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Interesting news from Blender

FBX stands for FilmBox as an extension and was a software application being developed by a company called Kayadra and later renamed MotionBuilder.

MotionBuilder was repackaged as an animation solution for studios needing a front end solution for the ever growing motion capture hardware devices that was hitting the market and to make DCC requirements easier as to different 3D platforms made their native FBX API open licensed.

That’s to say that FBX is a native format and not a import/export format where there really is no “controlled” specification that would cover all the requirements of moving digitally created from one edit environment to another.

At some point Alias, the developers of Maya, bought Kayadra, including MotionBuilder and the HIK technology which in turn Alias was bought by Autodesk not to long afterwards.

The fear at the time was Autodesk would close source the licensing of FBX so the Khronos Group, and it’s partners, started developing the Collada format as to the needs of having a freely available format to fill the expected gap.

As it turned out Autodesk decided to continue to open license the API and continues to support the format as a native format for MotionBuilder and continue to release updates as part of the improvements made to their own product line. Since there is no longer a pressing need for a true DDC wrapper Khronos no longer develops Collada as to improvements to DCC requirements

Interesting read.

FBX - Wikipedia

Facts of the matter is it does work as one would expect from any native format for the purpose of saving and loading data that is native to MotionBuilder so it’s up to the software developer to properly parse the data.

The fact that some have issues with it is nothing new but most arguments against it seems to come from those who think they have a better solution from the many available. In the mean time Epic does continue to update their FBX import and I was impressed when opacity maps just started working. :wink:

They simply don’t use Blender/Modo/C4D in their internal pipeline, it’s still a Autodesk world(like it or not). It’s ridiculous of you to even consider, let alone ask them to write a FBX plugin for something they don’t use. We don’t live in a world where time/money grows on tree where unicorns fart rainbows , poop out gold. At least be grateful they gave the Foundation 10K, show some gratitude instead of saying “that’s not good enough”. Blender being open source/free or cost 10K does not make it special, it’s just another art tool in a sea of art tool. The tools do not matter as much as artist creating content. Even if blender was as special as you make it out to be, no business will ever write a FBX plugin for something they don’t use internal - I don’t know why you feel so entitled? Epic Games does not owe the Blender foundation anything,they have been very generous by giving 10K , they even did a twitch stream on blender. Expecting them to write a FBX plugin for blender is just crazy.

I love my DCC app too but I don’t think it’s something special, because honestly it’s a just a tool within a world full of tools that can create awesome art work in the right hands. There’s no need to brag about it and definitely no need to feel so entitled.
FBX is going to be around for a long time probably another 5-10 years, deal with it. Chances of them adopting a new format is slim…

What you’ve outlined in the history of FBX is the crux of the problem. Filmbox started as nothing but mocap data, and it’s expanded into this monstrosity of a format that is trying to be all things to all software. The industry adopted it in the vacuum of a better solution and they didn’t do it specifically for game development. They did it to move complex data between DCCs. Collada has similar issues in that it’s trying to support everything, not to mention the fact that it seems to be a dead format. All of Unreal’s source is available, all of Blender’s source is available. An enterprising developer could skip the intermediate format all together for Blender (any app really) and implement a tool that builds UE ready content right out of the software. No surprises about what features the format might or might not support. It wouldn’t be trivial, but it also wouldn’t be as difficult as many think either.

So, I’d just like to say as a Blender and UE4 user I do not feel in any way entitled to support for Blender by Epic Games, and that I am immensely grateful to Epic Games for their $10,000 donation to the Blender Foundation to assist in the FBX pipeline from Blender to UE4. I even had the honour of meeting a number of the Epic Games staff in September 2014 in London at EGX, just after that donation was made and expressing my gratitude to them personally.

Any ways I think that Epic Games does value Blender as a 3D content creation tool for Unreal Engine, hence why they made that donation in the first place. And of course Blender is a valuable tool in content creation for games, that much is clear. I am currently developing a game with UE4 and all my content for the game is made with Blender 3D and I have next to no problems with the current FBX export from Blender to UE4. Which is thanks to the advancements in the FBX exporter / importer made by the Blender Foundation after the donation from Epic Games.

That being said, I feel for Bastien Montague and his problems trying to stay up to date with FBX in Blender. And I can understand his frustration with anything made by Autodesk! :smiley:

But maybe this debate has got a bit out of proportion. At present the Blender -> UE4 pipeline works just fine. It could be improved, yes, but it works fine. And while I sympathise with Bastien’s woes, I think it is really essential for Blender that the Blender Foundation continues to support whatever Import / Export Pipeline is best for Unreal Engine. And I hope that will always be the case.

