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Show HN: Dilay – A free 3D sculpting application (abau.org)
227 points by abau_org 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 80 comments


Awesome tool, but this is why I gave up on my 3D modeling career as a child

My contribution to 3D art.


Lilliputian drag (queen?).


What is the advantage of this over Blender? Blender has been my go-to for modeling, sculpting, video editing, and so much more. I'm not trying to bash this, I'm just curious.

I've dabbled a bit with digital sculpting, and for me, Blender's sculpting tools feel really odd. I haven't tried out Dilay, but both ZBrush and 3D-Coat's sculpting tools are a more natural fit for me. Blender has a certain inaccuracy I can't articulate very well that makes it hard for me to use effectively

I'll agree that they're definitely not standard tools, but I grew up using Blender so they're familiar to me.

There hasn't really been any big changes in 3d modelling software for decades now (the video in the link shows tools available in blender, zbrush, sculptris etc). The only thing left to fight over is the user interface; the more streamlined the process, the quicker you can go from idea in your head to something resembling it on screen.

Most people swear on Blender because that's what they started with, others like 3ds Max,or Maya, or Mudbox, and so on. Again it all comes down to how efficient the tool makes the whole process.

Blender has the worlds most flexible UI system. If I could use it in personal projects, I would.

Blender also has options to set keybindings and layout to something more familiar for Maya or Max users. I'm sure it behaves like Vim bindings in most editors though, not really as useful as having full blown Vim.

> Blender has the worlds most flexible UI system. If I could use it in personal projects, I would.

Why can't you use it in personal projects?

The UI system in Blender is a part of Blender and not a reusable library or framework.

Ah, I thought you were talking about Blender itself, not the UI system.

Wow ! Why not have this as a tablet app ? Seems more intuitive to work with ? A free app with in-app purchases to export the result for 3d printing.

Actually encouraging a free software application (it's GPL) to target more closed platforms in order to add in-app purchases for basic functionality is very cynic-sounding to me ... am I just being old?

I think you are misreading the intent there a bit.

I saw the suggestion as taking payment for a physical printing service (where there are actual costs to cover: materials, time, delivery) - not taking payment for core/basic features of the software.

As long as submitting to a local printer (which would be a core feature, if printing support is present), or exporting to a format that can be imported into something else for local printing, is not charged for, all would be well.

He could make a tablet version and sell it. Nowhere does it say, in GPL, you can't do that as well.

Anyone could then publish a free clone though? Anyway, locking user's data in the app and then charging the user for getting it out is definitely against the spirit of FSF who publishes GPL.

Apple's App Store ToS conflicts with the GPL, apparently.

Aha, did not realize it was GPL.

He said "A free app with in-app purchases to export the result for 3d printing." Do you expect him to add an "export the result for 3d printing" feature without a payment model?

Why not? It'd be a complete package then.

I am apparently being misunderstood. I don't mean to imply that including a feature for exporting models is a bad idea. But I don't understand why it's controversial to take advantage of platform's payment service for actually printing those models as physical objects and sending them to users. Obviously one would not do that for free.

I guess I could have worded it better.

I'm sure it could, but this looks like it's meant as a zbrush-like, which is used to make actual 3D models (or a normal bake) for production/concept.

I don't think most artist in a studio would be happy with a tablet interface, except maybe if it's a Cintiq.

This reminds me of Sculptris.


Really cool stuff! I was wondering, how are you solving the issues of sculpting low polygon primitives (do you dynamically subdivide or?).

> do you dynamically subdivide


Thanks. Considering doing something similar for our product and add sculpting, this is one of the issues that popped into my head when I was playing around with the idea.

I used the app.... my feedback...

- add ability to subtract shapes.

- add ability to draw 2d shape and rotate it

- add ability to indent whatever shape is (imagine a box, i press something, new outline of smaller rectangle appears on side of a box, i click, new box appears except it lets you subtract from original box. so i can go from 3d cube to empty box. sketch used to do something like that.


