Wings3D, FBX and MB

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Wings3D, FBX and MB

Synchronist(Posted 2003) [#1]
If you're looking for a slick program to build 3D models, I suggest Wings3D, found at It's been steadily developed for over two years, has tons of features and is, IMO, fairly intuitive to use. Recently the ability to export the FBX format for models built in Wings3D has been introduced as a separate plugin. Motion Builder uses FBX as do several other 3D oriented converters and programs.
While my own models are not too sophisticated, I've read in the Wings forums where other Wings users have had very good success in exporting complex models in the FBX format to other programs including MB I believe.
While Wings3D and the FBX plugin are still "works in progress" I heartily recommend them for serious modeling.

jhocking(Posted 2003) [#2]
Whoah, this is news! I've been using Wings3D for years for modeling and would also highly recommend it. I didn't know about FBX export however.

Just a thought however. Motion Builder doesn't import common file formats like 3ds or obj? Wings has been able to export to those file formats forever.

dangerdave(Posted 2003) [#3]
Does the FBX format contain more information than 3ds or obj file?

It seems strange that Motion Builder couldn't import from two of the biggest 3D packages out there.
But then, on the Kaydara website, they have a separate converter to do just that. (and dxf too)

jhocking(Posted 2003) [#4]
Just to clarify, neither 3ds or obj is the file format of one "of the biggest 3D packages out there." Without getting into the boring history, 3ds is the file format of a predecessor to 3D Studio Max (and dxf is the predecessor to the predecessor!) and obj is the file format of a predecessor to Maya. Virtually nothing actually imports .max and .mb files (3D Studio Max and Maya, respectively) directly.

My question springs from the fact that regardless of fbx file format containing more information than 3ds or obj, Wings3D does not. Wings3D is a polygonal modeling tool, with support for texture coordinates; no other sorts of data (eg. other sorts of geometry, lights, and cameras) are supported by Wings3D. So, unless Motion Builder cannot import 3ds or obj, exporting directly to fbx is kind of pointless.

Gabriel(Posted 2003) [#5]
Does the FBX format contain more information than 3ds or obj file?

Yes, it supports practically everything MotionBuilder supports. Essentially the workflow would be something like this :

Model Character in 3dsMax.

Add a simple bones rig, and assign vertices to bones.

Export to FBX using the freely available FBX exporter.

Import into MotionBuilder.

Click a button to create a full FK/IK rig.

Animate your character.

Export to FBX.

Import back into Max.

Now you can make any final tweaks and/or export to whatever other format you want.

The FBX format is supposed to enable you to go back and forth between Max and MB or Maya and MB as though you were working in the same program. The format is a little problematic at the moment, and needs improvement. But the theory is an excellent one.

Synchronist(Posted 2003) [#6]
@jhocking - looks like a fairly new development that had popular support and was elicted on the Wings3D board... I think bjorn himself has done the coding. As always with Wings, it will probably be a WIP for awhile.

@dangerdave99 - FBX is what you might consider a "neutral" 3d file format, perhaps more so than 3ds or obj. I'm still learning about it myself so I hope my statement doesn't sound too silly.

The problem I've seen in other 3D formats is that in general, the converters for them do not always support all the format options.. I think FBX is a move to produce a self contained "generic" 3D format. obj, while a great 3d format,uses constructs to build spline-based structures, not always supported in code. I believe 3ds has some of the same issues, especially in models that are animated.

[EDIT] I believe Sybixus is correct as well. With the new features that are being created for animation and rigging, the FBX format will (when completed) allow seamless integration/translation between 3D programs such as Maya and MB.

dangerdave(Posted 2003) [#7]
I've been drooling over Motion Builder for quite a while.
I wish I could afford it.
I have ZBrush as a 3D package and would love to do animations with Motion Builder.