I’ve been playing with the new FBX importer and it’s looking very promising!! Great job devs! (Campbell, your the dev on this, right?)
I know its still early days, and animation is not yet supported, so I thought I would bring up a workflow need that will hopefully not be too hard to implement as you go along with animation support.
I’ve been wanting to incorporate blender into my studio’s workflow for a long time. We use Maya, primarily, and I’ve been trying to make maya and blender play well together. The workflow I’m after is: Blender and maya for modeling, maya for animation and blender for rendering. We already have support in blender for PC2 and MDD. FBX animation import is the big missing component, but it goes a bit further than that. It’s not enough to just be able to import animation data into blender. We must also be able to iterate that data quickly and easily.
A simple workflow example: I create a cube, apply a red shader and animate it in maya, then export the cube, shader and animation into blender. Once I’m in blender, I change the shader to green and get ready to render while another animator continues to refine the cube animation (this is a complicated cube, man). Now that the cube has a much more refined animation, I want to export that animation over the old one in blender.
As it looks now, I would likely have to import the cube all over again. A new cube with that old red shader now pops up alongside the green cube I’ve already set up. I now have to manually swap out and re-setup the cube again.
What would be awesome is if the importer checked for matching names at the start and only imported new objects. If it finds matching names, then have the option to replace the old animation curves with the new ones in the fbx. This would allow for very fast iterations on scenes. Lightwave already does this and it’s awesome.
Even without animation, this could be useful. Say a maya artist sets up a complex bedroom scene with 200 objects and exports it all to blender. The blender artists then starts setting up lighting and shading while the maya artist continues to refine the bedroom models. Once he’s done refining, he can re-export the fbx and the import will only add new objects, and re-position the existing matching blender objects without overwriting the shaders that are on them.
This feature would make the back and forth workflow between blender, maya and any other fbx-supported application VERY smooth, and make blender a highly desirable solution for rendering in an animation pipeline.
I hope I made some sense here. Thoughts?