I think the UI needs a bit of work, but you can already subtract shapes and also extrude 2D shapes. There is a draw tool in the bottom left menu. There is also a subtract button in the tools, it works by subtracting the selected shapes from the unselected ones.

Edit: Yeah, designed for mobile/tablets first. Pretty fun there.

I see draw feature too, pretty cool.. so last feature i was talking about i guess is called extrude... press/pull

oh regarding UI, fullscreen menus suck on desktop... but maybe it's great for tablets.

nice low key plug?


i don't mind it, actually

Edit: I seem to be in a mood today, sorry for the rash response.

no i just made a snarky comment for no reason, even though i do the same thing

You would probably get a lot of artist feedback if you started an announcement thread in http://polycount.com/categories/technical-talk

How many people have worked on this? Just curious.

"that's an unfortunate colour" - a colleague said when they saw my screen.


fleshy coloured ball.

I think you might be looking at the WebGL thing someone posted in the comments?

You were right, I was.

open source sculptris? yes please!

Try Blender.

Until ZBrush 2018 (which incorporates Sculptris tesselation model), Blender's Dynamic Topology mode was the closest thing to Sculptris as far as I know.

The cool thing I noticed about Dilay when I checked it out was that it had a Zsphere-like mode as well.

I love blender but its sculpting does not even come close for me as to Sculptris/3D coat for me personally.

I really like Dilay because it certainly gives me the closest Sculptris experience and that also on Linux/Mac which is an added bonus!

Are there any projects on integrating haptic devices with 3D sculpting? I think it would be quite cool to use something like Novint Falcon[1] for sculpting.

[1] - https://www.vrs.org.uk/images/novint-falcon.jpg

In VR there are a ton. Oculus medium, google tiltbrush, etc:



Unless you mean something with real haptic feedback that isn't just a rumble (meaning it actually pushes back if you hit something instead of going through it), then I dunno. The limitation there is probably hardware.

The Novint Falcon that I linked came with a demo program in which you could 'touch' spheres made of different kinds of materials (I remember sandpaper, sand, ice, molasses) each one providing different kind of feedback (slipping in case of ice, stickiness in case of molasses).

One limitation I see is the size of workspace but with right setup I think it could be an interesting concept to explore.

Oculus Medium truly blew me away, I've tried sculpting in the likes of Zbrush, Mudbox etc before and it's never really clicked. But being able to actually use your hands in 3D space with Medium is probably one of the most magical computing experiences I've had since first touching an iPhone.

Highly recommend people giving it a go if you get a chance.

What would such hardware be like? The first thing that comes to mind to me is some kind of glove that covers the arm and shoulder too, and can dynamically tense up many different regions on its surface, to restrict muscles/tendons.

There's a company using ultrasound to create haptic feedback without having to actually touch anything: https://www.ultrahaptics.com/

Disclaimer: I have no way to tell whether their product would work for sculpting or even at all.

It's quite common for 3D sculptors to work with a Wacom or a similar tablet. Blender for example has amazing support for it.

Another free 3D sculpting application: Blender.

Blender: The invaluable, indespensable FOSS application with the worst UI/UX to ever disgrace a computer monitor.

That's just, like your opinion man. I personally find Blender to have the best out of all of the 3dcc applications out there. Just because you haven't taken the time to learn how to use it, doesn't make it the worst UI ever...

There's probably a lot to be improved about Blender's UI still, but I actually find it quite nice, and I'm not even that practiced with it. I'm a professional VFX artist, and the one thing that seems to be true for all the tools I use is, the less visual UI, the better. It's all about keyboard shortcuts and muscle memory. IMO Blender has the right idea there: ditch the toolbars etc. as much as possible and let the user focus on productivity. Intuitive isn't always productive, sometimes you have to learn a workflow. It's one of those steep-learning-curve-big-payoff things.

Blender's UI is quite efficient. Unfortunately it is very strange, both for the user and for the addon developer.

