How is it done?
See the Installation guide and follow it precisely. Note the version requirement.
What exactly is PIL/pillow and why is it needed?
PIL is not required for basic DECALmachine usage, so for using and working with decals that are supplied with DECALmachine or for 3rd party decal packs, that support DECALmachine.
It is an image manipulation python module, used for decal creation and export, as well as for updating legacy decal assets (from previous versions of DECALmachine).
Think of it as Photoshop for python or Photoshop by code.
Can I install PIL/pillow without an internet connection?
PIL installation is done only once.
An internet connection is needed, because Windows, MacOS and Linux all require a different set of installation files. To support all of these operating systems and guarantee PIL works properly, this online-installation process is the best choice and has proven to have a 100% success rate.
In the past I've supplied pre-compiled versions of PIL for all three operating systems, but they often failed to work properly due to various differences in OS installations. So now the necessary files are downloaded based on a users operating system, and PIL is then compiled on the users computer, thereby ensuring it will work properly.
If you have a second computer with web access and with the same OS as your workstation, you can install DECALmachine and PIL on the second computer, then copy the PIL installation over to the one without web access, and with some luck, it will work fine.
You can see the path of the PIL installation in Blender's console)
Without a second computer with internet access and using the same OS, you are out of luck and won't be able to create decals and trim sheets, or take advantage of atlasing and baking.
Unless you want to build from source, at which point my support ends and you are on your own.
Will DECALmachine work in Blender 3.0.0-alpha (some current experimental build)?
Using experimental builds of Blender, you are at risk of encountering sudden failures of addons that used to work just fine the day before.
I can't make any guarantees if things will keep working. I can just try to fix things once they break. However, fixing things that break in experimental Blender builds will never be a priority, until the experimental build becomes stable.
To provide help, I need the following:
- Proof of Purchase
- system-info.txt and pil.log
If you are seeing an error, please send me a screenshot of the system console.
Just an screenshot of the error message popup usually lacks context and is not ideal.
Instead of sending a screenshot, you can also copy and paste the console text into the email.
Keep in mind
On Windows you can turn on the console from Windows > 'Toggle System Console'.
On Linux and MacOS, you need start Blender from a terminal.
I do not need an image of Blender's Info View and I don't need to see Blender's Python Console either.
If the error only occurs on a certain model, please attach the blend file as well.
Please remove any part of the model that doesn't contribute to the problem to keep the file size down.
If you think a tool of DECALmachine doesn't do what it should do, please send me the blend file.
Please remove any part of the model that doesn't contribute to the problem to keep the file size small.
Is MACHIN3tools required?
Are HardOps and BoxCutter required?
HardOps and BoxCutter are not needed to use DECALmachine. HOps/BC and DM fill different niches in a hard surface workflow.
DM is a finishing and detailing tool. While HOps/BC are tools for working with form and generally improve the Blender experience greatly.
As such the addons complement each either very well and I'd recommend them to any DECALmachine user.
Furthermore it should be noted, that the HardOps and BoxCuter developers have been and continue to be extremely supportive and helpful and DECALmachine would not be what it is, without their initial contributions and guidance.
Why can't I access DECALmachine's pie menu when I activate BoxCutter's tool?
If you make BoxCutter active, by pressing its button in the tool bar, or via the
Alt + W shortcut, BoxCutter takes over and brings up its own pie menu when pressing the
To avoid keymap conflicts and use DECCALmachine while the BoxCutter tool is active, you need to either remap the BoxCutter pie menu or the DECALmachine pie to a different key or key combination.
For instance, you could remap the BC pie to
SHIFT + D. Once done, you can keep the BoxCutter tool active, access its own pie menu using
SHIFT + D, as well as DECALmachine's with
Otherwise, you will have to disable the BoxCutter tool(enable any other tool) every time to access DECALmachine's pie menu.
the BoxCutter pie menu, remapped to
SHIFT + D in the Keymap preferences
How do I snap decals to a surface?
When Decals are imported using the asset loaders, by default all snap settings are prepared automatically - face snapping, align to surface, etc. Snapping itself is not turned on however.
The suggested method to move decals and align them is by holding down
CTRL while moving decals via
g. This will turn on snapping temporarily for as long as
CTRL is pressed.
How do I mirror decals?
Decals in DECALmachine - being objects - can be mirrored using Blender's mirror modifier, as described here.
Why are my panel decal materials/textures taken from the Aircraft(or any other) library?
You have enabled the Panel option for this other, non-panel decal library in the addon preferences.
Changing the Panel property of a decal library, requires a library reload, or alternatively a Blender restart. Don't forget to save your preferences after the reload, or before the restart.
