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Show HN: Cross-platform open-source 3D modeling software (dust3d.org)
290 points by huxingyi 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 86 comments

Does this use the same coordinate space[1] as Maya , or does it use the same coordinate space as Blender ?

Blender has no end of hidden trouble importing to Unity because Unity chose to be the same as Maya

[1] https://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/471/is-it-possib...

Dust3D use right-handed coordinate space, X - front view, Z - side view, Y - up. I am not quite sure what exactly coordinate space other software use, but I make sure the exported fbx looks as the same in Unity, and the exported glb looks as the same in Godot.

If the fbx loads into Unity fine, are you not using a left handed system, or are you flipping it on export?

edit - I'm an idiot, Unity does its own conversion to left handed on import.

OT: First time ever seeing a post of mine `randomly` linked here on HN. :)


The fact that gaming and Maya use one (Y-up) and that CAD and Blender use another (Z-up) brings the classic xkcd to mind.


The fact that there are only 2 makes me think that it doesn't apply though. I just hope nobody trise to go make a third.

There are more than two, Unreal has a coordinate system so special that Tim Sweeney apologized for it.


There are also left-handed and right-handed coordinate systems...

This is correct. Most CG and 3d software (Max, Maya, Blender, CAD) uses a right handed coordinate system, which matches the convention in physics, however they vary in their choice of Y up or Z up. Video games almost always use a left-handed coordinate system with Y up. This is because DirectX and OpenGL chose to represent pixels on-screen with (X,Y) coordinates with the Z coordinate increasing as rays extend from the eye outward.

Wow, I had no idea it was so varied

To add to the confusion, while in both OpenGL and DirectX treat Z axis as depth, DirectX uses a left-handed coordinate system, while OpenGL uses mostly[0] right-handed one.


[0] - https://stackoverflow.com/questions/4124041/is-opengl-coordi...

OpenGL-the-interface is kinda neither (screenspace aside), since the application supplies/does all transformations (glFrustum and friends are long deprecated).

Most CGI software where in-house software before being commercial. So the "what others do?" question never popped. :)

I think that XKCD only really applies in systems where there is an infinite number of possible ways to do something. While there are a lot of ways you can configure a coordinate system the number of reasonable / non-intentionally obtuse ways is finite.

It looks great, but imagine the name of the software being "Moron3D". That is the reality for every native Norwegian speaker, since "dust" means "moron" in Norwegian. I don't mean this in a petty way, it's just hard to ignore, for me.

In related news, Honda tried to launch a car in Norway a couple of years back named "Honda Fitta" which roughly translates to "Honda the Cunt". The tagline was: "Fitta is small inside, but grand when you get in. A daily pleasure!"

They quickly changed the name to just "Honda Jazz" instead.

I'd say it's worth a consideration if it would be some weird word like "Fitta" but since it's a pretty well known english word, I'd say, you have to live with it.

Greeting from Poland where you find versions of "kurwa" (literally: "whore" but used like "fuck" in english) in all kinds of languages as a word for "curve" ;)

I've always wondered if this sort of thing prevents The GIMP from greater adoption.

I think so. Fckeditor changed its name after some debate [1].

I remember the first time I came across it as a wysiwyg plugin for vBulletin and thought fckeditor had an edgy name. It immediately comes to mind in this context.

I felt some pause introducing fckeditor into an internal wikimedia install for a big company filled with old people I was working for at the time, just because I didn't want any waves whatsoever with those folks.

I definitely would not have gotten up in front of them at a weekly meeting and trumpted how great of a tool "gimp" was.

I sort of think people who keep names that are known to be problematic in FOSS are doing so somewhat to passive-troll and to keep normies away. Though my view of this is quite english-centric.

[1] https://ckeditor.com/old/forums/CKEditor-3.x/Should-FCKedito...

Thanks, but it's a little too late to rename, too many things need to sync, such as domain.

I would just put a note on the site that says: "Also known as 'Jazz3D' in Norway" or something. The use case being Norwegian Neckbeards looking to name drop your stuff without risking their intellectual reputation.

