3D app to C4D: End the translation threads


That was a typo on my part. I meant .dwg

You are right about dwf, I don’t mess with it.

I think Cinema will read up to a dwg2000 format dxf. I guess I would be better off testing that than posting by memory.


cinemas dxf import is very weak.
dwg is missing.

rhino 3 can import new dwgs, if you are registered user you can download the free bonus tools. dwg2005 format plus other great tools are included:-)




nobody’s mentioned .3DS format yet :wink:


which triangulates the mesh, right?


point being? :slight_smile:


just do unriangulate in cinema with ngon option on and you get wonderfull meshes, even with ngons(for architecture and technical stuff needed. then 3ds is not so bad and for some workflows even very good.



Point being i don’t want a triangulated mesh and i don’t want to lose my time untriangulating it. I usually prefer obj to 3ds.


thats fair enough.

but im just suprised .3DS wasn’t even considered in this post.

i’m an architect and been using the .3DS conversion all my working career. it’s a wonderfull, easy, solid, reliable format that hasn’t once let me down in over 15 years.

ok, so it triangulates. well so what? for architecture it doesn’t matter. even for more organic curvey shaped architecture. besides, untriangulating isn’t really a problem, and triangulated meshes are sometimes needed.

i understand it might not be the best method for more ‘workable’ character modeling for instance, but for architecture and general modelling on the whole i’d stick the .3DS format right up there at the top.



what’s the advantage over obj?


well for one thing a fair few cad apps, including autocad, dont export OBJ files

and i didnt say it was better, i was just trying to help sing it’s praises, as most peeps dismiss it.


obj does not come in as groups from some apps, it also looses the materials often when importing. with 3dmax i have more luck most of the time. it is nicely grouped as it was in the other app.

obj is a very good format, but cinema doesnt use the mtl.part of it or doeant import uvs. at least whenever i tried. this might be a mistake from my side of course.



Triangulated mesh was prefered because there is no distortion. Four points rule currently because of subdivision, it wouldn’t suprise me to see another technology shift that favored 3 points again.
One way I evaluate the effectiveness of a program is that whatever I can put into it I can get out to reuse in another program. C4D is very good at getting stuff in, it has LWS w/animation, 3DS w/animation, and FBX. I would love to get export 3DS animation out of C4D to use in Swift3D for Flash SWF (no, not for web) to get animated vector footage (it is scalable to any size). Now I have to jump from exporting VRML to a conversion program to Swift. I am also looking at Direct x export for the same purpose.

For OBJ there is the free Riptide C4D plugin that has lots of options including materials.


just a trick I discovered - if you are exporting a 2D CAD file, it can be worth trying exporting/“printing” to a PDF file, which preserves vector info. This can be converted in Illustrator to an .ai file which can be brought into C4D. This was certainly more successful than taking a DXF file in directly. Don’t know if this is generally useful, but it helped me out of a problem



There are times that you creat ‘boomerang’ shaped polys which can render or display with the ‘crotch’ part filled in. If you had a wall with punched rectanglular windows, ‘ngon’ sometimes doubles-over the front surface covering the windows. In those cases using untriangulate to quads is fine.

Also, with imports from 3ds I often find it useful to do an ‘optimize’ first, because phong smoothing won’t work. Then it does.

When there are lots of polys in planar sets you can ‘melt’ them into ngons, too.

But with all of these, watch the results so you can undo any nasties.


I work with product engineers using solidworks and they save out as vrml so that I can import them and make them look nice in the renders (tri’s permiting).

Now, obviously, I can do things that they can’t (and vice versa) and I would like to be able to give them files which they can work with.

Now, here’s the problem: I’m on a Mac.

All of the above applications seem to be windows only. I would really like to be able to save out in a format which they can use.

Any ideas?


@geoffr: VRML is platform independent. However VRML is not always a coperative format to deal with. SolidWorks should be able to import OBJ or STL files and in one form or another you should be able to do it. Be sure to use an ASCII format so that it can come across from Mac to Windows.

Re: 3DS format - The reason why it wasn’t brought up is that it’s not a good option coming from a CAD format. OBJ is a long time standard and is preferred over 3DS between DCC apps. In addition, OBJ supports quads and triangles and I believe it handles UVW mapping coordinates better than 3DS.

Between DCC apps, 3DS is a decent alternative. No argument there.


duderender, you hit it on the nose. 3DS brings in the materials, but the UV mapping is limited - very limited. It uses an archaic one uv per vertex format whereas contemporary uv mapping allows for many uvs per vertex. Oh, and the texture image filenaming is very limited - 8.3 (back about 10 years and so). OBJ doesn’t bring in materials if the importer ignores the MTL file, but OBJ supports materials, textures, UVW, splines, parametrics, and a myriad of other parameters that most applications ignore. OBJ also supports NGons - yes, it does.


No one has mentioned Accutrans in this thread yet. I have good experiences with it, a rather flexible though stable conversion program (with quite an ugly and strange UI, though - but who cares…:slight_smile: ), It has helped me in converting both “ordinary” and “exotic” formats, in cases when Polytrans failed. Especially useful for converting some strange terrain meshes that one gets from survey services - they are all basically text-based tables of coordinetes, but accutrans lets you adjust the formatting of data before importing… A rather long and interesting list of export and import formats.

It can be downloaded from http://www.micromouse.ca/downloads.html


I’ve used it, but I prefer PT as it allows me to use polygon reduction tools and to reorganize the structure of the parent-child heirarchy.

Accutrans is simply a mesh translator. Like I mention before, there is more than just moving vertex data between apps.


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