Let's Get Down to Business
To reveal, what's done
Excited to announce that HueForge v0.7.0 is well and truly in the hands of testers. My MacOS testers should get a build tonight or tomorrow and my Window’s testers are already at work spotting bugs and making things.
So what is v0.7.0 about. First, this build was originally v0.6.6 and was mostly focused on both speeding up and cleaning up the mesh output. If you’ve made enough prints, eventually you run into the dreaded non-manifold issues which cause weird slicing and floating sections of your print. Also as I started to work on the Color Aware updates (not in this build) I found that many of the operations I wanted to do were SLOW when applied to a big mesh. So I started off focusing on bug fixes of common issues (mostly path problems associated with Unicode) and speeding up the mesh manipulations.
I focused on producing videos to address super common issues people were having with either understanding or actually using HueForge. And despite my desire to talk A LOT, I tried to keep them short. I've organized them here in my shop
And then life happened (both good and tragic) and I kept adding features as I had time, Slider enable/disable, Spike removal, Lighting adjustments, well it ballooned.
There are things in here for both beginners and advanced users and I’m going to do my best to go through the big items.
Let’s look at this like a treasure hunt. There are a variety of changes throughout this image and I’m going to hit the big ticket ones first.
The old mysterious “Normal” button has been moved to the Lighting Settings along with the Blending Type (yes I see that the font is chopped off on the bottom it’s on my list). I’ve broken it into 3 buttons though. Now you can view ANY HueForge model through a Front Lit, Back Lit, or Slicer View blending mode. (Previously it was only your current mode’s blending and Slicer view). Why would you want to do this? If you uncheck Negative when making a filament painting, you’ve effectively made a Lithophane, but previously there was no way to predict what that lithophane would look like (aside from the convoluted process of loading the STL by itself and setting the display to Lithophane mode, but that isn’t a reasonable workflow).
For instance this negative mode print won’t need a 0.2mm nozzle to draw those thin white lines because they are the base layer, but it also won’t be opaque.
And now we can see what it is likely to appear as when backlit (Lithophane prediction is still undergoing a little modification)
And you can attempt to optimize the look for both versions, or just change your mind and make a Lithophane instead! It works in both modes so you can see how good or goofy your lithophane will look when frontlit too.
Notice that the sliders are all out of order from bottom to top?
Okay, but what the heck is that color bar next to the sliders?
It’s the filament blending colors of the entire slider stack. As you move the sliders, the blending is update in real-time to show you how the way you manipulate the sliders affects the color of the image at different heights. Like this
The blending happens at your current layer height and uses exactly the same algorithm used to predict the Filament Paintings. The eagle eyed among you might notice the same bar is ALSO between the Image and Preview panes in the middle. This is there because often that is where the user is looking when manipulating sliders so having it in the eyeline is beneficial.
Okay, but why are there colored boxes behind the layer number under the slider?
To allow you to enable/disable the slider and have it removed from the prediction without having to slide it down to 0 height. This is probably my second favorite Quality of Life improvement, AHEAD of the rather significant mesh manipulation speedups.
What is my favorite you ask? Glad you asked.
(Yes I did just figure out how to capture video with Windows Snipping Tool this week, why?)
Filament Filtering. Even with the tabs and Owned/Unowned - it is a nightmare to find filaments. Now if you want to find a filament or color, use the filter box (multiple words, or parts of words, separated by a space are checked for independently and must all be there) and all tabs will be filtered. This has fundamentally changed how I deal with the filament library. I no longer 100% hate it. It will get more love in future updates as it isn’t where I want it to be yet.
Speaking of the Filament Library - Teaching Tech was the first to publicly point out what I’ve known since LAUNCH. If you change a slider’s color or TD, the filament library won’t reflect that change (though the underlying information DID change). Same thing if you change the library - though this is more impactful because the prediction won’t change. Well it wouldn’t change. Now they properly track each other and changes to the library cause changes to the prediction.
Mesh fixes - I have spent many many hours tracking down and correcting as many mesh issues as I possibly can. For the first, turning the border on/off doesn’t require a remesh. In fact, I can’t really think of anything that requires a remesh anymore, so expect the next build to remove that button entirely. Also, I’ve spent a LOT of time on manifold errors. I have seen a handful still (and there are still “removed triangles” that I don’t quite understand - in one case, CAUSING a non-manifold issue) but the number is GREATLY reduced and I have never had a broken slice as a result.
Okay so let’s get over to the Model Geometry dock.
A few things have moved around - like Image Format but a few new buttons are here (and a few bugs). Spike Remove is now an option (it’s a median filter for those of you with SP backgrounds) with three settings, Fast, Moderate, and Aggressive. It’s primary use case is to get rid of spikes in your images caused by bright pixels that are left over from background removal or from a lower quality image. It will get rid of it, then recalculate Full Range if it’s on. Spikes are a primary cause of “Why is my mesh fewer layers in HueForge than in the slicer” problems so checking that with the Fast spike removal can save a lot of headaches.
The Adjust Amount is the same control but I’ve changed the labels to read Coarse, Medium, and Fine. Why change that? Because I’ve also attached it to the Power Slider. What the heck is the Power Slider and what is that red line next to it?
You guys know all the best questions.
If you have seen my video on Brightness Compensation, you will have seen a graph like this. I’ve added a visual representation of what each mode does to the luminance curve. In this case, there are a lot more layers on the low end of the curve early on which brightens the whole image, but also gives you a lot more room to get smooth gradients in the darker regions of your image. Okay, but what is the power slider for? Well I revisited all of my Brightness Compensation algorithms and found they were all extendable with a power setting (literally raised to the N power for my math nerds)
The little icon to the right tracks those changes and the mesh updates as well (big meshes might be a little slow here… I’m looking at you 0.1mm Detail Size meshes).
Speaking of Brightness Compensations modes. I’ve added a few more
This isn’t the final list (nor even all of it) some are certainly going to be removed, but each one does something a little different. The old BCs are all here, but old projects are not guaranteed to load correctly in terms of Brightness Compensation for ones like Dim 1 and 2 or Bright/Dark Enhance. In fact, you won’t see Bright Dark Enhance at all. That’s because it was misnamed and is now Midtone Suppress 1. This is part of moving to a new minor version number. Some old projects might be slightly broken. But it’s a small fix and otherwise works fine (the rest of the project loads).
The last thing you might notice in the Model Geometry dialog is the Unbias Lighting button - that one is still pretty experimental so I think I might leave that one for another day. There are a few others that I haven’t mentioned like the Load Set With Defaults button and oh… one more thing.
Undo/Redo. It isn’t perfect - it gets cleared when you load a new project (or close an old one) but it mostly works. It caused me no end of coders block and grief and it’s my primary testing/bug fix issue to solve, but mostly it just works. A few things won’t undo that I won’t fix (like I won’t unsort the sliders if you reorder them) and a few things don’t undo that probably SHOULD undo, like changing a filament TD or Color that I likely will fix. So consider it maybe 85% Undo/Redo and I hope you like it.