top of page

Meals & nutrition

Public·7 members
Kuzma Vladimirov
Kuzma Vladimirov

DECALmachine: The Ultimate Blender Addon for Hard Surface Texturing with Mesh Decals and Trim Sheets



DECALmachine: A Blender Addon for Surface Detailing with Mesh Decals




If you are a blender user who likes to create hard surface models such as sci-fi vehicles, weapons, robots, or environments, you might have encountered the challenge of adding realistic details and textures to your meshes. You might have tried using normal maps, displacement maps, or boolean operations, but found them limiting, time-consuming, or destructive. You might have wished for a more flexible, non-destructive, and UV-less way of adding surface details that can enhance your models without compromising their topology or performance.




Blender Market DECALmachine v1.9.2



If that sounds familiar, then you might want to check out DECALmachine, a blender addon that allows you to do just that. DECALmachine is a blender addon that lets you create and apply mesh decals to your models. Mesh decals are objects that are projected onto the surface of another object using a special shader that blends them seamlessly. They can be used to add details such as panel lines, bolts, screws, logos, stickers, dirt, scratches, wear and tear, or any other kind of texture you can imagine.


DECALmachine offers many benefits for hard surface texturing. It is fast, easy, non-committal, non-destructive, UV-less, resolution-independent, parallax-enabled, modifier-friendly, export-ready, and customizable. It also has deep trim sheet support, which allows you to use a single texture atlas to add a variety of details to your models, saving memory and improving performance. Trim sheets are textures that contain multiple elements that can be mapped to different parts of your model using UV coordinates. They can be used to add details such as pipes, wires, vents, grills, hinges, buttons, switches, or any other kind of geometric detail you can think of.


In this article, we will explore the main features and functions of DECALmachine and how you can use it to create stunning hard surface models in blender. We will cover how to install and use DECALmachine, how to create your own decals and trim sheets with DECALmachine, how to export decals and trim sheets for game engines with DECALmachine, and some tips and tricks for using DECALmachine effectively. By the end of this article, you will have a solid understanding of what DECALmachine can do and how you can use it to take your hard surface texturing to the next level.


How to Install and Use DECALmachine




The first step to using DECALmachine is to install it in blender. DECALmachine is compatible with blender 2.83 or higher and requires a GPU that supports OpenGL 4.3 or higher. You can buy DECALmachine from the Blender Market for $40. Once you have purchased it, you will receive a zip file that contains the addon and some additional files. To install it, follow these steps:



  • Open blender and go to Edit > Preferences > Add-ons.



  • Click on the Install button and locate the zip file that you downloaded.



  • Select the zip file and click on Install Add-on.



  • In the add-ons list, search for DECALmachine and enable it by checking the box next to it.



  • You will see a message that says DECALmachine needs to be initialized. Click on the Initialize button and wait for the process to finish.



  • You will also see a message that says DECALmachine needs an asset path. Click on the Select Asset Path button and choose a folder where you want to store your decals and trim sheets. This folder will be used by DECALmachine as its library manager.



  • You will also see a message that says DECALmachine needs an export path. Click on the Select Export Path button and choose a folder where you want to export your decals and trim sheets for game engines. This folder will be used by DECALmachine as its export manager.



  • You have successfully installed DECALmachine in blender. You can access it from the N panel in the 3D view or from the F3 menu.



To use DECALmachine, you need to have an object that you want to apply decals to. This object should have some basic shading applied to it, such as a principled BSDF node with a base color, metallic, roughness, and normal map. You can also use other nodes such as emission, transparency, or transmission if you want to add more effects to your decals later.


To access the DECALmachine settings and preferences, go to Edit > Preferences > Add-ons > DECALmachine. Here you can customize various aspects of DECALmachine, such as the UI colors, hotkeys, default values, performance options, etc. You can also check for updates, read the documentation, watch tutorials, or contact support from here.


To access the DECALmachine asset loader and library manager, press D in the 3D view. This will open a panel that shows all the decals and trim sheets that are available in your asset path folder. You can browse through them by category or search for them by name. You can also create new categories or import new assets from here.


To create and apply different types of decals, press D + S, D + P, D + I, or D + T in the 3D view. This will open a panel that shows all the simple decals, panel decals, info decals, or trim sheet decals respectively. You can browse through them by category or search for them by name. To apply a decal, simply click on it and then click on the surface of your object where you want to place it. You can also press LMB + drag to place multiple decals at once.


To adjust , manipulate, and organize decals in the 3D view, press D + A in the 3D view. This will open a panel that shows all the decals that are applied to your object. You can select, move, rotate, scale, align, mirror, array, or remove decals from here. You can also adjust the decal properties such as the blend mode, the parallax amount, the emission strength, the transparency factor, or the transmission factor from here.


