SketchUP + Cheetah3D - seeking tips/comments

#1
SketchUP + Cheetah3D - seeking tips/comments

Greetings to all in the Cheetah3D world. I thought to open a topic here to discuss Cheetah3D and, hopefully, the ins and out of using it in combination with Sketchup. I have exchaged a few emails with Martin on this topic but I thought it might be interesting to share some thoughts on this in our new, public forum. So - rather than a question, just some general ideas. Comments and shared experiences from others out there are very welcome.

I sent Martin several feature requests, mostly concerning the import of SU cameras and a physical sky, which are both very useful for architects. Martin mentioned he is working on this, as well as a possible direct import of SU models (!) - this would, of course, be super-star fantastic.

I saw on PushPullBar (I think the post was from Jake) a tip about using the Pig lighting solution and just placing other objects into it, as exported from SketchUP. At first, I was attracted to Cheetah as a renderer - just to use it after the model was finished - but now I am starting to think it could be nice to use in a more open manner, meaning that models flow back and forth between the two programs... sometimes adding bits, sometimes shifting the design, or making a rendering of one type or the other ...

For example, one thing I have started very much to appreciate as well about Cheetah is the way it works with text - this was before a very painful experience, making text in Illustrator - outlining - simplifying - exporting - importing - extruding ... Here, for example, the Cheetah3D method is much more elegant.

Any other comments?
 
#2
I must admit I was surprised that given the .3ds format stores cameras from SU when you open them in Max for example, that they aren't stored when opened in Cheetah.

As I'm not a programmer I would hate to make assumptions, but is this not relatively easy?
 
#3
Re: SketchUP + Cheetah3D - seeking tips/comments

thinkbuild said:
At first, I was attracted to Cheetah as a renderer - just to use it after the model was finished - but now I am starting to think it could be nice to use in a more open manner, meaning that models flow back and forth between the two programs... sometimes adding bits, sometimes shifting the design, or making a rendering of one type or the other ...
I've already thought about that. My idea was to make something like a "external folder" object which is basically a normal folder but it links to an external .3ds or .obj file. Now every time you open the .jas file the externally linked .3ds or .obj file will be loaded into the that "external folder" automatically. But thats currently just an idea for a future feature.

By,
Martin
 
#4
Allister said:
I must admit I was surprised that given the .3ds format stores cameras from SU when you open them in Max for example, that they aren't stored when opened in Cheetah.

As I'm not a programmer I would hate to make assumptions, but is this not relatively easy?
That's true. .3DS includes quite a lot of information and Cheetah3D currently only reads the material and geometry information. The camera informations will be ingnored at the moment. The .3ds was invented by the creators of Max so it is only natural that they support every detail of the file format.
But loading in camera information is already on my todo list. At the moment the animation stuff is eating up all my time but when I'm done with the animation tools I plan to add a lot of the "small details" stuff to Cheetah3D.

By,
Martin
 

Jake

New member
#5
Re: SketchUP + Cheetah3D - seeking tips/comments

thinkbuild said:
At first, I was attracted to Cheetah as a renderer - just to use it after the model was finished - but now I am starting to think it could be nice to use in a more open manner, meaning that models flow back and forth between the two programs... sometimes adding bits, sometimes shifting the design, or making a rendering of one type or the other ...

For example, one thing I have started very much to appreciate as well about Cheetah is the way it works with text - this was before a very painful experience, making text in Illustrator - outlining - simplifying - exporting - importing - extruding ... Here, for example, the Cheetah3D method is much more elegant.

Any other comments?
I agree Thinkbuild. I use Cheetah mainly for renders, but the 3d type and topos fill a gap left by SketchUp. I think the two programs work well together-SketchUp handles the quick, hardline architectural end of things while Cheetah3D handles the type, topos and more organic modeling. Most of my models consists of work in both programs.
 
#6
topos...?

Hello everyone - a few comments -

on external linked folders:
Fantastic concept! It starts to approach the functionality of a BIM system - a system where the modeling elements become "intelligent" such as ArchiCAD (a wall knows how thick it is and what it is made of, etc.,) and would make the "flow" between the programs very smooth. It is a lot like the idea of working with InDesign & Photoshop, where you edit the photo in Pshop, then it is just "updated" in the layout program. One could also think about using linked elements such as materials or texture maps, etc... it might be a way to begin to a type of "intelligence" to the system.

on the question of topos (from jake):
Would you mind telling us a bit more about that? I recently had to make a massive topo model and I began by working with Simuterra, which was interesting although in some ways it is too sophisitcated for use for pure design use, such as with competitions and university projects. What do you think are the main points of using cheetah for topos? Does it raise contour lines, and then build a mesh between them? Any examples (rendered/wireframe) would be greatly appreciated, as well as any tips you might have ...

on cameras from sketchup:
(Sorry Martin) Just a small question: As you already know how to parse .3ds files, would it not be possible to "convert" the camera information to .jas? It seems most of us SU/Cheetah users use .3ds to convert between the two programs, why not jazz up the "import" module to parse the camera info from .3ds? (just a suggestion...)

hope all is well for all,

Jason
 
#7
Re: topos...?

thinkbuild said:
on cameras from sketchup:
(Sorry Martin) Just a small question: As you already know how to parse .3ds files, would it not be possible to "convert" the camera information to .jas? It seems most of us SU/Cheetah users use .3ds to convert between the two programs, why not jazz up the "import" module to parse the camera info from .3ds? (just a suggestion...)
Maybe another solution to this :
There is a Sketchup Ruby script called param_camera.rb that does export all the cameras parameters (SU pages) in a text file. I don't know java but maybe someone could write a Cheetah3D script that would read these parameters and create the corresponding cameras in Cheetad3D. The problem is that we don't have yet the Cheetah3D parameters names to use in the script.
Martin, are these yet defined and stable in 2.2 ? Could we get a list so someone might be able to modify the actual Custom camera.js script ?
 
#8
Re: topos...?

thinkbuild said:
on cameras from sketchup:
(Sorry Martin) Just a small question: As you already know how to parse .3ds files, would it not be possible to "convert" the camera information to .jas? It seems most of us SU/Cheetah users use .3ds to convert between the two programs, why not jazz up the "import" module to parse the camera info from .3ds? (just a suggestion...)
Hi,
I will try my best for 2.3 . But sorry I won't add more features to 2.2 . I finally have to come to an end with the 2.2 development because 2.2 also contains some quite serious bug fixes which I don't want to hold back any longer. And if I add more and more features to Cheetah3D 2.2 I could never release it. So give me some more time.

By,
Martin
 
#9
Re: topos...?

Francois said:
Martin, are these yet defined and stable in 2.2 ? Could we get a list so someone might be able to modify the actual Custom camera.js script ?
Hi,
I didn't work to much on the Javascript API under 2.2. Version 2.2 is mainly animation stuff. But I will soon turn back to finalize the Javascript API and start with the documentation.

By,
Martin
 
#10
francois - great idea - i think something like this could be possible, even as a collaborative effort. it could then be posted on the ruby library as well, i imagine. i am not a java- or any other kind of script guy but i would like to help.

and - martin - sorry! you see, however, that we are all so enthusiastic for your work, and that you should not feel overly stressed by our comments but rather encouraged by our excitement...i for one am patient though...

alles gute,

jason
 
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