So, to change a bit from FBX, something funny this time! 😛
Here are three links on Graphicall.org for testbuilds of current Custom Split Normals state of work:
- Win64: http://www.graphicall.org/1130
- Linux64: http://www.graphicall.org/1131
- OSX64: http://www.graphicall.org/1132
Please report any bug you may (will!) find to our bug tracker, https://developer.blender.org.
EDIT: You can now found this project’s code in a WIP branch on our git repository: temp_custom_loop_normals (note the edits to FBX addons to enable custom normals import are not available this way).
Currently (but those features should not evolve much in near future), you can:
Import custom normals from FBX
Supports both vertex and ‘face corner’ normals. Note other addons can do it as well, but that’d be done once the work is merged in Blender’s master!
Write/read custom split normals into/from .blend files
Those custom split normals are stored like e.g. vertex colors or any other custom data layer, which means that you can also edit your mesh (deforming should still give reasonably good custom normals, modifying the topology however (adding/removing faces, sharp edges, etc.) can quickly lead to nasty custom normals!).
Please note there is no guarantee about the final format of those data though, in other words, files created with those testbuilds might very well not be usable by later ones or final version (though this is rather unlikely, imho)!
View custom split normals in 3DView or renders, and re-export them
Custom split normals are fully integrated into the process to generate final split normals, so when you use the laters (exactly as in current official 2.71 release or master), you’ll get your custom normals instead of auto-generated ones, if available.
Note that when there are some custom split normals data, the ‘angle’ threshold of AutoSmooth is unused (as if it was at 180°), so you only can use sharp edges to define ‘smooth fans’ (i.e. a set of adjacent face corners sharing a same vertex, and a same split normal).
Add or Edit custom split normals with the SetSplitNormals modifier
It has two modes:
- Ellipsoid assigns to each vertex the normal it would have at the surface of an ellipsoid (proportions of that ellipsoid are defined from bounding box of the modified object, and you can use another object to define the position of its center). Allows e.g. to realize a simple ‘tree shading’ effect (see http://wiki.polycount.com/VertexNormal ).
- Object uses another object’s geometry to assign to each vertex the normal that target’s closest face. Allows e.g. to make the ‘fake smooth round corners’ effect – you take a cube, bevel its edges, and add a SetSplitNormals modifier to it using another cube as target.