Voxedit Beta — Technical guide

The Sandbox
Feb 6, 2020 · 11 min read

We’re excited to share a new version of VoxEdit, the first all-in-one tool to create, rig, and animate voxel models.

VoxEdit has been available for almost 2 years. During this time, we accumulated tons of learning, which enabled us to release this new version, more exhaustive and robust than ever. Read this guide to learn more about all new features and how to make the most of them!

What’s new:

  • NEW UI and Welcome Screen
  • More User-Friendly Interface
  • Improved Modeling Tools
  • Interactive Color Editing
  • New Animation Tools
  • New Block Editor
  • New Template Library, With Monthly updates! (Don’t know how to model a dinosaur? Download the template and paint it, as the templates come with a pool of useful
  • Animations — all available on the new Welcome Screen of VoxEdit.

https://www.sandbox.game/en/create/

Welcome Screen:

  1. Modeler: After ensuring you name and save the file of the model, this button will take you to the modeling view of the editor with an empty canvas.
  2. Rigger: After asking you to name and save the file of the skeleton’s rig, this button will take you to the rigging view of the editor with an empty canvas.
  3. Templates: In this section, you will find the templates of skeletons to use as a base for the animation of your models. You will first select a .vxr file and open the skeleton + the .vxm parts that are associated with it. For example, if the “Chest” is selected, it will open the rigger view, showing all of the chest´s pieces in the 3D viewport, and the left section, “Library”, will show the pieces that the rig uses.
  4. Recent Files: As the name implies it, this section will show the 5 .vxm or .vxr files last used. When clicked, a .vxm file will open the modeling view with the selected model loaded in the viewport. A .vxr file will load the rigging view with the skeleton loaded with all of its parts.
  5. Tutorial Section: These 2 buttons will offer user tutorials for learning how to use the software.
  6. Open Button: Used to open .vxm or .vxr files. If the user opens a .vxm file, it will open the modeling view with the selected model loaded in the viewport. If a .vxr is opened, it will load the rigging view with the skeleton loaded with all of its parts.

Basic Controls

  • Pan Camera: Alt + Right-click
  • Rotate Camera: Alt + Left-click
  • Use Mode + Tool Combination: Left-click
  • TBD: Right-click
  • Zoom in/out: Mouse wheel up/down
  • Undo (up to 10 operations): Ctrl+Z (Cmd+Z macOS)
  • Redo (up to 10 operations): Ctrl+Y (Cmd+Y macOS)
  • Toggle Flying mode on/off: Q
  • Move around and sprint in Flying mode: WASD + Shift
  • Move the entire model in X-axis: Numpad 4 & 6
  • Move the entire model in Y-axis: Numpad 8 & 2
  • Move the entire model in Z-axis: Numpad 9 & 3

Modes & Tools

The modes and tools buttons occupy the left part of the editor mode. A combination of one mode and one tool will let you manipulate the currently loaded model.

Modes:

Attach Mode: This model lets you add voxels within the model’s volume.

Paint Mode: This mode lets you paint voxels with the selected color from the palette.

Erase Mode: This model lets you remove voxels within the model’s volume.

Tools:

Pencil Tool: This tool lets you manipulate the model one voxel at a time.

Box Tool: This tool lets you modify the model selecting areas of voxels.

Face Tool: This tool lets you manipulate individual and contiguous faces of a model.

Bucket Tool: This tool lets you modify entire contiguous volumes of voxels at a time.

Material Picker & Color Palette:

