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24th January 2013, 23:18 #1Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
Export Cinema 4d camera to Flame 2012?
Subject line says it all. 3d Renders from Cinema 4d + we need the camera for compositing. What works? Does anyone have experience with this?
25th January 2013, 06:52 #2Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2012
I did some R&D on this subject at a clients\' studio a while back and made a doc which I\'ll be glad to share. However, this was in July of 2011 -- so I\'m not sure how relevant it will or won\'t be since both C4D & Flame have upgraded since then...
This doc was made for the C4D artists and for the staff Flame artists.
I\'m pasting here, which doesn\'t include the proper .doc formatting -- if you want the original doc just message me.
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CINEMA 4D SCENES TO FLAME via FBX
When you’re ready to hand off your scene to Flame, there will likely be some adjustments to make everything translate best. For safety, save a new .c4d file with a suffix like “for_flame.c4d” Be sure to save this file in the same location that your original .c4d file is on the network.
• You’ll need to go through your scene and get rid of any unused, hidden, duplicate, unnecessary items (objects, textures, cameras, lights, etc.) Even if they’re not currently showing in C4D because they’re hidden, deactivated, etc. – if you don’t remove them from the scene, they’ll be included in Flame’s import & make a confusing mess… Basically make the scene as simple & streamlined as possible, with only the essential elements.
• There are certain C4D-specific elements that will need to be converted into Polygon objects in order to translate via FBX. I don’t know details on this yet, but it seems that anything that is not a polygon (labeled in green in the object manager), you’ll need to ‘collapse’ into a polygon, including: generators/hyper nurbs, any procedural objects/parametrical shapes, etc. – collapse into polygons or splines.
• Most important, make sure that all used textures referenced in the c4d file are located in the same place, the ‘tex’ subdirectory in the project . Textures will not port over if they are located in other places.
• Flame can only read one diffuse texture per polygon object. Make sure you’re not exporting the FBX with more than one diffuse texture per object. If you need to, you could duplicate an object with each duplicate having just one texture applied…
• For the Flame export, all textures used in the scene must be a format that Flame can read when importing an FBX file. This basically means Tiff, Targa, & JPG. If your scene uses PSDs, PNGs, Windows BMPs, etc., then you’ll need to rectify this for the Flame version. Outside of C4D just save those textures as JPGs, TIFs, or TGAs, in the same location (tex folder) – then redirect C4D to use those JPGs instead of the original PSDs, etc.
Exporting with the CD FBX Exporter plugin: (plugin manual pasted at bottom of this document)
• Once you’ve prepped the file as above, you can export the FBX file for Flame. In C4D click on Plugin CD Export FBX.
• There are a bunch of check boxes for export options. I haven’t tested everything yet, but it seems to work if you just check all of them. (‘CD Skin to Vertex Cache’ is not selectable)
• You have the option of not selecting ‘Embed Textures’ – in this case there will be a ‘.fbm’ materials subfolder created with the individual textures, rather than being included in the file. Ask your Flame person which is preferred in this case.
• Be sure to set the Coordinate System at the bottom to RIGHT HANDED for Flame/Maya.
• Scale 1 seems to be fine.
• Click OK & save the FBX file to the same path where the C4D file is located on the network.
• Be sure not to move or rename the textures referenced in your scene – Flame will be looking for them.
(also see Flame 2012 PDF manual page 3900)
If everything was prepped properly in C4D, then Flame should get the whole scene with things more or less as they’re supposed to be. But there will likely always be some tweaks & workarounds to get everything right, especially with more complex scenes.
• In action, double click the ‘Import’ node, it will bring you to the file selector.
• Change the file type to FBX.
• Go to the path on the network where this C4D project lives (probably in EMDesign Guest or Project folder), and find the FBX file created for you.
• There are a bunch of import options at the bottom of the screen. It might vary project by project, but I think generally you want them all selected, with the possible exception of ‘Bake FBX Animation’ – I haven’t experimented with this. Check the Flame manual, page 3901 for more info.
