Prefered way to import inventor data...

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  04 April 2012
Prefered way to import inventor data...

Now with 3dsmax 2013 i can import IGES and STEP as Body Objects, too. So i start a new test:

I get a Inventor scene in tree different formats: As Inventor Pack&Go package, IGES and STEP.

I import all these variants into a fresh, clean max 2013 scene.

To my surprise: Values in the summary info (scene total objects/helpers, mesh totals vertices/faces) are all very different!

That vertices/faces count different, ok, maybe the body objects tessellating is a little bit different. But why are the objects/helpers count are not the same?

Right now I prefer a inventor pack&go package. Seems that this works best. Also even with 2012.
But importing IAM/IPT files has a problem: Sometimes faces flipped or are invisble or doesn't exists. This is IMHO a known bug, but not fixed, yet :(

Nice: max 2013 will group the imported Objects and build a hierarchy with helpers, 2012 not.

Any experience with inventor sources?
  04 April 2012
Why export from Inventor when you can open native,Inventor asm/ipt files in 3dsmax?

Edit: Ahh see now that you have problems with that... I have never experienced the issues you describe although I have imported my fair share of inventor models.

Last edited by Massemannen : 04 April 2012 at 02:59 PM.
  04 April 2012
Because the import process and formats greatly differ, it is like comparing OBJ, FBX, and MAX. IGES is a very basic interchange format (you will get surfaces and pretty much nothing else), STEP is better (but again as it is an interchange format a lot is lost), and DirectConnect creates helpers at origin depending on the hierarchy of the data. You should only use STEP (or IGES as a last resort) if the application you are importing into don't support native Inventor loading.

"The Evil Monkey hiding in your closet."
  04 April 2012
I've done everything right, because i use inventor data directly in the past and use this in the future, too.

What I also wonder:

Even if you import inventor stuff directly as a Mesh or just convert to mesh in a second step: You will get a object with too many vertexes.

Turn to poly and weld all vertexes with 0,001 -> You will see that many vertex points will weld. Sometimes itís results in a bad surfaces :(

The Welt/Smooth checkbox in Body Objects doesnít do a good jobÖ

Any tips to get a optimized geometry from inventor data???

That also the point: AD has added Body Objects. But they doesnít develop further. Maybe they canít because itís only a external, licensed software part from npower. See:

Now we can easier import CAD data. Thatís good, but itís far a way from a perfect solution.

To get a better way importing CAD data, vote here:
  04 April 2012
I would suggest educating yourself on how CAD data derives its surface smoothing and the safest way to merge the data. Standard 3d objects use smoothing groups/Face Normals, while CAD data uses Explicit Vertex Normals. By default each surface in a Body Object is a separate Element. Weld/Smooth welds the surface seams and converts to Smoothing Groups, and depending on the surfaces this can greatly alter the look of the data as face normals are less accurate than vertex normals.

The only way to weld vertices and keep Vertex Normals is to use ProOptimizer with Keep Normals and Merge Vertices with a value of 0.0. Any other method can/will result in the loss of vertex normals. There are other things to consider and that is to make sure all elements are facing in the same direction (you should only flip elements in Editable Poly face mode, again any other method may result in breaking normals) or the welding could result in shading issues.

The issue here has nothing to do with Body Objects or CAD import it has to do with the handling and preservation of vertex normals in 3ds Max. Sorry to say this, but you seem to be throwing out a lot of ideas lately with absolutely no understanding of the actual causes. This is just going to lead to ideas and wasted votes as you aren't properly identifying the real issues.

"The Evil Monkey hiding in your closet."
  04 April 2012
Thx for the information.

My uservoice idea is simple: Give us a better/easier way to use CAD data in max and let us easy to visualize. That's all. Adding Body Objects was a good step. It was harder to use CAD data before them.
  04 April 2012
Originally Posted by PiXeL_MoNKeY: should only flip elements in Editable Poly face mode, again any other method may result in breaking normals)..

your explananations really helped me a lot to understand the concept of face and vertex normals. For face flipping you recommend to use the Editable Poly face mode. Can the Editable Mesh face mode be used to? Here is a short explanation why I am asking thesequestions: When we get data from the manufacturer, this often happens as a tesselated Maya file. We then export them using fbx and load them into Max. Of course the geometry isn't perfect afterwards, some surfaces are always flipped. So far, so good, but the problem is that the objects are imported as Editable Mesh, and flipping inside Max using the flip function of the Editable mesh gives unpredictable results. If I put an Edit Poly on top of the imported Mesh as a workaroung, the normals are broken immidiately. You can see that the geometry gets a faceted look. Also, sometimes the faces are not flipped correctly: Sometimes the face appears to be pointing in the right direction after flipping, but checking with backface culling reveals that they are still wrong. As a result I switched to flipping in Maya, which works much better. The questions is now: What is the best way to flip surfaces (and the corresponding vertex/face normals), when Editable Poly can't be applied. From another company I know that they developed a tool which gave you the choice of flipping only faces, face normals, vertex normals or all together in Max. I hope that my explanations made sense. Sort of...

Best regards


Last edited by kossoolli : 04 April 2012 at 08:26 PM.
  04 April 2012
No face flipping Edit/Editable Mesh will break the normals. Edit Poly will also break the normals when you add it. You need to Collapse to Editable Poly (not add an Edit Poly on top).

Vertex Normals in 3ds Max are a convoluted mesh to say the least. See the images I posted here for an idea of what modifiers are safe to use on what Object Type as the results will be different between the 2. NOTE: those were tested back in 2012 and I haven't done any testing for changes in 2013.

"The Evil Monkey hiding in your closet."
  03 March 2013
I create a new idea, that there should be a easy way to convert a BodyObject into a optimized and clean EditablePoly. Please vote here:
  03 March 2013
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