I agree with you on the showfloor being very exciting. I also was wishing for more time so I could try out everything!
Thanks for the review and the preview. Looking forward to what's coming soon.
All the best,
Just like being there. Is there any chance that you can give us more information on ClayTools? What an exciting program!
I can explain how ClayTools works, but I can't give you a full software review because I'd need more time to play with it (and testing it would be very difficult, specially since they'd have to ship me the Phantom haptic device as well).
You use the Phantom device to manipulate the object, but it also serves as a mouse for the ClayTools interface. You can select, tools, click menus and all that directly with the Phantom.
In ClayTools you create your shape from scratch, pushing and pulling parts, very much like clay. When you have the basic shape you can then start refining the areas that need it, from coarse to fine detail. ClayTools can display an object with unlimited level of detail without worrying about polycount, because surfaces are not polygons, but "virtual clay".
Since we are working with virtual clay, we don't have to worry about the "wireframe flow". When you are ready to export your object you can use a pen tool to draw square patches. ClayTools then exports them as NURBS (you can decide on the level of detail for the exported model). In Maya (or any other software) you can import that model, convert it to polygons, do the UVmapping and whatnot and then you export that again.
Then in ClayTools you can use that new model's UVs to create UVs for your clay model, and then the "extra detail" can be exported as a displacement map for the Maya model.
This workflow is somewhat similar to what you'd have to do with ZBrush, but in ZBrush you are limited to work in 2D space, since you are using a mouse, while in ClayTools you can actually work in 3D space thanks to the Phantom device.
As I said before, getting used to that device is a little difficult, but after a while you find it to be a really fun tool to work with.
Fantastic, love the clay tool !!!