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  1. #1
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Progress in the pursuit of Daz -> LW via FBX

    Hey folk.

    Seems this to ended up a bit long winded but be assured this isn't a rant. It's a distillation of my notes over some months, but I've made some significant progress in just the past couple days getting a rigged, posed, clothed, propped, figure from Daz Studio into LW 2019 AND retain FK.

    Well, for the most-part anyway. Morphs too once I figure out a couple elusive things.

    If I was starting from scratch, I'd just export everything from the default DAZ pose via FBX, toss the rig & just re-do with RHiggit in LW, which I've done in the past and works great. But what I'm really wanting do is the have majority of posing & shaping, propping etc. done in DAZ, taking advantage of their morphs & pose presets that I already have & bring all that into LW but still have the ability to tweek. I mean, is that too much to ask in this day & age?

    I know this is going to be a shocking revelation, but the problem is largely due too little, confusing, or just out 'n out NO documentation for a key number of stages. On Daz's end the FBX Export Rules for example, I certainly haven't found anything. And I've also pretty much ended up tossing most of the "conventional wisdom" with some other things I've read and will go into that a bit later. What I'm hoping for is to get more eyeballs & wetware involved as I know there's interest lurking here.

    The short of it though is: there is prep work at the DAZ scene stage before the export. I guess this is a technique I hit upon as I've never seen mentioned or found relavant or current vids & I've been looking. I'm using settings that are counter intuitive in the Export UI, and then some re-parenting tasks later in LW. Nothing particularly complicated actually, but induces redundancy I haven't figured a way around yet.

    Having been led down several proverbial primrose paths with simpler characters, so I set this up in DAZ as a posed scene with a Genesis8 character, dressed him & went with a bit more complex shirt, hair & a hand prop. Nothing especially complex, not even furniture or animation just a quick pose using a preset with an obj prop. I missed seeing the cigar poking through the sleeve in wire-frame, but so it goes; fine for a "quick" test. Do notice the tail of the shirt, how it's conformed around the tush from the default settings. No dForce, etc.

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    And like Julia Child, Abracadabra, here's what comes out on the LW oven:

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    As I hope you can see in this gif, everything is working EXCEPT the tail of the shirt. It moves fine with the arms but ignores the pants. Or perhaps it's the Hip area. Hmmm. I'm sure the Export Rules are the key here but gee, again, there's NO $%&*#ing documentation on how to actually use it knowledgeably, (think I came across some gibberish in Programerese once), so it's Trial and Error, test test test ad nauseum. And of course it's always possible that there's some other obscure prep step I'm missing in DAZ's phenomenally well thought out UI & docs.

    I do end up with morphs, but either its WAY too many (as in a 1.6 Gb FBX & hundreds of morphs) or only a few that aren't of much use. Layout's Morph Mixer UI isn't of much help with the matter either. If I could do easy searches, etc, there I might be able to sort things, but ... All the more reason to understand how to intelligently filter & select those in Daz. Haven't had much luck posing FBX related questions on the Daz Forum.

    The prep work I'm doing in the Daz scene before the FBX Export process is: Simply Unparent-in-place all of the node items. That's it.

    This gets messy though apparently if those nodes have further items in it's tree & I haven't resolved that yet. Hence the reason for selecting a bit more complicated item to ferret those issues out. The shirt has laces in the body of the shirt, or rather "had" add'l laces that had a bone structure or at least posable. In Daz, they're some special item with an icon that isn't listed in any menu I can find so haven't a clue what they're considered. It was just getting too wonky to figure that out in addition so I removed them for now & can re-apply with LW techniques later if I want.

    Anyway, the big discovery with the FBX Export I had is to NOT Merge Clothing into Figure Skeleton and NOT Convert Clothing to Static Geometry.

    I know, seems completely counter-intuitive. Why wouldn't your want it to follow it's parent? However, for what unknown reason, the FBX export process creates a bone hier for those objects no matter what even though you've told it to use the parents!!! Your going to end up with a bone hier for each item anyway & this just simplifies working with them in Layout.