How to Create Your Own Decals and Trim Sheets with DECALmachine




One of the best features of DECALmachine is that it allows you to create your own decals and trim sheets from scratch or from existing assets. This way, you can customize your decals and trim sheets to suit your needs and style. You can also share your decals and trim sheets with other users or sell them on the Blender Market.


To create your own decals with DECALmachine, you have three options: you can create decals from images, from grease pencil strokes, or from edges. To create decals from images, press D + C + I in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to import an image file and convert it into a decal. You can adjust the image properties such as the resolution, the color space, the alpha channel, or the crop region from here. You can also preview the decal before applying it to your object.


To create decals from grease pencil strokes, press D + C + G in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to draw on your object using the grease pencil tool and convert it into a decal. You can adjust the grease pencil properties such as the stroke color, thickness, smoothness, or taper from here. You can also preview the decal before applying it to your object.


To create decals from edges, press D + C + E in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to select some edges on your object and convert them into a decal. You can adjust the edge properties such as the width, height, depth, bevel, or profile from here. You can also preview the decal before applying it to your object.


To create your own trim sheets with DECALmachine, you have two options: you can create trim sheets from existing textures or from existing atlases. To create trim sheets from existing textures, press D + T + T in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to import a texture file and convert it into a trim sheet. You can adjust the texture properties such as the resolution, the color space, or the crop region from here. You can also preview the trim sheet before applying it to your object.


To create trim sheets from existing atlases, press D + T + A in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to import an atlas file and convert it into a trim sheet. An atlas file is a JSON file that contains information about how to slice an image into different elements for a trim sheet. You can create an atlas file using tools like Texture Atlas Maker or Trim Sheet Generator. You can adjust the atlas properties such as the resolution or the margin from here. You can also preview the trim sheet before applying it to your object.


To export and import decals and trim sheets between projects or libraries, press D + X or D + I in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to export or import selected decals or trim sheets to or from your asset path folder. You can also export or import entire categories or libraries from here. This way, you can easily share your decals and trim sheets with other users or use them in different projects.


How to Export Decals and Trim Sheets for Game Engines with DECALmachine




Another great feature of DECALmachine is that it allows you to export your decals and trim sheets for game engines with minimal effort. DECALmachine supports two methods of exporting decals and trim sheets: decal atlases and trim sheet detail. Both methods are compatible with any rendering engine that supports deferred rendering, such as Unity HDRP or Unreal Engine. However, decal atlases are more suited for engines that have native decal support, while trim sheet detail is more suited for engines that do not have native decal support or have limited decal slots.


To export decals as decal atlases, press D + E + D in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to create and use decal atlases for your decals. A decal atlas is a texture that contains multiple decals arranged in a grid. Each decal has its own UV coordinates that map to a specific region of the atlas. This way, you can use a single texture to apply multiple decals to your model, saving memory and improving performance. You can also use a single material for all your decals, simplifying your shader setup.


To create a decal atlas, you need to select the decals that you want to include in the atlas and click on the Create Atlas button. You can adjust the atlas properties such as the resolution, the margin, the padding, or the packing algorithm from here. You can also preview the atlas before exporting it. To export the atlas, click on the Export Atlas button. This will create a folder in your export path folder that contains the atlas texture and a JSON file that contains information about the atlas layout.


To use a decal atlas, you need to import it into your game engine and create a material that uses the atlas texture as its base color map. You also need to create a script that reads the JSON file and assigns the correct UV coordinates to each decal based on its position in the atlas. You can find some examples of how to do this for Unity HDRP and Unreal Engine on the DECALmachine website.


To export trim sheets as trim sheet detail, press D + E + T in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to utilize trim sheet detail for your trim sheets. Trim sheet detail is a technique that uses a second UV set and a second texture coordinate node to map different parts of your model to different regions of your trim sheet. This way, you can use a single texture to add various details to your model, saving memory and improving performance. You can also use a single material for all your details, simplifying your shader setup.


To use trim sheet detail, you need to select the object that has trim sheet decals applied to it and click on the Utilize Trim Sheet Detail button. This will create a second UV set and a second texture coordinate node for your object and assign them to your trim sheet material. You can adjust the detail properties such as the scale, rotation, offset, or tiling from here. You can also preview the detail before exporting it. To export the detail, click on the Export Detail button. This will create a folder in your export path folder that contains the detail texture and a JSON file that contains information about the detail layout.


To use trim sheet detail in your game engine, you need to import it into your game engine and create a material that uses the detail texture as its base color map. You also need to create a script that reads the JSON file and assigns the correct UV coordinates to each part of your model based on its position in the detail layout. You can find some examples of how to do this for Unity URP and Blender Eevee on the DECALmachine website.


