't been done yet. Surely, people on SC and AI must have similar tools and they've been working with decals for years now.

    I think, I'm gonna hijack this thread and post future updates here :)

    "Export to Unity/Unreal incl decal atlas generation is coming!"

    Yes, just to confirm, working on this right now!

    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    One more reason to start learning blender and to give a .
    Do it, at least give it a serious shot for a few days. It's a customizer's dream, if you are into that kind of thing (which you should). The times where the blender UI sucked are long gone IMO. I'm working in full screen 95% of the time and I'm working without a manipulator/gizmo as well. It's heaven.
    Blender made me switch from Modo, after 10 years around 15 months ago, haven't looked back.

    With some python, which is easy to pick up(I started with it January last year,), you can then really unlock Blender. It will supercharge your experience and allow to to deal with problems easily, that are a pain to do by hand(everywhere, not just in Blender).

  • Shrike
    Offline / Send Message
    Shrike polycounter lvl 4
  • MACHIN3
    Yes, just flat(unless projceted) planes, normal + parallax mapped, except panelling which is just normal mapped.

    Oh, I just wanted to mention https://decal.machin3.io which is essentially the documentation(it's gonna hold all DM blog posts). It's quite in depth.
  • ahtiandr
    Offline / Send Message
    ahtiandr polycounter lvl 6
    This is really awesome!!!! I wish this was possible to do in MODO as well.
  • Michael Knubben
    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?
  • Prime8
    Offline / Send Message
    Prime8 polycounter lvl 2
    MACHIN3 said:
    ...
    I think, I'm gonna hijack this thread and post future updates here :)
    ...

    Thanks for joining in here!
    I want to try this out as soon as I finished my current project.

    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?
    With BI you can actually bake decal normals to the normal of the underlying mesh in tangent space, I did that, though at that time I wasn't really sure if such a function has any actual usage.


  • frmdbl
    Online / Send Message
    frmdbl polycounter lvl 4
    It looks superb!
    I wanted to make a small environment using the decals technique in UE4 for a long time, hope I'll be able to export this stuff relatively easily.

    edit: seeing as there might be some support for UE4, I'll wait for it.
    Though I'm quite used to doing strange stuff to export my meshes from Blender to game engines.
    If you used CryBlend you might know what I'm talking about.
  • mzprox
    Offline / Send Message
    mzprox polycounter lvl 3
    MACHIN3 said:

     I'm working in full screen 95% of the time and I'm working without a manipulator/gizmo as well. It's heaven.


    Would you consider showing your workflow in a tutorial? what addons make it possible to work without UI, you setup etc.
  • Decordova360
    Offline / Send Message
    Decordova360 polycounter lvl 2
    Please make one for 3DS Max, great job amazing stuff.
  • frmdbl
    Online / Send Message
    frmdbl polycounter lvl 4
    @MACHIN3
    I noticed there's a preview of HardOps support on your Youtube channel. Is that coming anytime soon?

    I bought the addon and basic projection works, but I can't get a whole lot out of it without the Asset Management.


  • WaYWO
  • TeriyakiStyle
    Offline / Send Message
    TeriyakiStyle ngon master
    WaYWO said:
    don't worry people :smile:
    ? elaborate.

    This looks really cool!  I'm learning blender lately so this will be perfect to mess with.
  • Quack!
    Offline / Send Message
    Quack! polycounter lvl 10
    @Yadoob - This is very cool and will have tons of use for future workflows as deferred decals become more common place.  I showed it around the office and others were excited about it!

    Waywo - We would gobble up a well constructed maya script that mimicked this!

    [Edited to be more constructive]
  • TeriyakiStyle
    Offline / Send Message
    TeriyakiStyle ngon master
    Threadjacking man - not cool.
  • TooManyDemons
    This tool is fabulous and great fun to play with!

