Alembic I/O.

Hi gang,

As some of you may know, I’m currently working on a basic Alembic implementation for Blender 2.78. I’m opening this thread to hopefully gather some test and feedback through this forum. This implementation is primarily for character animation, which should include hair and fur.

UPDATE: this was merged in master and should be available in the latest nightly builds.

Bugs should be handled through the bug tracker, but can be reported/handled here as well.

Current list of known bugs and to-dos (as of August the 10th):


  • Sintel IK has bugs, might be an export issue. (Alembic does not really take care of armatures and baked vertices data is correct, so low priority).

To-dos (for future work on this):
- allow for custom axis for import/export

  • arbitrary properties animation
  • delete created objects when cancelling an import
  • motion blur support
  • support importing/exporting cyclic NURBS

Hoooo yes !

Please someone make a windows build !!!

Awesome news!

I would love to test and throw Houdini, Realflow at it but I’m on windows. If Win build is not straightforward, I will try set linux up this weekend.

Sincere gratitude to You, Ton and anyone else behind this!

Tryed with virtual box and I cannot open blender.

Can you open a terminal in that virtual box and launch Blender through it to see if there are some error messages?

@pitiwazou, you have a lot of knowledge and would be great if you could make a correct Linux installation on disk :slight_smile:
And I’m not just talking about testing this build, but also about your addons and other things.

Thanks for all the work and information!

i cant get it to work on ubuntu 16.04.
First it needs shared library and when i installed the package and try again to open from terminal I get “Illegal instruction (core dumped)”. I had the same problem with the previous version you had but then it was also other libraries missing.

Ah, dammit… I did recompile it without OSL and some other shared libs but I guess I uploaded the wrong version… Let me try again.

I was on a live CD and if I try to install it directly that doesn’t work, linux don’t like me, it’s always like that, so I will wait for a windows build !

I updated the link in the first post to point to my latest humble attempt at making a portable build. Let me know if it still does not work.


the link seems to be dead.

“Not Found Error 404”
Thanks for your efforts.

Edit: nothing to see here yet.

Yeah !!! thx a lot !

Edit : I don’t see anything about alembic in the windows build.

I just checked out the branch and compiled, I may have missed some configuration option. Will check and recompile in two hours.

Edit: Yes, compiled with alembic off…

Edit again: In mac it does not find the library. I see CMakeLists.txt tries to find alembic around line 320 but I believe it should do it later on platform specific code after line 890 and set the static libs accordingly.

When we click on the link, url is not the same that the one written on post.

It looks like forum have a problem with links.
You can copy/paste what is written to access to build.

Yeah, apparently it replaced the text and not the link, updated the post.

@KWD, is HDF5 optional?

No, apparently it is required for some obscure reason. Though, I don’t know much about that area, I just compiled everything and decided to deal with the details later :slight_smile:

Ok, I am trying a windows build after modifying CMakeLists.txt to get alembic from static libs from but it does not have HDF5. Guess the libs need to be compiled for Windows and Mac.


HDF5 is the format used by the early releases of Alembic, but has since been replaced by Alembic’s own archive format Ogawa. The only reason for HDF5 is legacy support (old files, or old software).

I personally think Blender should take a stance and not use HDF5, primarily to cut down on dependencies and maintenance. That means you won’t be able to open the classic Alembic octopus for example, and you may have to request “Can you send that file again, saved as Ogawa” if someone you work with saved using HDF5 (maybe out of habit).

That may be too much to ask, so it is very important that you who use and share Alembic files regularly with other studios/freelancers chime in here. You can use Alembic cli tools such as ‘abcinfo’ (included with Houdini) to see what archive the file uses.