Post your top Blender add-ons

Hi,

Next to the tools that come with Blender, there are a number of free or affordable Blender add-ons that decrease my need for other 3D software.

Here are my top external Blender add-ons that really help my daily creation workflow.

:date: Updated March 26th, 2020
:arrow_up_down: Order = alphabetical

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EdgeFlow


:point_right: A great tool for adjusting edges to conform to the flow of surrounding edges.

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Mesh Fairing


:point_right: Another very effective smoothing tool, that works in both Edit Mode and Sculpt Mode, offering three methods: Position (smooth flattening of an area), Tangency (keeps more continuity with the surrounding area) and Curvature (keeps most continuity with the surrounding area).

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MiraTools (part of MifthTools)


:point_right: A powerful, versatile set of Edit Mode deformation and creation tools, as well as a range of flexibly creatable primitives.

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Modifier List


:point_right: A great replacement of the standard modifier UI / workflow, offering a clear, concise modifier list, a configurable most-used modifiers preset list and lots of extra functions, such as automatic addition of a modifier-controlling dummy.

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QuadRemesher


:point_right: Simply the best auto-retopologizer that’s available at the moment, from the developer of ZBrush ZRemesher.

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Volume Preserving Smoothing


:point_right: A great companion to EdgeFlow, offering better, volume-preserving smoothing than Blender’s native Smooth Vertices tool.

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W Mesh

https://blendermarket.com/products/wonder-mesh (W Mesh at Blender Market if you want to support the developer)

:point_right: 3ds Max style parametric and animatable primitive objects, allowing a more non-destructive workflow, particularly useful when working with Boolean modifiers.

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Here are mine, I primary focus on low poly models by baking from high poly ones for games and use tools that make that workflow easier (and more fun):

Maya Config for Blender 2.8 - I come from a Maya background and this keymap add-on really saves the day for me. The author has been updating it often with more features and functionality which has been great. I almost feel like I am using a super version of maya with this add-on since I don’t have to fumble around learning new controls and can smoothly navigate in Blender 2.8 with maya navigation that I am so used to for many years.

OpenVDb Remesh - Hands down the best modeling add-on for me. I only stumbled upon it like 2 weeks ago when I was trying to find a similar method to converting low poly models to a high poly voxel (how I did with 3D Coat for years) and this tool felt like it was made for me. It works so great and can create awesome high poly models from low poly meshes with perfect bevels. It speeds up my workflow and is so hassle free I’m amazed how well it can convert my low poly meshes that have booleans or are just joined objects into one single cleanly beveled high poly mesh. Many nights for fun I will do a very quick 15 min model where I extrude, join, and add crazy booleans to it and then convert it with open VDB remsh. I am always amazed how it makes the low poly model into a high poly masterpiece in seconds that are ready to bake. Gone are the days of having to subdivide with edge loops. Converting a low poly to a voxel and instantly back to a high poly mesh all within Blender 2.8 is the way to go. The only downside to the tool is I fear the day it no longer exists or doesn’t work for Blender, I’d have to keep a version around JUST for this tool its that great for me. I wish the author could get it integrated as a feature to blender I love it that much.

Pie Menu Editor - What can I say I love customization and on top of it being able to make unlimited menus and pie menus of my workflow process has been a lifesaver. Hotkeys are great but with every add-on it means learning more hotkeys to the point it feels like a pop quiz every time I open blender trying to remember how I keymapped them all. I don’t have to do that with custom menus. I’ve created multiple pie menus for example, one with all my favorite low poly modeling tools, a high poly one, cleanup, and an adjustments pie menu (I am sure I will make more as time goes by). One bonus feature that makes me love this add-on even more is the ability to add custom icons for every menu option. I’ve created an entire pack of custom icons so all my menu options can be easily distinguishable and fit my custom theme colors for blender.

Machin3tools - Has a ton of great features to increase workflow and also makes certain modeling aspects a lot easier to do. One of my favorite features is the ability to be able to focus and isolate an object and then with the same hotkey revert back to the whole scene. The smart face action is also really great and makes filling holes in a mesh a lot quicker too.

MeshMachine - Easily my most anticipated add-ons to come to Blender 2.8. It has a ton of great tools to cleanup messy models, revert modeling topology that would otherwise take forever to do, and even more versatile ways to add things such as bevels with ease.

