View Full Version : Workflow from cad drawing to beauty render?

03 March 2007, 11:04 AM
I need to make and render a number of models which have technical drawing done in mostly autocad.
These drawings are all in dwg which blender doesn't seem to import. One file was available in dxf also, but it was an isometric view converted to a flat plane, which is kinda useless if you want a 3d object.

What I want to do is this:
1. import the side/top drawings in whatever format works.
2. preferably have the imported drawings as curves.
3. create a 3d image out of it
4. figure out a nice lighting rig that I can use to make beauty renders.
5. These renders WILL be for print, and a lot of them will have similar objects, so the lighting and color needs to be uniform.
6. what format best to use for these renders? I prefer something that can be cymk, since it is for print. it's for a LOT of things, so manually changing color curves afterwards isn't really doable. I have photoshop acces now, but I don't know what other filetypes support cymk. (how was this done for elephant's dream? surely they had uniform colors with all that stuff printed for it?)

problems I have now:
1. So far importing paths wont work. I've had acces to only one dxf file, which looks okay in object mode as a 2d curve, however it is a mesh with a gazilion vertex. NOT good.
unfortunately last week I couldnīt save some of these files in different types, They were finalised drawings and the guy that did them didnīt have priviliges to alter or resave them.
He could export them as illustrator .ai, svg and eps. Heīs been saving them as various types, none of these would open in blender. some wouldnīt import, others would crash blender.
or at least make it do nothing. Itīs probably since there are so many variation in VERSION of these filetypes but it still sucks. I could open some of these files exported out of autocad into illustrator cs2, and resave them as the lowest version available.
None of these versions will import.

2. The dxf I mentioned earlier was a mesh instead of a curve. when importing paths, Iīd rather have curves. howto do this?

3. I think I can handle that, I need the drawings first.

4. Lighting, kinda clueless here. Donīt know too much about it. I can muck around for a number of days and be a lot wiser, googling around or go to a library or such, but I havenīt got a number of days. And Iīve got some educational courses next to my job. I know there are people around here who kno how to create good light rigs and setups to render and such. So Iīm asking for some decent setups from which I can get started.
I know this sounds like a: Give me the files cause I donīt wanna go through the trouble myself!, but most regulars know I ussually try to solve most things Iīm stuck with by myself, so please indulge me.

5+6. I need to render a lot of models for print. idīd be preferred, well one of the highest priority really, that the colors along the renders are uniform. they models seperate need to look the same when printed next to each other.
Also, on screen and printed should look quite similar, colorwise.

I know thereīs people who can help me with this here, not that Iīm not going to look for answers myself now, but I donīt think Iīll find enough in time, so please, if anyone knows something about these issues, DO tell!

thank you.

03 March 2007, 01:41 PM
related to this in a certain way:
How do you merge overlapping curve points (with or without the same handles)?
Suppose I have two circles I break them up to create an s form, how do I make these 2 seperate curves into one single curve while keeping the handles where they join the same?

03 March 2007, 01:59 PM

this is a test with a model I made up quickly. Itīs not the kind of model Iīll need to be doing, but itīs a good example nonetheless.
I need these kind of things to look GOOD. I have made dozens of renders, and these ugly radial black lines are just to sharp. Again, If anyone knows how to soften them, Iīd be happy to find out how.

EDIT: Another thing, the light seems to be cast from the backside! If I place the light in front of it, the back gets lit, if I place it in the back, the front is lit. anyone know why?

03 March 2007, 04:22 PM
I think that you are trying to bite more than you can chew. Your priority should be importing the drawings and modeling, everything else comes second. On technicall related images accuracy is the paramount, everthing else (even good lighting) comes after that.

For importing CAD into Blender, in my experience there are only 3 valid choices: Google Earth KMZ, Wavefront OBJ and DXF. Since you have AutoCAD then DXF becomes your obvious choice. DXF R14 and 2002 seems to work better with Blender.

About importing CAD curves as 3D curves.. sorry pal, this isn't Catia. Blender wasn't designed for CAD 3D drafting, so your next best thing is imporing as mesh and re-tracing by hand with Blender Curves (snapping vertex where it counts).

