STP file convertor for Mac?

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Old 10 October 2012   #16
I've just tried importing a 90+MB .stp into MOI demo on Mac and I have to say that, while it works, it's painfully slow and constantly running out of memory, even though it doesn't use up my available memory. And exporting out of it is the same. Definitely not a pleasant process.

Viacad was equally slow at import, but exporting out to .obj or vrml was very quick.

I'm curious to know if this is the norm? I don't think 90+MB is a very large data set? It's actually only a model of a TV. I couldn't imagine it I had to do a car or a building/factory! How does everybody here work with CAD data in C4d (on Mac)?
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Old 10 October 2012   #17
90mb seems pretty large for a CAD dataset to me. Most files I work with are in the 10-30mb range and they do take some time to open in ViaCad, so it's not surprising that 90mb will take awhile to open.

One thing I noticed with that method is that sometimes the curves need more tesselation and the only way I can seem to do that is to export a .SAT file and import it into the old Electric Image Modeler which has great tesselation tools. Then I export that file as a new .SAT, back into ViaCAD and THEN export as a VRML for C4D. A long workaround, but it does the trick.

If your model is in .IGS format, C4D will open it directly. If ViaCad has tesselation tools, I'm missing it. At least for VRML export anyway. I hope this helps!

-Ryan
 
Old 10 October 2012   #18
We're a 100% Mac shop except for one PC laptop that does our CAD conversions (Mostly from STEP files) as we've converted thousands of CAD files and tried everything the Mac had and nothing did nearly as good a job as what is available on the PC.
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Old 10 October 2012   #19
Originally Posted by mustardseed: I'm curious to know if this is the norm? I don't think 90+MB is a very large data set? It's actually only a model of a TV. I couldn't imagine it I had to do a car or a building/factory! How does everybody here work with CAD data in C4d (on Mac)?


They probably have all of the internal components included which is why it's so large.

We get our clients to send us STEP 214 files, we convert them to STL on the pc and bring the stl files into Cinema on the Mac. There's a good argument to do OBJ files, but we've found the STL seems to be the most stable. IGES is complete garbage as it's a completely loose format and there's too many variations on it.
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Old 10 October 2012   #20
90MB is actually quite a large data set and will balloon once processed in a CAD tool at 2-4x that size depending on your CAD tool. Also if your CAD tool is 'healing' the geometry that can add time and RAM usage.

I typically use PolyTrans and export to Collada for C4D. Optionally, modo + CAD tools gives you a good processor that works on Mac/Windows but costs.

Generally the low cost CAD tools are not geared to handle importing assemblies well. While you can do it, it's slow. MoI is cheap and convenient but it still isn't a native mac app and even on PC it doesn't deal with assemblies well.

I generally use Collada/FBX and steer clear of STL and OBJ. However, that is convenience afforded by having the PolyTrans / modo+CAD Tools software.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #21
Originally Posted by Troyan: They probably have all of the internal components included which is why it's so large.

You are spot on. They gave me very single component, down to the plastic cable ties! Can you share what converter you're using on that PC, or is that your secret sauce?
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Old 10 October 2012   #22
CAD Converter

It's the only one that has handled everything we've thrown at it, including things Polytrans couldn't convert. We've tried all converters out there. To date, nothing beats it.
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Old 10 October 2012   #23
Thanks Troyan! And that won't run on Mac with parallels?
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Old 10 October 2012   #24
I went through the feature list of C4d Studio and there's this:
"Okino connection - seamless CAD file import via optional PolyTrans software (Windows only).

Can anyone verify:
1. Is this bundled PolyTrans software a plugin to C4d, or a standalone converter? (this is important to me as I am on Mac, so standalone I could run on Parallels; a plugin wouldn't work for me)
2. Is C4d Studio able to import .stp files with this "Okino connection"?

Depending on the answers, I might just upgrade to Studio instead of purchasing PolyTrans.
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Old 10 October 2012   #25
the polytrans bundle works on pc only. you could either bootcamp or run a vm instance which works well.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #26
Thanks Jason. So the Okino Bundle that ships with C4d Studio is the standalone PolyTrans converter, and not a plugin for the Windows version of Cinema4D?
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Old 10 October 2012   #27
Originally Posted by mustardseed: Thanks Troyan! And that won't run on Mac with parallels?