Fluent - A really great non-destructive boolean modeling add-on. It is pretty new and I have no doubt with more updates it will grow to be very powerful. It already it has a lot of great features to make modeling with booleans a lot less permanent and a way to always make changes on the go. It can save the worry and stress about messing up your model with boolean operations until you want to fully commit which is really great.

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I’ve only been using blender for a little while but already with add-ons have a great arsenal of tools that makes modeling so easy. It almost feels like cheating at times due to the countless amount of operations that either can skip tedious steps or make the workflow just simply faster with a tool that does something with a lot less manual work. Here are a few notable mentions of other add-ons I use that I like:

Make Line Tool (Included in blender add-ons) - A better version of the knife tool in my opinion.

Oscurant Tools (Included in blender add-ons) - I really love the distribute objects options, if anyone knows of any add-ons that allow more ways to distribute objects evenly in different patterns would love to see it.

Merge Tool - Makes merging verticies a lot easier and more fun.

Destructive Extrude - I love extrusion add-ons and this one is no exception. Being able to extrude inward on an object and it redoes the mesh without having to manually clean up verticies is very nice.

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I am sure as time goes by I will find even more cool ones to add that I can’t wait to try out. While I’ve not personally got to use the ones below yet they look really awesome and I will purchase them eventually:

Hard Ops and BoxCutter - Definitely want to get this add-on eventually. All the modeling and boolean methods to make models quick looks really awesome.

RetopoFlow - Looks extremely useful for retopology or organic objects. Can’t wait to see it come to Blender 2.8 when they port it over eventually.

Curves to Mesh - Really want to give this one a try one day. Looks like a great way to easily create clean topology for organic objects on my hard surface models like cloth, straps, etc.

Corner Extrude - Has a cool way to extrude for corners, would save a lot of time for sure.

Zig Zag Extrude - Another cool way to extrude from an object to create more complex shapes with far less steps involved.

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Thanks guys loving all this information…

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Wow, thanks a lot for your very interesting elucidations, @Mystical. And I totally agree with your declaration of love for OpenVDB Remesh. It has caused me to resort to ZBrush a lot less than before. In fact, it was one of the reasons that recently made me decide to sell my Mac and return to a Windows PC. :slightly_smiling_face:

Now if only OpenVDB Remesh could reproject vertex colors onto the remeshed result, then I’d truly be in Blender heaven. What do you think, @ambi? :slightly_smiling_face:

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From Head to Screen

Note: I see this thread is tagged under Blender 2-80, so I discuss only 2.80 addons.

After 5 years working with Blender I found a fundamental problem I had when I used to make music in a Sequence program: Loads of buttons and you find yourself being busy with details instead of trying to create what’s in your head. So in this regards, some very popular addons are not listed here in my post while they are very good and useful when refining your thoughts. (Like Hardops, Boxcutter, Cuber, Fluent, MESHmachine, KIT OPS PRO, Speedflow etc, etc… ).

That’s why I post addons here that stimulate to create what is in your head rather than addons for adding fine details. (If I would do the latter one, then it’s MeshMachine which is an addon that feels like if there is magic taking place).

G-Lasso Draw. This is nice to quickly doodle some shapes by painting with greasepencil, and then use for example vdbRemesh to remesh it and go further from that.

Level Builder This addon is an asset manager with loads of features for snapping. It detects assets in one (or more) blend-files categorized by collections. It will link the assets in the scene with as result that you can build a big scene and still have loads of RAM left. At the moment it’s my favorite addon and therefore I made some assets for it on: Assets for Level Builder

Tissue: Probably not many thought of using it as a modeling tool in a way to quickly build a scene but theoretically interesting: Design mesh in big lines but keep topology in mind. Later you select the faces and tesselate those. You can use the assets for level builder to tesselate for example.

QBlocker Example of usage: I use this addon to quickly block a scene. (see term blocking). So instead of starting to design in details (legs of chair), I start to place blocks.

Cameras Lister This is handy for when you make an animation and in the time line you put markers where you want to activate another camera at that moment. Then you use the Cameras lister addon to select with easy a camera and then bind the camera to the marker. Quite easy and your animations look way better with multiple camera’s.

Speedsculpt is also interesting in this regards.

And not to forget the build in addon Grease scatter! I believe I heard no-one about it, but it’s very usefull.

