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Art path - model import

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  • Ben Discoe
    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 MAX.
    Message 1 of 73 , Feb 4, 2001
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      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
      MAX.

      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
      implement it.

      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
      on Linux.

      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
      normals.
      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.

      Comments please!

      -Ben
    • Adam Hauldren
      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
      Message 73 of 73 , Aug 24, 2006
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        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.

        Best regards

        Adam


        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: vtp@yahoogroups.com [mailto:vtp@yahoogroups.com] On
        > Behalf Of Zafar, Atif
        > Sent: 25 August 2006 04:33
        > To: vtp@yahoogroups.com
        > 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: vtp@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Ben Discoe
        > Sent: Thu 8/24/2006 5:02 AM
        > To: vtp@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [vtp] Blender
        >
        >
        >
        > Folks,
        >
        > 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:
        http://vterrain.org/Doc/Blender/ <http://vterrain.org/Doc/Blender/>

        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.

        -Ben






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