View Full Version : Import STL files, not good?

12 December 2004, 02:21 PM

I have been supplied by a client with .STL files to be used in a simulation. They seem to import fine until I add a phong tag (I have tried with and without angles), then it looks like below!. They are triangulated and not very nice, can anyone tell me if there is a good inbetween program which can import these and export to DXF or C4D? As STL files are used for moulds and such I pressume they have been created with Nurbs?

Here is an example



12 December 2004, 03:01 PM
have you tried various different angles on your phong tag? I use STL files often and can usually get them to look good with angles between 20 and 40 degrees - just start at 5 degrees and add increments of 5 until it looks OK.

as far as an intermediate app, it depends on your platform. I'm on a Mac, and I use FormZ and Ashlar Vellum Cobalt on tricky files. If you're on a PC, I've heard that Rhino is the ticket.

One thing I have found is that STL files need to be exported as ASCII (not binary) for C4D to recognize them (at least on my Mac).

12 December 2004, 04:40 PM
I am on a PC and have also tried Maya, the problem in Maya is the faces are also separate, all of them! Apparently the files have always been supplied in this format. I will try playing further with the Phong tag. I was wondering if the file is exported triangulated or is that just the import in Cinema/Maya which does this?


12 December 2004, 04:46 PM
STL only supports triangles.

12 December 2004, 04:55 PM
"faces are also separate, all of them!"

if they are separate, just select all and "connect"

12 December 2004, 09:21 PM
So STL are only triangles, the problem is that the triangles are definately screwing this thing up....I can get a good smoothing without half of the object being tesselated, and I can't use HN because of the polys......ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH......

Thanks, I may have to ask the client if these STLs are the only choice of export (surely a CAD system can export DXF or OBJ?).


12 December 2004, 02:54 AM
Neil I have tried importing an stl file from a cad package into cineme. I never got it to look good. You want to get it as an .obj file if they can. This is really the only format that will work from a cad package into cinema. 3ds files work also if they can get it to you from that, but not as good as .obj What cad package are they using?

12 December 2004, 02:11 PM
Well I am working for the agency who is talking to the client, a long standing customer. I have asked that they consult them about other file types otherwise this is a non starter. They mentioned using a conversion package but I can't see how that will help where nasty tri's are involved?

Thanks for all the replys, I really did hope it could be done and didn't want to give up on it as it's my first freelance job!


12 December 2004, 03:07 PM
I don't know if it's feasible in your case, but you might consider modeling a decent topology on top of the triangulted mesh. I've had to do that on several jobs, both in Cinema and Rhino.

12 December 2004, 04:08 PM
Ihave considered this and would consider doing it, BUT these are surgical impliments which must be perfect to the last point, on top of this they are also quite complex. If they were paying me to do it then so be it....but I don't think that will be covered in the budget, especially as the client has supplied files of this type in the past. Apparently rhino has been used for STL files but the info I got was vague (company no longer has in house 3D or anyone knowledgeable!). I will see how it goes with them exporting as OBJ or somehting else....but I am worried that these models are likely to have been built in a NURBS app (CAD, FORMZ) and will always be triangulated? Would a much higher tesselation setting help (therefore reducing the necessary smoothing angle?)

First job had to be an easy one eh?


12 December 2004, 04:22 PM
They should be able to output a highly tesselated file that wouldn't need much/any smoothing. After all, .stl is primarily used as the export format for 3D printing--where you can't have too-visible facets.

12 December 2004, 10:15 PM
Thats is what I was hoping, of course triangles are still a pain in the butt.....

12 December 2004, 10:33 PM
nice bat cap

funny, someone just supplied me with a bat (as in baseball) cap as an STL file. i am having them get me something else.

too weird.

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