View Full Version : Exporting to FBX problem...

08-17-2010, 10:05 PM
So I rigged up this super simple character. I try to export it to FBX, but when I view the FBX, the character is broken.

Here's the rig in LW:


Here's what the FBX ends up looking like:


I recorded pivot rotation on all bones, rested them and activated them. They are all keyframed at 0. There are no nulls, no IK, nothing else driving the mesh aside from the bones.

I triple checked each bone to make sure it was setup correctly and cannot find any issues with the rig itself. It works fine in Lightwave, but the moment it's exported, it just flips and contorts the character. I'm at wit's end because I've tried exporting it several different ways, tried all sorts of tests and can't get any different result. It's as if Lightwave just thinks this is how the final output should look.

Any suggestions? :(

p.s. The second screenshot is in the Unity game engine. I thought it might be an issue with the game engine at first, but I loaded the fbx with Quicktime FBX viewer and it gives the exact same result, so it's definitely a Lightwave issue.

08-18-2010, 03:24 AM
Hey Konidias,
I'm freestyling this answer a little bit, so forgive me if its wrong! 8)
I've done a fari bit of LW -> Motionbuilder work in my time and I've always found it a more pleasurable experience if you *dont* set pivot rotations, and leave the bones exactly as they are.

Dont forget that RPR is in effect adding another node in the heirarchy above each bone, so each bone in question starts from a nice predictable angle. Motionbuilder does such a good job IMHO of `just dealing with it` and I'd advise just trying a quick rig up with no RPR and pass that to MB and see if you get better results.

I haven't dried the 9.6x FBX exporters and did go through a few older versions before I got decent predictable success, so like I say, this may all be redundant advice.

The other issue I had between LW->MB was the default direction. If I made my character and rig towards +Z in lightwave, it came out the wrong way in MB and made the characterisation screw up. To fix this, I alwasy had a null at the top of my heirarchy named FBX_ROOT, and this was then rotated +180H prior to exporting. When that was bought into MB, it then came out fine.

Again that too may be legacy info but might help.
Good luck, and rest assured that once you're over these hurdles, LW->MB->LW really can be a painless experience!

Edit: Just seen megalodon's reply... he's right on all counts. I used the older FBX exports too, and export and Merge. so kudos +1 to that

08-18-2010, 11:44 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm hoping using the older FBX exporter will work, as I recall that one seemed to work out a lot better for me than this new version.

As for not recording pivot rotation, I'm not sure that's an option... I'm not exporting it to work with it in Motionbuilder, so I need to have the bone rotations correct because I'm animating in LW. I recall doing exactly as rdrdrd23 described back when I was working with a LW/Motionbuilder pipeline and it does work well. But that's only if you're using Motionbuilder to do the animations.

Adding the null and rotating it would work if the only problem was that the character was upside down or facing the wrong way, but this export is just breaking the character in half, so no amount of null rotations will help fix this issue, and even if it did, I wouldn't feel comfortable with it, seeing as how I'd have to break my animation the same way that the export is breaking it, so it would essentially reverse the breaking back to "normal".

But I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the older FBX exporter will work. I'll give it a shot.

08-18-2010, 02:02 PM
Hi Konidias,

If you want to upload the scene file, I can see if it exports on my system. I am using the FBX export that comes with the Lightwave 9.6 64bit
It is working on my system. I would also try a very very simple FBX export of a few bones to see if the exporter works and test it in QT(FBX plugin).


08-18-2010, 08:00 PM
Problem solved!

I downloaded fbxlw80-53.zip from the download page:


Ran it through 9.6 32 bit, and it worked like a charm. Just to make sure it wasn't 32 bit that was fixing it, I ran it through 9.6 32 bit using the built in exporter (File>Export>Export FBX) and it was broken again...

So in conclusion, the new exporter built in to 9.6 is broken. Which is kind of disappointing that they have taken a step backwards. :(

08-18-2010, 08:07 PM
Fogbuz it!

08-18-2010, 09:07 PM
Hi Konidias,

Is it possible to upload your scene file? I would like to try exporting it from LW 64 bit. I am not having a problem exporting FBX from the standard FBX export function LW 64 bit. I wonder if it only occurs in 32 bit LW.

I am assuming that I can open a 32 bit scene file in 64 bit LW?

Just curious :)


10-27-2010, 06:47 PM
Thanks for the info Konidias. Old fbx plugin export the endomorphs to MB without problem and 9.6 version doesn't. I'm bringing this thread back again cause a friend of mine was having a problem today with the endomorphs and your info helped us.

10-29-2010, 10:50 AM
Fogbuz it!

Please talk to the NT helpdesk and/or fogbugz it.

I also discovered some issues with the LW FBX exporter ( http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113469 ) but if we all going to use 3rd party products without informing NT they will never know there is something wrong so we have to rely on 3rd part plugins forever.


10-29-2010, 11:40 AM
Im not sure what your problems with the default LW motion baker are, other than being a bit cumbersome to setup on each item that needs baking... it works for baking IK perfectly and has done for years.

And of course you cant export IK controlled items with fbx... the IK solver and setup is internal to the relevent program, so ofc everything needs to be baked down to FK keyframes before export.

10-29-2010, 09:44 PM
I solved some issues when baking IK for FBX. . .stuff I didn't know about =>


11-10-2010, 11:23 PM
The thread is a little old, but someone later on searching might stumble across it as I did.

It appears that the FBX exporter in Lightwave has problems. I'm a CORE member, so I have a pre-build of Lightwave 10, and as illustrated here:


it doesn't even export UV coordinates for a single, lone, solitary triangle. If you've Lightwave 10, try it yourself. If I'm in error, please show me where, and I would be eternally grateful. Everything looks fine inside of Modeler/Layout, so obviously, the UV coordinates are there being stored in memory. All it seems need doing is write out those darn coordinates when exporting to FBX, but I guess the developer working on the code forget to do that part. I did file a FogBugz. I really like the whole Lightwave interface, and don't like the idea of switching to something else due to the time spent in learning Lightwave, but I was really counting on that FBX exporter to work, but now that it doesn't, I'll probably have to switch to a much more expensive competitor, despite already having spend my $$$ on Lightwave.

11-11-2010, 02:27 AM
I think the FBX plug-in on Newtek's ftp is 5.3. If you go to Autodesk's website, they have version 6.0.2 for Lightwave available for download. (If you already have 6.0.2, then nevermind.) :)


The Wizzard
05-23-2014, 11:22 AM
I finally did a tutorial on: "Lightwave to MotionBuilder and Back again "

I hope it helps some of you :)

The Wizzard
05-25-2014, 04:44 PM
I've uploaded the next tutorial...
"Lightwave to MotionBuilder to ENDORPHIN and Back again"


Enjoy :)