GUIDE MESH <> FINAL MESH EDITOR
The ideal companion for Hard Surface & Vehicle Modelers using the Shrinkwrap workflow. Optimized for Blender 4 from V.1.5 onwards.
This add-on works best with Machin3tools (free).
This add-on is built upon CGMaster's shrinkwrap workflow.
The Guide Mesh <> Final Mesh Editor is a valuable tool for 3D modelers relying on the Shrinkwrap workflow but who are looking for a less destructive approach. Originally built as a simple script to edit both Guide Mesh and Final Mesh at the same time, it is progressively evolving into a suite of useful shortcuts and presets that should help you work on multiple concept designs.
Surface with cutline: without and with shrinkwrap modifier on
Why did I create this addon?
After following CGMasters course and a regular use of the Shrinkwrap modifier, I found it unsuitable for concept designers working on evolving designs. On the other hand, booleans, although fast for cutouts, are inconsistent and can cause topology issues. To address this, I created an add-on that enables quick iterations while maintaining detailed surfaces and ensuring topology integrity. Here's a comparison table for the different workflows available.
What does the script do?
It provides you a set of useful shortcuts available via a Pie Menu and a menu in the N-panel, which facilitate simultaneous on-the-go editing, retrofitting or readjustment of both the Guide Mesh and Final Mesh. Although the script requires a little time to adapt, it is a very straight forward pie menu (CTRL+Shift+Q) which offers you a bunch of functions that all revolve around the same goal: to make your life easier while working on WIP design of yours.
What is the typical worfklow?
- Model your hard surface object.
- Once happy with the base shape and assuming you want to detail your surface with cutouts and small details, setup your Guide Mesh / Final Mesh relationship. This will essentially duplicate your current object into a "Final Mesh", already set up with a Shrinkwrap modifier, Solidify modifier along with other settings. From now on, you will primarily be working on your "Final Mesh"
- As you're detailing your Final Mesh, feel free to use the Crease and Bevel shortcuts to speed up your modeling workflow
- If you want to edit both meshes at the same time, use the Dual Mesh Edit mode. This will automatically select your Guide Mesh and Final Mesh in Edit Mode.
- you can use the selection tool with x-ray on to pick overlapping geometries from both meshes
- you can work in isolation on either mesh, by using "Isolate Guide Mesh" or "Isolate Final Mesh"
- if you selected some geometries while in Isolation, you can use "Select Matching Geometries" whilst back in Dual Mesh Edit mode, in order to select the overlapping geometries belonging to the other mesh
- you can bevel or extrude simultaneously your selected matching geometries
- you can cut through both meshes using the Knife tool with cut through enabled (be mindful of your camera angle as the cut through doesn't have a distance threshold)
Use 'Autosnap' (available in Dual Mesh Edit Mode) or Snap'Adjust (available in Object Mode) to conform one mesh onto another as best as possible
- Use the Version Manager (N-panel) if you want to create another "Version" of your design. You can only assign one version to your pie menu - to do so, click on the round icon to assign it.
- If your file is getting heavy, use the optimization settings to speed up your workflow.
Important: Naming Convention
To ensure proper functionality, the script depends on a specific naming convention that allows it to identify your Guide Mesh, Final Mesh, and their respective collections. The same applies to 'design versions' (managed via the Version Manager). This is automatically done by the script, but in case you're shuffling your outliner, please keep that in mind:
- Your Versions (listed in the N-Panel's table) are detecting any collections called "Guide Mesh <> Final Mesh Vx"
- Each Version should have a "Guide Mesh Vx" and a "Final Mesh Vx" subcollection
- Each Guide Mesh should be named "Guide Mesh Vx", and each Final Mesh should be named "Final Mesh Vx"
- "x" corresponds to the Version number
- Guide Mesh <> Final Mesh Setup
Start the Guide Mesh <> Final Mesh setup either from one or two existing meshes. The script will: rename the meshes, add the required modifiers and vertex groups, parent them and assign them to their respective collections. It will also make the Guide Mesh invisible in Render Mode, and display it in wireframe.
- Dual Mesh Edit Mode
This mode allows you to edit both mesh at the same time (use the lasso tool in X-ray view). By doing so, you can select overlapping geometries across both mesh. Dual Mesh edit mode will store your Mesh's visibility settings - so if you work with your Guide Mesh hidden in object mode, it will store its state and restore it once back to object mode.
Blender's X-RAY view: Alt + Z
Machin3tools pass through mode: Tab (bottom right corner)
Isolate Guide Mesh or Isolate Final Mesh or Reval All
Working on two very similar meshes can get confusing. While in Dual Mesh Edit Mode, this function allows you to isolate the mesh that you want to focus on. It displays a text at the top of the viewport as a reminder.
- Duplicate and Transfer
Imagine you've been working in isolation mode for an extended period and inadvertently neglected to update the other mesh. This new feature comes to the rescue by efficiently duplicating your selected elements and seamlessly transferring them to the alternate mesh. By default, this operation attempts to merge vertices that overlap (you have the option to disable this in the addon settings). Be careful as this operator can create non-manifold faces that you may have to fix.
In the following illustration, you'll notice that there is no shrinkwrap modifier applied. This serves as an example of how the transferred geometry is now seamlessly integrated with the geometry of the other mesh.
- Overlap Menu
Select overlapping vertex: Based on your selection, this provides a list of meshes sharing a vertex with identical coordinates. It can be useful for selecting a specific vertex in areas densely populated with vertices in your file
Select matching geometries across all meshes: Based on your selection, it detects the matching vertices, edges and faces on the other mesh in edit mode. Can be useful when you want to do design changes requiring extrusion or beveling on both mesh at the same time. Keep in mind this tool is purely based on geometric coordinates, so any vertices, edges or faces present in one mesh only, will not be synced.
Think of it as an automated version of the Snap'Adjust mode down below. While in Dual Edit Mode, use this function to Automatically snap any vertices from one mesh to another, within a certain threshold set in the addon preferences (default threshold is 1mm). In the example below, I intentionally misplace a vertex on the Guide Mesh, then use the Autosnap' (Guide onto Final) feature (it snaps back to the nearest vertex from the Final Mesh).
This oddly satisfying mode makes one mesh non-selectable, but enables you to snap the vertices of the other mesh onto the locked mesh (vertex and edge snapping are enabled by default). Use this in case AutoSnap' creates unwanted snapping results.
- Optimization Features
Some useful shortcuts that should make your life easier when working on heavy files.
- Edge Detailing Menu
Useful shortcuts to detail your topology:
- Set/Remove Edge Crease (value of 1)
- Set/Remove Edge Bevel (value of 1)
- Set/Remove Vertex Crease (value of 1)
- Version Manager
Version 1.4.2 introduces an enhanced collection system that enables concurrent work on multiple variants, eliminating the need for creating separate files for different design variations.
- Select, hide, duplicate, or delete a Version along with its entire content.
- Assign a Version to the add-on's pie menu (the pie menu's shortcuts can only focus on one version at a time)
- Other features:
- Custom Matcaps: Alias-like chrome shader + hard-surface friendly red matcap
- (Edit Mode) Zero Out: scaled the selected geometries down to 0 on the X, Y or Z axis (flattens it basically)
- (Object Mode) Backup and Bake: creates a duplicate of your Final Mesh in a locked "Archive" collection, then bake every modifiers on the original Final Mesh
Hope you will find this addon useful. Happy blending!
|Published||8 months ago|
|Blender Version||3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.0|
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