If significant changes or updates to the FBX SDK are made in the future, and those updates need to be integrated into Blender, perhaps it would be appropriate for Epic Games to make another donation to the Blender Foundation to support that? Perhaps that would make Bastien a bit happier to continue supporting FBX or whatever file format works best for Unreal Engine. :slight_smile:

Well the best solution would be a A to B direction from Blender to Unreal 4 but what makes Unreal 4 different from most engines is it no longer contains hard coded limitations as to high detail art assets, the 64k poly limitation for example, so as to use could be used for other applications and not limited to the need to make a video game.

For that purpose FBX is the choice as it’s requirement is to be all things as to the requirements of the content creation pipeline or DCC pathway as a destination even if the need is to acquire the render.

The list of applications with FBX support is extensive as to the needs and demands of a productive pipeline where branding of a given application does not introduce a demand for a given application along with the expected skill set. The demand use to be for a Max modeler or a Maya animator to be productive creating assets for a “game” engine as to the demands of a fit to finish result.

Granted FBX is not at as to where it is going but in service of the demands of productive content development is the only format that has a network component that makes DCC potability between applications possible and and already available with in Autodesks product catalog via the <send to> which makes it’s use transparent as well a future as to the preferred format for cloud based computing.

A good example

In this example Messiah as the host is directly connected to 3ds Max via the FBX local network connection that becomes transparent to the end user.

So no FBX is not a dead horse but rather more and more working behind the scenes and a 3d application with out FBX support detaches it’s use from a productive pipeline where its addition can be added in parallel with out creating a dependency as to the demands of proprietary driven feature sets of a given application and not to be disrespectful is what Blender is becoming as a free solution that seems to refuse to abide to the changes as to content creation (aka DCC pipeline).

Granted as to code it’s difficult to implement but as a content creator if an application does not have strong FBX support it’s not an application to be added to an ever growing DCC pipeline where the sum total of tool availability is increased and application with out pipeline support are discarded as not being usable.

As a content creator I would suggest that is best to stick with the horse we road in on and if Blender really needs special treatment they could once again individualize their proprietary tool use via a plugin solution in the process of being developed and launched in an upcoming version of Unreal 4.

Bottom line coders hate FBX and content creators love FBX but with out it the tool will be discarded as being unusable.

Lol… you’re a funny person

[edit] did you read my posts above all this?

[edit2] Why are you taking this so personal? I mean what does it change in your life if us entitled Blender users are just asking/wishing for some extra support?

If you’re worried it’ll diverge their focus, well Blender is the least of their worries and focus yet :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
so no worries.

This is a good news, a better format will help the pipeline between Blender and 3D engines.

No need to defend FBX. I wasn’t suggesting anyone should dump FBX. The point of my post was that since what these particular users want is support from Blender to UE someone with a vested interest in it might give it a go. The path is there and all it takes is a dev with the will to do it. Years ago people would sit down and reverse engineer file formats from binary to get things into games. People wrote entire applications dedicated to getting content into games without a shred of source code or help from the engine developers. Now all the code to get it done is freely available but collectively the community has gotten lazy. I don’t mean that to sound as negative as it does :slight_smile: I mainly say it to try to goad someone into taking up the challenge.

It makes perfect sense UE supports FBX given the nature of their business and I would not expect or ask them to dump it despite my personal feelings for filmbox, and my distaste for intermediate file formats in game development. I don’t even use Blender. I was just a bit perplexed that the Blender community hasn’t taken it upon themselves to create a UE content pipe right out of Blender given everything needed to get it done is in the breeze.

There are other, well documented open source model formats that could be used to pass data from Blender to UE4 if someone could write a plugin for UE4 to import the data (there are existing add-ons for Blender to export data). Such formats are OpenGEX and IQM.

You have a good point there. Although, I’m more of the mindset that the blender community has become too artistic without enough programmers. Too many new users using Blender are artists and don’t have enough programming experience or the desire to learn it to do something about it unfortunately… me included.

So many users end up depending solely on the foundation or go out there and beg for extra support :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Latter. The problem is that there are very few programmers who know API and Blender in general. Those who do either don’t want to be bothered with game dev stuff, or charge an arm and a leg for the task. I was lucky enough (and used open source engine) where whatever I need to get done was either done for free because of open source spirit, or cost me what I could afford. Now that I am using UE4, I doubt I can get any help on that front.

Likewise, there are people who can implement OpenGEX / IQM support in UE4 via plugins, but it’s not a fun task, so they either would charge an arm and a leg, or won’t do it at all.