Not sure. PC software on parallels has been hit or miss for me so I just ditched it.
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Old 10 October 2012   #28
Originally Posted by mustardseed: Thanks Jason. So the Okino Bundle that ships with C4d Studio is the standalone PolyTrans converter, and not a plugin for the Windows version of Cinema4D?


I am on Mac as well for the most part, so I cannot recall if you can run in standalone. I do not believe so. The importer gets replaced when you open a supported file type that you have selected. I do believe however, you can add modules to PolyTrans plugin to add more capabilities for specific CAD tools.

Originally Posted by Troyan: Not sure. PC software on parallels has been hit or miss for me so I just ditched it.


I also ditched Parallels but I switched to VMware's Fusion which I found to work better with my CAD tools and it's less invasive than Parallels when you want to try and get rid of it.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #29
Originally Posted by Troyan: CAD Converter

It's the only one that has handled everything we've thrown at it, including things Polytrans couldn't convert. We've tried all converters out there. To date, nothing beats it.


The only problem I have with this software is that it is more geared to inter-CAD translations and the triangulated formats of OBJ and STL leave a bit to be desired.

Two things to keep in mind. OBJ and STL do not support hierarchy. So you will have to rebuild that in C4D. Secondly, these converters will output triangles only. While triangles in of it self isn't a big deal, the problem can be the lack of tools to minimize stripe triangles (those long thin ones).

PolyTrans with Granite Pack will utilize an engine to allow you to try and keep your triangles "square". Imagine a quad split across the diagonals. This helps keep geometry clean and UV tasks less of a headache.

modo CAD Tools is using an engine that attempts to give you quads and ngons yielding a cleaner mesh. This kit also allows you to dynamically tweak the mesh settings prior to committing to the mesh creation.

Neither will give you topological flow as if you modeled it yourself, however a more square oriented triangle mesh or quad/ngon mesh will be nicer to work with.
 
Old 10 October 2012   #30
Originally Posted by helluvapixel: The only problem I have with this software is that it is more geared to inter-CAD translations and the triangulated formats of OBJ and STL leave a bit to be desired.

Two things to keep in mind. OBJ and STL do not support hierarchy. So you will have to rebuild that in C4D. Secondly, these converters will output triangles only. While triangles in of it self isn't a big deal, the problem can be the lack of tools to minimize stripe triangles (those long thin ones).

PolyTrans with Granite Pack will utilize an engine to allow you to try and keep your triangles "square". Imagine a quad split across the diagonals. This helps keep geometry clean and UV tasks less of a headache.

modo CAD Tools is using an engine that attempts to give you quads and ngons yielding a cleaner mesh. This kit also allows you to dynamically tweak the mesh settings prior to committing to the mesh creation.

Neither will give you topological flow as if you modeled it yourself, however a more square oriented triangle mesh or quad/ngon mesh will be nicer to work with.


Except when you get into situations where Polytrans cannot translate the model, then it doesn't matter what it is. Polytrans was able to convert about 80% of what we threw at it, but we still had to fix holes and overlapping geometry occasionally in that 80%. Transmagic converts everything, and if there is anything that needs fixing Transmagic fixes it on the fly. Although STL is triangles (all programs convert to triangles when they render, including Cinema, so it's kind of a moot point anyway) it's extremely controllable and does a great job of optimising the number of triangles of the model. You have complete control how dense of a mesh it creates. Also, even though your model comes across without a hierarchy, you can still do a simple "select connected" polys and re-separate the model into parts if you need it. We've done tens of thousands of conversions to STL and they all render nice and smooth, as if it were made of quads. What about it leaves something to be desired?

EDIT: I've attached 3 raw shots from a recent animation where all the hardware is converted CAD files to STL into Cinema. The only edit to the meshes was dropping a phong tag on them.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg shot1.jpg (78.6 KB, 13 views)
File Type: jpg shot2.jpg (91.9 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg shot3.jpg (57.8 KB, 9 views)
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Last edited by Troyan : 10 October 2012 at 06:47 PM.
 
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