And that would be kind of a funny insider joke that would endear you to any dusts who would further hassle you.

I definitely had a hard time demoing octopussy at a previous job, but is moron3d really that bad of a name?

Did git have any trouble gaining traction in England?

Caring too much about this kind of thing is how hibu got their name. I knew some people that worked there in the last days and they all laughed about how it was the ultimate sign they were done.


e: MongoDB is a perfectly valid example of a brand name that's somewhere in the "very offensive" area in some languages. Like GasjewsDB an easily avoidable cultural pitfall.

Yeah MongoDB always gives me a very-un-PC chuckle as an Australian. It was a common insult growing up in the 80s.

well, Hui is a popular name, but in certain slavic languages it means "dick", "penis". You just have to get used to it.

Same problem with the Chevy Nova selling in spanish-speaking countries. (No va: doesn't go.)

Oops. Thanks for pointing it out!

Or the Mitsubishi Pajero in Argentina which literally means Mitsubishi Wanker.

They did change the name though, thankfully.

Another good example is Audi's E-Tron.In French, étron means turd.

Curious to see how this performs against fusion 360. Autocorrect has gotten real aggressive on pricing and licenses of late.

Also fusion forces you to save to autocad’s cloud and they inspect your designs for hints you’re using it for non hobby stuff.

> Autocorrect has gotten real aggressive

This sentence is meta on many levels!

(He probably meant "Autodesk" but autocorrect kicked in rather aggressively, as he anticipated).

Haha. Yes.

Autodesk has a new office in Portland and I attended the Fusion 360 community meetup a few weeks back.

At that meeting they debuted their new pricing plans and demoed some pretty fancy functionality called generative design that was def not useful to the largely hobbiest attendees in the crowd.

It definitely feels like there is a niche of sub-fusion use case where you are doing simple commercial product design but not at a rate worth a $300 license from autocorrect

Another simple libre CAD program is SolveSpace. It works more like Autodesk Inventor - you draw 2D sketches, pull them into 3D in different ways, repeat, and add constraints to features along the way. Very good for the dimensionally-accurate stuff people model in Fusion360. (Nearly useless, I might add, for organic stuff like the mosquito in the Dust video.)


Thanks for this. The 2d sketches to 3d is what I do with Fusion, and allows you to build nice 2d spec sheets as well. I will have a look.

You just made my week. This is exactly what I’ve been wishing I could find.

This is really, really cool. In 5 minutes I was able to create a quick little palm tree (I am not an artist, it is very ugly :)) and throw it into a room in Hubs since Dust3D exports GLB. These kind of low poly, texture-oriented models are really excellent for VR since you have limited budgets. Nice work!

Thanks, I am really happy to hear that it can work with VR.

The "just have a reference photo" approach really appeals to me as someone who has never been great at sketching from scratch. I'm going to give this a go for creating custom assets for some little mixed reality projects.

If you have any more than zero experience modelling, Blender offers this and a great number of other tools for modelling, rigging, and animation.

Also, Blender is coming up on a big release which should make it a lot simpler for newcomers to get started. If you are willing to save often, you could just start with the 2.8 Beta now, and you won't have to do any adjusting when it comes out as stable.

Looks cool and I love its openness - though I hope I'm forgiven for saying that the examples, especially the guitar, doesn't quite look up to professional standards.

Oh, no, that guitar is my favorite :-( The main focus of this software is the modeling speed, for example, that guitar only took less than five minutes. So I can make more game asset as an indie. Actually, the model made recently is already looks far better than several months ago I made, I will keep improving the mesh generating quality of the algorithm. Thanks!

It's got some flaws, but for say, Ludum Dare, it's super cool to create assets quickly. I have been using OpenSCAD for the purpose of quickly creating models.

Can Dust3d import STL files? Can it export wavefront OBJ? (or, I suppose I could import to blender, then export to OBJ). UV unwrapping is something I have not so far been able to conquer. If Dust3d can import STL or OBJ and make the UV unwrapping easy, I will probably use it.