    One thing that would make it way more useful in a variety of projects would be to have only the normal map and parralax effect (without the metallic material and color). That way you could 'cut' into any object and it would blend with the target's material.  I very much would like to use this tool on a variety of hard surface models that have varying degrees of wear and tear. Some hard surface models are a dull plastic or painted metal with little-to-no glossiness. It would really rock if the color were removed from cutters. :P

    I hope this becomes a possiblity! Other than that, I love everything about this addon.
  • RN
    Offline / Send Message
    RN polycounter lvl 3
    If you're interested in learning Blender here's a list of tutorials, most are free:
    http://polycount.com/discussion/154788/blender-tutorials/

  • Gazu
    Online / Send Message
    Gazu polycounter lvl 5
    If the industrie would start to make use of Blender, Autodesk would shrink down the prices.
    So lets start to learn Blender, cause its freee! ;)
  • Phoenix995
    Offline / Send Message
    Phoenix995 polycounter lvl 5
    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?
    With BI you can actually bake decal normals to the normal of the underlying mesh in tangent space, I did that, though at that time I wasn't really sure if such a function has any actual usage.
     how would that work?
    can you post an tutorial or somethign like that :)
  • onionhead_o
    Offline / Send Message
    onionhead_o polycounter lvl 9
    holy fking shiz, this is amazing. Its a hard surfacer's dream to be able to do this in maya
  • Phoenix995
    Offline / Send Message
    Phoenix995 polycounter lvl 5
    holy fking shiz, this is amazing. Its a hard surfacer's dream to be able to do this in maya
    i'm totally with you on this one :)
    i would love something like that in maya
  • frmdbl
    Online / Send Message
    frmdbl polycounter lvl 4

    I made a quick doodle with this addon, I have to say this workflow is pretty cool.
  • TeriyakiStyle
    Offline / Send Message
    TeriyakiStyle ngon master
    $67 ish bucks.  damn reasonable.  Hopefully adding your own custom decals is an easy process as well?  That's the only way this has value to me since I don't want to use someone elses stuff.  I'm going to try it out tonight.
  • frmdbl
    Online / Send Message
    frmdbl polycounter lvl 4
    @TeriyakiStyle

     You don't necessarily need any of those addons. You can just have the decal objects in the scene and snap them onto a surface and project using the DECAL Machine addon.

    You can create custom decals too, if you have a good knowledge of Blender and Cycles it shouldn't be a problem.

    If you don't have a good knowledge of Blender I predict you won't have an easy time using this addon or HardOps.
  • TeriyakiStyle
    Offline / Send Message
    TeriyakiStyle ngon master
    I learned modelling ok with maya keymapping - now I'm trying to re-learn it standard, picking it up fairly quickly.  :s
  • Prime8
    Offline / Send Message
    Prime8 polycounter lvl 2

     how would that work?
    can you post an tutorial or somethign like that :)
    it is really simple, you just make sure your decals have a material assigned and the decal normal map is setup correctly as a normal map.
    Just bake down the decals the same way as you would bake a high to low poly.
  • Yadoob
    Offline / Send Message
    Yadoob polycounter lvl 3
    MACHIN3 said:

    I think, I'm gonna hijack this thread and post future updates here :)

    Please do ^^ Congrats for your work ! Did you change the behavior of the face snapping ? Like to match the orientation of the face? I remember having some difficulties with that with Blender.

    And as a general question how does the overlapping of multiple decals react?

    holy fking shiz, this is amazing. Its a hard surfacer's dream to be able to do this in maya

    Well Blender is free and take ~~10 min to download/install :), a bit more to learn it though...
  • Dataday
    Offline / Send Message
    Dataday polycounter lvl 5
    I learned modelling ok with maya keymapping - now I'm trying to re-learn it standard, picking it up fairly quickly.  :s
    Keep in mind the keymap is being revamped and simplified, so I wouldn't spend too much time adjusting to the current defaults.
  • TeriyakiStyle
    Offline / Send Message
    TeriyakiStyle ngon master
    haha that's a scary prospect - I'm trying bforartists too and it seems a lot more friendly.  
  • Dataday
    Offline / Send Message
    Dataday polycounter lvl 5
    It needed to happen. Regarding bforartists, I really wish Tiles went with a more professional sounding name for the "fork".

