Art path - model import
- As some of you may have noticed, there is no longer an art path in the VTP
software, no way to import models from 3d modelling software such as 3DS
Previous VTP versions had this capability, but it had to be dropped in the
process of moving to Open Source, portable libraries.
It's an important feature, so i'd like to ask for your input on how to
All of the modelling work done for the VTP so far has been with 3DS MAX, so
that's an important source to support, though it may be desireable to also
support other tools such as Lightwave, Creator, and whichever tools are used
Here are some options:
1. Implement a VTP reader for an existing, older intermediary format, such
as 3DS or VRML. These formats can be produced fairly well (or converted to)
from most current modelling tools. There are many drawbacks, such as:
3DS is an old proprietary format that is not entirely documented, and has
many bad limitations including 8.3 filenames for textures, and no vertex
VRML is inefficient and syntactically complex with far too many extraneous
functions. It has taken many companies years to write a usable reader, and
there is no basis from which to start.
2. Implement a 'MAX exporter'. This is a plug-in for MAX which can write a
custom format, having just the elements we need. There is a free library,
http://www.codercorner.com/Flexporter.htm which makes the process much, much
easier. Drawbacks include:
MAX is expensive (although not difficult to <ahem> acquire).
Only runs on Windows, so other platforms/tools would have to move their
files through a Windows machine in order to convert their models.
Other modellers (e.g. Lightwave) would need to go through an intermediary
format to go through MAX, or we'd have to write a plugin for them which
produces the same custom format.
- Wings3D has been the tool I have previously recommended to my clients
for model creation, simply because most of the GIS/CAD users I have
contact with really don't want or need the complexity of something like
Blender, and for a newcomer to 3D, it can be a little baffling. Wings is
simple to learn, stable and fast, even on a lower spec system.
I have kept my finger on Blender's development since it's conception and
continue to be highly impressed with the toolset and the rendered
output. For anyone looking for a full-featured modelling, animation and
rendering product I concur with Ben's evaluation of it wholeheartedly.
I am a Lightwave user myself (http://www.newtek.com/Lightwave) and
there's been a lot of talk recently about Hexagon on the LW forums. I
have not tried it out myself, but feedback has een positive so far. In
the same sort of pricerange is Silo from Nevercenter
(http://www.nevercenter.com) which is curently still $109. I would have
to say that Silo is probably a whole lot more capable and stable a
modeler than Hexagon from the feedback I have read. If I needed another
standalone modeler, I'd probably settle for Silo.
> -----Original Message-----http://vterrain.org/Doc/Blender/ <http://vterrain.org/Doc/Blender/>
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
> Behalf Of Zafar, Atif
> Sent: 25 August 2006 04:33
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: [vtp] Blender
> Ben - this is helpful. There are a number of other free and
> "low cost" modeling tools that I have been investigating for
> another project that are worth mentioning:
> FREE Tools:
> Wings 3D (http://www.wings3d.com/)
> Anim8or (http://www.anim8or.com/main/index.html)
> LOW COST Tools (most output 3DS, OBJ and VRML formats)
> AC3D 6 (http://www.ac3d.org) - $69
> Hexagon 2.1 (http://www.daz3d.com/program/hexagon/) - $149
> TurboCAD Deluxe
> (http://www.turbocad.com/prodinfo.asp?mcid=381) - $99
> Atif Zafar.
> From: email@example.com on behalf of Ben Discoe
> Sent: Thu 8/24/2006 5:02 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [vtp] Blender
> For a number of years, the VTP, like most realtime rendering
> software, has struggled with a difficult art path - the means
> of getting 3D models from modelling tools into the runtime.
> Although a variety of formats are supported through OSG, it
> is almost always tricky to get the CAD or 3D-modelled object
> to look the same in realtime 3D as it did in the original package.
> Compounding that frustration, for me personally, is that i
> only had available an old copy of the software '3D Studio
> MAX'. Getting models reliably from MAX to VTP/OSG with their
> materials and textures intact was difficult.
> One weeks ago, my MAX stopped working. A new copy would have
> cost thousands of dollars, and i set about to find a replacement.
> What i found was Blender (http://blender.org/
> <http://blender.org/> ) a free (and Free) > multi-platform 3D
> modelling tool that's really quite nice. I
> found it easy to learn, easy to use. However, at first,
> trying to get models out of it into VTP/OSG was frustrating.
> Finally, after much thrashing and getting help from
> experience Blender users, i learned how to control it. I even
> ended up learning Python in order to make useful improvements
> to the 'osgexport' script which exports from Blender to VTP/OSG.
> Those experiences are now summarized in a tutorial:
I can recommend that people give Blender a look. After just a few days,
i'm already liking it better than i ever liked MAX. If you've already
become proficient and comfortable with a tool like Lightwave or Maya,
that's great. But if you're looking to learn a new tool, perhaps on a
budget, or want to learn about another art path, check out Blender along
with the above tutorial.
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