Originally posted on 29 April 2022. Scroll down for news of the latest beta release.
Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler, its much-anticipated new VR sculpting app, as a free beta.
The software, which can be used either in virtual reality with an Oculus 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
First released in private beta last 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.
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 or USD format, making it possible to refine them in other DCC apps, or import them into game engines: the documentation includes a section on exporting to Unreal Engine 5.
Updated 16 May 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.10, the second public beta.
The update adds a new Buildup tool to help the software “more closely resemble other desktop sculpting applications”, such as ZBrush, which has its own ClayBuildup brush; and improves pen pressure support.
Updated 24 June 2022: Adobe has released Substance 3D Modeler 0.14, the third public beta.
Other changes include a new autosave system, the option to import other Modeler scenes into your current scene, and support for importing and exporting models as glTF .glb files.
Adobe has also unified Substance 3D Modeler’s selection and scoping systems, as shown in the video above, to make it easier to select layers or groups of objects.
Pricing, release dates and system requirements
Substance 3D Modeler 0.14.1 is available as a free public beta for Windows 10 only. To use it in VR mode, you will need an Oculus Rift or Quest headset and Oculus Touch controllers.
To download the beta, you will need a free Adobe account, and to accept Adobe’s pre-release EULA.
Adobe hasn’t announced a final release date or pricing for Substance 3D Modeler, but other new Substance 3D tools are available via Substance 3D Collection subscriptions, which cost $49.99/month or $549.88/year.
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