  1. Preview Color: Within this area, you will be able to see the currently selected within the material picker. You have 3 options for selecting the color and start using it to paint. The first is to update the current material in the palette. This way, the cell shown as nº 9 in the image will update to the color previewed. You can also right-click on any color from the palette and select the “Replace” option. The third way is to add a new color to the palette, by pressing on the cell shown as nº 10.
  2. Color Input Fields: In here, you will be able to input specific numerical values representing the RGB, HSB or HEX values of the color you intend to replicate. The RGB fields expect numerical values from 0 to 255, while HSB expects numerical values from 0 to 359. The HEX field, on the other hand, expects a hexadecimal value.
  3. Emissive Toggle: With this tool, you can toggle whether the preview color will be emissive or not. As mentioned before, you have to confirm this by either pressing buttons nº1 or nº5.
  4. Palette Colors: You can select any of the colored squares in the palette by simply left-clicking on it. If the color has a star icon above it, it means that the color is emissive. You can right-click any color from the palette to bring up the Delete and Replace options. Delete removes the color from the palette and shifts all remaining colors one place to the right. The replace option replaces the current color and sets it as the new active color that can be seen in the preview color above.
  5. Update Color Palette: With this button, you will be able to update the currently selected color in the palette (nº9) and replace it with the preview color (nº1).
  6. Brightness & Saturation Selector: With this 2-dimensional selector, you can change the brightness and saturation of the preview color.
  7. Window Panel: Activates a window with only the material picker separate from the main window of the software. This button appears in many menus and should work equally in all situations.
  8. Hue Selector: With this vertical slider, you will be able to select the hue of the preview color.
  9. Palette Menu: Allows one of 3 different options to be selected: “Save Palette”, “Load Palette” or “New Palette”. A palette is a simple PNG file with color information for a palette.
  10. Selected Color: The color in the palette with a white border is the selected color. When using the paint mode, this is the color that will affect the voxels in the viewport.
  11. New Color: By pressing on the “+” button on the palette, you will be able to add a new color. The color that will be added will be the one displayed on the preview color above (nº1).

Model View Top Bar:

The top bar has many options to help you model your creations. These are all either buttons, toggles or input fields. Let’s review:

Home Button: It will ask you if you want to save your progress and take you to the welcome screen. When editing a model part from a .vxr file, this button will not appear.

Save Button: Save your progress at any time. The changes will be saved in the .vxm model.

Rig Button: Return to the rig where you were working, if applicable. This button will not appear if you weren’t working on a rig.

RotateX/RotateY/RotateZ Buttons: Let you rotate the current model on the X, Y or Z axis.

Upscale / Downscale Buttons: These buttons will double or reduce by half the amount of detail in your model.

MirrorX / MirrorY / MirrorZ Toogles: Lets you work with symmetries on the X, Y, and Z axis. When toggled on, they reflect ALL operations to the other half of the volume

Model Volume Input Field: These 3 values represent the total volume of the model viewport on which you can work. You can modify these numbers to enlarge or shrink the editable area of the viewport.

Crop Button: With this button, you will be able to remove the extra unused space of the editable area of the viewport. It will reduce the area from the first to the last voxel it finds in each axis.

Voxel View/Quad View/Without Edges Buttons: These options display your work in Voxels, in Quads, or without edges.

Reset Camera Button: Focuses the view on the model.

Rigger View Top Bar:

The top bar has many buttons and toggles to help you rig your models. Let’s review:

Move / Rotate / Scale Toggles: These toggles, of which only one can be active at a time, will allow you to manipulate a skeleton piece inside the viewport.

Bone Visibility Toggle: View or hide the bone structure of the skeleton.

Bounding Box Visibility Toggle: View or hide the bounding boxes of the skeleton pieces.

Quad View / Without Edges Toggles: Display skeleton pieces either in Quads or without edges.

Emissive Wand: This allow the emissive colors to be activated.

Skeleton Menu:

  1. Root Bone: In the skeletal hierarchy of the rigged model, the root bone is the parent of all other bones.
  2. Child Bone With Attached Model: This is a child of the root bone. As you can see, the bone has a name (“ChestBase”) and a .vxm model attached to it (“chest-base.vxm”). In order to attach a bone, you have to drag and drop a .vxm model from the Bones to a relative position, rotation, and scale in relation to their fathers. If “ChestBase” is, for example, in the coordinate 10,10,10 (X, Y, Z) and we move “Chest_Top_Pivot” 10 more units forward in the X-axis, locally it will be in the coordinate 10,0,0 but it will globally be in the coordinate 20,10,10.
  3. Child Bone With No Attached Model: In this case, this bone has yet no model assigned to it, so we will only see an empty bounding box of 32x32x32 (if we have bounding boxes view enabled). Despite not having a model, these bones will behave exactly the same as those bones who do.
  4. Add Child Bone Button: When we click this button, the program will ask us to provide a name before creating a child bone of the bone whose “+” button we just clicked.
  5. Remove Bone Button: When we click this button, we will remove this bone from the skeleton hierarchy so it no longer appears in the viewport. Take into account that all of the eliminated bone’s child bones will also be eliminated.
  6. Remove Associated Model: This button will remove the associated model of the bone so you can assign a new model to it.