    But more importantly, this forces the geometry to get written with Wt. Maps. which doesn't happen with the Merge option. Why? Clueless on this end. Seems a bit silly but that's what's happening with the geom. between those two options as I discovered when bringing those objects into Modeler.

    I'm also using 2014 Binary. Tested the other flavors & didn't seem to make any difference.

    Also, when I import into layout, I use LW Bones and not the joints. You can go that route but there's no advantage. You can only use rotation with them for some reason; Translate, which is normally joints forte, really goobers the geom something fierce. Suspect some Wt. Map issue, but not worth the time.

    Once the scene opens & assuming you've the Scene Editor open:

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    And YIKES! Just a piddling 452 bones is all. Don't Panic! (And I do know where my towel is, thank you.)
    Simply work your way down & Collapse all of the Hip items. Now, you'll have each individual basic hier and the actual geometry at the end in a list that fits one screen.

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    OK, so here come da fun part so be sure you have Parent in Place turned OFF otherwise your efforts will be in vane.

    I do have terrible short term memory, but again do make sure you have Parent in Place OFF in case you missed that. You WANT stuff to jump to where it should be.

    You can go in any order you want, but I prefer to start at the bottom, so in the Scene Editor select & drag the .Shape item (in this case the shirt) up so it gets parented to, in this case the Genesis8Male bone but it'll always be the figures bone at the top of the structure.

    Hmmm. Nothing happened. Yet.

    With the object still selected (and it should still be), click on the Bones Tab then P for properties. In the Use Bones Tab, click and go up to the v-e-r-y top one, fbx_bone_hierarchy_standin (1) and select. Wait for it ...

    Ah!

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    Now it of course it's using the main figures bones & since the geom has the same wt. maps, it's fitting, at least for the arms & most of the torso. The Morphs I did bring in will correct the abdomen poke through but not the waist issue.

    Continue with the rest of the items, selecting the same standin (1) null all the way through the geom under the (2) standin.

    Now comes the "Cross your fingers" part so definitely save your scene NOW if you haven't.

    ONE-at-a-time, and I realy mean just one of the standin heirarchys at a time; don't try multiple select here as this is really, REALLY memory intensive and even my 64 Gbs complained time-wise. So select one of the now redundant bone fbx_bone_hierarchy_standin Nulls and NOT (1) of course. I started at the bottom so (6), and just tap - to remove. Select the All options as they come up & then wait. Be patient. Task manager will say Layout is Not Responding. Ignore it. It's a MicroSoft ploy to get you to End Task. This is going to take several minutes but you can see there is drive activity. Go get a snack, pet the cat, clean his box; it's "you" time now. When it does complete, (OK, if it hasn't after 10-15 min you might have to rethink things), but obviously save the scene, probably incrementally. Think my first delete was in the 5-8 min range. It did get quicker after each section was removed, but not all had the same number of child levels so you might try those first.

    Once you've done all that, you've a very clean, easy to work with scene. For me, I just need to figure out this shirt issue as it's obviously quite fundamental. What's not getting exported,why, & where is it in the Daz miasma? I'm guessing in the end it's going to be forehead smackingly simple.

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    If you've stuck this out so far, maybe you're wondering, or you should be anyway, why can't all those secondary items simply use the bones & wt. maps of the main Figure in the first place? Excellent question. How'd the Department of Redundancy Dept. get involved? Beats me; I'd like to know all that too! For now I'm just exploring what works frankly, but hoping someone here can come up with a missing piece or two of the puzzle.

    So there ya go. My next tests I suspect will involve furred assets as all of this should apply I'd think.
    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

  2. #2
    Intermediate User Shloime's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the work, I can imagine all the trials with errors at the end...
    Maybe sometime someone will write a script where you can just load the DAZ scene and convert it to a LW scene.

    From time to time I start a similar fight, but don't have the same patience as you.
    Greetings, Shloime
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  3. #3
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shloime View Post
    Thanks for all the work, I can imagine all the trials with errors at the end...
    Maybe sometime someone will write a script where you can just load the DAZ scene and convert it to a LW scene.

