I understand that Studio comes with Okino Polytrans software that is Windows only. Is this software component a plug-in to C4d, or is it a standalone Windows application. I am asking because as I am on a full Mac workflow, if it is a Windows standalone, I could potentially run it on Parallels under virtualisation, whereas if it were a plug-in to C4d Windows version, I would not be able to use this component of the Studio bundle.
I have been getting quite a few job requests to convert and visualise engineering/CAD models lately, and I am considering whether I should just purchase a copy of PolyTrans standalone, or perhaps upgrade to Studio and get PolyTrans plus all the features that Studio offers.
Studio does not come with the Okinio Software itself, but with the connection plugin to it. You still need to purchase the main Okino product, which is a win only application. The plugin makes use of that application to convert files so both, CINEMA 4D with the plugin and Polytrans need to be installed on the same Windows system.
I have had very good luck over the years with this workflow. Have the CAD people export a .sat or .iges, go and get the $300 Moi 3D program (they have a Mac verrsion) and in Moi when you go to save the model out as a .obj you will get options on how Moi will create the polygon mesh. It is very simple and Moi is known for generating very clean meshes. Fom there import the .obj into Cinema along with the normals tags and you have a very clean looking model.
+1 for Moi. I recently looked into getting step files from Catia into C4D. I tried Moi, Modo with its CAD Plugin, Maya as well as IGES into C4D. Maya and C4D were so slow as to be unusable. Modo was okay, fairly slow and an expensive solution. Moi, while somewhat idiosyncratic, was reasonably fast and produced decent* meshes, plus its pretty cheap. There’s also a 30 day trial.
*everything I tried produced horrific topology, as to be expected I guess, going from nurbs patches to polys. The exported models (whether from Modo or Moi) rely on normal tags to render nicely. As soon as you edit the mesh things start to look bad quickly.
Thanks for the Moi feedback - I had actually started their free trial about two months ago when I needed to read a particular CAD file; within twenty minutes of starting the trial, I found out I was no longer going to need it, and so I never really made use of the trial. Now I have to decide whether to just buy without trying.
Going back to Okino - how does their topology look? From their website’s description, it sounds almost as if you’re getting a C4D file complete with nurbs and all. Or is it just a C4D file with several polygonal objects?
Ive used the Okino converters a few times with C4D in Windows. They work fairly well. You do end up with a tessellated mesh, which can have problems depending on the original CAD file. I haven’t dug deep into the Okino bridge to figure out how to adjust the level of detail when it converts to a mesh - i hardly touch PolyTrans any more. Once 3DS MAX gained the ability to work with SAT files, i haven’t needed it.
The workflow i currently use is to open the SAT file in 3DS Max on windows, and then i can fine tune the tessellation and export as your favorite file type (alembic, FBX, OBJ, etc)
for a Mac only workflow id +1 MOI. Ive modeled some products with it and exported to OBJ for rendering with C4D and the results were very good. MOI gives you good control over the tessellation when you export to OBJ and lets you preview the tessellation as well.
Another vote for MoI. It’s a great little app that makes good OBJ conversions.
If you know you are going to edit the mesh in C4D afterward, you can drop the tesselation values down and get a cleaner base mesh to smooth out later on. Not many edges left over to clean up when modifying it in C4D.
Thank you everyone for all the feedback in regards to Moi - it’s quite helpful.
I downloaded the demo onto the Windows side of my system (I had briefly tried the OSX demo a while ago for a separate project), and quickly discovered the 32-bit memory limit, which is keeping me from processing the ~2000 part assembly from the client.
I looked into FormZ, which is also only 32bit on OSX (a 64 bit version on Windows), but the $1000 price tag is a bit too much to pay just to translate files.
The difficult thing is that I need to animate individual components of the unit, so I’d like to be able to start with all of the individual components & merge them together as needed, rather than a receiving a single mesh in an STL that I then have to tear apart for texturing and animation.
Holy cow. I have to give a BIG recommendation for MOI. It’s a fantastic little program, and just as important, Michael (the developer of the program) is extremely active on the help forum. In fact, I’m not even sure that he sleeps, because he’s always answered my dumb questions within minutes of my posting them.
But MOI is a great conduit from CAD to C4D. The best option, is to get a STEP file from your client. That works best in MOI.
I should have added, that MOI is not perfect (what app is?) for everything. I have played with the ViaCAD demo, and I’ve been meaning to just buy it, too. It seems pretty slick. Although, conversely, I’ve become so used to MOI, that it’s been a little harder adjusting to how ViaCAD works. I just need to force myself to give it some learning.
One thing, at least initially, that seemed odd though with ViaCAD. I wasn’t able to get many options for .OBJ export. Nothing like the many options you get with MOI or Rhino. Was I just missing something?
We have converted tens of thousands of CAD files over a ten year period and have tried everything. Iges is too loose of a format and your results can vary wildly. Moi is awesome but we have also seen that fail on several conversions. The best workflow for conversion is get the CAD people to export a STEP 214 file and convert it with a PC program called TransMagic. This workflow has never failed and TransMagic does an amazing job optimizing and fixing geometry during conversion. Export from TransMagic as STL. Beautiful and fast results.
In our experience, Polytrans was not that great and their customer service was worse. We are entirely a Mac shop except for one PC laptop that we use for TransMagic. Its worth it.
One more thing I failed to mention, which elevates the value of something like MOI/ViaCAD/Rhino for me: It’s not just the middle-man for the conversion, but just as important, allows for (sometimes extensive) modifications to the CAD I get from the clients.
For instance - depending on the manufacturing process down the line, quite often the products I receive have too many hard edges. Those things naturally are softened during machining/casting, and hand finishing. But they make the CG products look bad, and well, CG. So I go in and add as many subtle chamfers and bevels as I can. These are things which are impossible to get the clients to do, because it serves no purpose for their actual manufacturing process.
Also, it’s way more efficient to go in and customize the layers and parts of the product in something like MOI. I can set up various layers which import into C4D as selection sets. Saves a TON of time doing things that way.
So, it really depends on your needs. If you, strictly speaking, only need to convert, and render, then there are other options. But if you’re potentially going to need to do some prep or customization to the CAD files you receive, then you’re going to want a couple of the CAD apps for the Mac.