Model Normal Editing Tool was created due to that the artists wanted a tool to help them edit there models normals. A better way to Smooth/Harden edges,set there vertex normals to match the face normal and Average there normals. This is to get better bakes when they bake them, It was also my first tool in Maya that used QT.
3D Model by: Ludvig Olsson
This video shows how easy and fast it is to smooth the normals on a weapon, by selecting the object and pressing the selection button and then the smooth button.
you have now smoothen the nrmals on edges with and angle between selected values. but there i s much more to is, need to harden the UV border there is a button for that. you can also Average Face normals, and set the vertex normals to match the face normals. and ofcourse display options for the normals, lock/unlock the normals.
Will calculate the normals of the selected faces, by checking the vertices against the normal of there connected face.
By selecting a face, and press the set Normal to face button, I will match the Vertex normal to the selected face normal.
a easy way to select UV borders, this could be go to have when you bake you normals after you do you UV, Select the borders and harden them.
Added Display settings, so the user can view Vertex normals, Face normals or both. With and easy to use slider to scale the lines. it's a must have for a tool like this :)
Going into this project I did not know much about how and artist worked with normals at the modeling level, but now I have definitely better understanding of it and how important it is for a Hard surface modeler. There are still a few things I would like to fix in the tool, such as "Select the UV Borders", for more advances models it might take a few more seconds, and I have the knowledge of C++ so what I would like to do is to make it a function in the Maya API, the same goes for the “Average normals based Face” sens it just loops thru all the vertices, could save some time.
I had never used QT befor and getting into it was not that hard, but it was a hazle with using the QT Creator anytime i wanted to change something in the layout of the tool. So what i ended up doing was that I ran the python command in the Command prompt to translate the .UI file into a python file. and added directly to the tool. QT creator was a great way to get a picture of how I wanted to tool. but having it in python code was easier to structure the tool.
To end it remember to test it often, I borrowed a model from Ludvig, and did all my testing on that one, and asked for feedback it's important to talk to the artists how they work and how you can save them time and make the tool work for them.