To export decals as baked textures, press D + E + B in the 3D view. This will open a panel that allows you to bake your decals to their parent object's UV space. This is not recommended, as it will destroy the non-destructive nature of decals and reduce their quality and resolution. However, it can be useful for some cases where you need to use a specific rendering engine that does not support decals or trim sheets, such as Blender Cycles.


To bake decals, you need to select the object that has decals applied to it and click on the Bake Decals button. This will create a new image texture and a new material for your object that contains the baked decals. You can adjust the bake properties such as the resolution, the margin, the samples, or the output format from here. You can also preview the bake before exporting it. To export the bake, click on the Export Bake button. This will create a folder in your export path folder that contains the baked texture and a JSON file that contains information about the bake layout.


Tips and Tricks for Using DECALmachine Effectively




Now that you know how to use DECALmachine, here are some tips and tricks that can help you improve your workflow and results with decals and trim sheets. These tips and tricks are based on the best practices and recommendations from the DECALmachine documentation and tutorials.


One of the most important tips is to use modifiers, collections, and node groups to enhance your workflow with decals. Modifiers can help you add more details, variations, or animations to your decals without affecting their original shape or position. For example, you can use a solidify modifier to add thickness to your decals, a bevel modifier to add smoothness to your decals, or an array modifier to duplicate your decals along a curve or a surface. Collections can help you organize your decals into different groups or layers for easier selection, visibility, or export. For example, you can create a collection for each type of decal or each part of your model that has decals applied to it. Node groups can help you create custom shaders or effects for your decals without having to duplicate nodes or materials. For example, you can create a node group that controls the parallax amount of your decals or a node group that adds emission or transparency to your decals.


Another important tip is to use parallax, emission, transparency, and transmission to add realism and depth to your decals. Parallax is a technique that simulates depth by displacing the pixels of your decal based on their distance from the camera. This can make your decals look more 3D and less flat on your surface. Emission is a technique that makes your decal emit light or glow in the dark. This can make your decals look more dynamic and interesting in low-light situations. Transparency is a technique that makes your decal partially or fully transparent based on its alpha channel. This can make your decals look more realistic and blend better with your surface. Transmission is a technique that makes your decal refract light or appear glass-like based on its alpha channel. This can make your decals look more complex and detailed in high-light situations.


A third important tip is to use UV tools like quad unwrap, box unwrap, mirror trim, and stitch to optimize your UV layout with trim sheets. UV tools are tools that help you manipulate the UV coordinates of your model or trim sheet elements. Quad unwrap is a tool that unwraps your model into quads using an angle threshold. This can make your UV layout more uniform and easier to work with trim sheets. Box unwrap is a tool that unwraps your model into six sides using an axis alignment. This can make your UV layout more efficient and compact with trim sheets. Mirror trim is a tool that mirrors your UV coordinates along an axis based on a mirror line. This can make your UV layout more symmetrical and consistent with trim sheets. Stitch is a tool that stitches together adjacent UV islands based on an edge selection. This can make your UV layout more seamless and continuous with trim sheets.


Conclusion




In this article, we have learned what DECALmachine is and what it can do for hard surface texturing in blender. We have covered how to install and use DECALmachine, how to create our own decals and trim sheets with DECALmachine, how to export decals and trim sheets for game engines with DECALmachine, and some tips and tricks for using DECALmachine effectively.


DECALmachine is a powerful blender addon that allows you to create and apply mesh decals and trim sheets to your models in a fast, easy, non-destructive, UV-less, resolution-independent, parallax-enabled, modifier-friendly, export-ready, and customizable way. It also has deep trim sheet support, which allows you to use a single texture atlas to add a variety of details to your models, saving memory and improving performance.


DECALmachine is a must-have addon for any blender user who wants to create stunning hard surface models with realistic and detailed textures. It is compatible with any rendering engine that supports deferred rendering, such as Unity HDRP, Unreal Engine, or Blender Eevee. It is also easy to use, customize, and update. It comes with a large library of decals and trim sheets that you can use right away or modify to your liking. It also allows you to create your own decals and trim sheets from scratch or from existing assets.


If you want to learn more about DECALmachine and how to use it, you can visit the DECALmachine website, where you can find the documentation, tutorials, reviews, support, and more. You can also join the DECALmachine Discord server, where you can chat with other users, share your work, ask questions, give feedback, or request features. You can also follow the DECALmachine Twitter account, where you can get the latest news, updates, and tips on DECALmachine.


We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful and informative. We encourage you to try out DECALmachine and see for yourself how it can transform your hard surface texturing workflow and results. We would love to hear your feedback and see your creations with DECALmachine. Feel free to share them with us on social media or in the comments below. Thank you for reading and happy blending!


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

bottom of page