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FBX download and Biped enhancements

The Area :: Blogs :: Announcement: FBX download and Biped enhancements

I just noticed this off the Autodesk site, large update for FBX and I wanted to pass it along here.

FBX enables the acquisition and exchange of 3D assets and media from a variety of sources more quickly and easily. This means you can interchange major NURBS and polygon surface types, plus Maya subdivision surfaces, keyframe and mocap animation, shapes and morph targets, materials and textures, lights, cameras, hierarchical information, and character animation data: inverse kinematics (IK), envelopes, and deformations. We expect the list of data supported to grow with each new release.
Bug fixes for 3ds Max:
- New warning messages have been added to the import/export warning managers
- NURBS model with Morph targets not exported
- Materials/Textures and Geometry replaced on merge
- Link Inheritance" ignored on export
- NURMS Subdivision iterations ignored on export
- NURBS deformation lost on re-export
- Slow Import/Update Scene Elements on Biped
- Incorrect interpolation of RGB data
- Inverted normals on imported NURBS objects
- Incorrect interpolation of custom tangent types
- Incorrect resampling of "Slow" and "Fast" tangent types
- Linear tangent type resampled as Custom tangent type on import
- Import crash while in DirectX - mode
- Crash on processing animation with no animation in scene
- Integer" custom attribute values do not import properly
- - Max camera targets lose connections on export
- New UI option: Re-evaluate Normals
- Free Handle" toggle ignored on export; causes incorrect interpolations
- Skin exports incorrectly when scaled
- FBX UI missing options after export to COLLADA
- Exporting polygons without volume causes - Max to freeze
- Improved Photometric light interoperability
- Keys created at every frame for certain imported lights
- ASCII uses OS regional file settings for FBX file creation
- If lights or shadows are OFF, light parameters are lost
- New scripting option: Name Take with scene name on export
- Animation data not read on files over network
- New UI/scripting option: Toggle log files creation on export
- Smoothing Groups are generated with Autodesk Architectural Preset
- COLLADA: Importing .dae files takes - minutes or longer
- COLLADA: Skinned objects change position on import
- COLLADA: Crash while importing on AMD Opteron - bit
- Unable to import trimmed NURBS
- New FBX branding (logo)
- Re-evaluate Smoothing Groups option not functioning correctly
- FBX User Interface changes
- MotionBuilder FBX files that contain characters not importing animation
- FBX201000 must be the default version in the exporter
- Rename "Name Take with Max Scene Name" to "Use scene name" in Exporter UI
- Add Tangents and Binormal export/import option
- Presets saved in C:My Documents- FBXPresets
- Log files saved in C:My Documents- FBXLogs
- Localization of dropdown menus in UI
3.3 Potential instability importing very large scenes
***Improved in 3ds Max 2010***
A number of enhancements have been made concerning the importing of large FBX files
to 3ds Max. However, certain Revit-exported FBX files with a very large amount of
metadata (Revit object information) may still cause instability during the FBX
import process. As this has been identified as a 3ds Max defect, it has been
addressed in 3ds Max 2010. For now, when you import files with large
amounts of metadata into 3ds Max, ensure that the System units of both the FBX file
and host program match (Revit Imperial setting = 3ds Max System Units set to Feet).
This avoids the unnecessary lengthy conversion of units and may prevent 3ds Max
from becoming unstable during the import process.
3.4 Explicit versus implicit normals
A known limitation occurs when an FBX file contains Smoothing group data and
that file is imported into 3ds Max with Import Smoothing groups option activated.
If any objects in the FBX file contain explicit normal modifications
(for instance, you modify the normal directions, but the object also has smoothing
group information), the FBX importer imports only the smoothing group
data and ignore the normal modifications. This has been the behavior of
the plug-ins for the last few releases. In this current release, a new option
has been added to workaround this limitation when you activate it.
MAXScript Commands:
FBXImporterSetParam "ForceNormal" true|false
FBXImporterGetParam "ForceNormal"
Setting this command to true forces the 3ds Max FBX importer to ignore
smoothing groups data and import explicit normals data.
Warning: Forcing the import of explicit normals makes it impossible for the
user to make smoothing group modifications after import; Explicit normals
always dominate.
This issue will be documented in the next 3ds Max FBX User Documentation release.

Biped merge-back workflow enhancements (as told to us by Trevor)

3ds Max 2010 and 3ds Max Design 2010 have been provided with enhancements to the Biped Merge-Back workflow.
What is the Biped Merge-Back workflow?
3ds Max users can use the installed FBX plug-ins to export their Biped data to the FBX file format, to then import into Autodesk MotionBuilder. Users can then animate their Bipeds with MotionBuilder tools. Once the animation is completed and plotted (re-sampled) onto the skeleton of the character, the scene can be saved once again as an FBX file. It can then be merged back onto the original Biped character in 3ds Max, using the FBX importer’s “Update scene elements” feature, to copy MotionBuilder animation data from an FBX file onto a Biped character.
Performance Enhancements
Previously, this merge-back operation could be quite time-consuming. A lot of effort has gone into the 2010 release of 3ds Max to improve the speed of this operation. We’re proud of the results. Take a look at the following few examples to get an idea about how much faster this merge-back operation is:
Case 1:
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 55 seconds vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 2 seconds
Case 2:
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 40 seconds vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 1 second
Case 3:
3ds Max 2009 FBX Import: 4 HOURS vs. 3ds Max 2010 FBX Import: 18 SECONDS
Overall, the biped merge-back workflow is now many, many times faster.
Precision enhancements
In previous releases of 3ds Max, when users would merge MotionBuilder animation onto 3ds Max Bipeds, several precision issues would take place at the knee and elbow joints. For instance, on a few select frames, elbow and knee joints would pop out of place only to pop back into place a few frames later. This resulted in animation that would evidently not be 100% identical between the two programs, and in some cases, render the workflow as impractical. The 3ds Max 2010 development team has fixed this problem. Now, plotted animation in MotionBuilder, saved as FBX and imported onto 3ds Max Bipeds, are 1:1 identical.
Trevor Adams
Autodesk FBX Technologies Group

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