However, have you really considered the use of having 3D curves in Blender? There are not that usefull for what you want to do. To skin a Nurb in Blender it has to have the same number or segments everywhere, that isn't that common on real world objects.

03 March 2007, 07:00 PM
Now that's info I can use! thank you.

A bit of a problem is this:
I'm not so much responsible for making technical drawings, I'm going to be responsible for making pretty pictures out of these technical drawings, in ortographic view mostly.
I can play around with lighting and such, I'll have to tell my boss what we could do best.
They don't like photo's, too much hassle to set up, they want 3d images that look clean and are fast and easy to make.

About these curve thingies, well if obj and dxf give me vertex input only, and I suspect google earth too (don't know about that one yet, will look into it)
how about I import these drawing into illustrator first, then make some kind of path out of it. Blender can chew that right? I like mesh modeling a lot, but a large amount of these drawings can be started by curves and bevelobjects, or combinations of them. the advantage to this (from my point of view, correct me if I'm wrong) is that I can use the original drawings to, after cleaning them up, use as bevel objects and such.
What are your thoughts on this?

I have no acces to any of these dwg files or autocad till sometime next week, so unfortunately I can't really test it. don't have illustrator or photoshop at home either, gonna try finding some free dxf files from the internet and maybe inkscape and files....

Right now I gotta go though. I've got an appointment I can't afford to miss, during the weekend of all times!....

PS. I've checked Catia, Is it something like autodesk inventor? Because that is another application I have to learn how to use.

So in short, I have to make pretty pictures,
best do this in blender/autocad/inventor? I'll check some thingies later tonight, gotta be off now...
Thanks for the info, really appreciate it!

03 March 2007, 03:25 AM
After reading a little, I found that some CAD programs can output SVG files, and those can be imported as curves into Blender. I believe that every single CAD program can import DWG and DXF, so you could try using one another CAD program to convert from DWG into SVG.

About CATIA, I don't use it myself (too much expensive and especialized for what I do), but from what I understand is a continuos curved surface editor and CAM solution. Mostly used in the aerospace and automobile industries, and since recently in the Architecture industry as well.

Doing pretty pictures? Then AutoCAD is NOT your best choice. Blender should fit nicely there.

03 March 2007, 01:16 PM
Well thank you again, I tried svg before, but it failed, gave it another go today and I got curves, unfortunately these drawings can be curves, but they weren't clean curves, I did retrace them and it worked, using curves and bevel objects as a base and I have a nice prototype that I suspect will work for my supervisor. So that's a small victory allready.
Made a few dozen renders with different material and light settings. Still not what I aim for, but it is looking better and better as I go.

Will next look into streamlining my workflow, if I have to retrace them anyhow, then maybe importing stuff as meshes instead of curves isn't so bad.

I don't have acces to my imageshack account here, i'll upload images later :)

EDIT: I did notice the new snapping system doesn't work for curves yet, it's still beta or something i understand, but I don't know if it was known yet.

I haven't showed the images to my supervisor yet, but my coworkers loved them! If this works out as I hope it will, it will not only mean I am a very happy fella, but also that blender is being used in an international professional business!

03 March 2007, 10:28 AM
Okay, I have some new problems regarding this topic. Main one is this:

I can more or less get all files (paths) into blender, be it through svg or dxf, be it by onverting dwg in illustrator or pdf.

Problems are that unfortunately, these drawings don't come out equally scaled. While this is not a blender issue, it's still rather annoying, some of the original drawings aren't snapped properly either, unfortunately. There is no way to unify the scale in blender right? I don't mean clear the scale. With the new snapping framework you can more or less snap meshes, but not (beveled) curves.

The real blender problem I currently have though is this:

I can import, HOORAH!
trouble is, if i import a number of files (import the first, position in scene, save to continue afterwards, start new scene, import, position in scene, save etc) The problem is there seems to be a mix of objects in its "import cache" since on import blender mixes the first imported curve (in a file I allready closed) with the second curve which I imported for the second file.
I can manually clean this up, but this takes forever, I also need to retrace most paths. Easy enough, but timeconsuming. I don't mind the retracing, in fact this allows me to start with clean curves, which hold no flaws, but the fact that my import curves keep piling up with one another is rather annoying. It gets rather hard to find which is which.

