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3D Anyone knows a good+easy 3D modelling/skeleton animation tool?

Yal

🍋 *lemon noises*
GMC Elder
[2020 EDIT] This post is 4 years old and someone necrobumped the topic. I probably don't need your advice anymore, but feel free to reply if you have any cool suggestions you'd like me to check out.


I more or less only make very retro stuff (and almost exclusively 2D), but I've slowly been sniffing on 3D stuff for years, now having reached a point where I know how to handle 3D collisions efficiently and automatically generate a 3D model for the game world using collision data; in other words, I feel like I've got the 3D world bit covered. But that still leaves a pretty big gap in my understanding: the inhabitants of the game world.

I've dabbled around a bit with Blender since it's the most used tool, but I wouldn't exactly call it user-friendly, in particular I couldn't really find a way to only move stuff along one or two axes (leading to accidentally deforming stuff when I just wanted to move a vertice) and couldn't really grasp working with flat triangles instead of filled bodies - and these problems kinda accentuate each other; for instance, if I needed to cause a hole in a body when building a shape, it was almost impossible to glue it together with other vertices due to the movement bug. I ended up never getting to the stage where I'd import the model into GM, but that's obviously also pretty important for this application as well.

Does anyone know about a good utility for making 3D models for beginners [that you've got personal experience with]? I don't care if it lacks advanced functionality or efficiency, since I'm not aiming past N64/PS1 levels of graphics.
Ideally, I'm looking for an application that has the following traits:
  • It's easy to sculpt things in it.
  • It has a built-in tool to map texture coordinates to the vertices so that you can preview a texture mapping and/or import it together with the model.
  • It exports models in a format GM supports, or at least a common format that could be converted to one with some other program on the side.
  • If it has built-in support to rig a skeleton and stuff, that's a plus.
 
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hippyman

Member
I've found myself with this same issue. Unfortunately there doesn't really seem to be a "user-friendly" 3D model software that I've personally ever come across.
MakeHuman is probably the most user-friendly you can find. Although it obviously comes with some limitations as it's basically made for one thing.
There are two scripts you can get for blender which one imports .mhx (MakeHuman files) into blender and one exports D3D models as GML scripts.

I'm pretty sure when you import .mhx files it also will automatically rig it with a skeleton so you can just get straight to animating.
 

Greenhawk

Threatuna Agent
Hmmm. I fiddled with anim8tor a long time ago for animating but it's been a while. I think you can import and export models for rigging. I used maya briefly too but it was to advanced for me at the time. But definitely take a look at those. I'm not good at animating but anim8tor but the tutorials helped me get a foundation for a bit.

Anim8tors setup was pretty basic, unless they've updated in the years since i used it. Autodesk Maya is powerful but hard
 

beli_mawrr

Member
Sorry Yal, while I might recommend a few things, none meet all your requirements.

Makehuman / Mixamo FUSE both support human animation and are both very easy to use, and are free. But you cannot sculpt or model with them. They do output .obj files and other easily read files, and the resolution can be adjusted for GM use.

Cinema 4D is easy to use, supports human animation, and exports to obj too, but it's not free and does not have any easy to use sculpting features. (I use Cinema 4D)

Zbrush supports animation (I think, or something) exports to obj, and is the go-to sculpting software, but it is not free and it is REALLY hard to use. I've been at it for about 2-3 years and I'm just scraping the surface on it.
 
G

Guest User

Guest
Just thought I'd throw this in there:

As having personal experience with Blender, it certainly isn't user-friendly. :/ There are some good YouTube tutorials out there for getting started in it, but you have to commit to learning it and it takes a while. I don't know of any software better than Blender to do what you're looking for. It covers all of your four points;
  • There's an object 'sculpt mode' and various brushes for easy sculpting
  • It has advanced UV editing functions built in
  • It can export models in OBJ (and accompanying MTL) format for example which can easily be converted into GM models
  • It has built-in rigging functions
Then again, there's always the plus-side of it being free and open source, and it's not like it's lacking any major features (or common minor ones). It might take a while to get the hang of but when you do it's a very useful tool.
Quick tip: to move your selected object/vertex/whatevs you use G. You can then limit movement to a certain axis by pressing X, Y or Z while moving, or Shift+X to only move on Y and Z, Shift+Y to only move on X and Z, or Shift+Z to only move on X and Y.

If you still think you'd like to give it a try, feel free to hit me up with any questions.

Expanding on what Greenhawk said up there, Maya is a very powerful engine, probably the Photoshop of CG (although you're not really looking for advanced rendering features, you just need something to model, texture and rig with). I haven't had experience with it but from what I've heard it isn't free (or at least there is a paid version with more features).