I missed Asset Management (@pitiwazou, blender 2.79) , but now I discovered Level Builder I’ll find out if that can be a replacement. There are free asset managers as well:

Simple Asset Manager
Asset Wizard

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Thanks for your additions, @Peetie! :+1:

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While it’s a hard choice, for me the top ones (more or less in that order) are:

Speedflow + speedflow Companion
Textools + Texel Density Checker
UvPackMaster (Shotpacker is good too)
Batchtool Baker (by JoseConseco)
OpenVDB remesher
DecalMachine + MeshMachine
CatHide + CardinalMouse

I stop here to stay short ^^

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Thanks @Tosky! Trying Speedflow is ranking high on my Blender to-do list. :slightly_smiling_face:

Working with Speedflow is a real breeze, before that Blender was frustrating for me. It get lots of updates and new features, same for Companion. Other addons worth mentioning are SpeedRetopo, SpeedSculpt and “Wazou RMB Pie Menu”. The author of these addons really know his cards with 3D workflow. Another really useful addon is Asset Management.

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  • HARD0PS ; super speed modeling alternative for hardsurface sub-d models. With the new Mittering/QuadChamfer option it has become completely usable for most game art.
  • BATCH0PS ; great tool that allows for better scene managment. One of my favorite features is to quick assign materials without having the need to be in edit mode.
  • Retopoflow2.0 ; this might be the biggest missing add-on in 2.8 yet as it has quickly become one of my favorite retopology tools ever. Some improvements can still be made but I have confidence that the team will make the tool even better then it is now.
  • MACHIN3TOOLS ; MACHIN3 is a talented artist and programmer who’s Blender add-ons never cease to amaze. Ironically my favorite toolset from him is not a payed add-on but a collection of usability tools that improves Blender’s native usage. “Snap to ground” is probabely my favorite little tool! Also…the improved F2… its brilliant.
  • EdgeFlow ; this is the one tool that I just could not believe Blender lacked natively. You can bet it made my day when I found out some awesome dev made this tool for Blender 2.8!
  • TEXTOOLS ; the main reason I love this toolset is due to the “rectify UV’s” and "Smoothing split from UV"s options.
  • HEAVYPOLY ; Vaughan’s UI config is hands down the best, UI config that I tried and one of the main reasons I transitioned to Blender. Non-Destructive Boolean pie menu is a beast. I work with this on a daily basis.
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Bevel after Boolean! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Couple of small timesavers:

IMO, should be packed with Blender, but since that’s not the case and i’d love to know how to adapt them to work with 2.80 – any pointers, tips, instructions are highly appreciated.

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BAB is definitely a very interesting add-on, but since I’m using OpenVDB Remesh I simply perform all Boolean operations with hard edges, then remesh the result with smooth bevels using OpenVDB Remesh.

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Metin you are right, as far as I see from the images put here by the users of OpenVDB it is a good solution for producing bevels in sharp edges by remeshing. It is not the same thing, however, with the work that BAB does. BAB can produce even very wide bevels, something that OpenVDB can not do. And, also, BAB gives the opportunity to do many other things through the bevel seams it produces. You can do very nice extrusions by taking advantage of those seams (I had shown samples of such processes in the related thread).

I think that both the add-ons are very useful but they are for different kinds of modelling processes.

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Flip Fluids - Great tool for fast fluid simulations. I don’t use it daily, but every other week I experiment and it is really fun!

DynRemesh - This tool is a lifesaver for quick remeshing & even auto-retopology of dense meshes with ugly topology & sculpting.

Hard-OPS - Best hard surface tool out right now. Use it a lot :slight_smile:

ClothFX - Another fun tool to try out. I used to use houdini & C4D, so I’m impressed with the speed of setting up tearing simulations in Blender.

D-Noise- This add-on speaks for itself :wink:

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That’s true, but I usually create such shapes before the Boolean operations using polygon subdivision modeling. But again: BAB is a great add-on. I just wish it would be a little less error-prone and a little faster (which is probably difficult because of Python speed limitations).

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A fine add-on indeed, although I personally slightly prefer Tesselator.

QBlocker
Bezier Mesh Shaper

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Amaranth Tools

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Thanks guys.

@burnin, which elements of Amaranth Tools do you use frequently?