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.
I just heard from them this morning. $3000 for year 1, $500 for each year after. So I’m not going that route.
Right now I’m looking at Rhino & Rhino IO - however, for some reason Rhino IO is not working for beans on my system. I’ve been e-mailing back and forth with Stefan (the developer) for the past hour or so, and we haven’t been able to figure out a reason why it isn’t working for me. Every file I generate out of the Rhino demo Stefan can read fine and dandy, but not on my end.
If this doesn’t get resolved, I’m back to square one. And I REALLY don’t want to go through and texture this horrific STL mesh.
Wow! They have gone up. I can tell you that since we bought it we only paid for the initial software and one upgrade and I can’t tell you why that was. Has worked flawlessly for 8 years and counting. Is that the only plan they offer? Seems like there were more options.
I can tell you that our pipeline before switching to Transmagic was Rhino. Worked great about 80% of the time, the other 20% of the models we had to spend time cleaning up because they didn’t convert well. We cut our conversion time from days to with cleanup to under an hour when we switched to Trans. Looks like Rhino haven’t improved :(. I hate to say it but there isn’t a good surefire solution out there. Transmagic is as close as it comes :(.
we will for sure be able to get it run on your system, the only i can image is yet a damaged c4d or some other install issue. there is no file it cant open. even BMW the big car producer uses it for all their conversions to c4d.
I also use ViaCAD to import .STP for conversion. I usually export as .wrl (VRML 2.0) and generally get good results. Sometimes, I get faceted edges and then I have to export to SAT and use my old workflow to smooth edges -> SAT to EIM (old Electric Image Modeler which had great tessellation export options) and then export as OBJ for C4D.
Once nice thing about ViaCAD (as a replacement for old EIM) is the ability to cut a chunk out of a model for doing cutaways.