A last thing I'll mention, Blender supports modeling with quads and n-gons (quads = four-sided faces, in other words squares; n-gons are faces with more than four vertices such as octagons etc.); which is useful in some instances and makes modeling a whole bunch easier. However, for example in games, I'm pretty sure only triangular faces are supported; for this, there's a certain Blender modifier which changes all quads and n-gons into triangles, which you can apply before exporting.

So that's my two cents. In my most humble opinion Blender is a tool worth learning, even if it isn't user-friendly.
 

Yal

🍋 *lemon noises*
GMC Elder
Thanks for the tips, I'll look into it. I'm pretty sure I experienced Blender just ignored the additional keys I held down or something, but it's been so long I don't really remember all my gripes with it. Maybe things'll go better now. I've gotten a lot better in GIMP lately, and despite the interface being horrendous (the font selector in particular...), I can do some things really quickly with hotkeys and such... so I guess the same might be true for Blender. Practice makes perfect and all that.

So MakeHuman don't let you sculpt or model... does that mean you can't actually make new models in them? That sounds kinda nonindicative. xD
 
Hey, I have a question for you. You say you've got efficient collision detection sorted out, could you help me by pointing me in the right direction in that regard?
 
L

Lotias

Guest
Sorry Yal, while I might recommend a few things, none meet all your requirements.

Makehuman / Mixamo FUSE both support human animation and are both very easy to use, and are free. But you cannot sculpt or model with them. They do output .obj files and other easily read files, and the resolution can be adjusted for GM use.

Cinema 4D is easy to use, supports human animation, and exports to obj too, but it's not free and does not have any easy to use sculpting features. (I use Cinema 4D)

Zbrush supports animation (I think, or something) exports to obj, and is the go-to sculpting software, but it is not free and it is REALLY hard to use. I've been at it for about 2-3 years and I'm just scraping the surface on it.
Sculptris is a free program based on zBrush.
 
M

MonikerHart

Guest
<snip>

So MakeHuman don't let you sculpt or model... does that mean you can't actually make new models in them? That sounds kinda nonindicative. xD
MakeHuman has built in mesh generation, you have sliders to set the parameters of your human and it regenerates the mesh as it goes. Unless it's changed in some huge way since I last used it.
 
F

F_Clowder

Guest
For 3D modelling, I definitely recommend Wings3D. Free to use and supports many file formats Similar to Rhino3D but you can't beat "free".
 
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Yal

🍋 *lemon noises*
GMC Elder
Did you attempt to do things like line / model collision in GML, or did you end up needing a dll or extension for that?
Nope, I found dot-X-prism collisions sufficient... dot-inside-hexahedron checks are a lot faster than arbitrary vertex overlaps and you very rarely notice the difference anyway. I certainly aren't going to start messing around with models until I can get them into my game to begin with, either. x3
 

Greenhawk

Threatuna Agent
You should try the student versions if 3dx max or autodesk maya. Like I've said before it is very powerful software and pretty much all the top companies use it for projects big and small and most certainly used back in the day for psx and n64 graphics.
 

Yal

🍋 *lemon noises*
GMC Elder
Nope. The slopes uses prisms with smoothly changing Z-values, and you can use arbitrary shapes (along any axis) for terrain objects as well.
 

Vertette

Member
Considering I've only recently found out GMS doesn't even support rigging/animations I would not recommend using GMS for 3D

Blender is the best 3D sculpting program you can get for free and even so, GM will not work with it. Use an engine made to handle 3D like Unity
 
Considering I've only recently found out GMS doesn't even support rigging/animations I would not recommend using GMS for 3D

Blender is the best 3D sculpting program you can get for free and even so, GM will not work with it. Use an engine made to handle 3D like Unity
Are you really saying this to the person who posted three homemade engines for handling 3D efficiently? Come on... :p
( Even though it's just me, but I don't like this way of thinking. GMS is a tool and its capabilities have less vague bounds than one might think at first. I've been doing 3D games with it at least this whole decade, and it's actually capable. rant off )

To add to the topic, I'm also a Blender guy. It indeed has a tough learning curve, but once you learn the shortcuts you'll be fine after some practice. Also, occasionally, play around with a modifier or tool that Blender provides. It will help you tremendously. I think this is also true for any other modeling package - get to know your tool.
You also mentioned putting a hole in the object. This sounds more like you being inexperienced with polygonal modeling to me, tbh. Something that will be there no matter the software.

Another, although advanced pro for Blender is scriptability. I've spent a week or so experimenting, and exporting whole scenes to a custom format is pretty easy ( if you know Python ). I've managed to load Blender scenes into GMS. This is just a matter of workflow though, I've been also loading OBJ files in GMS, and also been converting OBJ files into a custom format that GMS loads.

