Alembic Exporter for DAZ Studio- How Do You Use It- Does It Work With Lightwave, etc

NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
edited December 1969 in The Commons

Alembic Exporter for DAZ Studio is confusing to me- (nothing new.) Does this work with, say, Lightwave? Is it just for animations? Totally lost. Below is the product description. It's 50% off plus you can use your PC coupon for another $6 off as it's a DO.

The Alembic format is used in production pipelines involving many of the top 3D modeling/animation applications.
With this exporter plugin for DAZ Studio you gain the ability to use DAZ Studio assets, as well as “Vertex Exact” animations, in your favorite 3D modeling/animation applications.

One possible pipeline where the Alembic exporter will be useful is when doing the following:

Animate a figure such as Victoria 6 in DAZ Studio
Export to Alembic format
Import Alembic file into preferred 3D application
Set up surfaces, lighting and cameras
Render

The animation of Victoria 6 will deform exactly the same in the target 3D application as it did in DAZ Studio due to the way Alembic handles animation.

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Comments

  • ps1borgps1borg Posts: 9,883
    edited December 1969

    Novica said:
    Alembic Exporter for DAZ Studio is confusing to me- (nothing new.) Does this work with, say, Lightwave? Is it just for animations? Totally lost. Below is the product description. It's 50% off plus you can use your PC coupon for another $6 off as it's a DO.

    The Alembic format is used in production pipelines involving many of the top 3D modeling/animation applications.
    With this exporter plugin for DAZ Studio you gain the ability to use DAZ Studio assets, as well as “Vertex Exact” animations, in your favorite 3D modeling/animation applications.

    One possible pipeline where the Alembic exporter will be useful is when doing the following:

    Animate a figure such as Victoria 6 in DAZ Studio
    Export to Alembic format
    Import Alembic file into preferred 3D application
    Set up surfaces, lighting and cameras
    Render

    The animation of Victoria 6 will deform exactly the same in the target 3D application as it did in DAZ Studio due to the way Alembic handles animation.

    LW11.6 will import abc format see this thread
    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?136740-Where-is-the-Alembic-support-in-LW11-6
    see the caveats in this thread
    http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?136915-Better-Alembic-support

    and see here

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
    edited December 1969

    Thanks for the links.
    http://vfxio.com/PDFs/Whats_so_Hot_About_Alembic_v02.pdf helped somewhat.

    Basically, I'm trying to figure out what I can do in DAZ that I would need to send over to Lightwave- or what the benefits would be. I don't use Lightwave but my sons do, so can anyone answer this- does Lightwave do animation better than DAZ in some respects/all respects? Is the renderer better or the same?

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
    edited December 1969

    I also bought iclone- haven't touched it of course, but got a great deal on it and figure I can get around to it. Does this thing work for that too? it wasn't listed in the Wikipedia article, but Lightwave was.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
    edited December 1969

    Also, keep in mind it will get you near the $50 mark, you get $5 off if you get 50.00 in your cart,plus it is DAZ so you can use your $6 off code if you are a PC member, so it would end up being $33.67

  • Male-M3diaMale-M3dia Posts: 2,013
    edited December 1969

    I noticed that Modo and Cinema 4D uses this format for importing as well. Cool! :) May have to play around rendering with those apps to see how it looks. It's great that you can export scenes to those and other apps as well now.

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,891
    edited December 1969

    As I understand it it's similar to mdd, it stores the way the vertices that define a shape move so that you get exactly the same animation in source and target, but it's a snapshot not a rigged figure so you can't (easily) edit the animation in the target application. It does seem to be pretty much an animators tool.

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,632
    edited December 1969

    not suitable for iClone, that uses bone rigging, FBX the only supported animation format, does obj, skp and other static meshes otherwise
    dunno if Blender can use it, I have gotten genesis animation in via animate2 .mdd using frozen simulated optitex cloth into Blender from Daz.

  • jean_paul_baconjean_paul_bacon Posts: 41
    edited December 1969

    Do you think this plug-in will become a standard part of the next version of DazStudio as an exporter ? And about software, Do you think actual version software are using this format for now or we will have to update or upgrade major software to get this option. Perhaps Autodesk product like Maya or other could use it ...

