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deepcgi
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:48 pm† †Post subject: collada scene graph Reply with quote



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 10

what are some of the limitations of exporting scene graph data in Collada format? Is it well implemented in Grome? Since it is compatible with the engine I'm using, it would be preferable to my writing a translator.

Ed
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deepcgi
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:50 am† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 10

The engine I am using supports multiple UV sets and image files with the new est Collada import/export plugin for Maya (v 3.0.1 from Feeling Software). Are you planning to include texture support with DAE?
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ALicu
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:09 am† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi, the problem with COLLADA is not in the multitexture binding and texture coordinates.

Is in the material you need to setup. For various multitexturing modes we would have to write the COLLADA file with OpenGL special materials (technique). The problem is that no current cgi application understands that materials from COLLADA. So I can write multiple textures and texture coordinates in the collada file but the 3DS max or Maya etc. will not know how to setup the material for it directly from file.

This is especially true for terrain (because it has a variable configuration of layers you can setup). What we've managed to do was to export a terrain in COLLADA with one texture UV (and no texturing) and then, in 3DS Max, setup a composite material and attach all the terrain textures to them. Also used UV scaling to make for tile. This was done manually (the texture and UV assignements for the layers) since COLLADA cannot represent 3DS Max composite material. The problem with Max composite material is that it cannot represent all the layer shading from Grome (it can represent only Masked Texture shading).

Don't know for Maya, it should be a solution there too.

Other possibility (in 3ds Max) is to have a DirectX FX file to represent the terrain material. Again this is very specific to the terrain layers (you need to code the FX file specific to your number and configuration of layers).

In general there are possibilities to represent the terrain as in Grome (or close to it) but you need to setup the materials yourself since they are so different from application to application and from what COLLADA can represent.

I can try to help you there if you give me a specific case (the terrain you want to represent and in what application).

Regards,
Adrian L.
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deepcgi
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 12:02 am† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 10

I will be going from Grome directly to Unity 3D v2. The new terrain rendering engine in Unity requires 16 bit gray scale RAW height maps and supports multi-texture, multi-UV layering. My goal will be to create as clean a pipeline as possible between Grome and Unity.

With terrain, I will be bypassing Maya altogether, although I may export low-res registration meshes to maya for reference with model building and animating.

Unity supports collada, fbx and even Maya ASCI formats. If Grome could at export a height map, a UV set and texture coordinates for each texture, and the name or label of the texture files referenced, creating the materials inside Unity would be fairly straight forward.

Is Collada a decent choice for that workflow?
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ALicu
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 2:13 pm† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hello, weíve had few talks some time ago with Unity creators about integrating Grome more closely with their engine. In the end they didnít provide us with the necessary information because they though their new version of engine will have its own terrain editing and doesnít need integration with another application. Our policy is to try to include support for many well known engines and we are currently in discussion with multiple engine developers.

So I donít know much detail about their possibilities to represent terrain and what support they have for reading COLLADA files (you can claim support but you donít have to support all the file format features).
For us it is possible to extend the COLLADA export to contain multiple textures reference and UV (and even setup a OpenGL or Cg material to represent them) but most probably no application will read that (they always read only the casual geometry stuff: one texture, one uv, vertices etc).

Always it is a good thing to have clean pipeline, with few steps and conversions. It may be that this is not possible in this case and a solution for you would be to export the heightmap as 16 bit raw or COLLADA and the texture information with the simple text export. In this simple text export there is a simple readable description of each layer: what tiling to use, what UV rotation, what texture etc. By reading this file you can then setup the texture layers inside the Unity editor. It may be a laborious job to do for each zone (depends on their material working flow in their editor).

So, COLLADA it may be a good format but only for heightmap export in my opinion. Even if we change the Grome exporter to contain multi layering, I donít think Unity engine will read the multi texture information and especially the necessary material from COLLADA.

If you have a programmer available all these things can be made very easy by creating a Grome plugin (which is not a big task anyway) to export directly to Unity format (if they support multitex, multi UV etc). We will try to help you as much as possible but it may all depend on the Unity engine licensing terms because I donít think they will allow you to exchange information like capabilities and file formats with third parties.

In the end you can obtain a clean pipeline if you customize the Grome export because its SDK allows you that, but you need to do that because you have access to Unity specs.
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deepcgi
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:59 pm† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 27 Aug 2007
Posts: 10

thanks for the response. I will probably have to do the programming myself at this stage, and therefore prefer as much functionality from you as I can get. Nevertheless, I'd still like to encourgage OTEE to work with you on further integration if they'd allow it.

I'm excited about both applications (Grome and Unity 2) right now. I see OTEE are including terrain editing, but I would be very surprised if they will offer the depth of editing and texturing that Grome already features.

Is there anything I can do to encourage them?
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ALicu
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:03 am† †Post subject: Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 1326

Hi, you can let them know that there are users that want to see this integration being done. We've already told them that, but, at that time, they seemed pretty sure that they can offer all the needed editing features to their users. I really doubt that myself, not that I want to say we offer a better editor, but in general, as an engine developer, you cannot compete with specialized companies that develop modeling applications.

Regards,
Adrian L.
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