I take it that's a bug?

03 March 2007, 12:45 PM
First time I even hear of an import cache, equally about problems with cached imports.

You could restart Blender after each succesfull import. Is a hastle, but should be faster than manually cleaning the files.

BTW, AutoCAD has the nasty habit of saving a cache of loaded drawing blocks on each file it saves, even if the block isn't used anywhere on the drawing. If the problem keeps comming back with you restarting Blender then Autocad is the one to blame. (And unless there is a PURGE command in AutoCAD, the only solution would be to import into another CAD and doing the clean up there before going into Blender).

03 March 2007, 03:43 PM
Well I did indeed restart blender after each import, since I kinda figured it was easier and all that too.

New "problem"
Not really much of a problem and I admit I haven't "googled" or Cg searched it yet, but they're closing down here so I'll just post it.

actually never mind, just found it, press esc to CANCEL a render that takes forever LOL.

03 March 2007, 03:41 PM
Running into a new problem: uniform lighting and shading.

I made a few sets of light rigs, information regaring all of them:
This was the most usefull one for practical reasons, I could build it according to these settings and tweak away. Unfortunatley even without tweaking it most of the times looks to dark, unless I use ambient color in the world settings tab. But using that makes the image looks blurry.

more info I found:
This one actually does a REAL good job explaining how light is cast, just not how to replicate this within blender.

My first renders accidentically looked good because I used 2 lights which I randomly placed as plain lights, thus casting sharp highlights and shadows on the object.
I'll need some template/default setting for lighting though, so I made a few rigs, following the first link. A number of 1,2,3 and 4 point rigs. When I finally had the sphere evenly lit without hard ugly shadows or sharp overlit area's my metal object looked plain dull and plastic.

Basically I've been messing with lights and shading most of the day and can't get that look I'm after. The material is metal, slighty shiny, but only slightly, the specular isn't that hard, nor that soft. I can make things look metal by tweaking the shading according to:

If I use the settings for metals it initially looks good, however, I need the metal to be more dull. So I play with the spec,hard, ref,rough and raymir settings, A LOT.
Bottom line, if I take away the shinyness, it starts to look like plastic, which isn't what I need.

I've found some info about using fresnels here:

When setting fresnel to the highest value, the result improves, however still to dull.

I've got permission to show some of my test files, they don't contain actual products anyway. just mockups I've made to filter some of the hard cases out. (I so often see that people ask for help but can't show screens and stuff because of NDA, why not create some testfiles that LOOK similar and contain the same problems then?)

The attachment is a T section of a fictional pipe, the problems I have with making this look good apply to the real products too though.
It is placed in a 4lightrig, which comes close to the default rig explained in the first link. It's the most believable image (within my light rig,which needs to be standard and usable for all the final products) I have.

If anyone has some pointers, I'll listen to them.
If people want to see the rig, I can give it.

03 March 2007, 12:42 AM
** Double Post **

03 March 2007, 12:43 AM
What you want is called "blury reflexion" and I have two answers for you: Yafray & Indigo.

03 March 2007, 02:36 AM
Hey all. New to the board here and relatively new to Blender. I think you may have already tackled the CAD --> Blender issue, but I have been working on a project recently where I had good success with the export/import functions of both AutoCad and Blender. I use AutoCad on a daily basis and there is an export function that will export a model to a .3ds format. The command for this in AutoCad is "3dsout". I was able to import the 3ds file into blender fairly seamlessly using the import feature. The model that is produced isn't the cleanest or smoothest, but it should get you 75% of the way there. You can also set a scale for the model when you import it. If you can get whoever is sending the cad files to you to export the 3ds model, it should make life a little easier for you.

Don't know if this will help, but thought I would throw it out there.

03 March 2007, 12:35 PM
Well it was worth the try, since a number of files gone from autocad>illustrator>blender need a significant(not undoable though) amount of cleaning up. And I know blender handles 3ds quite well.
I asked the fellow who provides me with the files, but the command is not recognised. Seached the helpfiles for it and only the "3dsin" command seems to exist.
He noticed that it may be due to the fact that it is Mechanical Desktop's Autocad 2007. and not normal autocad or something, but still, this seems kinda unlikely to me.

