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Mark Aceto

Project Sharing > Send to Cinema 4D…

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I’m working remotely with a client that designs mostly in Cinema but also dabbles in VW. My role is drawing the venue model and technical production. They’re mostly designing the scenic. My hope is that I can set up Project Sharing, so they’ll always have a base model from me. The icing on the cake is if they can Send (their working file) to Cinema 4D… 

 

Before I propose that workflow to them, I want to consult The Oracle to see if anyone has experience testing it. Please advise on best practices and anything to watch out for… 

 

Thank you!

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Following with interest. 

 

I'd set up a test file with one version of everything you have going into file (PIOs, truss, hybrids, lighting instruments, walls, etc.) and kick that back and forth a few times before starting the actual build out. 

 

 

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If you are handling the venue and technical and they are pulling into C4d as they design, I would do as Evan says and make sure you are confident that what you are sending is what they are getting.  Shouldn't be any issues I can think of, but I have had problems with railings made from the railing tool corrupting, floor objects being ruined...so you never know.  

On their side I would recommend that they import into a shuttle file first, and then pull into their file.  If everything is put into a master null (c4d speak for group) they can delete the old and replace with the new.  You can get as crazy as you want with that type of organization and get pretty seamless with swapping out parts

On your side, pulling in their model may be a bit of a pain as VW is not going to retain a lot of that organization for you.  Sometimes I would ask collaborators to send things as piece by piece .obj files just to save the pain of reorganization on my side.  

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Thinking about this more - some things that may or may not help you (forgive me - I don't know if you use Cinema yourself, so ignore if you know all this):

 

1. I always name my objects in VW - or at least name the group they are in.  Those names will carry over to Cinema so your client can see the names in the Cinema object manager.  If not named, they will get 1000 objects named extrude...... 1786 objects named Solid Addition, etc.

2. I try to solid model as much as possible instead of POIs and convert things to generic solids once I'm ready to export final model.  Keeps things cleaner - though if you do this, name it AFTER you convert.

3. In Cinema, you have to be careful of complex or PIO objects splitting into dozens of polygons and should be fused back together to keep the file running efficiently (Connect objects + Delete command in Cinema.  For example - a stick of truss will come into Cinema as a folder with each chord and each piece of lacing as a separate object.  Multiple this by all the truss and your got thousands of objects slowing down the scene when not needed.  I go through and connect them for efficiency sake.

4. Layers translate to master folders in Cinema (called Nulls) - so if you have all the truss on it's own layer, your client will automatically get a folder in cinema with all the truss in it (and anything else on that layer) - so use layers with that in mind.  I certainly use more layers then I normally would in VW, knowing that this will help me stay organized in Cinema later.

5. I always use "Export to Cinema (3d Only)" and never use Send to Cinema.  I found it buggy, but haven't tested in recent versions.  I prefer to export and open the generated file in a clean shuttle file and then copy and paste into my master document.

6. Find out what render engine they are using.  If native cinema, then you can texture in VW and they will carry over.  But if they are using a 3rd party render engine (Redshift, Octane, Arnold, Corona, etc.) they would have to rebuild the textures anyway.  So you could still make texture for unique materials (concrete, glass, Iron beams) but those could just be all white with no dialed in properties.  Then they come through as white and assigned correctly, and the client can just swap your blank concrete for their, say, Redshift concrete and go.  Make sense?  No point in using specific materials in VW if they are using 3rd party materials in the end since they will have to rebuild.  There are material converters, but honestly, they don't do a great job and get messy fast.

7. If you are adding lighting instruments (as lighting instrument objects instead of just symbols) - do some tests with client.  Lighting instruments lose their rotation and focus when you export a lot, so dial this in with some test files first.

 

I realize a lot of this is more on your clients side, but might be useful information.  Let us know how you get on.

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"Send to Cinema" is indeed buggy.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it does nothing.  On days when it works,  it is a great workflow.  But going the other way, "export to Cinema" opens the save dialog which allows you to have an additional layer of certainty about what you are exporting.  So if you updating, say...Trusses, you just overwrite the Truss file and you have a poor mans' version control that way. 

 

When opening the saved .c4d file you will get a master Null under which all exported geometry will reside.  If you have an auspicious day and Send to Cinema is working, and you choose to update the Cinema file all geometry under that Null will be replaced with the incoming geometry.  And consequently any changes you have made inside of Cinema will be gone, therefore I recommend the shuttle file method. 

