How to Import and Export OBJ Models

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 03:20
  • Views: 39266
  • Made with Release: 17
  • Works with Release: 17 and greater

Use new OBJ Import / Export Options in C4DR17

Cinema 4D Release 17 includes an all-new OBJ import / export engine, making it easy to use models from the web or exchange models with other applications. Materials stored in MTL files are now supported, and normals can be calculated based on vertices or phong angle. You can adjust how imported models are grouped, and automatically flip or swap axes during import or export. Presets make it easy to choose options that relate to specific applications, like 3ds max.



Cinema 4D Release 17 includes more complete and reliable support for the Wavefront OBJ file format. This comes in especially handy when you're searching for models online. So here in Google, I'm just going to search for a 3D Lexus LFA model, and you can see that one of the first options here is actually only available in the OBJ format. Now of course there's another model here that's available in 3DS, OBJ, and C4D, but as we look at this one, it doesn't have any textures and also it's not licensed for commercial use. This one here, though, does have textures and is available for commercial use. So we'll go ahead and download the OBJ. Once that's done downloading, we'll go ahead and extract the ZIP file that shows up in the downloads folder. And I'm just going to extract it in place here. And you can see that we have an OBJ and an MTL file. MTL is the sidecar file that includes all of the materials that go with an OBJ that previously, Cinema 4D couldn't do anything with. Now if I load this OBJ into Cinema 4D, you can see that we have lots of options available. I can change the scale, of course. I can adjust how the normals are calculated; whether they're calculated via a Phong tag or the vertices themselves. I can adjust the Phong angle, I can adjust the texture coordinates, I can split the objects based on the objects, the groups or the materials. I can choose to import the materials or just the object names. I can choose to bring in a default material that's white, or randomize the colors on all of the object parts, which will make it easy to see the different parts of the objects. I can invert the transparency, flip the axes, lots of options here. I'm just going to go ahead and hit OK. You'll see down here in the status bar that it's loading all of the objects and polygons that have to do with that car model. And here now we have our Lexus LFA, complete with all of the materials. You see all the materials down here and all the objects here in the Object Manager. So of course having all of those options for how you import an OBJ file makes it super flexible to bring files from different applications in. And of course, most of these same options are available when you export OBJ as well. So if we go in and we choose to export an OBJ, we'll go ahead and call this just "LFA-export." And here we have options to adjust the scale, adjust the normals, adjust the materials, because sometimes you might want no materials, sometimes you might just want the material names, and sometimes you want the actual . MTL file. Or you have the option to flip and swap the axes, which can be handy, because some applications use different coordinate systems than Cinema 4D. Now by default, we do have a preset here for 3ds Max that says the options in the format that 3ds Max would expect, flipping the X-axis and exporting the objects as groups. I assume that more presets will be added at a later date, so definitely check this presets drop-down, because there may be one specific to the application that you're exporting into. That's OBJ support in Cinema 4D Release 17.
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