I'm currently working on seting up some universal light rig for most of the models.

Thanks, that's something less abstract to look for, I'll see if they let me install those two.
I'm learning a lot of small things as I mess around with files as I go.
However, there is an image made by bruno akano in the blender gallery with a chevrolet in it, which looks metal and dull at the same time, maybe it's because of the environment, I dunno, but the metal on it, and the wheels, resembles what I am after, it's in the blender internal section. Not to sound a prick, lazy or spoiled, but do I really need to use yafray or indigo to get those kind of results? If it can be done with the internal renderer, would it be such a pain that I better learn to use the other two?

03 March 2007, 03:35 AM
3dsout exports whatever is selected into a single mesh 3DS file, at least that is what I remember about it.

Perhaps you could do blury relflexions inside blender (maybe playing with eviroment maps?) but I know for a fact that Yafray and Indigo are capable of doing it, specially Yafray. And since both have global ilumination models, you could forget and about setting an universal lighting setup and just hit render.

03 March 2007, 09:20 PM
I've been playing with glossy reflections with the internal, but haven't had the time to fully compare and play. The idea I had was put a cloud procedural texture (small noise size) as a map in the RayMir slot. Then adjust the Var value to increase or decrease the overall ray mirror value. (also play with the brightness and contrast of the cloud texture itself).

I'm sure you're aware, but the main blender forums at will provide you with quicker replies and a broader base of people to help.

If you need an AutoCad "equivalent", try ProgeCad LT. It's free, feels like AutoCad, looks like autocad (mostly) and uses native autocad files and commands. (Windows only).

As for color correctness compared to print, it never will happen. We have calibrated monitors and a calibrated printer here (, and they are never the same. It's all about light/color theory. We do print testing of our colors to match them with actual paint/color swatches.

03 March 2007, 01:34 PM
Decided to play with anisotropy this morning, and got this: (also used my glossy relfection idea)

Movie ( (682 kB, jpeg avi)
Blend (
Next I'll play with nodes and reflection layer.

03 March 2007, 03:40 PM
Well I've got the shading and light to "work" right for my fellow workers and my supervisor here, I think they will approve of them as they are now. I'll look at this movie of yours, but I can't view it here, codecs I suspect.
Collor correctness, Ouch. Can it still be done uniform and close-to-original?
I hope so. all the renders are uniform in shading, I've got turntable movies too, but the pictures are for both web and print. Web won't be a problem, but print needs to at least LOOK similar and uniform in shading.

Heh, gotta go now. Thanks for the autocad alternative, I'm learning the original through work now too, which is cool.
Run into a number of problems, mostly modelling related this week. The GEOM script has been a lifesaver, sometimes the knife script hung on me, geom really saved my neck today.
realy gotta go now.

04 April 2007, 02:16 PM
Still tempering with this, none of the old problems though, making a presentation image of some products attached to different kind of walls, there needs to be shadow, I have a shadow I kinda "dig" right now, but it needed an additional area light (to get softer shadows then the other types/spotlight) however, with onlyshadow the lit sides seem to get darker, and without onlyshadow the image initially looks good, however, it prints with such a light shadow it isn't very recognisable on paper anymore.
I've been dimming the other lights and upping the energy on the energy slightly, this helps in creating better shadows, but it also makes the environment larger.

what is the best way to create darker or more noticable shadows without upping the brightness of the entire image? If I up the energy of the area(shadow)light, the shadow gets more defined as I want, but I don't want other parts to become lighter. I don't want to use "onlyshadow" since the entire image looks better with the area casting some light (no specular) as well.
I want to keep the energy the same, but darken the shadow.
Anyone got any hints? I'm a little burned out right now, maybe I'll figure it out soon, but I'd just figure I'd ask... there's people here I could learn from after all.

just a quick note, I can't view your videofile, codecs or something, I have no priviliges for stuff like that, plus I found out why 3dsout no longer works. Autodesk removed that function because 3dmax now natively opens dxf/dwg files. So that feature has become "redundant" according to the help file and the autodesk help centre.

04 April 2007, 06:03 PM
what is the best way to create darker or more noticable shadows without upping the brightness of the entire image?

Easy, pass rendering !