    Anyways plugins like this really show the value of Blender, not necessarily Blender itself. Its a good sign seeing more of this.
  • musashidan
    Offline / Send Message
    musashidan interpolator
    TeriyakiStyle said - I'm trying bforartists too and it seems a lot more friendly.  

    Was just about to ask if bforartists is add-on friendly? Is that the same as the b fork blender version? Edit:just Google it and answered my own lazy question: yes. :)

    As for waywo elaborating,  I'm guessing he's deving a similar feature for Crease+

  • Thomasparel
    This is a great tool for the intended workflow- concepting in Cycles at the design phase. Trying out the toolset and included decals as well as the decal knife tools. Very streamlined and relatively intuitive workflow.



  • Thomasparel
  • Thomasparel
  • frmdbl
    Online / Send Message
    frmdbl polycounter lvl 4
    There's a new version up. It has a built-in asset loader and
    there are now some resources on decal creation available:

    https://machin3.io/blog/2017/04/blender-addon-DECALmachine-custom-decal-creation.html.
  • MACHIN3
    Just a short message, that I love your enthusiasm and the work you guys post. This is so cool to see! I'll go through all the comments later today.

    The decal creation process will be drastically simplified with the next release, likely in a week or so. Basically it will just be: put your bakes in a folder, and the script will do everything for you, all masks, the channel packing, thumb creation and blend saving.

    Definitely get the latest v1.2. if you are still using Blender 2.77 you should dl 1.2a if you intend to do your own decals. If you've already downloaded 1.2 and are running on Blender 2.78, don't bother.

    Also, in addition to Gumroad, DECAlmachine is now available on Blender Market as well.
  • TooManyDemons
    EPIC!!!! I've already spent half a day loading custom decals into decal machine xD. This is my new favorite toy.
  • MACHIN3
    Dude, show me :) I've yet to see anyone do custom decals. haha
    Also, it's gonna be ridiculously simple in the next version, you'll love it.
  • MACHIN3
    Offline / Send Message
    MACHIN3 null
    Amazing, great job!
    Thanks man. It was and is  a lot of fun to explore and work on. Blown away by the positive reception tbh.

    NoRank said:
    That is amazing. Hope unreal makes a decent support for this kind of stuff
    Thanks!,Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't UE4 already support working with deferred decals? I haven't really dug into UE4 yet, but I plan to very soon.

    Obscura said:
    awesome

    but Blender k h m
    Blender is love :)

    Of particular interest for us game artists:
    "Export to Unity/Unreal incl decal atlas generation is coming!"

    Indeed it is. Hope to share mare on this  in a week or two. I'm gonna push  out streamlined, automated version of the decal creation process first, seems to be even more important. Who wants to keep using my supplied decals after all :)
    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?

    Electro said:
    Looks awesome, good job!

    Now if someone would make this for modo....  o:)

    Come to the bright side, leave Modo in the dust, like I did. Or keep hoping for Luxology, err the Foundry to give game artists the attention they deserve, hehe.
    CybranM said:
    This looks amazing

    Thanks man, appreciated.
    Dataday said:
    $12??!? You are breaking my balls here! So expensive!  (sarcasm).

    Great work! Wish this were for Modo as well. Just another reason to get back into Blender at some point.
    A few people have commented on how cheap that seems, but at the end of the day, it's only automating things you can do with vanilla Blender. No magic happening here. Also, the 10-15 range seems to be a sweet spot, that people are willing to shell out in gumroad. More than that and it's quickly becoming a non-trivial expense, especially if you are considering non-professionals.

    I did this for myself in preparation for future assets and not to become rich of it. Making a few sales is a nice and unexpected bonus.

