Does OBJ export support animations?

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I'm looking at an easy modeller/animator to get models into unity. Does the obj format export the animations as well as the model please?

Pencil - 2016-01-20 12:22:04

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Okay, just had a play with it, it doesn't load any current format. Looks like I won't be able to do much with it if I can't open models from other programs (eg. obj/fbx). *SIGH* I was looking forward to using it as it seemed awesome for rigging. Sad

Pencil - 2016-01-21 09:45:34 in reply to Pencil 2016-01-20 12:22:04

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Hi Pencil,
To my knowledge whatever software you use, when you export a model in OBJ format it will not export any animation data or any data for a rigged model, it will only export a static model typically in the form of a mesh. You can indirectly import OBJ models into seamless by first importing them into meshlab (a free program ) and then exporting from meshlab to vrml97 format which seamless can then import.

I have used a free program from Autodesk to export their proprietary formats to OBJ (which can then be converted to vrml97).

Once the static mesh is inside seamless you can rig it and animate it however I have no tutorials yet for the current version of seamless for how to rig a mesh and seamless would need some minor fixing for mesh animation as it has been a while since I have done this.

All of my focus for the last few years has centred on creating models for nurbs animation which is higher quality than simple mesh animation. However I do intend to continue to support mesh animation for things like gaming where speed is valued over quality but if you are wanting to create animation for gaming the issue arises what format are you going to use for your rigged meshes? When I looked into this a few years ago I found there is very little support for importing a skinned (single mesh animated) model from a non proprietary format. There are non proprietary formats like VRML/X3D and COLLADA but there is very little software out there that can import both the model and the rigged data from these formats. Seamless3d being one of the few that can (can import rigged models from vrml/x3d). I guess there is very little demand for this because games are written by computer programmers who can write their own animation software for their particular needs.

thyme - 2016-01-22 19:35:06 in reply to Pencil 2016-01-21 09:45:34

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Hi Thyme
I'm using Unity to write my game. The default format of choice for Unity (and a lot of the other popular engines like Unreal, Skyline, Torque etc) is FBX, though they also seem to generally support obj, dae and 3ds. The problem I've found is that while I can find free/cheap 3D modelling programs, rigging is almost impossible to do easily without spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on 3DS/Maya etc. Blender is everyone's go-to program, but there's a very steep learning curve and I'm rather time poor. I'd much rather spend a short amount of time getting a basic animation that's good enough to show what it's supposed to be, then hours getting the perfect animation done.

On hindsight after my earlier post, as you said, OBJ doesn't support animation - it appears that FBX and Collada are the popular formats that support it. So what I'm looking for ideally is a program I can upload (or create) a simple "programmers art" model in, rig it, then get it to fbx/dae somehow while keeping the rigging. I've found programs that will combine bvh files with a rigged model to make my life relatively easy for animation, but getting the model rigged in the first place is the problem.

There's a lot of demand out there for a easy rigging solution for Unity, I'm hoping seamless fits the bill!!

Are there any seamless v3 tutorials other than the head modelling one? I'm trying to work out how to do a basic model, but don't understand things like what a patch is and why you convert to it, how to select and translate verticies etc.


Pencil - 2016-01-23 11:20:56 in reply to thyme 2016-01-22 19:35:06

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Hi pencil

There is also a tutorial for seamless v3 showing how to make hands. All of the tutorials so far pretty much bypass the need to understand anything about how the patches are stitched together as all the stitching is done automatically. The beginner only needs to understand that they have to convert an object like a lathe or box to a patch if they want to create a more complex shape. I have however been working on an easy way to manually stitch patches together in a similar way to how polygons might be joined. I hope to be able to show how to do this early this year. The tutorial I am currently working on is how to create a fully animated character using nurbs animation. This will be the first tutorial showing how to rig and animate a model using v3.

It seems like quite a bit has happened with Unity since I last looked into it.
The Unity editor sounds interesting and may offer me a free way to test importing files from seamless.

The idea of being able to export rigged meshes from seamless to other platforms does appeal to me after all the work I have done to support skinned models. It would feel worthwhile if many others found this useful and if implementing it takes me only about a week but I know how easy it arrive at a number of dead ends after taking the wrong path and I fear getting side tracked from the commitment I have made to showing how to make an animated movie using the new version.

I have looked into COLLADA years back and found it has many more nodes than VRML/X3D but hopefully if I only focus on exporting the mesh and the rigged data, it wont be a big deal.

I am still not sure how much COLLADA is used for rigged models.
I would need to verify first that unity can actually import a rigged model from a COLLADA file.

Perhaps I would be better off putting my efforts into FBX format instead of COLLADA. There seems more software using FBX than COLLADA but I know less about FBX and I don't know how easy it is to get the necessary info on it.

Being able to get an understanding of how to export COLLADA/FBX format is one thing but the greater challenge may come from being able to verify my format is correct or that the features I have used in the format are supported by the software importing it. To avoid a lot of shooting in the dark, I would need to get hold of a file that contains only about 2 polygons and 2 bones and be able to see that it is animating correctly in Unity.
It seems like I could make such an example using blender but I would first need to learn how to rig a model in blender.

Another approach might be to write a JSON exporter which could also be used for WebGL.
JSON is nice and simple to generate and offers a lot of options but I would then have to write some script for Unity to import the model so if I took that approach I would have to learn a fair bit about Unity.
Best wishes

thyme - 2016-01-27 12:05:46 in reply to Pencil 2016-01-23 11:20:56

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