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Degorath

OpenGL 3DS Max Models

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I need some help in exporting a 3DS Max model's vector coordinates to be used in say OpenGL. Is this at all possible? Also, what are the pros and cons of 3DS Max and Maya...

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Original post by Degorath
I need some help in exporting a 3DS Max model's vector coordinates to be used in say OpenGL. Is this at all possible?

Of course it's possible. You'll have to be a bit more precise on what part you need help on, I'm afraid.

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Original post by Degorath
Also, what are the pros and cons of 3DS Max and Maya...

Personal taste and price. Maya also runs on Linux and Mac OSX.

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I specifically need to get a list of the coordinates so that I can render the model. For instance for a cube I would like to have 3DS Max export (into a text file or whatever)

<-1, -1, -1>
<-1, 1, -1>
<1, -1, -1>

etc...

So that I have a list of all surfaces that I need to render.

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Quote:
Original post by Degorath
I specifically need to get a list of the coordinates so that I can render the model.

Well, you need to either use an existing 3D export format, or write your own exporter.

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Original post by Degorath
...is Maya or 3DS Max the cheaper one?

Last time I checked, Maya Complete was the cheapest.

Quote:

Do you need a license to use Maya commercially?

Of course you do. You need a license for both Max and Maya, for all types of usages, including non-commercial (ie. you always need a license, whatever you do). If you're looking for cheaper alternatives, check out Cinema4D, which is surprisingly good. Or Blender, if you can manage to use the GUI without ripping your eyes out...

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I dont have any experience using 3dsmax, but from what i've heard the support/documentation isnt as good as maya's.

If you get Maya, it comes with a help document that outlines the entire api. That plus some google searches on writing exporters you should be able to write a plugin and just export the model data within a couple days.

It's not to bad writing maya exporters, although it would probably be a lot easier doing what was mentioned by yann and just finding code to import some standard maya/3dsmax output file.

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I found 3dsmax to be also very user friendly and well-documented. I think it's just a matter of personal taste and preference. If I were you I'd give GMAX or the free trial versions of Max and Maya a try. That way, you can form your own opinion on them and you are sure that that's the app you want. Price can play a big role in that decision too.

Exporting to your own easy-to-use file format can be very easy thanks to Maxscript or using Igame (wrapper for the MAX API). These are both very well documented. I'm not so familiar with Maya, but I think they have similar means to create an exporter. Maya also has the advantage of running on multiple operating systems.

Hope I've been able to help,
Jeroen

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There is a personal evaluation (PE) version of maya available on its website. If you really get into it, there is also a student edition that will save you a significant amount of money.

And I second Blender. It has a totally ridiculous GUI but it is free and widely liked.

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Quote:
Original post by DegorathAlso, what are the pros and cons of 3DS Max and Maya...


Maya is in GL co-ords already. With Max you'll have to change co-ord systems. Maya is generally a lot easier to get under the bonnet of it (mel, and the API are far easier to work with than Max script & it's SDK).

Quote:
...is Maya or 3DS Max the cheaper one?


Maya i believe. However XSI is cheaper than both (about £300 for the basic version). It has the simplicity of Max, with the power of Maya, and it's SDK is a dream to work with. You also get the opportunity to script in VB or C#, and it comes with the .XSI exporter and .XSI FTK. Personally, I'd go with XSI if I were you.... but that's my opinion. (The SDK is very well organised, and includes the full source for the .XSI exporter, if you want to go down the plug-in route).

Quote:
Exporting to your own easy-to-use file format can be very easy thanks to Maxscript or using Igame


For basic things yes, however if you need to start getting more esoteric data out, it becomes a right pain in the !@~#. There is nothing positive I can think of to say about Max's SDK - It is the worst SDK of any 3D package around by far. A true mess, in the last week alone i've logged about 6 fatal bugs in it.

As for Maya exporters, I've got a tutorial listed in the tools articles of this site that should get to most of what you need using the API. Once you get the basics, everything works in exactly the same way, so it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.

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hey

Well I started modelling with 3DSMax for a few years I think, and also used Lightwave3D for a little while. Although I prefered 3DSMax over Lightwave3D, I actually prefer Blender (blender.org) over both of these, and it's free :). Well it only took me a day or something to pickup Blender (thanks to folks at #blender on irc.freenode.net).

Anyhows, you can write python scripts in Blender, and there is this really cool "interactive console" script, which really helps with learning to write scripts for Blender. There are some tutorials online, which are nice to get you started. Well I can probably help you out if you really need it, as I've written my own Blender exporter now, which exports models, skeleton, and animations to my own format :).

But... I would actually recommend you first not worry about coding an exporter, and just make a converter, or loader for a basic model format like the WaveFront .OBJ format. It's just a very basic ASCII format, and you can find docs/specs for it with goog. I just quickly dug up a WaveFront OBJ file description for ya HERE, but I'm sure you can find many more.

I remember there being a WaveFront OBJ exporter for 3DSMax, although I think it might come with 3DSMax as standard now days anyhows. Well you can export to many formats from Blender, but nevermind.

You might also want to eventually checkout the DirectX *.x format, which has a nice design. Although it's a bit of trouble to read, well the ASCII version anyhows. Hmm, I never looked into the binary version of it. I'll give you some links to docs of the format if you are interested.

But yea, I only use Blender now days, and have never looked back ^_^.

edit
Just wanted to say that I can't really say one 3d package is better than the other. Hmm, I think you should try out whatever catches your eye, and find out which one(s) you prefer.

I did remember a trial version of 3DSMax (although this was years back), so I just done some digging, and found the trial version HERE. To my surprise it seems Autodesk now own Maya??? and I see a trial for it HERE.

cya

[Edited by - yosh64 on July 11, 2007 9:59:08 AM]

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