    As  a former Modonaut, I can't praise Blender enough, especially if you are into customization and workflow optimization. I just love it. A very nice intro is Blending away the Pain, by the Hard Ops developer. You can get it on gumroad for free. It's fun and got me up to speed quickly.
    ahtiandr said:
    This is really awesome!!!! I wish this was possible to do in MODO as well.

    Modo Schmodo, come to Blender :)

    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    Apparently it is using xNormal. I did not expect this or even consider the addon potentially useful for the baking workflow. Currently it's a bit tedious as you have to do your own decal atlas and ajust the decal UVs accordinly. But I'm going to add atlas creation for the export feature and so, it seems that this would then also open up the route to baking decal normals down.

    Gazu said:
    One more reason to start learning blender and to give a .... about expensive 3D packages which are 200 bugs per month...pfff....

    Do it. Blender is free, Blender is love. Blender is a powerhouse.

    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?
    It's a good suggestion, easy to do, thanks. But based on my tests, normals generated from height maps(in Substance Designer) are sub-par with baked normals unfortunately.
    Prime8 said:
    MACHIN3 said:
    ...
    I think, I'm gonna hijack this thread and post future updates here :)
    ...

    Thanks for joining in here!
    I want to try this out as soon as I finished my current project.

    MACHIN3 said:
    Is it possible to bake that into a normal map?

    I'd like to get input on this, on this general feasibility of baking normal mapped decals, that can be arbitrarily rotated, down to a normal map. Obviously, you can't just bake them as color maps.  I don't want to say it's impossible, but it seems pretty hard. Maybe I'm over thinking it? I need to research this, but would really appreciate some input on it.

    Seems to me you should bake the depth/displacement texture to the underlying mesh, not the normal map?
    With BI you can actually bake decal normals to the normal of the underlying mesh in tangent space, I did that, though at that time I wasn't really sure if such a function has any actual usage.



    Sure thing, I  was about to post here myself, but not until I had the export feature in, ha.

    Can you let me know, what is BI is, please? Is it a tool you created?
    mzprox said:
    MACHIN3 said:

     I'm working in full screen 95% of the time and I'm working without a manipulator/gizmo as well. It's heaven.


    Would you consider showing your workflow in a tutorial? what addons make it possible to work without UI, you setup etc.
    I hope to put out a video covering my workflow, as it's been requested a few times now.
    Have you seen the crate demo? It basically shows me working in fullscreen most of the time.

     Working in fullscreen is made possible though:
    • shortcuts, consider a 5+ button mouse if you don't have one
    • all kinds of native Blender floating menus, like shift + a, w, ctrl + e, f, v , the f6 menu(that I map on the thumb button of the mouse)
    • Hard Ops, which has a HOps helper menu to access modifiers  and the alt + m menu to apply materials
    • the Batch Operations addon is very useful, need to open the T panel for it, depends on you if you consider this no longer full screen :)
    • a few custom scripts, some of which I have on github, with a lot more to come.
    • the Asset Management addon




  • MACHIN3
    Offline / Send Message
    MACHIN3 null
    frmdbl said:

    I noticed there's a preview of HardOps support on your Youtube channel. Is that coming anytime soon?

    I bought the addon and basic projection works, but I can't get a whole lot out of it without the Asset Management.


    I had done a patch for HOps utilizing their asset loader, but we decided it was best to directly include that functionality into DECALmachine. Check out v1.2 if you haven't already, it's all integrated now.


    This looks really cool!  I'm learning blender lately so this will be perfect to mess with.

    Have fun with it. Any question, suggestions > decal@machin3.io
    Documentation is at decal.machin3.io

    Quack! said:
    @Yadoob - This is very cool and will have tons of use for future workflows as deferred decals become more common place.  I showed it around the office and others were excited about it!
    Thanks for showing it around, appreciated. You guys should give Blender a shot, haha. I agree,that the deferred decal workflow is likely to become more common. Exciting times.

    This tool is fabulous and great fun to play with!

