To install the FBX Exporter on either a Macintosh or Windows system:
To export from DAZ Studio using the FBX Exporter:
There are several export options that can be set for each export. The Export Options dialog will be displayed after you have chosen a name to save the export to. Once the dialog opens, you will notice that the options are arranged in group boxes and tabs. The group boxes and their options are detailed below.
The Export File Type options allow you to set some file level options.
The Scene Components define which of the scene elements will be exported and refers directly to the items shown in the scene (viewport) pane in DAZ Studio.
There are some components that aren't items in themselves, but that more than one type of object could contain. Including or not including these components can dramatically change the size of your final FBX. Checking or unchecking these items will affect every object you export.
Although including textures only means whether to send through the names of the image maps that your Studio props and figures use, on the import side it means that the application will likely read in all those texture maps. This can be time consuming, but in most cases, not any more time consuming that doing it by hand. Usually you will want to include the textures when you export, but since importer handling of FBX texturing options is inconsistent, a few additional options have been included.
First, most importers don't handle multi-layered texturing. Second, there is no way to define more than one texture image map per layer. For example, you can not define a texture map, a trans map and a bump map, without using multiple layers. Since many FBX importers won't recognize more than a single texture layer, there is a special case texture exporter to deal with that circumstance.
The second two options provide support for the multi-layered texture capabilities of FBX. These are not intended to solve what a specific importer will do, but they are intended to make it easier for you to manually apply the textures where they need to go. The three types of textures supported are Diffuse images maps, Transparency maps, and Bump maps.
Figure Options are special options that only apply to figures within the scene.
Clicking on the Set to Defaults button will reset all option choices to their default settings.
If the figure being exported has multiple LOD levels applied, an LOD level can be selected in the LOD Levels tab. Left-click on figure listing and choose an LOD level from the menu. Only one level can be exported at a time.
If the figure being exported has multiple UV sets applied, any one of the UV sets can be selected in the UV Sets tab.
The FBX importer for LightWave performs some unique processing when importing FBX files. The Custom LightWave export option pre-formats the FBX file specifically to deal with several of these importing idiosyncracies. The details of the LightWave importing limitations are listed below, and where there is special handling to work around those cases, the details are provided.
First and foremost among these is it's attempt to reorient the geometry. The result of this when reading standard FBX files, is that the imported models come through facing in unexpected directions. In some cases the models will 'look' to be in the correct orientation, but if you select one of the nodes you will notice that the X direction has been changed to point down, or in what would normally be considered the negative Y axis. This is more apparent if the model is then opened in the LightWave modeler.
A secondary consideration of this is that LightWave treats the FBX root node as a special node under some conditions. If it reads a standard FBX file it will reorient the model in the above fashion, but leave the FBX node alone. If you open the Scene Graph you will see the FBX root node, which is usually called “Fbx_Root”.
However, if you now try to import another FBX file, you will get error messages about the importer being unable to find the “Fbx_Root(2)” node. When importing standard FBX files, you can rename or remove the original “Fbx_Root” item before importing a second FBX file.
The third aspect of this special handling for the FBX root node, is that the importer will automatically remove it for you if it is properly formatted. This pre-formatting of the main FBX node, (internal geometry structures,) is one of the primary advantages to using the Custom LightWave export.
For the Custom LightWave export, this pre-formatting has been included in the export, and when the LightWave importer reads the FBX, it will treat the file as if it was one of it's own. The result being that the model will be properly oriented, the axis' will be facing in their expected directions, the main FBX node will be removed, you will be able to import multiple FBXs, and the scene elements will in general appear as anticipated.
This is not the only task that the Custom LightWave export performs, but if you are using LightWave for modeling purposes, it is probably the most important and time saving.
LightWave only supports single layer textures. This means LightWave will not open or display multi-layered textures, even if the FBX contains them. There is no work around for this at the moment, although there is the possibility that the importer will be revised in the future.
The Single Layer texture export assigns texture images in the following order: Diffuse, Transparency, and Bump map. Therefore, if the Studio material has a Diffuse image map, it will be assigned to the surface as the texture image. If the Studio Material has no Diffuse image map, it will then check for a Transparency map, and assign that it exists. The most common occurrence of this is for EyeLash and EyeBrow materials. Finally if the Studio Material has neither a Diffuse or Transparency map, it will assign the Bump map image if it exists.
The FBX format defines textures using two sub types: One is called a Material and refers to the basic color attributes; the second is called a Texture and refers to the image map components of a texture.
When these are read into LightWave they are merged together using a hyphen, and the dual name can be quite long. At present, there is no workaround for this naming convention since it is within the importer itself.
When LightWave merges the FBX Material and Texture elements, it can loose an entire surface if it has a Material but no associated Texture image. This has the effect of the surface becoming completely transparent, but also unfortunately removes it completely from the surfaces list, so you can not manually edit it.
For these cases the Custom export creates a 'null' texture image and attaches it to the surface. You will notice this on the import if you get a message saying “Failed to read texture: 'null'” Click the OK button to ignore the message, but be aware it simply means this surface originally had no texture image.
Although the warning message is perhaps not the most desirable result, it is preferable to the entire surface disappearing from your list.
LightWave performs some special processing on the first texture it reads for any object. The result being that the first texture read is not assigned to the surface, even though the texture image is read and is available on the drop lists. Note that this refers to the first texture it reads, and not to the first texture shown in the Surfaces list, since this list is sorted alphabetically after reading all the surfaces. You can manually assign the proper texture by selecting it from the drop list.