Clara.io Update: UI, Modelling, SubD, and Marc Petit.

Clara.io now looks better and works better!

- Ben Houston

Clara.io, the online 3D modeling and rendering tool recently passed the 26,000 registered users mark and also was just named by Animation Magazine as one of the best new technologies of 2013! Wow! Thank you all for your enthusiastic support. We are working hard everyday to live up to your expectations. Here is our latest improvements:

Improved UI Look and Feel

Here is a visual overview to our UI improvements:

While our previous UI was functional, it was far from attractive. It also had some workflow rough edges. The new default UI is more colorful, it is polished visually and it is more functional. Specifically we have added:

  • Easy switching between local and global manipulators.
  • Quick scene filter buttons and instant search by name.
  • One-click visibility icons in the scene explorer.
  • Context sensitive help.
  • Improved property widgets, topic separators, and property groups.
  • One-click access to scene sharing.

More UI improvements are under development, hopefully we can announce them shortly.

New Modelling Tools & Icons

In response to a ton of user feedback, we have continued to expand the modeling tools available in Clara.io. We have added quite a few new tools as well as optimized the performance of the existing tools (in particular slice and symmetry.) Of specific interest, we have added these tools to Clara.io's toolbar:

  • Edge Ring Select
  • Edge Loop Select
  • Edge Border Select
  • Edge Border Select All
  • Edge Borders Fill
  • Face Thickness
  • Face Insert
  • Face Detach
  • Face Duplicate
  • Face Select Element
  • Object Triangulate
  • Grow and Shrink Selection

Our UI for our modelling tools has also significant improved with the additional of self-explanatory icons for all tools in the left-hand side tool panel. Here is the new icons for each of the four modes of Clara.io's modelling tools:

Here is a short video tutorial that looks at the new UI and the thickness operator in Clara.io.

Lights and Cameras, and Materials

To make it easier to setup nice lighting effects, we have created three commands that automatically setup lights for your selected items: "Overhead Light", "3-Point Lights" and "Sun/Sky Light". We've also added to camera presets "Overhead Camera" and "Turntable Camera." Lastly to make it easier to switch materials on multiple scene nodes at a time, we've added a command called "Select by Material."

Subdivision Preview Meshes

Another great modelling feature we have added (that works well in combination with the new Multi-Sub Object Mode) is our subdivision preview meshes. Just select a mesh and hit the + key and you will have in the viewport a preview of the subdivided mesh. Hit the + key again to increase the subdivision level or hit the - key to reduce the subdivision level. You can continue to edit this mesh at its original resolution using Clara.io’s poly editing tools while always seeing the resulting subdivision. This removes a lot of guess work from the modeling workflow in Clara.io.

Here is a short video tutorial on how to use subdivision mesh previews in Clara.io.

Multi-Sub Object Mode

We have added a mode inspired by Softimage’s M-Tool. While we have kept around our face, edge and vertex sub-object modes, this new mode is allows you to quick switch between face selections, edge selections and vertex selections -- whichever element you select first determines the mode you are in. To switch modes, just start a new selection on whichever element you want to manipulate. This enables really fast modelling workflows that until now were only available with desktop applications.

Here is a short video tutorial on how to use the new multi-sub object mode in Clara.io

Lots of Snazzy New Example Scenes

We continue to expand the list of example scenes you can start with in Clara.io. In the last month, we’ve added Ferrari F1 race car, a tricycle, fire extinguisher, a vintage Cooper Mini, a lady bug and a NASA Space Shuttle. They are all accessible via the New Scene dialog.

If you have specific ideas for example scenes, please let us know via Twitter or Facebook.

Marc Petit joins Exocortex as an advisor and investor

And we are pleased to announce that one of the titans of the 3D creation industry has joined Exocortex as both an advisor and investor. Marc Petit is a former Senior VP of Autodesk who ran their Media and Entertainment division for years and was intimately involved in the development of Softimage, 3DS Max and Maya. Marc is one of the most insightful and respected veteran executives in the industry. A quick bio on Marc Petit can be found here on CG Society.

Welcome aboard Marc, it is great to have you on this journey!

To stay up to date and track the progress of Clara.io, please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and add us to your G+ circle. Until the next update!

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