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anthonyc

C4D, Easiest way to import CAD files?

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what's the easiest way to get something done in a CAD application such as SolidWorks into Cinema 4d? an OBJ, STL file?

 

wierd. i'm dealing with the exact same thing right now. we're trying to get some CAD files from a client to imort into C4D. they're using solidworks as well. strange coincidence...

Edited by thomwill

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there is no easy answer, and it depends on a multitude of factors - CAD app, CAD platform, skill of CAD designer and his/her knowledge of exporting, the model itself, etc). Unfortunately, C4D doesn't take very many formats.

 

This issue has been discussed to death over at the CGTalk C4D forum - here are some threads:

 

solidworks>C4D specific thread:

 

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php...p;highlight=CAD

 

and another CAD thread:

 

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php...ight=solidworks

 

mike

Edited by mikeh64

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thanks....I had our engineer send me a ton of files and I actually got a wrl file format to work! it comes in small but I was able to resize it up...bad thing is there's a TON of polygons and i'm not sure how to clean it up w/out losing anything....

 

but this is super cool!

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that is where a solid knowledge of the CAD export process comes in

 

it isn't that hard actually to get CAD model into C4D if you have the software, but getting the model to come in clean, with separate parts, and not have too many or too few polygons is the hard part

 

if the model comes in, but is a mess, clean up can take longer than modeling from scratch

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bad thing is there's a TON of polygons and i'm not sure how to clean it up w/out losing anything....

 

Well, that's the part where you can save a lot of headache by sitting beside the CAD operator and instructing him/ her how to export the stuff. Most engineers have no idea about the sepcific needs of 3D animation/ visualisation and unless you instruct them to convert instances, explode groups, remove double surfaces, claean up measurements etc., you'll often end up getting this garbage with your files and spend eons on removing them inside your 3D app.

 

Mylenium

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Guest Sao_Bento
wierd. i'm dealing with the exact same thing right now. we're trying to get some CAD files from a client to imort into C4D. they're using solidworks as well. strange coincidence...

I've had a 50% success rate recently. Solidworks to C4D via VRML, if I remember right. .Obj worked but it created an insane amount of groups. We have one product that has a very organic, smooth shape, and that one was troublesome. Spiky triangles everywhere. 1 out of 2 isn't great, but it still saved me a lot of work. I'd be hesitant to write the whole process off though.

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Well, that's the part where you can save a lot of headache by sitting beside the CAD operator and instructing him/ her how to export the stuff. Most engineers have no idea about the sepcific needs of 3D animation/ visualisation and unless you instruct them to convert instances, explode groups, remove double surfaces, claean up measurements etc., you'll often end up getting this garbage with your files and spend eons on removing them inside your 3D app.

 

Mylenium

 

lol, I'm sure the engineer who created the products i'm working w/ had no idea that I was gonna be using these for marketing stuff...they aren't thinking of me and I'm not expecting them too...i'm just happy I have something to work with!

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lol, I'm sure the engineer who created the products i'm working w/ had no idea that I was gonna be using these for marketing stuff...they aren't thinking of me and I'm not expecting them too...i'm just happy I have something to work with!

 

Yes, of course. But if it is possible in a future project, you should make it part of your plan. It's really the most efficient approach.

 

Mylenium

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On cleaning up messes...

 

If you can't get a clean import and have a mess, it's usually possible to do an edge selection to spline on whatever geometry you can use, then use that for an extrude or loft or sweep nurbs.

 

More worst case advices, try using the rectangular selection marquee, in model mode, to drag a marquee in your viewport to select multiple objects (tolerant selection on, only select visible elements on or off depending on what you're doing). You'll select a lot of objects at once, better than using the object manager to find and clean things. With the objects selected, you can also do an alt-g (group objects) in the OM and have things a little better arranged. The layer browser and editor display colors are also big helps in cleaning messes. And don't forget that you can rename multiple objects to the same name at once in the 'Basic' tab in the Attributes Manager. So let's say you're zoomed in on a wall that has multiple object for its caps, bevel, depth, whatever. If you marquee the whole thing, alt-g to group what you've marqueed, you can then turn them off in the Attributes Manager Basic tag rather than having to use the red/green/gray dots. Pretty soon the mess gets clearer. If you're not sure what you've grouped, just cut and paste while you still have it selected, and the null you've created goes to the top of the object manager so you can look inside it.

 

If all objects are axis-centered to world 0,0,0, which sometimes happens, you can run Axis Center (in the Structure menu now) on all of them at once to recenter their axes. Without doing that, sometimes you can't marquee select things. On architecture models I like to set axes to the -100 on the Y, meaning the axis will be at the bottom of all points of the objects, so you can change the height of a wall more easily.

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another tip:

 

if you just end up with a single object, but hoped for separate parts (for texturing, animated, etc), try selecting just 1 polygon somewhere (for example, 1 poly of a teapot lid), and choose "select connected" from the select menu. Hopefully you'll see a nice clearly defined part become selected (the lid in this case) - then choose "split". Now you'll have a separate lid, but you still need to go delete all the "lid" polys from the original object. Now, select another poly (say from the handle), and do it all over a gain.

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Thank god for all those new scripts that make connecting and splitting easier. There's one that does a full split rather than duplicating the chosen polys (I've got that one palettized and use it all the time), and there's one that does a connect and deletes the originals and I think centers the axis also (can't remember where that one is). Most of them are at CGTalk in the scripting forum. The other really useful one for this kind of cleanup is SelectOnlyChildren, because the normal Select Children also selects the parent. Another one connects all polygon object children and skips even more steps. I've got logorrhea today, sorry. :D

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Guest Sao_Bento
I've got logorrhea today, sorry. :D

You mean that chick from Desperate Housewives?

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