Why aren't there any Decal Libraries in the Pie Menu?
no libraries, not even the supplied ones appear in the pie menu
This is default behavior when running DECALmachine 2.5 the first time in Blender 3.0.
The supplied example assets need to be (batch) updated for them to work in 3.0.
See this what's new section for details on why and how.
If that's not it, verify you aren't using a library visibility preset, that has all libraries hidden.
My Decal Libraries are LOCKED! What can I do?
supplied decal libraries are locked and can't be removed or written to
You are in decal-remove-mode, and it's visibly enabled via the "Removal" button at the very bottom of the pie menu.
You can not add decals to locked decal libraries, and you can't remove decals from them either.
If you find DECALmachine like this, right after starting Blender, you need to disable decal-remove-mode and save your preferences.
For details on removing decals, check out decal creation, specifically the very end.
Is there a way to make decals affect displacement instead of normals?
Technically it's trivial to change the decal node tree to do displacement as the height maps are already supplied. But think about it, a floating decal with actual displacement?
First off, the decal would need to be subdivided a lot, which can be done, but secondly what would happen to the displaced geometry? It would intersect with the base mesh the decals are floating above - you wouldn't see much of the displaced geometry, as it is sunk into the base mesh.
Why doesn't the
ALT + LMB key combination for alternative modes in Project, Slice, etc. work?
Make sure you haven't enabled Emulate 3 Button Mouse in Blender's Input preferences.
This option uses the
ALT key in combination with
LMB to simulate a middle mouse button, which takes precedence.
Material Matching doesn't work properly! Why are the node inputs on the Principled BSDF shader node ignored?
It's working exactly as intended. Only plain pbr materials are supported.
Also check out this related information as to why.
Understand that matching materials, with arbitrary node trees (any user could have a completely different node setup for his materials) is a significant challenge in regards to development effort, performance, and maintenance.
Also, from a purely practical perspective DECALmachine's main intended use cases are hard surface focused concept design and game art.
For neither of these do you need to match complex, textured materials - not in Blender anyway.due to the magic of deffered decal shaders
That said, matching decal to materials with more complex node trees in Blender, would be much easier to support from the developers creating material based addons, especially when those materials are procedural. For instance, Oliver J Post's instamat and smudgr addons do support matching decals. That's because he knows exactly how his materials are structured, so he was able to build a tool to connect his node outputs to the decal node groups' inputs.
How do I create my own Decals?
You can ceate decals of all 4 types directly in Blender, see Decal Creation for details.
How do I create Decals from a whole folder of images?
You need to first load multiple source images. Once done, the Batch Creation: All source images at once option can be enabled.
The resulting instant decals will be layed out next to each other and can then be immediately added to a library using the Add to Library tool - also all at once.
Can I create Decals from Alphas?
Alphas don’t contain enough information to create decals from. They are just height information.
Decals are normal, height, AO, curvature, mask and often subset mask. You could do without AO, curvature and height, but getting normals from height is flawed and creating the subset mask automatically is impossible.
I’d recommend adapting and modeling your favorite designs and create decals from that.
Alternatively you could subdivide a plane A LOT and displace it using the Alpha, then create a decal from that subdivided, displaced plane. The results seem acceptable to some people. This process is prone to artefacting and does not produce subset masks however, so you are limited to Simple decals.
Can I create Decals for damage and weathering effects, such as those from Quixel?
The focus of DECALmachine has always been hard surface detailing, either for concept, or game art with the aim of bringing decals into deferred rendering pipeline such as Unity HDRP or UE4.
As such (normal mapped) decals in DECALmachine don't have color, roughness or metalness textures.
In Blender decal materials fetch these color, roughness and metallic properties from their parent objects through a process called material matching.
The focus here is simple parameter based materials, not textured ones, and certainly not heavily weathered materials. Decals in Blender are opaque objects after all, and a generalized, automatic approach, that can match opaque decals to arbitrary user created node setups creating complex weathered materials is just not feasible and beyond the scope of what DECALmachine intends to do. If decals had color, roughness, or metalness maps, then they couldn't be material matched, and they would stand out instead of visually integrate.
Furthermore, in deferred rendering such as Unity HDRP or UE4, decal material properties for color, roughness and metalness are simply taken from the parent object's material - textured or not - simply through the nature of how decal shaders in deferred rendering work. And so again, textures for color, roughness and metalness are not needed.
This lack of support for color, roughness and metalness textures in normal mapped decals, makes using DECALmachine decals for damage and weathering effects impractical, until a new decal type is introduced specifically for this purpose.
Can I bake the Decal textures, to be used in a single texture set?
How do you export Decals for use in Unity, Unreal Engine, etc.?
In addtion to baking, there are 2 more approaches to exporting in DECALmachine.
Learn more them in the Export Introduction.