• If there is an FBX camera included in the scene, then the FBX Unit to Pixels becomes irrelevant. The default is 10.00. However, if you’re using your own camera or if everything seems scaled to small or too big, try adjusting this number…
• Load the file.
If everything was done right, then you should have a whole bunch of objects in your action schematic. You’ll later probably want to ‘group’ them in the schematic so it’s not so huge.
• The first thing you want to do is switch your result camera to the imported FBX camera – this will place you in the correct place in the scene, and if it’s animated the camera will move. You can of course copy that camera, change its animation, etc.
• If there was no camera exported from C4D (unlikely), it’s possible that the objects/scene will be visible through your default camera, and you’ll have to find them and move them or your camera. The C4D person should always give you a camera.
• Turn Shading on.
• Depending on how the lights translated, you’ll likely want to adjust them or create your own lighting.
• If no objects have textures, then something wasn’t prepped right in C4D. Have the C4D person check to make sure that each object has only one diffuse texture, and all textures are located in the ‘tex’ subfolder of their project, directly under the C4D & FBX files. They can also try exporting the FBX file into the ‘tex’ subfolder.
• If only some objects don’t have textures, or if the ‘diffuse’ texture map node in the schematic is blank/black, you may have to manually import those texture files to the Flame desktop, bring them into the Batch/Action media list, then ‘apply’ the corresponding diffuse textures to the media layer.
There is a significant limitation at this point with FBX import in regards to textures. When the FBX imports into action, the textures are applied to the objects, and you can see in the little ‘diffuse’ map nodes in the schematic what the textures look like. But, currently they are not put into the Action media list. That means you can’t extract them and adjust them, color correct them, etc.
There is a workaround for this, but not very elegant. You basically import all the used textures from the ‘tex’ folder on the network to your desktop. Then you load those textures into layers in the media list. Then ‘apply’ the corresponding texture maps to the media layer with its texture. Now they live on the Flame framestore, you can change them as you want, and they’ll be archived. (Otherwise they are not archived, I don’t believe). This is really the way to go. Should be easier with the next release…
Autodesk FBX Converter app on the Mac:
I downloaded this free app from Autodesk, and it could be useful at times, if things aren’t translating right from C4D. In it you can actually view the FBX that was exported – you’ll see the objects, lights, animations, everything. This could help troubleshoot, to see if the FBX has what it’s supposed to before going to Flame.
Click ‘Add FBX Viewer’ at the top & select the FBX file exported from C4D. It’ll open up & you can play with the view modes, cameras, etc.
If the FBX looks like it has what it’s supposed to, but Flame isn’t getting it, you can try converting that FBX in this program. Make sure the ‘Destination Format’ is selected as FBX 2012.
CD FBX Export/Import Plugin manual
(PDF located in Applications Maxon C4D C4D Plugin Manuals)
CD FBX 1.0 for Cinema 4D R9.6+
This plugin gives characters rigged and animated with CD Character Rigging plugins import and export support through FBX. Although the plugin only supports importing and exporting charac- ters rigged with CD Joints, CD Skin and CD Morph, it does also support importing and exporting other scene elements such as cameras, lights, geometry, materials, etc. The plugin does include Runtime versions of CD Joints, CD Skin and CD Morph, so that characters can still be imported into Cinema 4D if the other CD Character Rigging plugins are not present. This also allows rigged characters that have been loaded and animated using CD Character Rigging plugins\' in the Runtime mode to be exported to FBX. Version 1.0 of this plugin was built with FBX SDK 2010.2 on Mac and FBX SDK 2010.0.2 on Windows.
CD Export FBX
This command is used to export Cinema 4D scene elements to an FBX file. To use the command you select it from the Plugins menu. It will then open the export options dialog, where you can choose which elements of the Cinema 4D scene you wish to export to the FBX file. Once you\'ve set all the desired export options, it will then open the standard file selector dialog where you then name and save the FBX file.