  • VI KnightVI Knight Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    This wiki page has a list of software and release versions that support the format currently. I am pretty sure there are others not on the list.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alembic_(Computer_Graphics)

  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,480
    edited December 1969

    JayPeeBee said:
    Do you think this plug-in will become a standard part of the next version of DazStudio as an exporter ? And about software, Do you think actual version software are using this format for now or we will have to update or upgrade major software to get this option. Perhaps Autodesk product like Maya or other could use it ...

    DAZ may do it eventually. They sold the FBX exporter for years (at a significantly higher price tag than the one you see on the product page) before adding FBX support to DS. In the end, your guess is as good as the next persons regarding what DAZ will do.

    As for other software, you would have to check each individual software version to see if they support it at all and what version.

  • JimJim Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Alembic is cool if you're an animator. It certainly beats having exporting a Collada version of a DAZ figure, having to tweak the bones and possibly re-paint the weights (if you're hardcore). That said, DAZ is not a great animation program without plugins.

  • icprncssicprncss Posts: 3,480
    edited December 1969

    A short informational piece I found when trying to understand what the exporter actually does

    http://www.quadernii.com/2012/12/fbxcollada-vs-alembic-2/

  • JimJim Posts: 459
    edited December 1969

    Alembic doesn't export rigging. Just exports vertice data from an animated sequence. No rigging, no weights, just an animated sequence.

    I was wondering about the import thing too. If it includes one, then yes, we will be able to import physics simulations.

  • nakamuram002nakamuram002 Posts: 207
    edited December 1969

    Does DS Alembic export the basic surface materials along with the vertices? OR do we have to setup surfaces in our target app?

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Does DS Alembic export the basic surface materials along with the vertices? OR do we have to setup surfaces in our target app?
    The current (released) version of the format does not support surfaces, yet. THe exporter will collect all the maps for you in order to help you set up the surfaces in your target app.

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
    edited December 1969

    So spell this out for novices. How would I use this going from DAZ to Lightwave? What would I be exporting over?

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Novica said:
    So spell this out for novices. How would I use this going from DAZ to Lightwave? What would I be exporting over?
    You create your scene in DS, with or without animation.
    You export it using Alembic
    You import the scene into Lightwave.
    You set up your surfaces for best results in Lightwave (Same as you would do with OBJ, MDD, FBX, etc.)
    You add anything in Lighwave you want/need to add to the scene. (Sasquatch Hair, Lightwave dynamics, Lights, etc.)
    Render.

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Note that the advantage is that unlike OBJ/MDD all of your maps are there, not just the ones OBJ understands. Your animation is exported without loss of fidelity due to rigging differences, like FBX and Collada have.

    If you also happen to have Messiah as part of your Lightwave pipeline, note that Richard's comment about it being difficult to edit the animation no longer apply as that is designed to deal with this type of animation. :)

  • JaguarEllaJaguarElla Posts: 10,632
    edited December 1969

    I actually have project Messiah which I never use
    (did do an .mdd import into it once of Genesis too)
    I will not be buying this exporter though :lol:
    sounds good for people who use progams like Lightwave etc though

  • NovicaNovica Posts: 9,589
    edited December 1969

    thanks Spooky.
    How does Lightwave's renderer compare to DAZ?

  • nakamuram002nakamuram002 Posts: 207
    edited December 1969

    Spooky,

    Does this mean that if I have a character dressed in clothing with smoothing enabled to eliminate poke-thru, the smoothed clothing will be exported by Alembic and the results will be a dressed character with no poke-thu?

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,891
    edited December 1969

    Well, both Lightwave and 3Delight are used to render for film and television. However LW does support features that DS doesn't - as Spooky said above, true dynamic hair (DS has strand-based hair, but it isn't dynamic), dynamic cloth - and I suspect it may be faster in many situations (modo certainly is, and the Lightwave render engine is by the same person originally -I have only LW 9.6 so any comparison would be meaningless, especially as the materials and lights are different so you can't just transfer and be done)..

