Tuesday, 31 January 2012

VERTEX NORMAL TOOL PLUGIN





OVERVIEW
Vertex Normal Tool is a plug-in for C4D which adds a tool for creating and manipulating vertex normals on polygon objects in C4d. Virtually all other high-end 3d applications (3ds Max, Maya, etc.) support vertex normal editing and while c4d supports importing, rendering, etc.. vertex normals it lacks any interface or tool for creating or editing them. This plug-in aims to address that problem by giving the artist full control over vertex normals. 

PRICE AND AVAILABILTY
Version 1.03 is available to buy and download now at Pay What You Want Price. minimum $1


A free function limited lite version of the Vertex Normal Tool is also available to download from the Plugins Page.

REQUIERMENTS:
C4D r12.048 and above (also updated for r15).
A Windows PC or Mac.



HIGHLIGHTS
  • Complete tool kit which adds the ability to really work with vertex normals on par with other high-end 3d software.
  • Easily add new vertex normal tags to objects while preserving any phong angles and edge breaks.
  • Easily update and manipulate vertex normals with the ability to perform all common tasks like flipping, averaging, normalizing, setting hard or soft edges by selection or angle, etc...
  • Built in functions for easily dealing with common vertex normals tricks.
  • Bend Normals by stealing a target meshes normals to improve lighting of alpha planes etc.
  • Remove ugly shading seems across separate objects.

LOWLIGHTS

As I listed the highlights I think it is also important to list any current known limitations or “lowlights” of the tool, however I would also like to state that I aim to address these limitations together with any feedback from users in future updates
  • Because C4D does not dynamically update vertex normal tags on all mesh structure changes the current suggested workflow would be to do all the major modelling of an object before switching to vertex normals. (It is probably common practise for most to only start the final shading/smoothing set up during the minor modelling/tweaking stage anyway.)
  • If rendering objects in C4D with modified vertex normals where the backfacing polys should be visable, I.e. foliage planes an extra step may be needed because of the way C4d (currently) deals with back-facing polys. Please see RENDERING BACKFACING POLYGONS WITH MODIFIED VERTEX NORMALS.
  • The tool was built with real-time assert creation in mind so speed may be an issue for high-poly objects.
  • *R12 only – If you are exporting scenes/objects for use in external engines please be aware that in r12 FBX format export of vertex normals did not work. Maxon has addressed this issue in r13 and fixed it. So in r12 COLLADA format was really the only built in option to export vertex normals for use externally. 


    If you are using r12 of C4D once installed the plugin will be available from the python/plugins menu for r13+ it will be available from the plugins menu.

    Documentation for the vertex normal tool can be found in the llinks below. It is fairly long becuase i wanted to focus on some of the uses of vertex normals that you may not be aware of. It does however briefly go over the basics(setting hard/soft edges) which is pretty self explanitory and also gives an overview of what vertex normals actually are.

    If you are familiar with vertex normals and would like to just see a gui / functions documention you can jump to the last section VERTEX NORMAL TOOL SETTINGS AND FUNCTIONS 

    CONTENTS
    1. WHAT ARE VERTEX NORMALS
    2. COMMON USAGE/REAL WORLD EXAMPLES:
      1. BASICS
        1. ADDING A VERTEX NORMAL TAG
        2. SETTING HARD / SOFT EDGES
      2. ALPHA PLANES (GRASS, TREES ETC)
        1. LOWPOLY TREES
        2. LOWPOLY HAIR
        3. RENDERING BACKFACING POLYGONS WITH MODIFIED VERTEX NORMALS
      3. SHADING SEAMS
      4. SHADING INTERPOLATION (Superspecular soft edges)
      5. CONCLUSION
        1. C4D SPECIFIC VERTEX NORMAL RELATED TIPS
        2. FURTHER READING
    3. VERTEX NORMAL TOOL SETTINGS AND FUNCTIONS