Custom Split Normals – Second Testbuild Available

EDIT: This tool is now in master, and will be part of Blender 2.74 release.

Here are three links on for testbuilds of current Custom Split Normals state of work:

Since first of August, most noticeable changes are:

  • A fair amount of bugs were busted (most noticeable being wrong handling of (interpolation) weights, and crash with the modifier when switching target mesh to Edit mode).
  • Data structures were tweaked (WARNING: this means files saved with builds from 08/01 are not ‘compatible’ with those new builds, they will load, but all custom normals will be lost).
  • Some optimization work was done (especially in code computing final split normals, which is now multi-threaded).
  • Modifier UI was reworked, and a new ‘from split normals’ mode was added, which uses split normals of target, instead of its face normals.

As usual, please note that this remains “experimental” code, do not expect on stability of new features yet, nor of the file format (though this one should not change anymore, imho).

Also, if you are doing some nice tests with these builds, I would appreciate some nice screenshots (and even better, .blend files), those would be more than useful for final documentation! 🙂

Please report any bug you may (will!) find to our bug tracker,

Custom Split Normals – First Testbuild Available

So, to change a bit from FBX, something funny this time! 😛

Here are three links on for testbuilds of current Custom Split Normals state of work:

Please report any bug you may (will!) find to our bug tracker,

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 ).
  • 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.

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. 😉

GameDev Related Articles on

Hey, just a quick one, to share those two nice articles buy Dalai Felinto and Micthell Stokes, in case some of you did not saw them already. 😉

And if I may spoil a bit about 2.72, it should have more FBX feature support (noticeably ShapeKeys in both export and import, and basic import support for armatures and animations)… and who knows, maybe even some custom split normals? 😉