FBX 7.4 Updates – III

Since last report, main missing feature was added to Export, and Import was greatly improved :

* Shapekeys export has been added, including animation (only for relative shapes, n o support for absolute ones’ animations currently).

* Armatures import was added (though there is a remaining unclear issue about bones’ orientation).

* Shapekeys import was added.

* Limited animation import was added, for loc/rot/scale of objects and bones, and values of shapekeys.

Last point needs some precisions – we currently always read FBX curves assuming linear interpolation. This means that if you FBX file has some fancy Bézier-like interpolated anim curves, results will be rather poor. In a word: bake your animations at export time! Note complete import support for FBX anim curves is a TODO, but not a top-priority one currently…

As usual, a bunch of more minor enhancements and bug fixes was done too.

And as usual, we need testing, testing and even more testing of the whole FBX io addon – complete feature should be in Blender nightly builds within a few hours. Just be kind, and if you find some failures, report them with a tiny FBX file illustrating the issue, not a whole multi-MB project one. 😉

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FBX 7.4 Updates – II

So, since last post:

* Armatures export has been finished.

* Export of baked animation (for both objects and bones loc/rot/scale) has been added, including current scene animation, strips from NLA and ‘All Actions’ compatible with exported objects.

* Export of curves/metas/text/etc. as meshes has been added.

* Export of dupli objects/groups has been added.

We are more and more close to a complete FBX 7.4 binary exporter for 2.71 release! Yet, more testing is always much welcomed. 😉

There was some work on the importer side too, fixing some issues, extending some existing features, like e.g. a new option to use FBX data for up/front axes and scale, instead of specifying those manually. And a first “armature import” feature was implemented as well (in a separated branch currently, fbx_io_development).

Note that in addition to Unity, which greatly supported FBX export work with their donation to the Blender Foundation, people from Unreal Engine also started showing some interest for Blender FBX support lately – gamedev community is very active on this topic! 😀

FBX 7.4 Updates – I

So! After hours and hours of tries and failures, desperation and cursing at FBX format, since I could definitively not find any valuable difference between code generated by Blender and by FBXConverter regarding animation, I finally decided to dive into ugly hacking and have a look at binary files themselves…

Well, at least, it was rewarding: I found out some stupid FBX anim-related elements need a specific handling at binary level to be understood by the FBX SDK! I won’t hold forth on a format that needs such ugly tricks (the joys of vault development I presume…).

I’d rather summarize quickly current Blender’s FBX 7.4 binary exporter status:

Implemented and expected to be working!

  • Objects, and simple parent relations between objects (not through constraints, though).
  • Lamps.
  • Cameras.
  • Meshes, including:
    • UVs.
    • VCol.
    • Smooth groups (edges or faces).
    • Faces’ material indices.
  • Materials (Phong or Lambert shading).
  • Textures (only image/video type, embedding should work, needs ‘COPY’ path mode).
  • Materials <-> Textures relations: textures can affect:
    • DiffuseFactor, DiffuseColor.
    • TransparencyFactor, TransparentColor.
    • EmissiveFactor, EmissiveColor.
    • AmbientFactor.
    • SpecularFactor, SpecularColor.
    • Shininess, ShininessExponent.
    • ReflectionFactor, ReflectionColor.
    • Normal/bump.

Implemented, but status unsure (needing testing!)

  • Armature linked to mesh. Binding code itself seems to work OK, but bone’s orientations are usually completely wrong when I import back, still have to figure out what happens here. Although I got feedback from testers saying it imports OK under official FBX apps, so…
  • Meshes’ (Split)Normals, tangents and bitangents (does not handle the 7.4-new “weights” for those, though). 7.4 seems to use 4D vectors, however I’m not quite sure about the compatibility of those with older apps, I might revert it to previous format (3D vectors) for now.

Implemented, but unfinished

  • Animation: basic object baked animation (loc/rot/scale).

TODOs, mandatory

I.e TODOs that need to be addressed before we can consider the exporter finished.

  • Add option to export other geometries (curves, texts, metaballs) as meshes.
  • Finish animation.

 

New FBX 7.4 binary in Blender

Well, just a short note about the fact that since yesterday, I pushed new FBX 7.4 binary exporter in Blender’s FBX IO addon. So it should be available in this night’s builds of our buildbot!

Here is a short list of what’s working, implemented but buggy, and still TODO currently:

Implemented and expected to be working!

  • Objects, and simple parent relations between objects (not through constraints, though).
  • Lamps.
  • Cameras.
  • Meshes, including:
    • UVs.
    • VCol.
    • (Split)Normals, tangents and bitangents (does not handle the 7.4-new “weights” for those, though).
    • Smooth groups (edges or faces).
    • Faces’ material indices.
  • Materials (Phong or Lambert shading).
  • Textures (only image/video type, embedding should work, needs ‘COPY’ path mode).
  • Materials <-> Textures relations: textures can affect:
    • DiffuseFactor, DiffuseColor.
    • TransparencyFactor, TransparentColor.
    • EmissiveFactor, EmissiveColor.
    • AmbientFactor.
    • SpecularFactor, SpecularColor.
    • Shininess, ShininessExponent.
    • ReflectionFactor, ReflectionColor.

Implemented, but buggy/needing testing!

  • Armature linked to mesh. Binding code itself seems to work OK, but bone’s orientations are usually completely wrong when I import back, still have to figure out what happens here…

TODOs, mandatory

I.e TODOs that need to be addressed before we can consider the exporter finished.

  • Normal/bump connections for Materials <-> Textures relations – includes handling more mapping types too.
  • A few meshes layers (like e.g. edge crease).
  • Add option to export other geometries (curves, texts, metaballs) as meshes.
  • Add support for some basic objects constraints (trackto, limit loc/rot/scale, …).
  • Animation!!!

TODOs, optional

I.e. things that we might want to add, if time allows.

  • Shapekeys?
  • Export Curves (FBX is supposed to support them)? Not sure it’s much portable though, so probably not worth waiting time on it?

New FBX Bin 7.3 Export – Stage I

So, we finally have a basic FBX bin 7.3 exporter, need testing!

To test it, just download this file and replace your current fbx addon by the one contained in this archive (io_scene_fbx). Note the old exporter (ASCII 6.1) is still available…

What to expect:

  • Camera, lamps support.
  • Mesh support (with loop normals, UVs, vertex colors, smoothing).
  • Material and texture.

Do not expect any armature nor animation yet. Also please note all this is still big WIP, esp. the material/texture area… (this areas would also need some work on the importer side of the plugin).

Best way to report issues is to use this github’s page, just please try to feature small test cases (just saying “it does not work” without providing any file, or providing 10Mo files, won’t help much). Ideal case is to provide the Blender file, the FBX file as exported by Blender, and a similar scene exported as FBX from a ref app (like latest Maya or Max – 2013 or 2014). Also please be sure your tested app supports latest FBX (ones older than 2012/2013 probably do not).

That’s it for now, will update here as needs arise!