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-   -   How To Import Objects into Alice (http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=3411)

x2495iiii 11-17-2009 08:48 PM

How To Import Objects into Alice
 
2 Attachment(s)
UPDATE: Video Tutorials now online.

Mine:
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omWcj726sSs[/url]

King's:
[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIw9x8rBDWU[/url]

Thanks entirely to Gillette Fusion, there is now a better way (which works PCs and terrible Macs:)) to export models to Alice using only Blender and (possibly) Sketchup.

-First, download two (free) programs: Blender and Sketchup (regular, not Pro) from these sites (respectively)
+[url]http://www.blender.org/download/get-blender/[/url]
+[url]http://sketchup.google.com/download/[/url]

-Second, find a 3d model online. A good 3d model should have a low polygon count, under 10,000. If the model doesn't list the polygon count, you can check it later in Biturn, but this basically means that the model can't be TOO fancy (Alice just can't handle it). A good model should also NOT be in .max format, (unless you have 3D Max Software) since nothing can read it but 3D Max. I recommend NOT importing objects that require complex animation, like people, animals or robots, because their subparts probably won't move properly. Good sites to try, due to wide selections and lots of free stuff:
+[url]http://www.the3dstudio.com[/url]
+[url]http://www.amazing3d.com/free/free.shtml[/url]
+[url]http://artist-3d.com/index.htm[/url]
+[url]http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/[/url]

-Third, you'll need to install some extras into Blender. First is a collada import/export script which allows Blender to read 3d models sent from Sketchup (Some copies of Blender come with this pre-installed, but not all do, so just in case, I've included this step). Second, there's an ase export script which will let Blender save the model as an ase file, which Alice can read. Take the scrpits I've posted below (unzip them first) and find the
Blender Foundation>Blender>.blender>scripts folder to put them in. On Vista, this folder is hidden in a folder called App Data>Roaming under the main user name on the c:/ drive. To see hidden folders, click "organize" in he upper left corner, then click folder and search options, click the view tab, then click the radio button next to show hidden files and folders and click OK.

-Fourth, you need to convert the model from whatever format it's in to .ase format. If the model is in .3ds or .obj format, all you need to do is use Blender to import and convert it. If it's in .dae format, you need to open Blender and use the scripts you installed into Blender earlier to import the .dae model, select it all (to make sure it all exports), and then export it as a ,ase file.

-Fifth, you need to make some finishing touches. Open up the .ase model file in Notepad and use Ctrl+F "name" to find all the names in the file. If there are any empty names (double quotes "" or spaces " "), replace it with a dummy name. If there are any periods in the names ("body.leg.foot" or "mesh1.cylinder1"), delete them (parentheses are okay to leave in, though). You may wish to delete all references to texture maps as well, such as map diffuse and map opacity, but it isn't necessary. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes after you've done it a few times. When that's done, make sure you have a texture file ready (if the model came with one, that is). It should be a picture in either .jpeg or .png format.

-Finally, import the .ase file into Alice, clicking Cancel for every error that may pop-up (sometimes, a bunch will pop-up, sometimes none will, it all depends). The model will probably be VERY large and may have a strange axis of orientation, but that can be fixed by shrinking the object and inserting a dummy object as a pivot for the model. Import the texture map (there's a button under the textures property for the model that lets you import the texture into the same file as the model) for the model and apply it. You may need to change the colors or emissive properties of the subparts to make it look right. When that's done, save the object and pat yourself on the back, it's done!

EDIT: I forgot to mention, the reason why I said to download Sketchup is because Sketchup can load Google earth models and export them as .dae files, it can soften the edges of other 3d models giving them a substantial quality boost without increasing their polygon count too much, and it can be used to fairly easily create your very own own custom 3d models.

reuben2011 11-18-2009 07:23 PM

Wow! Very descriptive! I'm sure this will be useful for people that don't know how to import objects.

gareause 11-24-2009 04:19 PM

Problems importing objects
 
Hi there,

I tried importing an .ASE object file into Alice 2.2, but Alice gave an error, and wouldn't import the object. Any suggestions?

Cheers, Steve

zarfang8 11-24-2009 04:26 PM

Can i do this with only sketchup, even if it doesn't work very well, or do i absolutely need all three?

x2495iiii 11-24-2009 04:31 PM

If you have Sketchup Pro, you only need two, Sketchup and Biturn. If you don't plan on editing any of your .dae files, you only need Blender and Biturn. But you can't do it with only Sketchup because only Biturn can convert the model to .ase format.

x2495iiii 11-24-2009 04:37 PM

[QUOTE=gareause;13575]Hi there,

I tried importing an .ASE object file into Alice 2.2, but Alice gave an error, and wouldn't import the object. Any suggestions?

Cheers, Steve[/QUOTE]

Try a few things:

-click cancel on all the errors that pop up. Some are just warnings

-if it still doesn't import, close Alice and open the .ase file in notepad or another text editor. Be sure to delete any periods or spaces in names and be sure to fill any empty names with a dummy name (any set of letters will work, really)

-if that doesn't work, do the conversion process backwards to that it's a .dae file and import it inot Sketchup. Then use the soften edge feature on the whole model to make it less polygonal. Then, re-convert it and try it again (I don't know why, but this has worked for me before with some problem models which wouldn't import)

-finally, if it still doesn't work, there's a problem with the model. Copy the error message ad post it so i can see what that problem is (but only do so if the above actions don't work)

snipes domez 12-04-2009 12:26 PM

Blender will not convert the file is there anything else to convert it?

x2495iiii 12-04-2009 12:47 PM

Well first, are you talking about .dae files or .skp files or something else?

If it's .dae, you need to put in that plugin I included (unzipped, of course, there are two files you need to copy and paste into the Blender folder)

If it's .skp, you need to use Sketchup to export it as a .dae file, then use Blender.

If it's .max, you'll need to download 3D Max or at least the trial version, as NO OTHER program can convert .max models.

Delpenator 12-18-2009 03:32 PM

How do you export a model from blender as .obj? It was originally a .dae, and it imported fine, but how do you export it?

x2495iiii 12-18-2009 06:40 PM

You click select, then select all (to get the whole model), then click export, then Wavefront object (near the bottom), then name your new object and click ok (I haven't messed around with the settings they ask you about when you export as a wavefront object, but you can try if you want).


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