INTRODUCTION to Making Materials with CLIP STUDIO COORDINATE

INTRODUCTION

As noted in the Foreward the CLIP STUDIO COORDINATE program isn’t for creating the actual models, it’s for collecting models and textures into Materials that CLIP STUDIO PAINT / MANGA STUDIO can understand as configurable materials.  As an introduction to COORDINATE I think it would be good to get some of the general concepts down.



CSP/MS support dragging and dropping OBJ, FBX, 6KT, and 6KH files DIRECTLY onto your illustration page.  All you have to do is zip the model up with its textures as explained in this blog post: http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2013/8/18/ot-3d-basics-for-manga-studio

The CLIP STUDIO programs are very particular about the textures being in the same folder relative to the model file.  If you’re only working with static object models moving the models into the texture folder and zipping them up is usually sufficient to just drag-n-drop them into CSP/MS.  You wouldn’t even need to use CSC at all.

The biggest downside to just dragging and dropping a model into CSP/MS is that it doesn’t get added to your Material Library.  The model will get saved as part of the .LIP project file, and you can always drag and drop it into future projects too, but if it’s a model you may end up reusing often - for example the main character’s car or a model of the inside of their apartment - you’d want that in your Material Library so you can just drag and drop it out of the panel into your page - and odds are you’re probably going to have some favorite “camera angles” you’d want to use over and over again and it’s a pain to have to manually set your shot every single time you use the model.  Same goes for 3D Character files you may drag in, even if they’re posable they most likely will not adopt the preset poses in your Material Library, so you’d have to manually pose them every single time you use them.  The solution to these problems is to turn the models into proper Material files that CSC/MS will understand as native objects, and allows you (with CSC) to build your presets into them.

As I said, I haven’t actually played around much with 3D scenes and objects yet, as I was focused on the 3D Characters so let’s talk about them.  There are basically two different approaches to constructing 3D Character materials:

Multi-Part Models (FBX)

If you downloaded the sample models (linked to in the Foreward) you’ll see that they are multipart models in FBX format consisting of:

1. Body
2. Face (i.e, the Head)
3. Hair
4. Accessories

Apart from the one completely assembled model of the girl this is how you should part out your models so they can be imported into CSC.  You actually BUILD your models like that one fully-assembled girl and then export the individual parts as selected objects.  You should also “rig” the models with joints that match the CLIP STUDIO “Standard Bone Specification” and each part needs to have at least the corresponding “bones” (actually each part can have the entire skeleton armature, but only the parts intersecting that part of the model are actually necessary).  CSC will merge all skeletons with same-named bones into a single armature so that, despite each piece being a separate model with it’s own skeleton, they’ll all move and react as a single unit.

CSC will import a number of different model formats:  FBX, OBJ, PMD, PMX, LWO, LWS, 6KT, 6KH, and CMO

That said, it seems only the “Body” import supports all those formats.  For example the Hair, Face, and Accessories will not import an OBJ model but will import an FBX, so you have to take that into consideration when you are prepping your models/parts for CSC.

Single-Body Models (OBJ or FBX)

The other option is to assemble a complete model and import it with or without rigging and bring that single model of the entire body in as the “Body” part model.  I know you can also import Accessories for Single-Body Models, I’m not sure about hair, but you won’t be able to use the Face options for setting different expressions at all.  If you import multiple single-body models, say of the same character in different clothing, you can still make a somewhat configurable character Material even without using multiple body parts.

The single-body models can be brought in with or without rigging in place.  For an FBX model, for example, it might already have a rigging skeleton, which doesn’t have to match the CLIP STUDIO “Standard Bone Specification.”   However, if it doesn’t match the standard you won’t be able to use the preset 3D Poses in CSP/MS that you can drag-n-drop onto a model and have it assume that pose.  You will, however, be able to pose it within CSC and build a library of pre-set poses exclusive to that character and it’s funky skeleton.  This is how models exported from DAZ Studio as FBX files work - they have the DAZ skeleton inside them.