Edit: I see at 21:50 in this video, it can export OBJs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQerDObDjOs&t=21m50s

Hi, thanks, currently support glb, fbx obj export, but without import supports, may be add in the future.

Perhaps they aren’t perfect (definitely looks like some more time could be devoted to the algo), but to go from not having models for your scene to having something at least as a stop-gap can really unblock you if your artists are busy doing something else or (in the case of most hobbyists/indies) don’t exist.

totally agree, this tool seems very useful for building prototypes and instead of using grey cubes you can use something which at least has roughly the correct shape and gives you a rough idea what it should look like eventually.

Great concept! As a time-starved hobby game dev, the focus on being able to make something quickly from a reference image is really refreshing, in comparison with the more common design approach geared toward those with deep, well-practiced polygonal modeling skills. I like the direction your interface is going in. I love the Skin Modifier in Blender, but the workflow for that does feel a bit tedious, so I like the click-to-add-node approach. I also appreciate being able to move the rendered view around the window and scale it as desired.

Awesome. Thanks for supporting glTF export right out of the box. Will run some test rendering to WebGL canvas and provide further feedback directly via github ;)

This looks a bit like (but also slightly different from) modeling with metaballs in Blender.

Does this play nicely with 3D printing like Fusion/Cura does ? Fusion's UX makes me want to gouge my eyes out. It's almost as if they make it intentionally hard so that you have to buy a training from them...

should be ok with 3D printing, because the outcome of Dust3D generated is a watertight mesh. However, I don't have a 3D printer, cannot try yet.

Awesome! Would this run on OpenGL ES2.0 or OpenGL 2.x? Asking for computers with mobile chipsets like Raspberry Pi, i.MX6 etc. I’m looking for an alternative to Blender.

Thanks, the underlying mesh render use the Qt/QOpenGLWidget, haven't try it with OpenGL ES2.0 and OpenGL 2.x

Congrats on the release and major version milestone.

I'll give it a try to model some weird shaped abstract stuff to make some generative art.

This might be a stupid question but in the mosquito create video, what are the blue smudges he draws in the left portion of the image for? What are the blue lines dragged down in the GIMP? What exactly is going on in that part of the video?

Blue smudges! my god, LOL, That is the drawing of the front view of the mosquito! The blue lines dragged down in the GIMP is the reference line. Usually, when make reference sheet for Dust3D, the same position in the two profiles(Front/Side) should sit in the same height(Y coord). This video is a demonstration of how bad at drawing can still make good 3D model with Dust3D.

Thank you i'm very stupid.

How do you do the cross platform releases? One painful thing about cpp is how tedius is to cross compile compared to managed languages or the go runtime. Great work, the product looks really nice.

Thanks. Yes, it’s painful of manage cpp with different compilers, the cross platform of Dust3D mainly benefit from Qt.

Very cool! Did you come up with the interaction patterns yourself or is it inspired by something else?

I can also imagine using this for quickly prototyping 3D prints. Have you considered STL export?

What interaction patterns? You mean the weird combine two profiles in one window :-) ? That is my idea. The sphere guided mesh generation is based on a paper: "B-Mesh: A Fast Modeling System for Base Meshes of 3D Articulated Shapes"

Edit: I am not familiar with STL format, may have a look at it, thanks.

I downloaded the beta for windows, clicked around a bit and it crashed. I noticed there doesn't seem to be any crash reporter. Is there somewhere I can report this bug?

Hi, some reported several hours ago, and I have released 1.0.0-beta.4 to fix it, could you help to verify if it still crash please? Download link for windows: https://github.com/huxingyi/dust3d/releases/download/1.0.0-b...

Seems to work ok on Windows 7. (My parents' machine, nonwithstanding my username ;)

Thanks for verifying :-)

I would imagine submitting an issue is the right answer.


What do you think of CGAL?

Are you using a scene graph for the display?

> What do you think of CGAL? I am using some function of CGAL in Dust3D, it's a great work. However, it doesn't work with iOS and it's license is more strict than MIT, may remove it in the future.

