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Importing Model Files into Alice - Update
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DrJim
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Default Importing Model Files into Alice - Update - 09-29-2006, 01:41 PM

Have spent some time this week trying to import objects from varying sources into Alice. As a result of this effort, I have reduced my success rate at this process to well under 50% for getting anything to show up in Alice and still haven't imported anything really usable except from Smooth Teddy (in looking thought the references, I see that was one of the sources of objects for Alice 1.0).

To illustrate the problems even with "success" - I did get a free Stormtrooper model (from http://www.3d02-ae.com/html_3d_Model...in_3M00487.asp) all the way into Alice and actually tried a couple of the textures that came with the model. Really very impressive except that the model hierarchy didn't come through (see the notes in the Alice importing tutorial for how to fix this), and now all I have to do make this model usable is to correctly restore the hierarchy to an object with over 90 sub-objects .

Except for two notes - I won't go into the programs, file types, etc. I tried - the only consistent thing was that the more familiar I was with something, the higher the success rate. The first note is that I was impressed with Biturn - it tried it's best on everything and it's error messages were usually helpful. Second, I had zero success with .wrl (VRML) model files - a surprise since I thought it was a general standard. Anyone have any ideas? I know Blender is supposed to be able to do this but I couldn't get it to work (files were from http://shape.cs.princeton.edu/search.html ).

Jim
   
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m0u53m4t
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Default 10-08-2006, 08:13 AM

If I want to make my own models, what program do I use, and is there a tutorial for getting the model into alice? I use wings3d for most 3d stuff.
   
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Links to References and a Tutorial
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DrJim
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Arrow Links to References and a Tutorial - 10-08-2006, 11:14 PM

Here are two forum threads and a tutorial site to use as starting points.

Forum: http://www.alice.org/community/showt...hlight=objects
http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=314
Tutorial: http://www.alice.org/ase_import/ase_import.html

Both also have useful links for further investigation. Do remember, however, that Alice really wasn't designed for importing and using outside models and be prepared for a bit (or maybe a lot ) of frustration if you do try.

I was not previously familiar with Wings3D. My impressions, after 15 minutes or so looking over their web site, is that it is more of a graphics program than a modeling program. Also, some of the art is very nice . It does export to .3ds and .obj formats so a model should import into Alice, although you'll have go through Biturn (see second thread). (I'd personally recommend the .3ds option, but that's because it's the one I'm most familiar with.) I couldn't tell with a quick look what sort of component (sub-object) hierarchy Wings3D supports so this may be a problem if you want to do something other than a purely static model.

If you do have success with it, please share the results with the forum.

Jim

Note: Since posting this originally, I've found some problems with the .3ds format and importing to Wings 3D. This is the only problem I've had with .3ds but apparently it is an old enough format that it is, by modern standards, limited see
http://p212.ezboard.com/fnendowingsm...cID=2711.topic

Last edited by DrJim; 10-22-2006 at 08:02 PM.
   
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m0u53m4t
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Default 10-09-2006, 03:14 AM

Great! Thanks. I used wings3d and could make all objects, and they kept their heirarchy I set in wings3d so I can still mod them piece by piece in alice. Also, wings3d is free!

Last edited by m0u53m4t; 10-09-2006 at 11:16 AM.
   
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Wow
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DrJim
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Exclamation Wow - 10-09-2006, 12:31 PM

Sounds like great results and quickly too. I'm going to download Wings3D this afternoon and give it a try. (Also a nice link re viruses - though sad that we need such things. )

If you have time, maybe you could see if Wings3D can solve this problem that was posted a couple of weeks ago:

http://www.alice.org/community/showthread.php?t=382

I've failed the couple of times I tried and I wasn't trying for anything very hard - just a different texture on the inside and the outside of a tube. (A coordinate mapping would also be nice, but I didn't even attempt that.)

Jim
   
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m0u53m4t
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Default 10-09-2006, 06:15 PM

I've been having a few problems and it Alice will only accept about half of my files, but I guess I'll just have to live with that.
Here's my example of the only way I can do a tube like that in wings3d. http://www.alice.org/community/showt...=1255#post1255
   
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DrJim
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Default 10-09-2006, 07:34 PM

Alice does seem very picky about what it accepts - but I've never gotten even close to 50% except with very simple stuff or Smooth Teddy models. Assuming I can get to the same level of success with Wave3d as you have, maybe I can figure out some of my problems - so far I haven't really been able to separate my goofs on the originals from conversion problems in any useful and systematic manner.

What I know it doesn't like (and I think this is all part of the parsing of the .ase file) includes most (but not all) hooks to animation skeletons and complex background "scenery". It also has a problem figuring out correct surface normals but I think that may be an input problem. The reference the tutorial has gives a link to some "how to fix" stuff on these, but I really haven't gotten far enough along to really see how these apply.

The tube was what I was looking for - thanks. Will play with it tonight a bit.

Jim

Note: Got the tube into Alice and at least with two separate textures - still have to figure out how to get rid of the endcaps.

A couple of other things I didn't think to mention until I started playing with the tube. (1) You can ignore many of the Alice error messages - Alice will usually go to a good default option if it can. (2) If the object appears on the object tree and you can see the axis but nothing else, make sure the opacity is at 100% and "is showing" is true - the object doesn't always come in that way (the tube had an opacity of 0%, for example).

Last edited by DrJim; 10-09-2006 at 08:03 PM. Reason: Added Note
   
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gabe
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Default 10-09-2006, 11:24 PM

We applaud all the work you're doing trying to get models imported into Alice. While I wouldn't expect a better importer in Alice 2, we hope to make it a lot easier to get your models into Alice with version 3. If you have any specific requests or suggestions with regard to making a better model importer, please post them. I work 10 feet away from our head programmer, so I can easily run suggestions by him. (Much to his chagrin, I'm sure.)
   
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m0u53m4t
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Default 10-10-2006, 02:56 AM

Well Im presuming biturn or other similar software is opensource, so it would be good if alice could accept other file types and then convert them to save us the hasstle. Also, could there be a group function, where you can have, like the 'Do in order' allows you to open or close it, just have brackets, so you can group stuff in the methods menu? So if I have made 20 custom methods, I can open the section its in through that which would make it much easier to find?

Ill post any more ideas if I get them.


DrJim: You were right. My objects were just invisible. I've now had a 100% result rate with Wings3d and biturn! ;D

Last edited by m0u53m4t; 10-10-2006 at 11:12 AM.
   
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Congratulations
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DrJim
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Talking Congratulations - 10-10-2006, 01:28 PM

Great - wish I could say the same with importing the tube, but I think I know what is wrong. I also found a way to do the same thing with the basic Alice shapes - will post it when I have more time.

The invisible thing usually isn't even really a bug - it's just that some - but only about half - of the programs leave that parameter blank when you don't use transparency in generating the model - so if you haven't explicitly overridden the default (which I assume you can do but I haven't tried), Alice will guess wrong about half the time. The same is true with the orientation of surface normals (which I think is my problem with the tube).

Jim
   
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