View Full Version : Importing 3DS MAX animation to LW

Tom Wood
04-03-2003, 06:20 AM
I'd like to be able to create sets and backgrounds in Lightwave. I'll need local help with the character animations. However, most 3D people here (Austin, Texas) use 3DS MAX because of all the game companies here that use it. Are there any special problems/considerations that would make it particularly difficult for me to import 3DS MAX animations into a Lightwave scene? I will probably use Video Toaster to edit.


Tom Wood

04-03-2003, 09:05 AM
AFAIK there is no way to import MAX animation in LW or reverse. You only can import objects but in 3DS fromat (max is really not 3D object - it's more set of insructions how to make object so it 100% safe only in max).

I know htat LW-MAYA-LW egzists in "thebeaverproject" wich can exchange animation and objects betwen LW and MAYA but i never find anything similar for MAX and LW.

Tom Wood
04-03-2003, 02:16 PM
Thanks Lewis,

I was afraid of that. Could I use Video Toaster to layer the 3DS MAX character animations on top of a LW background scene?


04-03-2003, 05:43 PM
Could you give your LW backgrounds to the Max animators to use when rendering their animations? This should work and look okay.

04-04-2003, 01:57 AM
ACC teaches 3d animation and modeling using LW . You could probally recruit some people from there?

Tom Wood
04-04-2003, 04:04 AM
jtoy -

Excellent idea, thanks!


04-05-2003, 08:33 PM
.... but it's a bit of a pain.

I'm using this process right now, a friend is animating a character I built for him in Max, he's animating it in Max with Character Studio and a few flex modifiers.

The process goes like this:

- Once he's finished animating it he runs a script called 3ds-snap(found here: http://www.scriptspot.com/bobo/ ) that creates an .OBJ file for each frame of the animation in a selected folder, baking all the motion onto the mesh as it goes (aslong as you have an .obj exporter plugin for Max).

- These .obj's can be read into LW's Modeler using "Morph Spawn From OBJ" (go look on Flay). This'll create one big object file with each .obj/frame as an endomorph.

- Now you can edit the surfaces and convert it to sub-d's if you wish, all in one go.

- Then you'll have to export all the endomorphs back into individual LWO files (look for a plugin called "Endosplit2" to automate this) so that you can run the "object sequence" plugin in Layout.

Works a like a charm!

It may seem nuts to go and export those endomorphs back into individual objects again.... that's why we've developed a plugin to get Layout to automatically use those endomorphs. This also has the benefit of giving us motion blur aswell as simplyfying
the process.

Good luck

04-07-2003, 11:10 AM
Well there's still a way to use lightwave & max for a same project
Solution is to pass thru Kaydara motion builder.

Max & Lightwave have the ability to Import/Export FBX files
(after installing kaydara plugins)

this FBX format handles most of the datas from both platforms
(meshes, bones, motions, lights ....)

I've noticed some small details (weightings is ignored, some uvs are wrong, procedural textures are deleted too ...) still posing problems but the overall solution works.

Its not a miracle solution , just a good way to convert datas.
In most case i solved the problems alone with a good knowledge of the 3dapp.

I'm actually working on a cross over scene with a lightwave set and some max characters, all works fine , even when using camera mapping .

a general tip : take care of the interpolation between keys, in most case they are different from max & lightwave.

a camera tip : use horizontal Fov to match max/lw cams

in fact this method works with nearly all 3D apps (maya & xsi too)
with a bit of courage and some fine tunning. :p

you can read the import/export features of the plugs Here (http://www.kaydara.com/support/documentation/FBX_plugins_38.pdf) .
I hope this message was usefull

04-07-2003, 12:50 PM
Hi Ben,

I tried the FBX route before I came up with the brute force approach.
I found it could only really do simple stuff, things such as Character Studio were completely ignored and obviously flex modifiers and what have you are understandably too app specific to translate.

No doubt there might be a work around for the Character Studio problem but the lack of weightmap support was enough to kill the idea for me.