  • Richard HaseltineRichard Haseltine Posts: 19,891
    edited December 1969

    Spooky,

    Does this mean that if I have a character dressed in clothing with smoothing enabled to eliminate poke-thru, the smoothed clothing will be exported by Alembic and the results will be a dressed character with no poke-thu?

    Yes.

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Novica said:
    thanks Spooky.
    How does Lightwave's renderer compare to DAZ?
    Note no render engine will give you magic results, you still have to set up lighting and shaders for best results for that render engine.

    While both Lightwave's render engine and 3Delight are both Professional Render engines, all other things being equal Lightwave is (most of the time) significantly faster. Also note it is also capable of network rendering out of the box.

    There is a reason that Lightwave, despite its age, is still in the tool box for virtually every major CG house in the World. Quality of render combined with speed.

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    I actually have project Messiah which I never use
    (did do an .mdd import into it once of Genesis too)
    I will not be buying this exporter though :lol:
    sounds good for people who use progams like Lightwave etc though
    Note I did not say Messiah Studio has an Alembic Importer, but it is designed (originally) as a plug-in for Lightwave and still has those capabilities so if it is part of your Lightwave Pipeline, then it can be used to edit your animation. (It also works with several other Professional CG applications the same way.) .

  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Spooky,

    Does this mean that if I have a character dressed in clothing with smoothing enabled to eliminate poke-thru, the smoothed clothing will be exported by Alembic and the results will be a dressed character with no poke-thu?

    Yes.

    Very much so yes. Unlike an FBX or Collada export you are not translating weightmaps or rigging and introducing the issues that translation can, and does, cause.

  • Dream CutterDream Cutter Posts: 1,084
    edited January 2014

    Is another way to describe the Alembic in that is mesh vertices animation or "morphs" created by combining the rig&morph; param for each frame in the animation selected?
    If so then I wonder if it will soon be possible to extract a given obj+morph parameters from an Alembic file when on a given KeyFrame?

    Post edited by Dream Cutter on
  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Is another way to describe the Alembic in that is mesh vertices animation or "morphs" created by combining the rig&morph; param for each frame in the animation selected? Yes

    If so then I wonder if it will soon be possible to extract a given obj+morph parameters from an Alembic file when on a given KeyFrame?

    No idea.

  • linvanchenelinvanchene Posts: 617
    edited July 2014

    edited and removed by user

    Post edited by linvanchene on
  • DAZ_SpookyDAZ_Spooky Posts: 1,950
    edited December 1969

    Some questions:

    1) Is there "one" alembic format that will work with all major software like Maya, Cinema4D etc?

    Or is the situation the same as with Collada were some companies agreed on common standards and then some other companies were not happy with the supported features and then created their own version of collada that ended up not being supported by the other companies?

    - - -

    Personally I am most interested in the Alembic file format because of Otoy Octane Render.

    As far as the sparingly available information supports Otoy is working to implement Alembic features in the upcoming OctaneRender 1.5 update.
    The Alembic file format is also very central to the planned Octane Cloud Render Edition that lets you rent as many GPU as you want to render your anmiation projects quickly.

    In theory it should be possible with the alembic format to exchange Alembic information with many different software packages.

    For example:
    Start with a scene in DAZ studio, export it to Maya or Cinema 4D do some additional transformations and then send it off to your render engine of choice.

    In practice there seem to be quite a lot of tasks ahead to make this work.

    - - -


    2) Can someone share if DAZ did work together with Otoy to make sure at least between those two companies the same Alembic format and standards are used?

    - - -

    3) Currently there is no "purchase" option available on the product page:

    http://www.daz3d.com/new-releases/alembic-exporter-for-daz-studio

    Was anyone able to purchase the Alembic Exporter allready?

    There is only one Alembic. (Unlike Collada where there is no standard there have been as many as three official ways to do Collada at any one time and none of them talked together, and anyone could use any of those standards, or implement it in an wholly different way and it would still be Collada.)

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