Animation Menu:

  1. Skeleton Bone: All of the bones in the skeleton will appear in the animation window one after the other ordered vertically.
  2. Animation Playback Controls: With these controls, you will be able to play the current animation, either endlessly in a loop after pressing “play”, or frame by frame with the “next” button.
  3. Frame Counter: This indicated the current frame the animation is in. Since it is based in a 24 fps system, once it reaches 24 frames, it will show “01s — 00f”.
  4. Current Frame Indicator: This vertical guide indicates which frame you are currently on, and lets you clearly see what keyframes are on that specific frame of the animation.
  5. Timeline: By clicking on the timeline, you can place the current frame indicator on a specific frame, rather than having to control the frame progress via the animation playback buttons. You can click and drag sideways towards the lateral limits of the timeline in order to move the timeline either left or right.
  6. Bone Visibility Toggle: This button will allow you to hide the visibility of a potentially unwanted bone. Even if it is unseen, the bone is still there and should be taken into account (since when the model is exported, all bones will be visible).
  7. Bone Animation Lock Toggle: This allows you to lock the bone’s animation frames. This is useful when you wish to prevent accidental modification of the finished animation of a bone.
  8. New Frame Button: When moving a bone in the viewport, you will automatically create a new frame. However, if you wish to manually create a new frame, you can do so with this button. This is especially useful when you don’t want an interpolation to immediately after a keyframe, but rather delay it a few frames.
  9. Keyframe: This diamond-shaped icon lets you know that you made a modification in a bone’s position, rotation or scale (or any combination of the 3).
  10. Keyframe Interpolation Band: When there are 2 consecutive keyframes, there will be an interpolation between them represented with a light grey band connecting the 2 keyframes that make up an animation. If 2 consecutive keyframes are exactly the same, they won’t have interpolation and hence, will not have the light grey band connecting them. Last but not least, you can right-click over the keyframe interpolation band to see the different interpolation types, potentially making your animation look more interesting.

Library Menu:

Some items in the image are duplicated because they have the same function in the 2 different views.

  1. VXM Models: There are the core components of the rigger. These models will be the visual representation of the bones in the viewport. In order to assign a model to a bone, simply drag and drop a .vxm model from the library to the bone in the skeleton menu.
  2. Delete Model Button: By clicking this, you can permanently delete the model.
  3. List View Toggle: By clicking this, you will see the different models imported in a listed manner. This toggle can be found at the bottom of the library menu.
  4. Grid View Toggle: By clicking this, you will see the different models imported with a thumbnail ordered in a grid manner. This toggle can be found at the bottom of the library menu.
  5. Library Menu Button: This button allows you to make several operations:
  6. New VXM: Create a new .vxm model from scratch.
  7. Import VXM: This option lets you import a .vxm file not currently in your library and use it in the current rig.
  8. Import VOX: This option allows you to import models made in MagicaVoxel. Please take into account that we currently only support single model .vox files.
  9. Upgrade VXMs: This option allows you to update a batch of old .vxm files in order to use them in the latest editor and game versions.
  10. Import VOXs: This option allows you to import batches of models made in MagicaVoxel. Please take into account that we currently only support single model .vox files.

The Block Editor section is used to create the fundamental building blocks of The Sandbox. Each block measures 32 voxels (1m³), and there are Solid or Liquid blocks with inner properties. Users paint the 6 faces, creating different styles (e.g., grass, asphalt, rock, lava, etc.). The available tools easily facilitate detailed customization of the blocks and their properties.

As tools for drawing tileable (repeatable) textures between several blocks.

The Sandbox

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