Working with 3D Models and FBX

Posted by Ultimate_Smoker*, 22 October 2010 1:00 am

Hi All,

Hope everyone has had a fabulous week.  It's been an very eventful time these past days with Apple announcing a new OS once again and more stuff.  So we shall see how things progress with Smoke but as always its really early days.

Let's get onto this weeks fun topic!

Working with 3D Models and FBX

One of the many strengths of Smoke is to be able to work with a 3D model natively within the compositor.  

That's right!!!  No plugs-ins and it's all part of the software!

But the big questions are about preparation, importing and usage.

There are many applications of the 3D models in a compositor from compositing with live action, pre-visualisation and motion graphics.  I also think of the speed of changes that can be made especially with clients sitting in the room with tight deadlines looming.  I think you get the picture

I am hoping that this will be a small guide to get you encouraged to try it out.  It's loads of fun and so creative!

This presentation is best viewed at full HD in fullscreen mode.

The features shown are current with version 2011 of Flame ans Smoke (Linux and Mac)

Remember the few pointers I mentioned with the preparation.

  • One texture per object.  Otherwise bake the textures into one texture for your object
  • No sub-vertice/object animation.  Only object based.  The rest will be ignored.
  • Embed your textures in the settings menu
  • Use the FBX2010 version not FBX2011.  ( and before you ask me about latest versions support, Smoke 2011 version came out before the FBX 2011 support so that is why )
  • Units of measurement.  You can tweak this on import but be aware of it.

I hope this has been very useful to you and I look forward to hearing your feedback.


Take care where ever you are.


Signing off....






Posted 25 October 2010 9:48 am

Hi Francis,

The blog is predominantly Smoke however the FBX details that I covered are applicable to both Flame and Smoke considering all the options I have shown in the blog.

As for what goes in the products and their futures is decided above my head and I have no involvement in those decisions... I have to quote the official response and unfortunately we cannot comment on future releases. Thanks for your understanding.

The openEXR textures/procudural maps work independently of FBX although I can see how they can be used in the context of FBX models. I will certainly pass on your comments to training regarding EXR passes and their workflows.

Re-skinning FBX models once in the software should not be so much of a challenge because the UV points on the model are remembered in Action. So if you have a texture which matches the original in terms of layout and size, it should fit onto the model quite well. There are a few variants I can think of to do this but it would take too long to write it up here. Your comments have been noted.

Many thanks for your support and feedback. Regards Grant


Posted 6 November 2010 3:25 pm

Nice One! Any chance you can make the fbx-files available for download so we can play around with them?


Posted 8 November 2010 11:40 am


If you go to the Flame Essentials train on the area... ... You will find the FBX as a downloadable zip file.


Posted 18 March 2011 6:16 pm

Hi Marcus, The render engine in Smoke is a GPU based pixel shading rendering engine. It is quite good and has support for certain shaders but it is uncomparable to render engines such as Vray and Mental Ray which are designed specifically for the work you do... In terms of workflow, smoke is used as the finishing tool. You could import the render passes into smoke and refine the images futher by tweaking them or some times you can add a model into the composite to finish the result further . But judging from your work you described, you might be better off sticking with Vray. Regards Grant


Posted 29 June 2011 10:32 am

Hi Jeepers... As in the other posts you have placed all over the web... here is my response



Posted 13 February 2012 2:09 am

Hi ollieslats

Here is the link to download the FBX. I check it and it seemed to work fine for me.

Hope this helps!


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