Good luck on your dabbling with 3D! :)
 

GMWolf

aka fel666
Blender is user friendly; its many keymappings make it very efficiemt.
What it isnt, is beginner friendly.
If you want to move your object along an axis, first selct the object, press 'g', then press the axis to constain to ('x', 'y' or 'z') notice, press them. Dont hold them.
To constrain to all but one axis, press shift+[x,y,z].

Blender has tons of these keymappings, and although they are not made obvious, they are well documemted online.
In my opinion, having everything he keymapped like this makes your workflow much, much faster. And i would really recomend you get used to blender's controls as it is the 3d suite with best mesh modeling tools, by far!
 
R

renex

Guest
I hate all the tools out there so I am making my own.

It's absolutely horrible, but I can use it, and that's good enough for me.

I have been using it to build world geometry so far but I have plans to extend it to a model editor as well.

Would not recommend doing the same thing.

 

zircher

Member
GMS is fine for some types of 3D. I would not call it a no-go from the start. But, you may run into limitations depending on how advanced you want to get. I'm a wargramer: so tanks, spaceships, and the like are perfectly doable in GMS.

BTW, .obj is a very common save format and SivModeler (free) will read that and save it as a .d3d model which GMS likes without needing any extra DLLs or slow import routines. I didn't see a proper site for SivArt, but the modeler (which I really only use for exporting and texture mapping) is available all over the internet at the usual download sites.

Just for fun, my work flow is DoGA CGA (think virtual legos or technics), Metasequoia (a mesh editor that can export to OBJ), SivModeler (export to D3D.) Along the way I'll create a composite texture in assorted graphic editors and do the initial texture mapping in Metasequoia. Meta is shareware, so it is not a free solution, but it is the one I've been using for years. Of course, there are dozens and dozens of editors out there that export to OBJ. Play around and find your favorite.

[edit: The secret to Blender is memorizing shortcut keys. I freaking hate shortcut keys with a passion. Otherwise, it's a great tool.]
 
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Micah_DS

Member
Considering I've only recently found out GMS doesn't even support rigging/animations I would not recommend using GMS for 3D
Actually, the good news is that GMS has shader support, so it technically does support these things. Observe my reply to Yal below.

(snip)
Does anyone know about a good utility for making 3D models for beginners [that you've got personal experience with]? I don't care if it lacks advanced functionality or efficiency, since I'm not aiming past N64/PS1 levels of graphics.
Ideally, I'm looking for an application that has the following traits:
  • It's easy to sculpt things in it.
  • It has a built-in tool to map texture coordinates to the vertices so that you can preview a texture mapping and/or import it together with the model.
  • It exports models in a format GM supports, or at least a common format that could be converted to one with some other program on the side.
  • If it has built-in support to rig a skeleton and stuff, that's a plus.
You may be in luck, that is, if you're willing to spend a few bucks on this skeletal animation shader for GMS and depending on how easy it is to use Misfit Model 3D (I have not used this program myself), as the MM3D format is apparently required to work with that shader. But I expect you can import other model formats into the misfit model program, it's just that I haven't looked into this.

Alternatively, you could go for the program that I've personally used a lot myself, which is Model Creator v5.0, and I can attest that it can meet your first three requirements quite nicely, but unfortunately it gives you nothing for skeletal animation. That's why I mentioned the misfit model + shader method first, even though I have not personally used it.

(EDIT: Just noticed that the last time Yal posted was Jun 20th though, then the topic was recently replied to... I have a feeling these replies might not be needed anymore..?)
 
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orange451

Member
You may be in luck, that is, if you're willing to spend a few bucks on this skeletal animation shader for GMS and depending on how easy it is to use Misfit Model 3D (I have not used this program myself), as the MM3D format is apparently required to work with that shader. But I expect you can import other model formats into the misfit model program, it's just that I haven't looked into this.
Thanks for the plug :)
It's not a shader limitation that we chose Misfit Model 3D. It's just a file format we liked and wanted to use. If someone took the time they could easily write an FBX importer, and it would work the same way, but we only wrote the code to import a Misfit Model into our generic animation system.
 
