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By Lars Fabiunke
Senior Technical Support Specialist
Sep 24th 2019
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It may come as a surprise to most of you to read that Creator is not the only 3D modeling tool on the market.

There are, of course, a great many 3D modeling tools out there, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. The Creator team fully understands that many of you Creator modelers have to use the right tool for the right job, at the right time.

We get it, really we do!

Big world of free (but not painless) 3D models

Sometimes that means creating or editing 3D models outside Creator (gasp!) or perhaps purchasing or downloading models that are not in the OpenFlight format (whaaa?). As if digging through the myriad of varying quality 3D models out there was not difficult enough (more on preparing and picking quality models in a later post), one of the added challenges is to find the right format that helps preserve UV's, textures, materials and perhaps hierarchy structure.

Creator is now updated with a new choice for an exchange format, and supporting many of those features is now only a few mouse clicks away

Just in case you are reading this and thinking, “man I really do need to set aside some time to find this 3D model for my project”, why not take a look at the Presagis 3D Models Library and see if we already have some you can use either as a starting point or as is? Best part: these models are already in FLT format, and many are already materialized.

Ok. Back to our blog article already in progress...

Import Blues

In the past, Creator users had to depend largely on COLLADA's DAE format as being the widely used exchange format. Unfortunately, DAE proved to be lossy at times, rather unpredictable, and did not support many of the required features and modes (LODs, Switches, etc.) used in traditionally built OpenFlight models.

Another fallback format was OBJ. Even though OBJ is fine for static models, the format does not support animation and provides for only one layer of UVs.

Creator to the Rescue

With the latest release of Creator (that’s version 18 for those keeping track), we can bid a fond ‘adieu’ to the Import Blues. Creator is now updated with a new choice for an exchange format, and supporting many of those features is now only a few mouse clicks away. Not only can you use Creator Script to import and export non-OpenFlight files, your UI interaction has been improved as the Import and Export file browsers now remember the last folder between modeling sessions. (yay!)

With the implementation/adaptation of Autodesk’s FBXSDK, Creator is now able to update previously supported 3D format importer and exporters (DXF, 3DS, OBJ, DAE) as well as add support for FBX. Supporting FBX through this SDK means that there is no wrong interpretation of the format. Any tool out there using the FBXSDK will write an FBX file that is usable by any 3D application using that same FBXSDK to read it.

FBX and Creator

FBX (Filmbox) is a proprietary file format (.fbx) developed by Kaydara and owned by Autodesk since 2006. It is used to provide interoperability between digital content creation applications.

The FBX file is a full scene format used as a 3D asset exchange format that is extremely popular in the game industry. It provides interoperability between a wide range of popular 3D software such as Maya, 3ds Max and, of course, Creator. It is also the standard interchange format for popular game engines such as Unity and Unreal.

FBX supports multiple UV layers, static meshes with vertex colors and preserves hierarchy information.

Creator currently uses FBXSDK 2019.2, which supports FBX file format version 7.5.0. Our updated FBX exporter allows you to choose between ASCII and Binary models, and the export options are rounded out providing LOD and Switch Export options. Users can choose to include External Reference, embed textures and convert RGB textures to TGA format.

Enhanced FBX Export Options window to display FBX File Format and SDK versions.

OpenFlight for Real-Time Deployment

We hope that with these new Creator options, you are able to better utilize the time and work put into finding or creating models outside Creator. You are now able to import models -- in part or as a whole-- edit and ready/prepare them to take flight (ha!) as a properly attributed OpenFlight model destined for real-time deployment.

Happy Creatoring!

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