04 April 2007, 03:59 PM
Sweet! thanks, finding out how that works and applying it will be my project this weekend. If the weather isnīt calling me outside that is :)

04 April 2007, 08:36 AM
Did some tests, still can't find all to much information regarding pass rendering, just one page on the wiki, next to render layers and half a page on the website, under features.
Is that really all there is to it? Is the only way i can get the final image to use a file output node?

Nonetheless, using this method, see image, (i suppose I'm still doing some things wrong) the shadows DO get darker, but the rest of the picture too. You can see in the small shadow viewer that the other area's that get darker are in fact white, so when multiplying those area's nothing should be affected right?
Last day of the weekend allready damnit, time flies.............
And suppose I want to change the color of the shadow only, I've followed an example from the wiki, and it works, but can you do this by simply using the color swatch and multiply it somehow? maybe I'm a little to stuck in the photoshop way of thinking, but anyhow no succes so far.

different shadow colors:

In other words, does anyone have some small practical pointers/hints? Is my understanding of what renderlayers are correct?

04 April 2007, 12:17 PM
Google is your friend !

04 April 2007, 07:08 PM
Thanks, but that is not quite what I meant, ( i know, I explained wrong, i did ask for this info) I found similar information elsewhere. I've found info about render passes being seperate elements of renders broken down into seperate pieces, for compositing etc, but what I mean is, how does this all fit into blender?
Do you simply enable all the "pass" buttons in the render layer tab and have a hellofalotta "connection dots" in the node editor to wire around? How do you get something concrete out of it.
I've seen some information regarding passes but not a lot of "simple/basic" examples for one who is new to these nodes. I have a bit of a better understanding of it now, but I still have to do a lot of shooting in the dark and hope i hit the right buttons, if you know what i mean.
A little hard to explain, the pieces of the puzzle just don't fit yet. I should have mentioned it a bit more like this, if only because I DO use google before I post pretty much always.

ehm a little cryptic maybe, I can see the small pieces of the puzzle, I just don't see what form they should be when combined, or how best to combine them.

There's not really a lot of tutorials around that I can think of by now. well some more experienced ones maybe, their screens look like spaghetti right now.
There's no F12 to render the passes either now is there? is it all done through the node editor? and file output? what results do you get from using what kind of nodes with each other? There are QUITE a number of possibilities. Maybe a number of small beginner tutorial, nah examples on the blender site would be nice.

In my case, what I currently need it for, is just getting shadows and crank them up, so I can drop one or two lights and turn on shadows on some other ones, oughta save me some render time.
I can get some darker shadows, but they affect the whole image, (maybe I can fiddle with it the way I made the shadow change color in the second screen).
So I can now adjust just the shadow, which was what I need, but it's a little unpredictable. I don't know what buttons to press to keep this result/replicate this if something changes, or how to get the final render(or seperate passes) out of blender, unless the way for that is to use the file output node.

04 April 2007, 02:08 AM
Keep it simply. Render the shadows to a separate image, crank up in PS and re-combine in PS as well.

04 April 2007, 08:37 AM
Well, I got some more things more or less working, from within blender, so didn't need to bring it to photoshop yet. I'd have to puzzle to get just the shadow out, but I think I know how I would go about that.
Eventually, I've been tinkering with lights, AO and shadows and textures more, so that the shadows no longer need to be stronger. This was accidental, I still found these render passes quite usefull in figuring this out. AO really did a good job in making things look better, It also allowed me to remove 2/3 lights, which means the render time didn't really went up. Around here they really like how it currently looks.
I've got permission to show the latest render here:
what do you people think?

04 April 2007, 11:35 AM
Some more issues, well, I found some makeshift solutions, but I wonder if there are better ways,
I need to get some housebrand colors into blender, I know the pantone colors and I can always open up illustrator or photoshop to use the bucket to use the pipet tool.
Thing is, RGB in photoshop (and most if not every other app I know) use values from 0 to 255 for each color, whereas blender uses 0 to 1. fortunately there is also the option to use a hexcode (#xxxxxx). copy paste works within blender, but I can't copy this value in illustrator and paste in in blender's hex code box?
Another weird thing, I started looking in the settings to see about this, and in the themes, the settings for the theme colors DO go from 0 to 255 per color.
What's this business with rgb values being so different in blender?