H

Harrison Vanderbyl

Guest
if anyones interested i have made a script that is extremely efficient at getting collision data from where the line between two arbitrary points intercept a vertex buffer
 

EvanSki

King of Raccoons
I know im micro-bumping a old topic but just a thought: would be cool if someone made a plug in for Blender that covered .obj to the way gms2 handles models
 

Misu

The forum's immigrant
lol massive necrobump you all did there. @TheMiningBoyAlpha I hate to break it to you but the guy you are quoting isnt active anymore on this forum. Also I like to mention I struggle too with modeling which is why i find programming the model shapes easier. yes i an weird
 
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Roa

Member
I use @TheSnidr model format and anim8or to get models and animations into GMS

edit: yeah, holy **** this is old. I was about to say, I thought Yal had been doing this for sometime now so I was confused XD
 

Joe Ellis

Member
I've made a model editor in gm, it's part of my engine Warp3D. I wouldn't normally just advertise it but it's extremely relevant in this case.
I was going to respond to the OP before I realized it was 4 years old:
I feel your pain, it's the same exact scenario for me, I've never used a modelling program that I found user friendly, and just simple to use. That's the main reason why I started making a modelling program myself.
My model editor is, almost complete. It's fully functional for basic modelling, like n64\ps1 style things(Which is my main interest too)
But some useful functions, like uv unwrapping, lightmapping and manual bone weight painting are still only half finished. I'm being a little bit too perfectionist with these things though, other people would release it before these are ready, but I don't want to go down the same road as alot of early release things. I want the first version to be perfect, and updates will be for extra features, not bug fixes.
Anyway here's a video of the model editor in action: You can also check out more in the thread. and the youtube channel:


Like I said it's not released yet, but it shouldn't be too long now
 
Hi Yal, from following your posts here on the forums I have no doubt that if you stuck with Blender you would master it. I'm not sure how much time you invested in it, but the thing about Blender is that once you get the hang of things it's actually very intuitive. The software is not just a 3D authoring tool but an entire media suite. It can do a lot of things, like a whole lot, and so the trick really is to learn the basic Blender fundamentals and then learning about the specific subset of tools you are trying to use.

I'm not sure how far you got in Blender, but I promise once you get the hang of it the program is actually incredible. A big part of becoming efficient with it is learning the shortcuts and customizing the system to fit your needs. Like I mentioned above, your likely really only after a small subset of tools so make sure your customizations help you to utilize those tools. The other thing is addons, there are a lot of quality of life addons that make getting around and building with Blender much easier. There are a number of great free tools to add to blender, HardOps, Mira, etc etc all make modeling a lot more intuitive. Radial/Pie menus can make getting around much easier. The number of addons are vast so you only need to do some digging in the community to see what addons will help you.

And, finally, I'll just say that I was in the same situation as you. When I first used Blender I hated it. I was struggling to do very simple things and was beyond frustrated. Why would anyone use such a complicated mess, I thought to myself. Well,a year or two later an artist that I admired released an article about their love of Blender and reading it motivated me to give Blender another shot. Instead of just jumping back in trying to figure things out I followed a couple basic tutorials and spent a few days learning the basics of how to get around, what the important tools are and how to customize things for my needs.

If however you are dead-set on not using Blender, then you could try Wings3D which is a very simple modeling tool. Sketchup is also a pretty simple tool as well.

Best of luck

PS - I made my avatar in Blender :) https://www.artstation.com/artwork/6GWAO
 

Yal

🍋 *lemon noises*
GMC Elder
The topic is 4 years old, and I ended up basically giving up on 3D modelling in the meantime :p (I got into a depression sometime around the time I posted this topic, was gone from the surface of the planet for a year, then I got a job and was kinda busy doing boring business programming for the remainder of the time).

I've done some research, though, and my current standing is like this:
  • GM doesn't support any common 3D model format natively
  • OBJ is a "least common divisor" type thing, but there's no single specification for it and chances are you need to make your own OBJ importer
  • If I'm gonna have to write my own system anyway, why not do the entire thing so I actually understand what I'm doing?
  • I've got a 2D skeletal animation system lying around (as featured in my SoulsVania engine) and I've got another system that generates 3D models (or rather, vertex buffers) based on path data, which was created with the express purpose of being able to draw shapes and turn them into 3D models using only GMS with no external tools (solving the issues with getting them to play together).
  • Since I've got the basic stuff needed to make skeletal animation and 3D models to work, I'm going to smash the things together and hope they result in passable results with skeletal-animated 3D models.
I'm currently working on a 3D engine based on my ancient Sonic 1 remake, which was written in GM8.1. I've ripped out the old 3D system and stuffed the new vertex buffer system into it, and I'm currently working on a lighting engine using a whole bunch of shaders and surfaces. Once I'm happy with the lighting quality, my plan is to work on a more intelligent camera system (whiskering, adapting zoom and FOV based on vertical angle, actually trying to not get stuck in walls) and after that works, 3D models.

Here's a random work-in-progress screenshot to make this post more visually appealing (this is when I was working on depth-of-field blur and made it way too intense)

1584292664478.png
 
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