Atomic Perception

To get the plugin, download the Mesh Foot Windows installer. Aprox. 2.9Mb

The Poser To Max Remedy

Mesh Foot is a 3DS Max plugin that allows you to seamlessly integrate exported .3DS or .OBJ mesh sequences into existing scenes without re-animating, re-boning, or re-skinning anything.

This unique concept allows you to treat an imported mesh sequence as if it were video footage, simplifying the integration of Poser mesh exports into 3DS Max. Each Mesh Foot object has it's own Out-Of-Range Setting, Scale and Time Stretch updating within the scene as you scrub the timeline.

Selecting Footage

The term Footage typicaly means a series of frames for film or video. Mesh Foot extends this definition by rendering a series of 3D meshes as if they were simply frames. So footage to Mesh Foot is a series of meshes in the .3DS or .OBJ format.

One thing to note is that 3DS Max does not traditionally support the .OBJ format. This is a Maya format. However, there is a free plugin for 3DS Max called OBJ2MAX, written by HABWare. Before Mesh Foot can import a .OBJ sequence, OBJ support must be installed for 3DS Max.

To import a mesh sequence, click the Create button in the Mesh Foot Parent rollout. This will bring up a standard windows dialog box where you can browse to the folder that contains the mesh sequence. If you completed the first tutorial of creating the footage, you will have two versions of the horse in the Meshes folder of your 3DS Max root. A 3DS version and an OBJ version. Select the first file in the OBJ folder and click Ok.

If you attempt to load an OBJ sequence and you do not have the OBJ importer installed, you get a tall rectangle instead of your mesh.

So which format should I use?

Let's take a look at the .OBJ horse and the .3DS horse together.

The first thing we notice is the the .3DS horse has color and the .OBJ horse does not. Also, the mesh structures look a little different.

Mesh Foot automatically applies an Optimize Modifier to any .3DS import, this gives it that angular lo-res look and speeds up viewport operations. The .OBJ horse looks more faceted but has smoothing built right in.

Here we see the same texture applied to both object formats. The .3DS horse is on the left and the .OBJ horse is on the right.

The red arrows point out the flaws in the texturing of the .3DS horse. Why is this so? How can two almost identical meshes with the same texture perform so differently?

The answer is UV Mapping Coordinates. The .3DS file format only stores UV Mapping Coordinate for every vertex. The .OBJ file format store UV Mapping information for every face. The white seams that we are observing in the .3DS horse are actually shared verticies in the mesh. This sharing creates a seam along shared vertex points.

This only seems to be a problem when dealing with textures that require mapping.

Here we see the same two horses with a Falloff Map in the Opacity slot and a Cellular Map in the bump slot. There does not seem to be any difference in procedural based texturing.

So which format should I use?

As a base rule, if you plan on working with the textures that come with Poser characters, you should stick with the .OBJ format.

If you want to experiment with the exciting posibilities of procedural texturing on an animated mesh, by all means try the .3DS format. With the Optimize Modifier in place, it performs well. Also, because the .3DS format provides the basic color from Poser, architechtural renderings can get away with simply using the standard Poser People as is, without any texturing.