Reference Configuration Preferences Import/Export FBX Import / Export

FBX Import Settings

CINEMA 4D’s FBX import filter supports the main settings. If you import an FBX file that contains multiple takes, a dialog will appear allowing you to select which take to load. If the file is encrypted, you’ll be requested to enter a password.

To switch off the import of geometry objects, lights or cameras, disable the corresponding option. If any of these objects are targets for a Target tag, they will replaced by a Null object that will act as the target instead.

Coordinate System

Files coming from a right-handed system are converted to the left-handed system used by CINEMA 4D. Meshes and the direction of polygons are also corrected to the differences between the coordinate systems into account.

Object Visibility In The viewport

Enable this option to take object visibility into account. Visible and invisible objects will be assigned the corresponding status via their visibility dots in the Object manager. Child objects that have the same visibility as the parent will be set to the unchanged status.

Bones and relative rest pose

FBX files that were saved using an older version of MotionBuilder contain so-called relative rest poses for the bones. This means that no specific rest pose can be generated in this format (which is why MotionBuilder cannot convert these files; bones saved in earlier versions than MotionBuilder 3.2 will be maintained in this format). In this case, the importer will try to generate a possible rest pose based on the animation data of mesh and bones. Unfortunately, this will not work every time. The Console window will display information as to whether the imported document contains a relative rest pose.

If the imported skeletons do not look as expected, this might be because of relative rest pose data. The Use Start Pose As Rest Pose option makes the importer use the start pose of the animation as the rest pose of the bones. This works for skeletons that are properly aligned with the undeformed mesh at the start of the animation.

Other information

Troubleshooting

Errors in the position data of the bones / trouble with MotionBuilder 4 files

The MotionBuilder 4 CD contains several FBX files that you may have problems importing. This is due to the FBX SDK incorrectly converting the default position of the bones for those files. Even though the files may look fine in MOTIONBUILDER, they won’t appear correctly in 3ds max, Maya or CINEMA  4D.

The rest position for these bones is, however, correct. For this reason, there is a Keep Rest Pose option. Enable the option to keep the rest pose and discard the faulty animation data.

Alternatively, repair these damaged files as described here by the FBX support:

Some of the scenes shipped with MotionBuilder 4.0 were defective, such as 01WalkPoseGAULIX.fbx. What occurs is that Gaulix’s animation is driven by our character constraint (the character constraint is saved as active), not by the animation curve or the default TRS. In the faulty samples, the default TRS was not updated by the values of the active constraint at the moment of the save. The default TRS was left to an intermediate state. It only works well in MotionBuilder because it’s the only package to evaluate the character constraint.

To correct your problem, follow these steps:


  1. Open the scene in MotionBuilder.
  2. Open a Navigator window.
  3. Expand the character’s tree.
  4. Double-click on the Gaulix character.
  5. On the Character Settings tab, do the following:

    • Disable the Active option to disable the character constraint.
    • If necessary, enable the Active option again.
    • Save your corrected scene.

This will update the TRS values of the nodes of Gaulix with the ones in the character constraint.

The problem we have here was present only in the samples of MotionBuilder 4.0. Any scene created before or after that release does not contain this problem.

Import Geometry Data

Import Lights

FBX supports the following types of lights: omni, round spot and directional. Directional lights will be imported as parallel lights to ensure 3ds max files are imported correctly. The ambient and fog color will be converted to an Environment object to allow correct import into MotionBuilder should you export the scene back to FBX later on.

Import Cameras

Cameras are supported including the roll channel and FOV. The cameras will be imported as child objects of a Null object, thus allowing camera roll to be animated. Camera switchers will be converted to Stage objects with a corresponding animation track.

Import Markers

Markers will be converted to Null objects with a corresponding color.

Import Textures and Materials

Materials will be imported and converted to the corresponding CINEMA 4D channels. If a mesh has multiple materials, a selection will created for each material and the selection will be assigned to the mesh.

Import Animation

The following animation channels are supported:

Constraints animation is not supported by the FBX SDK. Only Motionbuilder can animate these files (see Troubleshooting).

Smart Merge

This option gives you a smart way to merge the FBX file with the active CINEMA 4D scene: if the objects do not yet exist in the CINEMA 4D scene, they will be imported; if the objects already exist, only their animation data will be imported.

Scale: [1..10000%]

Import Poses/PLA

If the FBX file contains poses, this option controls whether the poses should be evaluated and, for example, imported as PLA.

Use PoseMixer

If the optional MOCCA module is installed, poses can be imported using MOCCA’s PoserMixer tool. The Import Poses/PLA option must also be enabled.

Create Tags for Poses

Import Normals

This refers to point normals that are stored in a tag. Enabling the option can result in better rendering results when importing mesh from other 3D applications.

Use Claude Bonet Tool

Activate Deformation

Use Absolute Weights

Remove Dummy Skeleton Nodes

Smart Merge Updates Weights

Enable this option to import weights created in another 3D application.

Keep Rest Pose (skip animation data of damaged files)

Use Start Pose as Rest Pose (relative pose data)

Translation Key Filter: [0..100%]
Rotation Key Filter: [0..100%]
Scale Key Filter: [0..100%]

These threshold values control when similar keys will be merged. At 0%, only identical keys will be removed. At 100% the importer will remove as many keys as possible within certain limits.

For rotation and scale keys:
Value Threshold
0.1% 0.00000001
1% 0.000001
10% 0.0001
100% 0.01

So with 10%, rotation and scale keys that deviate by less that 0.0001 are considered to be identical. The threshold values for translation keys are one hundred times greater than those for rotation and scale.

Start At Frame Zero

If this option is enabled, the imported animation will start at frame 0 instead of at the frame defined in the file (which could be, say, frame 456).

Create Environment Object

See Import Lights

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