5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 1, 2008 9:29 PM by Neil Larsen

    VRML appearance?

    Ola Linde
      We are working a lot with ABB robotics and their software are using VRML as their native file format for models. We have used the save as to make correct exports, but we would like to set colors as well in order to have better look-alike feeling.

      Does anybody know how to set colors that will transfer to VRML? We have tried all kinds of settings, RealVIew and basic, without understanding how it works.

      Greatful for any help ... even if you know of another software to perform postwork.
        • VRML appearance?
          Neil Larsen
          I export SW files as VRML 1.0 for use in Blender to use for rendering in Indigo.
          Probably you never heard of those programs but it does work or at least it does in SW2005.
          I would suspect it is the same in all versions including SW2009.
          Perhaps you have been using the wrong vrml type? (97) for the other application or vice versa.
          Open a vrml file in notepad to confirm the colour info is saved in the file.
          Have you tried giving the parts just a material colour by right clicking on the part name at the top of the FM tree? appearances> colour
          Only a whole part can be coloured, individual faces and features dont work.
          Dont use a SW material either or that will over ride the colour although it will give it a shade of grey (usually) that approximates the metal or whatever.
          Dont use realview stuff and all sorts of mixed in colour/tex assignments.
          The vrml 97 format supports textures but SW doesnt handle them at all - ie there is no UV info and you are limited to outputting a basic colour no matter what.

          Attach is a pic of a SW assy imported into Blender as vrml 1.0.
          btw Blender is open source and free.
          You could apply basic material colours in Blender easily if you are stuck however Blender is a little different. It would take some knowledge to do fancier stuff.
          Blender exports both 1.0 and 97 vrml but only imports 1.0

          btw2 the resolution of the vrml mesh is controlled by the image quality setting in SW
            • VRML appearance?
              Ola Linde
              Thanx for answer Neil

              It seems you know your VRML. If you are able to I have more questions on this topic.

              1. You write that only parts (not faces or features) can be colored. This could explain our problems with setting colors that export correctly from SW. But is it not possible to give faces color at all, even with Blender or other VRML software? I believe I've seen that each node has its own color in the vrml file (read with notepad).

              2. Actually I had already Blender downloaded and the user interface looked like 3DStudio a little bit, but since I never used any of these programs I have not been able to change any colors etc. Do you have an easy guide how to change color/material on faces?

              3. Have you ever tried to import VRML into SolidWorks? If yes, how did you make the VRML model visible when switching to drawing and Photoworks?

              I hope you are a fellow VRML user which can guide me(us) to an higher level of understanding. I really appreciate that you take your time to these answers. Again THANX.
                • VRML appearance?
                  Neil Larsen
                  1. In blender you can either seperate part of a mesh from the whole to colour it differently or you can assign a colour to a group of vertices in 'edit' mode.
                  This is not easy to describe quickly here. See the blender wiki manual for some clues re multiple materials.

                  2. For a single part/mesh inside Blender just select the part and making sure it has a blank material assigned first if it hasnt already inherited one from the export/import process ( 'add new' in 'links and pipeline' panel) It should look like the attach image. Just play with the 'col' sliders in the 'material' panel - here I made it green

                  3.triangulated meshes in SW are not especially practical.
                  STL, VRML ,OBJ have much the same issue.
                  It will take a long time to open and resolve and the graphics card willl labour over displaying it.
                  You can do it but it is better not to.
                  If you have it in mind to use these files I would consider using an image of the part as a background reference picture to construct a replica in SW own parametric tools.
                  If you have Premium (I think) there are some tools for fitting up SW surfaces to scanned objects in these type of formats but again it is not ideal.
                  AFAIK there is no facility to show or interact with meshes in dwgs or PW.
                  As I say meshes are not really at home in SW
                  If you need to render it would be better to export your SW stuff as meshes and work in something that handles meshes like Blender, MAX, Softimage etc
                    • VRML appearance?
                      Ola Linde
                      Thanx again, I will test you info on a couple of models on Monday and propably try to go through the newbie tutorial of Blender, it seems worth the time spent!
                        • VRML appearance?
                          Neil Larsen
                          ok I'll check back in a few days in case you used blender and need more help or what I said is misleading.

                          btw for your info Indigo is also free . It is like Maxwell - photorealistic physically based rendering. Indigo is fairly alpha stuff and definitely not for beginners.

                          I maintain a version of a Python script for Blender to export to Indigo which also has a batch importer for vrml ex SW into Blender built into it. That part of the script might be useful to you presently. It will handle maybe a 1000 parts at a time. It will import the SW colour to Blender. The script is not publicly available at this time but I would consider forwarding it to you to help you out with your mission if your assy is v.large.