Just about every 3D Modeling software I’ve seen either directly exports OBJ files or has a plugin that does it.  The problem with OBJ files, particularly with characters, is the mesh is like a hollow, bronze statue.  That’s fine for static objects like a building or couch, but it won’t do for a character who needs to be posable.  Except OBJ files don’t support binding the mesh to bones.  CSC does have rudimentary capabilities for rigging an imported OBJ file, but the tool isn’t as configurable as I’d like and you’re very likely to wind up with the mesh distorting in strange and unexpected ways that often make the resulting character model pose-able, but unsuitable for actual rendering in CSP/MS (and if you’re only going to use it as a posing dummy then you should just use the posing dummies already built into CSP/MS).

Remember that you’ll probably have to move your model file into the same folder with its textures or you’ll end up with a blank “marble” model.  A better solution to both the rigging and texture problems is to introduce an intermediary step with OBJ files where you pull them into a third-party 3D Modeling program.  In that third-party program you manually rig them, then export the rigged model as an FBX.  You’ll have much more control over the bend-points of the joints and matching the skeleton to the mesh.

Accessorize!

You have two choices when it comes to “accessories” for your 3D Characters.  The first one is to create an Object with COORDINATE that will be set as one of your “Small Object” materials in CLIP STUDIO PAINT.  Those you can drag into any scene and pair with any, or no, character.

The other option is to have objects which are “owned” by the character, either because it is something exclusive to them or just a convenience for you in selecting it from their common accessories - rather than having to hunt for it in your Materials Library.

You can, of course, register an object as it’s own material AND also import it as an accessory for a character in COORDINATE.  The whole point of the 3D objects is to speed up your workflow and reduce the number of things you have to draw, so put the objects where ever they make the most sense for the way you work.

Decimate Your Mesh
Unless you’re actually going for photo-realism you’ll probably want to reduce the polygon count of many models you bring into CSC/CSP/MS.  Reducing the poly-count is called “decimation” and I can offer you two FREE options for doing this:


1. The easiest way I know of to do that is to pull the model into Blender and apply the “Decimate” modifier and export the reduced model.
    I particularly like this method because Blender gives you a real-time update of the consequences of the decimation and 3 options for
    how to do it.  You can get Blender here: http://www.blender.org/

2. Download the MeshLab program, open your OBJ file (it won’t work with FBX) and apply a “Quadradic Edge Collapse Decimation” on it

The downside of option #2 is that you won’t know the consequences of your choices until you’ve applied it, and it seems it can’t be undone.  With either option, though, if you decimate the model too much it will end up looking like Bizarro Superman.  Even if the textures help make it look halfway decent in even lighting, as soon as you apply shadow lighting to it you’ll see just how chunky it really is.  So, if you’re going to use the “Lighting” option for 3D Characters in CLIP STUDIO do not decimate your models (and live with the lag) or at least don’t decimate them very much.

Rasterize Your Layers

If you imported a high-poly model, even something simple like exporting your page as an image can take forever as it renders the 3D to 2D.  In my testing with the DAZ Studio model “Aiko” I placed the model three times, each on a different layer, each with a different layer effect.  It took my system, which is usually not slow at all, literally FIVE MINUTES to spit out a single 300 dpi JPEG image:


On the other hand, when I right-clicked on each 3D layer and selected “Rasterize Layer” it took less than a second to render the layer and exporting the page to a JPEG was almost instantaneous:


If you look at the two images you can’t tell which one was pre-rendered, but the way the first one was generated would deal a serious blow to your productivity.  That said you have to be absolutely certain that you are happy with the pose, position, lighting, effects, etc. of the layer before your rasterize it.   Because once you rasterize there is no going back to the 3D model (well, unless you delete the layer, drop the model back in, re-pose it, reset your effects, etc.).

Table of Contents



  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Oh Maya!
  • Part 2: Importing Models from DAZ Studio
  • Part 3: Yes, But Will It Blend?
  • Part 4: Importing from Sketch-Based Modelers
  • Part 5: Cheetah3D - My Best Solution
  • Part 6: Change Faces!
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