    From time to time I start a similar fight, but don't have the same patience as you.
    Thanks. Being mostly retired helps in that regard.
    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma3rk View Post
    H
    I do end up with morphs, but either its WAY too many (as in a 1.6 Gb FBX & hundreds of morphs) or only a few that aren't of much use. Layout's Morph Mixer UI isn't of much help with the matter either. If I could do easy searches, etc, there I might be able to sort things, but ... All the more reason to understand how to intelligently filter & select those in Daz. Haven't had much luck posing FBX related questions on the Daz Forum.
    Hey Ma3rk

    In the DAZ FBX Export settings you can filter the morphs to export. I only use a couple of face expressions and select them for export. You can save this profile (and it's automatically applied for next exports). That makes the exported FBX files smaller and the expressions are better to handle in the Morph Mixer in LW.

    As you noticed there are a couple of issues with the import in LightWave unfortunately. I get most errors when the character uses props, so maybe you can export and import them separately. For the dress you could add additional joints for correct deformation in LW. It's not DAZ's fault, import works perfectly fine in other applications.

  5. #5
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marander View Post
    Hey Ma3rk

    In the DAZ FBX Export settings you can filter the morphs to export. I only use a couple of face expressions and select them for export. You can save this profile (and it's automatically applied for next exports). That makes the exported FBX files smaller and the expressions are better to handle in the Morph Mixer in LW.

    As you noticed there are a couple of issues with the import in LightWave unfortunately. I get most errors when the character uses props, so maybe you can export and import them separately. For the dress you could add additional joints for correct deformation in LW. It's not DAZ's fault, import works perfectly fine in other applications.
    It seems that this character is a blend of sorts & that's what I'm trying to decypher as to whats really needed. The basic Gen8 Male, then there's a character loaded on that, and then posing, then shaping. Some clues as to what to filter for would be nice too. Here's what's shown in the Currently Used; Does this give me any useful info for the Export Rules?

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    But that's secondary to figuring out the shirt issue. It's as if whatever blend there was in Daz got filtered out along the line as it's missing when freshly importing the FBX.

    Maybe you'd know: might there be a case where you set a morph rule to both Bake and Export? I'm not quite grasping what those options do differently.

    I've found some vids on Daz's Transfer Utility & Morph Loader so will see if anything in those is relevant.
    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ma3rk View Post
    It seems that this character is a blend of sorts & that's what I'm trying to decypher as to whats really needed. The basic Gen8 Male, then there's a character loaded on that, and then posing, then shaping. Some clues as to what to filter for would be nice too. Here's what's shown in the Currently Used; Does this give me any useful info for the Export Rules?

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    But that's secondary to figuring out the shirt issue. It's as if whatever blend there was in Daz got filtered out along the line as it's missing when freshly importing the FBX.

    Maybe you'd know: might there be a case where you set a morph rule to both Bake and Export? I'm not quite grasping what those options do differently.

    I've found some vids on Daz's Transfer Utility & Morph Loader so will see if anything in those is relevant.
    Hello Ma3rk

    Bake: Will be baked into the exported mesh, usually the dialed-in morphs for your custom character (head and body morphs), it cannot be changed later in LW because it's baked into the mesh. I normally don't need to modify this.

    Export: The morphs you want to use in LW Morph Mixer, usually facial expressions and visemes by adding the head.eCTRLv and other head.CTRL morphs for Export.

    Never used the DAZ Transfer utilities so far, the FBX export works well for me (except the FBX import issues in LW).

    See attached image. Not my actual export setting since I'm currently on vacation overseas and away from my main machines. Just an example how to configure it.

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    Last edited by Marander; 06-01-2019 at 12:01 PM.

  7. #7
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Actually, that helps a Heap.

    In the meantime, most of all that above; Never mind! (Choose your own favorite Gilda Radner clip).