The problem is that switching from Blender to Maya just because of FBX is not worth it. Full version is too costly, indie version is equal or worse than Blender (functionally). So it’s a catch-22 :confused:

If i can’t export from Blender models to UE4 then that is a problem, why stop the development, why they don’t use just the SDK but as external plugin in other license ?

Epic or someone should help with this or read this :confused:

I’m right there with ya…
mayaLT is lacking too many things I need and use everyday…
I literally have everything I need in Blender… and thanks to @Isathar I can even get vector fields in UE from blender

Maybe, the problem here is Blender foundation doesn’t uses FBX SDK? So they have to manually code the export plugin, and seems like failed to do so.
If they’re not capable to handle FBX, maybe better solution for them will be add a UE4 plugin to read .blend files? Oh, right, that won’t solve the problem for dozens of other engines and apps.

Oh sure I don’t feel the need to defend FBX but rather give reasons as to why Blender needs to consider proper implementation as an imperative. As it is Blenders rep for interapp portability is questionable.

I do have to ask though what did they do with the 10K grant? Buy beer and pizza? :smiley:

            @DyotoOrion, FWIW most(99%) blender people I seen online don't have a strong sense of entitled, I just want to make that clear. FBX support for Blender is important in the future, if it wants to remain relevant in game development. Honestly, I think FBX will be around a long time, and I don't see Epic Games adopting a new file format anytime soon.

DyotoOrion seem to understand my post, he seems grateful to Epic Games for giving money to Blender foundation, as a normal human being would. I’ve read your post and you did ask for Epic Games to write a FBX importer for Blender is that not correct or adopt a new format? It has nothing to do with diverging Epic Games focus. Let me put it this way:

Epic: Here’s 10K to help with FBX improvements, because we see value in Blender.
You: Thanks bro, but that’s not good enough you need to write a FBX plugin for us, for free,because we are special.

Don’t you see what’s wrong with that? For starter I do not think you’ll work for free(I don’t like working for free,because I like food), why do want them to work for free(to implement FBX in Blender),after giving money to the Foundation?! It’s down right insulting.

It does not change my life if entitled people ask for silly/over the time things, it’s the entitlement you feel you have over someone else, couple that by a lack of gratitude that bothers me - it’s like your a spoil robot so used to getting things for free, you lost feeling/emotions/logic/reasoning. Epic Games are made up of people with feelings/emotions. Be careful what you say, the internet is not a blackhole where words do not matter.

Epic Games is not going to adopt a new format just because FBX future in Blender is uncertain, indie development is bigger than Blender, there’s also Modo/Maya LT,C4D, LW3D. I’m not sure if they are remotely compel to adopt a new format at this time because there FBX pipeline isn’t broken(you know the old saying if it ain’t broke don’t fix it), even Lumberyard is implementing FBX first and not considering anything else at the moment, it’s the same story with Cryengine V, they are also implementing a new pipeline around FBX and not some of the new standards. The game industry is clearly still behind FBX, despite the emergence of “superior” format.

Do you have any work from Blender to show off? Post it, link it. Or are you one of those people who talk about how awesome their new car is but never really drive it.

If you’re software doesn’t have good FBX support there are other options out there, cheap options(Modo Indie/Maya LT) so price is no excuse :stuck_out_tongue: <

I so get your point, but some people who can’t afford even maya LT, would have a problem with that statement, regardless that LT is now monthly and very affordable in general. YMMV, thats life right :wink:

Maya lt, at the moment, far surpasses blender when it come to edit mode performance, and its something blender devs know all about. Zero info about a date for a fix, so those of us who need to edit a large (ish) mesh, go to meshmixer, that for us as been a pure god send, ty so much Autodesk !

Actually, that means Blender can get better FBX support. If they start supporting a new and standard format (instead of trying to come up with something of their own), anyone can simply code an external tool that converts from that format to FBX and use the actual FBX SDK with zero GPL-related problems, since it would be a completely external executable instead of a library.

I can actually empathize with that, even in third world country Maya LT/Modo indie is still expensive. For the rest of us, hobbies are going to be expensive be it 3D art or remote control planes. The bigger issue switching to a new app, regardless of what app you come from, switching to a new app is painfully annoying after developing years of muscle memory. I’ve learn many app(LW3D,Max,Maya,XSI,Modo - in that order) through my 10+ years doing CG, so adapt to those app is not an issue.

You can actually still buy Modo Indie if you want(they also have subscription if that’s your cup of tea), no need to be force to subscription like MayaLT. Currently, Blender FBX is not in danger of any issue but the future is uncertain however at least you have cheap options there, if one is brave enough to learn a new app. You guys have it easy those days, Max close a ton in 1990’s nowadays there’s so many options at different price point, all capable of creating awesome art.