04 April 2007, 06:11 PM
I recently did a project where I used the Tango color pallet to have consistency over all the work. This pallet already existed as an RGB image in PNG format. I loaded it into a UV/Image Editor panel. When I needed to used a color from this pallet I simply used the [Sample] button that appears whenever you click on a color swatch. This acts as an eyedropper tool that you can use to sample any color in the blender interface.

04 April 2007, 07:31 AM
Well that might work, will try it someday soon. Not a bad idea at all. to have consistancy right now I'm just carefull with my materials and color pallets. I have few colors and materials to keep track of right now, so it's doable, maybe I'll make a template blend file that includes all the basic things I need in the future.

New issue:
In the long term I'm supposed to save to a write/read protected disc, another program manages that disc and the files on it. So people don't accidently muck around each others files. blender can't save to this disc, (no program can unless it has priviliges, which enables another option in the windows save dialogue, but since blender doesn't use the windows save dialogue....)
but I can drag from the explorer, and resave once opened from that disc(not save as). the file is progressed, kind of identified and renamed. some problems with that method, won't go to deep into that right now, but if I open that file and try to "save as" in that exact location in blender, whatever the name be, it gives an error because it can't save there.(it shouldn't be able to do so, so that's good) but instead it saves a file under the same name with a .blend@ extension. What's the deal with that?
Also I can't replicate the .blend@ scenario, there's nothing on it in the wiki, at least I didn't find it, dozens of links that are not relevant, but not this.

blender also autosaves its stuff, I wonder if I need to turn it off, haven't really needed it so far, but who knows.
Thing is, I'm supposed to have just one file, and I have about 4 right now. the one I dragged from the explorer, the one which is saved straight from blender after opening/saving the dragged one, the blend1 and the blend@. All under the same name, which is bad. All these files I can open in blender fortunately, but it's really akward to manage what I'm working with.
The systems administrator is looking into it, but I figured I'd ask if anyone has any ideas here.

04 April 2007, 06:57 AM
new issue: does anyone have any idea how to get paths from blender into illustrator?
I have some clean paths in blender I'd like to get into illustrator. rebuilding them in illustrator is a reall pain, but I can't find any format to export from blender that will import in blender, other than plain text out of a dxf.
ANyone ever done this or know of a way?

04 April 2007, 12:09 PM
There's something called Vector Rendering Method. It's a python script...

04 April 2007, 01:54 PM
That looks bloody awesome! Bookmarked it, as soon as I have a window I'll give it a try.
I got round my problem another way. It's not the best thing (vectors) but I rendered it shadeless with edges in a pretty high res. The result looks super sweet, it was for a leaflet, and well, it wasn't mandatory to use vector illustrations, it's just what I have been tought to use as much as possible is all. In this case it happened to not be nessecary though....
Illustrator (okay I'm a little rusty with it) 10 mins, got something ugly that is just about the rough shape, no snapping or aligns, and lines blending over each other.
Blender: 1 min, everything snaps perfectly, shape is perfect. Gotta love this stuff....

04 April 2007, 11:22 PM
You might also try Inscape's bitmap trace tool. I've used both Illustrator CS2 and Inkscape and found Inscape's to be more predictable.

04 April 2007, 06:12 AM
Getting a bit offtopic, but when you try to build a rope, you can do it with paths and make that follow a curve, then you twist it, but this twisting thing is quite unreliable, you have to manually tweak all the points, I've read somewher you could best use IPO curves, for this, now I haven't done that much research on ipo's yet, I'll admit, but how do ipo's fit in this?
this is the rope thingy I'm linking to, I can't even replicate the path, not even if I set the points in the exact same place. blaah, I made rope following this before, and now I can't replicate it for some reason, gotta check the old files when I get home.....
anyway, the question was about ipo's, how do they fit in with the twisting of the rope? or twisting/altering a curve in general?

04 April 2007, 12:13 PM
The IPO will have to wait, I was getting lazy/to much urgent work to look into it. I've fixed a rope the old fashioned way, curves and bevel objects.

