Free 3D sculpting with MeshMolder

Sep 25, 2019 at 12:00 pm by nemirc

Sculpting to create 3D models became very prominent with the release of ZBrush.

After that, a few more sculpting tools have emerged to offer an alternative. MeshMolder is one of those tools.

It’s a small, and yet powerful, sculpting free application for Windows. When I say the application is small, I not only talk about the application being simple, with only the tools that you specifically need. I also speak about the size ok disk (around 38Mb).

MeshMolder works similar to Sculptris or MudBox. When you start the application (or start a new project), you are prompted to start with a primitive or import a 3D model. Then, you can add subdivisions to the model and sculpt using the tools found at the bottom toolbar. These tools allow you to add or substract mesh geometry, bevel, add creases, or add details with texture maps, among other things.

Symmetry is something expected from modeling tools, but I still think it’s needed to mention that MeshMolder includes symmetry, which is nice so you can sculpt both sides of a model at the same time. I think other applications take it further, though, since they allow symmetry in any plane; MeshMolder only allows symmetry along the X axis (across the Z-Y plane), so that’s something to keep in mind in case you need symmetry in other direction.

Another nice touch is the ability to freeze parts of the mesh. You can select parts of your mesh to freeze them, meaning that they will not be affected by any sculpting operation that you perform, which can be very useful when you are modeling certain types of surfaces, like when you are combining mechanical surfaces with organic elements, or simply when you want to have a clear division between parts of a mesh.

MeshMolder also includes some pretty basic 3D painting tools, which can be useful if you want to devote the time to paint your 3D model in this application, but they are not going to be a replacement for tools that make your texture job easier.

Also, in case you started with one of the primitive objects (or in case your imported 3D model doesn’t have UV maps), the application lets you create UV maps automatically. Keep in mind these automatic UV mapping tools don’t provide the best results.

The software also lets you reduce the polygon count of a mesh, by simply setting how much reduction you want. When you reduce your mesh, the application tries to retain details as much as possible, which is a good thing.

However, the resulting topology is not clean at all, and this is definitely not be the best option if you are working on a character, because characters need clean topology to avoid deformation problems.

Another thing I noticed is that the software is pretty fast and responsive, which is a good thing since you don’t want your application hanging and crashing in the middle of your work. However, there're limits to everything, and I did notice the application had trouble processing sculpts when my model was above the millions of polygons.

Overall, MeshMolder is a pretty good tool that you can use for 3D sculpting. Definitely it’s not going to be your one-stop solution for everything, from 3D modeling to texturing, but it can still be a very good addition to your toolbox.

Besides, if you are into 3D modeling that means you already have a 3D modeling application that will address MeshMolder’s limitations.

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