Importing VDB files and Maya Hair to render in Cycles

Hi everyone! My name is Juan. I work for a studio in Colombia and we are looking to integrate Blender into our pipeline. We are particularly interested in Cycles. We have been doing test the last few weeks and have been very excited about the results. I had some questions if anyone could point me in the right direction. I haven’t found great documentation on being able to import .VDB files from Houdini or Maya. I know Tangent studio was able to do it, they developed a tool to do this but I would be interested to learn if there are any other tools out there that are available for this. Thank you so much for your time.


Well, OpenVDB as a library is completely inside Blender, the problem is that the standard is not the same, you have two options:

  • Wait until this is fully implemented, it will be in 2.81 or 2.82, I don’t know.

  • Hire a developer to adapt the Tangent Animation implementation, it should not be so hard (I presume, but I’m not sure), the Tangent Animation code is here, it’s a 2.78 version, but a developer could be able to extrac useful code from it and adapt it to 2.80:

IMHO this is the best path for a medium studio, is not to have the developer always under your pay check, just talk with a dev to evaluate the work and to pay it per hours.
I have a pair of good experienced Blender developers in mind that are capable of doing something like that, I could ask them if you want.
Ideally after you have that implemented that patch could be published in and could be reviewed by Core Devs to be implemented in master.

Regarding hair, you may be able to import it as curves with Alembic, I think that could work.

If you have questions please ask away here, or send me PM, I’ll try to help you :slight_smile:
I run a small studio and the transition was hard at the beginning, but after a few weeks we were happier than ever :slight_smile: in your case should be easier since you are not translating the full pipeline, just some parts of it.


as Juang said you can import the hair as alembic, but you should know that there’s a bug at this moment with animated curve, so if you hair is static it should be fine

note also that Blender can’t read the attributes that comes with alembic ( not all of them ) check this thread for more information