4 Model Import

4.1 Using the Import Model Command

The Import Model feature is used to import models from other file formats as well as importing content from other project files. It opens these files in parallell and allows you to copy items into the project you are working with by using the arrow navigator button.

When opening older project files, a window may appear telling you that some fixtures have been updated since the project you are trying to import from. Its good practice to hit “Update” so the new project gets the same version of fixtures as in the current library.

When you drag object into your project you have the option of placing them where you put the mouse pointer or at their original position. Once you have finished, simply close the file you were importing from.

When importing models from other file formats attempts to preserve Drawing block name and Drawing name information. This information can later be useful when replacing imported objects with library fixtures, either manually or using the Import Data feature.

4.2 Supported File Formats

Capture is able to import drawing information from other softwares using the file formats described below.

4.2.1 Autodesk DXF and DWG (.dxf and .dwg)

The DXF format is a relatively simple text based format useful to transfer smaller models and drawings of simple nature. The more complex DWG format can contain more complex information such as solids and materials.

Both the DXF and DWG formats stand out in the fact that they do not enforce a model object hierarchy – a drawing could consist of loosely scattered polygons and lines only. As this is a problem for Capture, all drawing content that does not belong to a “block” will be grouped by layer, material and solids to single objects in Capture. In order for textures to import, the texture image file must located at either the same path as on the computer on which the DXF or DWG was saved, or in the same folder as the DXF or DWG file being imported.

Block defininition names are used as the Drawing block name, however the name of block definitions that only reference other blocks is also used as the Drawing name.

4.2.2 Cinema 4D (.c4d)

This is the native format of Maxon’s Cinema 4D 3D package.

In order for Capture to be able to import model data from a C4D files it must either have been saved with the Cinema 4D preferences setting Files / Save Polygons for Melange set or using the Save Project for Melange.. function.

All objects in the scene graph are imported, but the tree as such is not preserved in any way. Only flat and UVW texture projections are supported.

Object names are used as the Drawing name and the name of the object referenced by an instance object is used as the Drawing block name.

4.2.3 Cinema 4D Hantmade Stage Plugin Support

When importing Cinema 4D files, Capture recognized Hantmade Stage fixtures and imports them as single objects. If a Capture fixture identity has been set a fixture’s Capture export settings, the fixture is automatically replaced with a fixture from Capture’s library.

4.2.4 Sketchup (.skp)

This is the native format of Trimble’s Sketchup make and Sketchup Pro software packages.

While Sketchup supports double-sided materials Capture does not and will favor the front material over the back material. Capture will also preserve block and group transformations (useful for replace fixture operations) as long as no lines or surfaces in the group have been subject to mirroring.

Group and component names are used as the Drawing name and component definition names are used as the Drawing block name.

4.2.5 WaveFront (.obj)

This file format was developed by Wavefront Technologies for its Advanced Visualizer animation package in the 1980s. It is a simple and text based, yet very competent file format.

As with the 3DS format, OBJ files do not have material textures embedded. Instead they are loosely packaged alongside the OBJ file, typically in a separate folder.

Group names are used as the Drawing name.

4.2.6 3D Studio (.3ds)

This file format was the native format for the early versions of 3D Studio, a very popular 3D modeling software. It is rich in material settings and information required to produce very realistic models. Capture successfully handles most of the information in a 3DS file, however some of the more advanced material properties are not supported. 3DS textures are not embedded inside the 3DS file but loosely packaged, typically in a folder alongside the 3DS file itself. Be careful to take this into account when sending and receiving 3DS files! There is a rich amount of 3DS files available on the internet. However, many of these have been converted from other formats using automatic conversion tools of questionable quality.

4.3 Importing from VectorWorks

While Capture does not supports VectorWorks (.vwx) model files, it is possible to import a design from VectorWorks including both the model and fixture information. This workflow does require that you have access to VectorWorks.

First export a DWG file from VectorWorks which will contain the stage model as well as the model of the fixtures. Then also export an “Instrument Data” file using the “All” setting which will contain all information about the fixtures in the DWG file such as their fixture type(s) and patch.

In Capture, first use the Model Import command to import the DWG file. At this point you will see VectorWork’s 3D models of the fixtures and be able to select them, but not operate them as Capture does not yet understand that they are fixtures.

Finally use the Data Import command to import the “Instrument Data” file previously exported. Once you have identified the fixture types of the file you will see the previously inanimate fixture models exchange for regular Capture fixtures, fully functional and with relevant information such as patch and notes transferred from VectorWorks.