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exporting for c4d and 3ds

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hi all

the time has come for me to progress to something more sophisticated than RW. ive decided that c4d and 3ds max are the 2 best candidates for me... c4d seems to be a simpler application to learn, but as far as maximising employment opportunites 3ds is definately the better option...


so far ive tried opening a vw dxf in c4d and end up losing things like doors and windows, and gain strange artifacts, as well as the scene being twisted and upside down! exporting dxf from vw, what are the best options to select when saving the dxf (or is there a better format than dxf). is it a smoother migration from vw to c4d or from vw to 3ds? (not taking into account export plugins)

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There is a plug-in manufactured by Maxon that allows you to export an *.mcd file into a file that has the *.c4d tag on it. You can then open this file in Cinema 4D and edit as needed. It gets very tedious as you have to make sure and seperate everything by class (in VW) according to how you want them textured. For example, if you have 6 doors in a drawing but there are three different designs/textures for the doors, you would have to make three different classes.

If you have a chair, you would have to put the metal frame on one class, and the padding/cloth parts on another class. When exporting the mcd files, the classes will go with. VW is good for building the structure and precise measurements of your project. C4D is great for textures and lighting.


Good luck! My suggestion is to learn C4D w/tutorials and such to get a feel for the software. It'll make it easier when importing VW drawings.

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A couple of things you have to keep in mind when exporting to DXF for use in a 3D animation solution:

(1) DXF contains layers. When you open a layered DXF file in C4D, the layers are transformed into groups. This means that, when each layer corresponds to an object categorie, you immediately have the correct organisation in your C4D scene.

(2) In VectorWorks, you can either assign objects to layers or to classes to organise your scene.

(3) It is NOT necessary to split the scene up in layers or classes. You can do it afterwards in C4D as well. The only advantage of using classes or layers in VectorWorks is when you use the VW-->C4D plugin, because they allow for easy updates of your scenes.

(4) If you don't need 2D elements in your C4D file, then don't export them to DXF. Use only 3D if that is what you need. On the other hand, if you would use 2D elements (polygons and the like), they would appear as splines in C4D.

(5) Try to avoid Intelligent objects in Walls and similar geometry. Although they might not cause problems in ACAD, they tend to be messed up in Cinema4D (or in other software solutions, for that matter). Converting them to groups and solids before exporting might help. This is actually a second advantage of the VW-->C4D plugin: it translates PIO's without a flaw.

(6) The only technical advantage 3DMax has over C4D is its capability of using NURBS (iges export and import). This means that when you use NURBS in VW, you're better of with a package that supports NURBS, like 3DMax. Of course, when NURBS are the thing you need, you're better of with Maya or XSI - they have better NURBS support than 3DMax. And of course, this reasoning is only viable IF and WHEN you use organic surfacing.

(7) The easiest to learn is Cinema4D. Then come LightWave, XSI, Maya and 3DMax. For an employer, it doesn't really matter which one you know. The basic principles are always the same. Use the one you feel comfortable with.

Good luck, and if you happen to have question about C4D or Maya: go ahead, I can try to help you out.



[ 01-02-2004, 05:39 PM: Message edited by: BaRa ]

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great, thanks for the lengthy response bara... its contributions like that which make this board such a valuable resource!

as far as employment goes, here in sydney most architectural offices are using vw, archicad, autocad, microstation and 3ds (not necessarily in that order), ive never seen a job add asking for anything else so it helps to have knowledge of the software in the offices. as a student seeking work it would be a little hard to ask a prospective employer to get a license just for me, im not that good.... yet [smile]

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I see your point about job opportunities in an ACAD-ruled Australia. However, what I meant to say was that it doesn't really matter what software you use right now. All 3D-packages use the same conventions, whether you use LightWave, Max, Maya, C4D, or XYZ. Of course, the interface differs, and commands tend to be named differently, but a shader is a shader, independantly of the package you're using. I've personally worked with Strata, LightWave, Max/Viz, and I still use Maya and Cinema 4D, and the transition from one to another always took a bit of time but was, given the complexity of 3D solutions, fairly easy to accomplish.

So it's, in my opinion, not really a matter of trying to convince your employer to buy a license of a different brand, but rather a matter of convincing your employer of your talents, regardless of the software you're using.

B.T.W.1: if you plan to use C4D for architectural visuals, you might want to check out the C4D module Sketch and Toon - great stuff for non-photorealistic renders.

B.T.W.2: you should get in touch with the Australian distributors of VW (OzCAD, www.ozcad.com.au - ask for Julian, he knows the inns and outs of VW) and C4D (www.adimex.com.au). I'm sure they're willing to help you out with details about who's using VW / C4D for architectural purposes.

Cheers and good luck,


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