> Are you using a scene graph for the display? I am using Qt/QOpenGLWidget for display.

What's your roadmap for new features?

Thanks for asking, there is a target in my mind that generate highly detailed mesh but maintained the easy usability. I don't know how far the target is away. The near roadmap is making this software could be used in the game I am developing exclusively(Without use other modeler), if something is missing, I would add it.

I have always wanted something like this.

Does it allow precision input of sizes, quickly like sketchup? I'm looking for sketchup replacement.

Input by direct type number of position and radius? Not yet.

In sketchup you can draw something (rectangle, circle, line) and after you drag and release, you can then just type exact size in iches that you want, it will resize what you just drew. Makes architectural or woodworking design extremely fast and easy to work with. Sketchup basically has a monopoly on the casual woodworking, interior designer crowd because there is not an easy to use alternative. But the app sucks in so many ways and is way overpriced and the current company seems to just want to milk it for profits than improve it. Sketchup users are dying for an alternative.

Thanks for the info, may have a try to see how Dust3D could benefit from this.

looks fun! I'll give it a try

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making an alternative to one of the most unfortunately convoluted, beyond unusable pieces of UI/UX garbage on the planet...(Blender)...what a nightmare to use for even a moment.

This comment is truly shameful. Blender is an amazing open source project created by volunteers and this kind of mean spirited criticsm is toxic. Your ignorance about the amazing effort going into 2.8 only adds to it. You should delete it.

I think Blender is primarily developed by people who get paid to work on it.

I don't think I'd object to the comment if Blender actually had a bad UI, but I don't think it does. It just has an unusual UI and a steep initial learning curve. Clearly many people manage to do amazing work with it.

Not sure if you’ve been following the 2.8 developments this year, but if you haven’t you should grab the latest beta. The new UI/UX is completely different from before (within reason) and is light years ahead of where it used to be.

Thamks for the heads up. I might have to try it out. It seems to take a few ideas from Moonlight|3D that I put in there more than a decade ago. Others seem inspired by Maya, which I also like a lot.

That seems overly harsh. Are you saying the same about vi or emacs? As soon as someone has put in the time to familiarize with the UI the speed with which you can achieve things is impressive. I've been using blender since the 2.4 branch and the amount of work the devs have been putting into improving it (not only the UI) is simply astonishing. And whats the point of making an UI beginner friendly if it hinders you after you have reached a certain level of proficiency (a period which realyl isn't that long).

I'm not sure why you're being downvoted so hard...It's not a secret that Blender has a bad UI. I'm not making a comment about Blender as a whole here; I use it daily and have for the past 10? years. It's a great piece of software. But it's clearly lacking in the UI department.

There's even a three-part article (2013) from Andrew Kramer of Blender Guru, describing the issues and with some suggestions for trying to fix them. Luckily, Blender has made progress since then, and I'm sure we'll continue to see a great piece of software get even more consistent and clear in the future. Note: this doesn't mean dumbing the software down.

> It's not a secret that Blender has a bad UI

> But it's clearly lacking in the UI department.

It's not a secret that a small, vocal minority of Blender users feel that way. IMHO most of them have never used industry standard tools that have way stranger interfaces eg. Zbrush that are much harder to master.

> There's even a three-part article (2013) from Andrew Kramer of Blender Guru

It was actually Andrew Price:


He later admitted at the 2013 Blender Conference there were a lot of problems with his proposal and that the way he had gone about it wasn't that great either:


Not completely unlike the grandparent poster, which is presumably why he got downvoted.

Really not sure this is an alternative to blender. Blenders functionality stretches way way further than this. Go check out the blender 2.8. I think you'll be really quite impressed by the improvements that have gone into it.

Blender might be a "nightmare" for you. But without putting any proper criticism, your point is null.

Care to post some of your art created with Blender, or any other 3D package for that matter, so we can judge whether you're just another disgruntled beginner, or a talented pro who knows what they are talking about?

Also as interesting as this new program is, it's not an "alternative" to Blender, it barely scratches the surface.

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