5 great new tools for 3D artists in August

With the huge SIGGRAPH event laid to rest for another year, we've seen some major product launches and other 3D art tools and plugins have been hitting the scene. Here's our pick of the best tools this month.

01. Cinema 4D R18 

The voronoi fracture tool is a fast and fun way to add destruction and fragmentation effects to your scenes

Recent upgrades of Cinema 4D have been more subdued affairs, with new features taking their time to settle into people’s workflow, but R18 sees a welcome return to fanfare-worthy new toys. There are more new toys than I can shake a stick at here but the big one that people have been wanting is the Voronoi destruction tool. 

Deeply integrated, as part of the mograph module, this lets the user break apart meshes, including parametric, with endless control and variation. Placement can be random or precisely defined but more importantly the tool is fast and great fun.

Other notable additions are a re-worked knife tool, with great interface enhancements, new viewport abilities and many more.

02. ThreeDscan 

Both excellent and free, these scans are endlessly useful

Generating meshes is one thing that we cannot escape in this industry and there are many ways of doing it, from traditional polygon modelling, through nurbs, then high resolution sculpting – but now we have the ability to scan objects directly. The apparatus is still expensive, although this is changing, so how do you get involved with geometry of this type? 

Well head over to ThreeDscan’s site and you can download from a growing catalogue of high quality models in standard STL format. These range from statues, to crabs and many more – and the best thing is they are free of charge.

03. NeoFur for Unity

realistic furry critters can now exist in game, thanks to NeoFur

Games engines have come a long way in the last few years but certain graphics problems still exist and one such is that of hair and fur. Most solutions involve alpha channels and multiple planes to fake the look but Neoglyphic have developed a full-on fuzzy surfaces plugin for Unity. 

The results look great and support LODs, ambient occlusion and even self shadowing. This means that finally there is an efficient way of dealing with this complex rendering in-game, although the developers do make claims about the significance for cut scenes and cinematics as well.

04. Corel Painter 2017 

Painter 2017 is another worthy update to this excellent painting app

If you are a fan of painting your textures with a more natural or organic look than a standard material system allows for then you are in luck, as Corel have just announced Painter 2017, which brings some great new features to the top dog of the natural media painting world.

Along with some tweaks to the interactive gradient tool are glazing brushes and the excellent texture tool. This is a great way to easily add surface details based on an underlying image and works perfectly to add details just where you want them. Great for 2D folk but even better for those using this in their 3D workflows.

05. Substance for free

Substance Painter and Designer for free, anybody? Yes please!

One of the biggest hurdles for new artists looking to learn their craft is the prohibitive cost of many software and hardware tools. In recognition of this Allegorithmic have announced a student version of their massively popular Substance Painter and Designer apps.

With the student bundle, the two applications will be available for free to anybody who is learning at a qualifying school, full-time.

The licenses are for fully featured versions, without limitations that can often be found in demo or learning edition apps. This is a move bound to solidify Allegorithmic’s reputation and earn more favour in the community.