Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler, its much-anticipated new VR sculpting app.
The software, which can be used either in virtual reality with a Meta headset, or in desktop mode with a mouse and keyboard, lets users build up 3D forms via a mix of clay-like sculpting and Boolean operations.
Models can be exported to other DCC applications or game engines in FBX, OBJ or USD format, with Adobe pitching the software as quick way to create both organic forms and concepts for hard-surface props.
Takes over where Oculus Medium leaves off
Released in public beta earlier this year, Substance 3D Modeler builds upon previous VR sculpting app Oculus Medium, which Adobe acquired in 2019 and later rebranded Medium by Adobe.
Like Medium, the software uses Signed Distance Fields to represent 3D space, rather than treating 3D geometry as a polygonal mesh.
As a result, workflow combines elements of digital sculpting and Boolean modelling, with users able to build up forms with virtual clay, then join them or cut into them with Boolean operations.
Create organic forms via freehand clay-like sculpting
Users sculpt by using the Clay tool to add virtual clay to the scene, and the Erase tool to remove it.
Other tools perform roles to those analogous in offline sculpting packages like ZBrush, like Buildup, also for adding or removing clay, and Crease, for carving into the surface of the sculpt.
You can also turn an object into a stamp, making it possible to add detail to a sculpt by stamping another mesh into its surface.
The overall form of the sculpt can be modified by using the Warp or Elastic tools to twist and stretch it, and its surface refined using the Smooth and Inflate tools.
Rough out hard-surface concepts using Boolean operations
However, since the brush shapes are 3D primitives, including cubes, spheres, capsules, cylinders and polygonal prisms, it is also possible to build up hard-surface forms using Boolean operations.
The software has a Gizmo placement mode, which helps to position brushes more precisely when creating hard-surface assets, and supports grid and angle snapping.
Assemble models and scenes, then export them to other DCC applications or game engines
Substance 3D Modeler supports layers, groups and instances, and can place objects in arrays, helping to keep more complex models organised, or to assemble models into entire scenes.
It’s possible to change the colour of the clay, or to use the Paint tool to paint surface colours, but in its current form, it’s primarily a modelling tool.
Models can be exported in FBX, OBJ, GLB or USD format, making it possible to refine them in other DCC apps, or import them into game engines like Unreal Engine 5.
Pricing, release dates and system requirements
Substance 3D Modeler 1.0 is available for Windows 10 only. To use it in VR mode, you will need a Meta Rift or Quest headset and Meta Touch controllers.
The software is subscription-only, and is available through Adobe’s Substance 3D Collection subscriptions, which cost $49.99/month or $549.88/year.
The public beta will remain available to download until 17 December 2022, but Adobe has now begun selling the software via the product website.
Download Adobe’s announcement that it has released Substance 3D Modeler
Read more about Substance 3D Modeler’s feature set in the online documentation
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