 

Regarding texturing, I'm not sure but I think it might be advisable to put some kind of bitmapped (non procedural) texture on items so that they get an UV map.  I recall having issues with that for a while.  My workflow, when possible, is to assign a vectorworks texture to the objects that gets me close to the output renderer (I use RedShift), with the name having a prefix of VW.  That way, when I get the model into Cinema, I can drag and drop my RedShift textures (prefix RS) over the VW ones and be done.  @zoomer I think that was one of your tricks. 

 

YES, name everything in VW!  That they relegate the naming box down to the obscurity of the bottom of the screen is a major UI flaw in VW.  I wish that VW had an object list like C4D does.  With a search bar.  With filtering.

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1 hour ago, grant_PD said:

all geometry under that Null will be replaced with the incoming geometry.  And consequently any changes you have made inside of Cinema will be gone,

 

 

Not really.

But I try to avoid changes in C4D tree as much as possible.

E.g. if you overwrite a (VW) Null's or (VW Class) Layer's Name,

it will stay that with that name.

Same for manual Material replacements.

Manual editing in C4D is kind of excluding from Sync.

But it is not 100% known when these, or which changes counteract

updates via Sync or when not.

 

This way you easily get into Synching Contradictions and lose

control over your Data.

 

In the past I did such small edits in C4D when having deadlines.

I expected these to Sync later when I update the main VW file.

I try to avoid now.

 

 

2 hours ago, grant_PD said:

I can drag and drop my RedShift textures (prefix RS) over the VW ones and be done.

 

C4D Material Editor has a Material Exchange function.

You can save out your Materials to an external C4D file,

which you can edit or extend.

After a VW reimport you can start Material Exchange,

choose your external file and overwrite all Materials

with the same name in one go.

Should be perfect when manually exchage imports or

only parts of files by "Export C4D".

 

But for me it works great with C4D Exchange.

I have all Materials assigne to specific (Material)Layers.

 

In the rare cases, VW brings its old material in again, because

of e.g. new geometry, I can realize these few Materials as they

don't have a Layer assigned.

So if there came 3 old Metals in again, I activate only "no-Layer"

and my M_METAL Layer. So I will see only my Metals and can

ALT+drag my C4D Metals over the old VW Metals.

 

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Absolutely a great thread to follow how y'all get your goods into and through the VWX><C4D pipelines.

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I think C4D Exchange got better and better over the years.

Although there always have been issues growing or diminishing over VW Versions.

Nevertheless for me, overall it was the best solution.

 

Of course at the beginning of a project, I will start with a "Export C4D" into

my project folder. (not any arbitrary Temp folder like by "Sent to C4D")

After that I do Exchange only.

I have projects that run over 3+ years and many VW Versions.  3-5 times a year

I may need to update the VW drawing and run multiple Exchanges.

I am always impressed if it works again after migrating to newer VW and C4D

versions.

Of course at one point you may lose control and need to start Exchange from

scratch. But overall for me it is much less work by using Exchange.

 

E.g. renaming Symbols in Doors, will not be properly recognized even in VW,

which still keeps using the old Symbols in Door Cache, so you won't notice

in VW But in C4D which imports the new Symbols but VW's old instance

links, Doors will disappear.

You will have to manually re-link al Door Instances in C4D manually again.

Or,

Walls with Windows and Doors in Wall, when copied and moved in VW, did

disappear in C4D or some Geometry which exports fine to Twinmotion or

anywhere else by C4D or FBX, will appear in C4D Viewports, but disappear

in C4D Rendering, no matter how hard I tried to repair/delete/reimport.

If that gets too much, you may better start from scratch.

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Thanks, everyone! Sounds like my original plan was a great example of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Nevertheless, as I get to know their process, and we continue to collaborate, this thread will be a fantastic knowledge base for streamlining and troubleshooting our workflow. 🤘🏼

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This project has come full circle: I now have a subscription to Cinema, and am exporting the client’s scenic designs from Cinema into a VW shuttle file.

 

I read that 3DS was recommended but not all of the objects were making it into the the 3DS file. I’m currently testing OBJ which seems to work better.

 

Many thanks again to everyone in this thread. It’s even more helpful now that I’m using Cinema (even at this very basic newbie level).

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