Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cheetah 3D. Mine.

So, day two of my year end holidays begins with.... a very slow day. A day of debauchery of gaming, food coma-ing and lazing about. It lasted a few hours, and I went back into looking at Unity3D again. Version 4 has been released recently, got it and..... being the utter newb I am, have zero idea what's the diff between that and the earlier 3.5 I had played with earlier. Maybe I should read their marketing blurbs.

In any case, after fooling around inside Unity - it seems like having been bumped around by the hdk and all helped alot with understanding how the OO works in Unity with C#. Of course, I finally hit a bump of trying to import animation in. Because I don't actually have an animation package. Houdini's out as mentioned before; apprentice doesn't have FBX export. Once more, I tread into the open source waters and downloaded blender. Again.

I tried, I really tried, but the basic navigation is really, really just non-intuitive. For me, that is a fact. Heck, even the dude IN the official video tutorial mentions it is not very useful for people coming from other packages.

Enter: Cheetah 3D. (Again :P)

The last time I tried Cheetah was version 5... ish. I tried Version 6 today, and whilst it still isn't the easiest to pick up, out of the box, I could navigate and figure out stuff more or less.

Heck, I was rendering with caustics and AO very soon after that. So you know what, I hit the buy button, because the demo version of Cheetah could not save or export, and I really wanted to get assets into unity.

Shaders are just drag and drop. Lots of options there, and there is sort of a master "Material" with all the parameters available to play with. A separate render manager appears when you hit render, which is nice.

A very nice thing about Cheetah 3D is that the native file format (.jas), is natively supported by Unity. Just by saving the model in the /assets directory, alt-tabbing over to unity will have it show up on the fly. Fbx should do the same thing as well.

Animation also appears to just work. I setup an animation "rig" in Cheetah - a box with bones and skinning basically - and the animated mesh appeared in Unity without a hitch. There are the usual assortment of tools to paint weights per joint and blend shapes, pose tools - didn't get too far though, as what I'm doing doesn't involve skinning.

Can't wait to see how the light maps import into unity :D

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