Khara has been using Autodesk “3ds Max” as their primary tool so far. “EVANGELION:3.0+1.0” production is mainly done with 3ds Max. They are now starting to switch from 3ds Max to Blender. Usually the reason being “due to differences such as quality and functionalities”, but Khara’s reason is different.
3Ds Max has a number of advantages over other software packages that are commonly used by game developers and designers. Blender is a great piece of software to have, and it certainly has quite a few benefits users new to computer graphics can use and even veterans thinking about a switch should consider. I have four Autodesk 3DS.MAX files I need to import into Blender 2.62 for a space animation scene I'm working on for an associate. They're just models with textures as far as I know. I'm assuming there is a process for converting or making them compatible but I have no idea how to do it. Can someone please guide me thru the process.
Exporting to Fbx: 3ds Max, Maya, and Blender
This guide covers the correct export to the Fbx file. Necessary settings are described for three tools: 3ds Max, Maya, and Blender.
Preparing scene in 3ds Max
In 3ds Max, bones or helpers or meshes can be used as the skinning bones.
However, for the SnowRunner engine:
- a helper has no difference from a bone, indeed – it is just a frame.
- but, a mesh is viewed by this engine as a frame with a cdt object.
The SnowRunner engine uses two types of frames:
- Frames of the physical model (“physical frames”) – these frames must have a cdt shape.
- Non-physical frames – a non-physical frame cannot have a shape. It is also a must.
We recommend you to use one of the following approaches for setting up a truck in 3ds Max: How to free up storage on phone.
- Approach #1: Editable Poles – for physical frames; Bones or helpers – for non-physical frames.
- Approach #2: All frames can be made using bones. Necessary cdt-meshes should be added as children of corresponding bones. Names of such meshes should start with “cdt”.
- Approach #3: If you reuse the setup from MudRunner, then you need to remove shapes on the non-physical bones. For example, you can do it using the DeleteMesh modifier.
Before export, we recommended you to use the Reset xForm utility for all objects.
All materials must have the correct names. Only Latin characters, digits, and “_” are allowed, names should not contain special characters (except “_”).
You only need to export skinned meshes, bones, and cdt meshes. Therefore, we recommend you to use Export > Export selection.
Export settings should be as follows:
Preparing scene in Maya
The unit settings in the scene should be as follows:
Preparing scene in Blender
NOTE: This document provides settings for Blender 2.82.
To ensure that the units in the scene and the game do match, the settings in Blender should look like the following:
With these settings, the import of the fbx-template can be done with the default settings of the importer.
Setup of the truck
In the scene, the truck should be located in the direction of the X axis.
The orientation of the bones is important for the description of the truck behavior. Therefore, to achieve simpler and more convenient XML descriptions, we recommend you to build a skeleton using Keep Offset Parent.
Collision objects can be parented to physical bones as follows:
The architecture of the skeleton in Blender is different from the same architecture in most 3D tools. When exporting to Fbx, the system creates the additional Armature node, which is the root node of the skeleton. All skinned meshes are at the same level of hierarchy with this node.
The picture on the left displays the hierarchy after conversion from Maya or 3dsMax. The picture on the right shows how the hierarchy from Blender looks like.
Due to the creation of the additional Armature node, the engine converter cannot parent the skinned geometry under the root bone and forcedly creates the RootNode node by itself.
Wrong workaround for the Armature issue
In XML, you can explicitly specify the root bone using the ModelFrame attribute. In this case the extra nodes will be ignored.
However, in the case of this approach, the root frame will actually remain in the spawn point, since the root node remains in place. So, the system will incorrectly identify the coordinates of the truck. This will lead to the incorrect operation (for example, in the game, the zones on the map will not open).
Correct workaround for the Armature issue
Nodes that are not described in XML are ignored (they are forcedly attached to the parent nodes). Therefore, we may consider the RootNode, which was created during conversion, as a root physical bone. To work correctly in Havok, this node must have a collision object. So, for correct operation, you need to remove the cdt mesh from under the root bone and leave it at the same level with the Armature skeleton. In fact, we will have the RootNode as a physical bone responsible for working in Havok and the BoneRootNodeSkin as a skinning-bone responsible for the deformation of the geometry.
In the case of this approach, an explicit description of the root bone in XML is not necessary, but if you want to do it, then you need to remember that the RootNode is always the root.
To avoid exporting unnecessary things, use Export Selected Objects and disable the addition of leaf bones. The settings for that are shown below:
Update: Here is an updated article that shows how to use only free resources to convert max files without 3ds Max.
In the past few years, some of the changes imposed by Autodesk to the licensing and pricing model of software 3ds max caused an exodus of 3d artists to other platforms. A lot of those unhappy artists are adopting Blender as their tool to create an architectural visualization.
Among the benefits you can still get renderers like V-Ray to work with Blender and since a significant amount of people uses V-Ray to create architectural images in 3ds max. Having V-Ray working with Blender is a powerful combination for people leaving 3ds max behind.
But, you still have one problem to solve. How to import your old projects in MAX format to Blender?
In case you don't know the MAX format is a proprietary and closed format that 3ds max adopts to save their files. A common way to get 3d models out of 3ds max and import them to Blender is with an intermediate file like OBJ or FBX. You just have to export those files from 3ds max.
3ds Max To Blender 2.9
The OBJ exporter in 3ds max even has a Blender profile to maximize compatibility.
As a downside from the process, you will most likely lose all settings related to materials. All models will need new materials to render in Cycles.
I came across a tool that might help to solve that problem. A company from Argentina called 3DToAll just released a tool to export 3d models from 3ds max to Blender. With the MAXtoBlender promises to make a smooth transition from MAX to Blender.
The tool is not free and will require you a fee to install.
How does that work? They will provide you with a script to install on both 3ds max and Blender. You still need 3ds max installed to use the exporter.
3ds Max To Blender
In 3ds max, you will export the scene and import that later in Blender.
What is the difference between getting an OBJ or FBX file? The main point of the script is the material conversion. They claim to also convert materials, even from V-Ray to Cycles. That alone could save a lot of time for people with old 3d scenes or models in MAX.
In the next weeks, I will get a few tests with the script and post a more detailed review.
3ds Max To Blender Tutorial
Will we ever be able to import MAX files directly to Blender without the need of 3ds max? Probably never. Unless Autodesk is willing to open the MAX format to developers, which I don't think will happen anytime soon.