New situation:

Imagine you have a thin cilinder (like a metal sheet) which you need to wrap around another cilinder. So you get an eliptical view from the front/side of the circle, think of it as a piece of "cloth" around a sphere, only replace the sphere with a cilinder on its side.
In for instance inventor, (my knowledge of it is limited, but I'm quite positive you can do this) you can have this circle wrap itself around the cilinder.

I'm a little creatively drained, I suppose I'll find an answer sooner or later, but maybe the solution to this problem might be relevant to some other people around here.

04 April 2007, 01:21 PM
Found a workable yet slightly messy solution:

I draw the circle on the side of the cilinder, I then spin it around 2 times to get a sphere, then I cut out the sphere using booleans. I'm a little icky about using booleans in general, but it kinda works, have to do some cleaning up, but the result looks good enough.

I have a question though, not ment to say something like blender isn't good enough, and it applies to other ful 3d apps as well:

Why do specific design programs like autocad/inventor/ google sketchup etc always have such clean boolean results? If there's ever a lot of trimming and/or boolean operations, it's in these programs. how do they work in there that they seem so clean?

since I acn't get to the bugtracker here, and not even at home for some reason,
I've found that the boolean intersect function gave an OLD EDGE STYLE MESH error, along with a message to place it in the bugtracker. Don't know if it is known, and I may put in inIRC, but as long as I post it here, i won't forget it.

05 May 2007, 05:37 AM
I wonder if anyone happens to know someway of doing this:

I'm trying to get autodesk inventor drawings (parts and/or assemblies) into blender.
One of my coworkers found a vrml export plugin for inventor, but it produces a wrl file that with or without renaming won't open in blender.

Found out what the oldstyle edge bug was caused by, by the way, perform a boolean on one hull works fine, but if you make it a tube (as in cutting through a "rounded" wall,) generally gives you old edgestyle warnings.

Anyone here got any know how about inventor and/or vrml?

05 May 2007, 10:54 AM
Would FBX do the job? havent read the whole thread so not sure how finished it is, but afaik non animated/riged stuff should be fine..

05 May 2007, 05:31 AM
unfortunately that doesn't work, apparently inventor can't output fbx files. I haven't looked into it myself, WAAAAY to much stuff to build, one of the inventor spiffy guys over here has had a look at it. I'll google more about it this evening. Thanks for the heads up.

05 May 2007, 03:42 PM
Cann't Invertor export to DXF? Seems likely, considering it is made by Autodesk.

05 May 2007, 09:31 PM
yes it can, but it won't import directly into blender, or gives 2d meshes(basically the same effect as converting dwg's in illustrator to svg, import into blender and convert to mesh.) or needs to be reopened and reexported in autocad/mechanical desktop.
Took a lot of time to fiddle with it wasn't worth the time and results weren't accurate enough. I'm a lot faster remodeling from scratch in blender.
Inventor seems to make really clean meshes though, and all the new products are being drawn in it. Old ones are just 2D drawings, some of them really old and outdated.
It works in a completely different way. It doesn't seem to do meshes, it cuts/revolves/extrudes/mixes shapes etc.
I can translate some of their techniques to blender. I try to stay away from boolean but I do have a need for it every now and then. It always requires some cleaning up, but you can get really clean meshes with it if you do it right.

But seeing how these models turn out in inventor it seems sweet to think how easy it would be to just use these models if i could get them imported. although I do like to model in blender. Plus I go for more detail occasionally, since pretty selling pictures need those where product drawings do not.
truth is I haven't really dug into it as deep as i could go, I can search A LOT!!!, but i doubt i will since it took to much time and remodeling it was faster and gave better results.

Long story,
bottom line: current workflow:
I only use the autocad drawings as a reference for the measurements, as seen in the layout sheet in the tables, I often take the object from the storage, measure the extra details, and start modeling it from scratch. works faster than cleaning up these old drawings, and it gives more accurate details.
Edgesplit modifier is a lifesaver........
inventor models straight into blender would save more time, but there is no space to search for it yet.

I wish i could show some of it. It's nothing too fancy from my pov, but they really love it over here, and they are just " clean" renders/results.

05 May 2007, 02:01 AM
Have you tried export/import on the Stereo Litography Format (STL)?, Blender can import those files without problem (material index are lost, but rather reasign materials than start from scrach).

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