When I inquired about certain things (like callbacks for buttons, or custom panels/windows) a core developer gave me the rather annoyed reply (paraphrasing): "Blender isn't an application framework and Python is meant to enhance functionality, not create it." Which is unfortunate, because Blender has become a de facto application framework, even if the developers don't want to admit it.

I'm more than sure that python plugins are allowed to add panels and buttons and whatnot to the interface. I suppose you just ran into the wrong person to ask questions.

OTOH I'm afraid I don't know specifics either so I guess I'm the wrong person to ask as well.

Oh, it does allow you to add buttons to panels. It doesn't allow you to add area types, dialogs and tabs in the properties area.

Also there is no such thing as a button callback in Blender UI. The only thing you can do is insert a button which calls an "operator". You can define your own operators of course, but this only works as long as you don't want to generate the buttons dynamically. Then you'd have to generate operators dynamically, and things only go downhill from there...

Has anyone ever got Blender to run in WebGL using emscripten? That seems like it would be pretty awesome.

I would consider that a very hard and pointless port. Blender is extremely complex and has a ton of dependencies.

Do you think users want to download and execute binaries versus using web apps?

I'd prefer to download a 100+Mb binary once versus downloading the 100+Mb web app a couple of times.

Blender is one of those applications which is meant for people spending countless hours in it. Installation convenience just doesn't count.

Do you think it's possible for a web app to utilize caching?

We may be in a position right now where WebGL is new-ish but this is changing and 5-10 years from now the difference between a native and webapp likely won't be much. It seems silly to argue that users should go through an extra step / give large amounts of trust to an application if they don't need to.

> users should go through an extra step / give large amounts of trust

If it's a webapp, then you have to trust that the application won't disappear overnight, or be changed it ways you don't like. If you have downloaded the software, you can continue to use it.

There are trade-offs in both directions.

Good point.

Caching is imperfect, and software does change from time to time.

WebGL is great, and can be used to great effect. Blender, at least since 2.8, is definitely exceeding whatever WebGL could provide.

What a useless question. Just in the segment of 3D art you have: 3DS Max, Maya, MODO, ZBrush, 3D Coat, Houdini and many many others, some of which are gigabyte large and nobody ever thought they should be served as web apps. People still use offline software without problems. Even developers use large IDEs or even code editors offline. It's not like you have to download it every time you use it. Loading and linking binaries is also orders of magnitude faster than fetching resources over HTTP and executing JS in the browser.

Yes a thousand times. I use Blender in a professional setting, and the way it works is you set your software up and you do not touch it in the middle of a production if you can help it at all. No upgrades to newer versions, and certainly you don't use webapps. The risk of something breaking to new bugs, backward incompatiblity or hosting unavailability is unacceptable.

Just as an anecdote: If the problem is anything non-trivial or anything with graphics, a web app would be a clear pass for me.

Gravit designer (designer.io) is a graphics app (photo, illustration, vector stuff) running performantly in The browser. It's a great example of how good a web app can be.

Many web apps I find terrible and I'm sure it uses a bunch more resources than it would need to, but it runs on my FOSS operating system of choice and really works quite well.

Do you think I want to download and execute binaries every time I start the program?

there's Clara.io

yea I know not the same as blender in emscripten but the same as in a pro modeling package in the browser

I think the biggest hurdle tho is data. 3d editors generally need access to 100s of megs of data so you'll likely hit a wall pretty quick past a certain size. no idea how clara.io handles that

You can get around that by having much of it in the cloud or avoiding things like huge textures and the likes. Then again, browser processes with hundreds of megs of RAM aren't exactly unknown.

Blender can actually be quite efficient in terms of memory. I have been using it as a command line application at times, because it starts up really fast.

Meh? I tried to make a hole in the sphere, and the result was not pleasant.

Yeah, you can't change topology using the normal sculpting tools. But using the Remesh tool you can subtract (Boolean-wise) one mesh from another, which essentially can be used to punch holes into a mesh.

You need a sculpting app that uses voxels to do that in a way that feels effortless, check out 3D Coat or Oculus Medium.

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