    I mean it sort of worked, & doing all that did help me track down what was going on, but the easier method ended up being really, stupidly simple. And it DOES have to do with the Export Rules. For now, I've just got the basics working with all items, hair, clothes, props. I still have more to figure out to get just the needed morphs, but think I'm on the scent of that. I suspect it would have been rather easy for whoever wrote the Export utility for Daz would have taken that extra step & made it such the various morphs would be in a tree structure that things would simply be check boxed, instead of being such a guessing game with what they have. Maybe I should sic Oliver H. on it.

    Secondary items such as buttons do need a simple reparent & zeroing, but even that was pretty straight forward.

    And I didn't have to do any unparenting or Transformation Bakes, or any particularly special considerations in Daz itself at all, just the export process. Quick export of the FBX and civil sized resulting file. Extraction was quick & no any need to purge redundant bone hiers in Layout.

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    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

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    Thanks for the info, looks easy now that you did the hard work.
    Just wanted to point out 2 other options for Lightwave exports from the DAZ/Poser community.
    -Daz also sells Carrara 8.5 Pro that exports to FBX and other formats, including lwo. Newer G3 and G8 content requires workarounds in Carrara though, unofficial and limited forum support for the latest characters.
    -Poser 11 Pro includes PoserFusion with direct Lightwave support via plugins. No direct support for newer G3 and G8 characters, but there are workarounds. P11Pro is more expensive and rarely is on sale. Someone in the forum here confirmed that LW2019 is compatible with P11Pro PoserFusion plugins.

    Btw, can you share any more renders?

  9. #9
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    And a 3rd option from Liberty3D, videos and plugin, also limited to G2 or older: https://www.liberty3d.com/2016/07/th...pture-utility/

    (Skipping the 4th option of Iclone as it is >300$)

  10. #10
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    And some free tips and tricks in these 2 threads:
    https://forums.newtek.com/showthread...ghlight=import

    (Second link in last post)

  11. #11
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Still encountering some quirks but much of that is on the Daz end if using clothing & hair that was converted from earlier Genesis to G8. Even so, I'm able to get it usable for what I'm wanting. You're most likely never going to do walking, etc. with the rigging as is, but for basic movement & pose adjustments it works fine.

    Might be hard to see in this wireframe but every added figure has some movement. Well, harumph! It won't let me upload the 300 frm gif; too large I'm assuming.

    Here are a couple frames then the Venice scene:

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    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

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    Thanks for the renders, looks great. Found another export method in another LW forum:

    "What I found was that with animate2 I could export it to MDD and export the obt file into LW and then under surface editor in LW turn off vertex and you will get most of your texture properly display. GraphMate and aniMate2 are the 2 plugin I recommend for exporting to Lightwave with animation intact including any simulation of any physics generated."




    Source: https://www.renderosity.com/mod/foru...ead_id=2930587

  13. #13
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Free4Ever View Post
    Thanks for the renders, looks great. Found another export method in another LW forum:

    "What I found was that with animate2 I could export it to MDD and export the obt file into LW and then under surface editor in LW turn off vertex and you will get most of your texture properly display. GraphMate and aniMate2 are the 2 plugin I recommend for exporting to Lightwave with animation intact including any simulation of any physics generated."




    Source: https://www.renderosity.com/mod/foru...ead_id=2930587
    Good to know, but limited..most of the textures intact, isnīt good enough...and once itīs in lightwave you can not edit bones, or have it interact with bullet dynamics, but if the animation in daz is all you need..thatīs good to know.
    Isnīt animate 2 and itīs support with mdd export commercial?

  14. #14
    Curmudgeon in Training Ma3rk's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll take a look at that. Might be some tips in there for characters other then the Gen8.

    Found earlier this week that if a figure gets moved or rotated while using a pose, the Genesis8Male bone for example needs to get zeroed & then everything comes together. I was trying in DAZ with the character to simply get a wrist watch prop to have the whole watch rotated so the crown is on the underside of the wrist. Probably a way, but in LW I just broke it out separately & reparented it accordingly and working as it should now.
    "Never be a cat in a cartoon. Never." Chief Wiggum

  15. #15
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    Yes, animate 2 is a plugin that has to be bought, much like everything else in the Freemium Daz Studio. But they have frequent sales to soften the blow.

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