    One thing that would make it way more useful in a variety of projects would be to have only the normal map and parralax effect (without the metallic material and color). That way you could 'cut' into any object and it would blend with the target's material.  I very much would like to use this tool on a variety of hard surface models that have varying degrees of wear and tear. Some hard surface models are a dull plastic or painted metal with little-to-no glossiness. It would really rock if the color were removed from cutters. :P

    I hope this becomes a possiblity! Other than that, I love everything about this addon.

    Thanks! Having the decals only contribute normals and parallax, without their own color and roughness, is not possible in Blender/Cycles. You need a deferred renderer for this. To comensate for this, there are the match material and set material tools, which I'm going ti improve on to support a wider range of shaders, not just the glossy shader as it is now. I will also make the material matching automatic I think.
    As long as you stay in Blender, combining complex texturing like wear and weathering with decals is limited.
    I've experimented with dirt/dust decals and it's working pretty good for what it is. Will post more about them soon.

    Gazu said:
    If the industrie would start to make use of Blender, Autodesk would shrink down the prices.
    So lets start to learn Blender, cause its freee! ;)
    :) I think there might be a bit of a steady shift happening over the next years, where Blender use among professionals will  grow. How far this will go is uncertain of course and changing pipeline is always tricky.

    holy fking shiz, this is amazing. Its a hard surfacer's dream to be able to do this in maya
    Thanks, I guess :)
    frmdbl said:

    I made a quick doodle with this addon, I have to say this workflow is pretty cool.

    So cool man
    $67 ish bucks.  damn reasonable.  Hopefully adding your own custom decals is an easy process as well?  That's the only way this has value to me since I don't want to use someone elses stuff.  I'm going to try it out tonight.
    With, the 1.2 release you no longer need Asset Management to bring in the decals. I still recommend it as a general purpose tool to bring it all kinds of assets, from kitback parts to light setups and materials, but for decals, you can insert them using the addon's own pie menu now.

    As for decal creation, there's a guide about it on decal.machin3.io. It's also on youtube.
    with 1.2 there's still some manual processing of your bakes needed. I've already completely automated this by now(but not shipped). 1.3 will allow you to throw bakes for multiple decals in a single folder, which you can then batch create decals from with a single button press. It's cool stuff, can't wait to get it out.
    I learned modelling ok with maya keymapping - now I'm trying to re-learn it standard, picking it up fairly quickly.  :s

    Very cool man. Standard with some personal modifications is the way to go. I like switching the L and R mousebuttons, so I select with L instead of R. I also like mapping the f6 menu on the thumb button of my mouse.
    Did you know you can hide the gizmo/manipulater? How wants to click small arrows anyway? Just use the shortcuts, g, s and r together with the axis constraints, x, xx, y, yy and z, zz.
    Yadoob said:

    Please do ^^ Congrats for your work ! Did you change the behavior of the face snapping ? Like to match the orientation of the face? I remember having some difficulties with that with Blender.

    And as a general question how does the overlapping of multiple decals react?

    v1.2 now properly sets the snapping settings, if you use the built in asset loader. It sets snapping to face, sets the target to median instead of closest and aligns the rotation with the target. I haven't used Blender before 2.77a so I don't know much about how things worked before that, but the snapping tools now are pretty straight forward and very powerful. Hold down ctrl to activate them temporarily of course.

    Overlapping of decals works great, you can see it in the Lift Decal Up video. You can also do with normal mapped decals. Keep in mind however, that if the bottom decal is parallax mapped and the area you are placing the other decal on is a none-0-height part of the decal, than you will have a 'swimming' effect, depending from where you look at it.

    This is a great tool for the intended workflow- concepting in Cycles at the design phase. Trying out the toolset and included decals as well as the decal knife tools. Very streamlined and relatively intuitive workflow.
    Thanks once again Thomas! And thanks for posting your examples. So cool to see other people use the addon..


Sign In or Register to comment.