3DS to Blender?... This one is a toughy!

After so many years of using 3DS max I have come to the conclusion that I no longer want to use Max all the time. I want to start using Blender (for political, artistic and financial reasons). I now have one PC (The 3DS Max computer) and several Macs running OSX. I (obviously) can’t network render 3DS Max with the Macs because they are not Intel Macs, and Virtual PC for Mac just doesn’t have the muscle. I can’t wait for the lone PC to render the whole animation. I did the calculations… if I leave that PC running 24 hours a day, and providing I don’t suffer from a power outage, I am looking at a render time of over 3 months. Hiring a render farm service is not an option because I just don’t have the money in the budget. This brings me to my dilemma. I wanted to try to get my latest project from Max into Blender as seamlessly as possible. The project (consisting of a man sitting and talking for 45 seconds) is already modeled/textured/rigged/animated and ready to render. So… here’s the problem:

I do know I can import the model as an OBJ into Blender with UV’s.
I know I will probably need to re-do the lighting for the animation in Blender. (No big deal)
I don’t know if I can get the animated mesh into Blender because:
a. The 3DS Max character rig setup consists of bones,IK, nulls, and wire parameters.
b. The mesh is skinned with a combination of Physique and the skinning modifier in Max.

I thought about just baking the animation to the mesh and exporting the mesh as an OBJ for each frame. Then once imported into Blender, I would morph between to OBJ’s to recreate the animation. But we’re talking about 1382 frames. OUCH!! Is that plausible for Blender to do?

The whole point of this is to be able to network render with Blender using my Macs. I can’t have my PC hung up for 3 Months.

ResPower Super Farm will cost you $20.00 a month for unlimited Blender rendering. Detailed instructions are on their site. Here’s a link:
http://www.respower.com/page_howto_blender

Blender rendering isn’t going to be my problem on this project. I have several Macs for that. I need to get the project out of 3DS Max, then get it into Blender intact! Thanks for the link though. I suspect as my Blender needs grow, ResPower will come in handy.

You might want to have a look at the Collada plugin for Blender. The developers are very busy supporting more and more features, as far as I know the page “Progress” on their website is not up-to-date.:slight_smile:

That’s funny Max does’nt export Obj. Or is there a Plugin?

I have successfully exported OBJ’s from Max into ElectricImage. When exporting for use in EI, there is a great free application on the ElectricImage site called Transporter.

I will use a similar process to get the OBJ’s out of Max and into Blender. I guess I am just going to go for it and see what happens. It’s worth a few days of experimenting to try and save from months of rendering.

BTW… Thanks for the Collada link gato

TimeFissure, I luck out with that one, no mac, Is there a windows similar exporter .obj?
Also Blender will accept .3ds Seems to import the rig but no animation.
You would have to redo the entire animation maybe.
Can you render a static background for use, then bluescreen the animation and chroma key in a video editor?
The render times are very slow, lower some settings?
Anyway how about a screenshot so we can see what’s taking so long:)

Hi again, I just wanted add that to export Collada from Max you will need the ColladaMax plugin. To see if everything exported right you can also try their Collada viewer. However I don’t know exactly which features are covered by both plugins for Max and Blender.

You can give the Collada export/import a try. But you might also want to try exporting from Max via DirectX .X files and then importing into Blender. The Blender .X exporter supports animation, and I believe the importer does as well. To export .X files from Max, look for the “Panda .X file exporter”.

If you can afford to spend $50, another option (probably your best option IMHO) is to buy “Ultimate Unwrap 3D”. It includes a Max plug in and supports darn near every file format I can think of. Plus it has some great UV mapping tools. PC only, but I got it to work with Parallels Desktop.