3D Animation Fun

[2010-01-11 Bill Hung London]

This page is about my journey of searching for the cheapest 3D Asset Creation Tools that work for me. I will try to organize the information I gather in a few big sections.



[2010-01-23] Finally got the skin and animation in 3ds.

[2010-01-23] Here's yuna turning her head in 3ds

[2010-01-23] However, exporting that to .x resulted in this mess... =_=  Update: this seems to be coming from not checking the "mapping coordinates" checkbox in the pandasoft extracter.

[2010-01-23] First time to see a proper pose in the directx viewer =]

[2010-01-23] Using the DirectX SDK Extra 3ds converter conv3ds.exe (long name) gave me a .x file with proper "Animation" fields. But the texture mappings get messed up. A manual fix resulted in this mis-colored mess.

[2010-01-23] I thought upgrading the DirectX SDK to the latest version (August 2009) will help me. Wrong. This is what the latest version of DirectX Viewer thinks Yuna should look like... Somehow the viewer decided to use the local coordinates instead of the world coordinates and don't give me ambient lighting.

[2010-01-23] Another picture of the problems with the latest DirectX Viewer. There are lots of broken triangles, and the triangles flicker whenever you move the mouse within the window area (hover or drag). The problem looks like depth fighting.

[2010-01-23] First time to see yuna with proper pose in the run-time. I was ecstatic =D. Except the animation stll doesn't work. The model was from .max -> .3ds -- through conv3ds.exe -->.x

[2010-01-23] Fixed the problem of directx conv3ds.exe with textures. Good that there's no depth fighting in the run-time. One less thing to get my head around.

[2010-01-23] Finally see the animation in the DirectX Viewer (2009 version). This is by upgrading the pandasoft exporter from version to And I had to click the "Add" button under the "Animation" tab (totally not obvious for me, *sigh*). Exporter seems to work better with the older Mesh Viewer (2004), and exporter seems to work better with the newer DirectX Viewer (2009).

[2010-01-24] The now animated model looks like this in the older DirectX viewer. But the model looks fine on the newer DirectX viewer. In addition, the file now triggers a run-time error that points to some non-existent pointer to bones.

[2010-01-24] Hmm... I suspect the depth fighting problem has something to do with the binormals not being mapped properly, and/or the adjacencies (not tangents) not being mapped properly.


[2010-01-14] First attempt at loading the animation in .dae collada file. Resulted in this messed up moving thing. The software used was SwirlX3D viewer (but it says SwView on top?) from pinecoast,

[2010-01-14] Another skinned (with bone) model loaded into the pinecoast viewer.

[2010-01-14] Another image of pinecoast trying hard to load the collada animaton.

[2010-01-14] Loading the same .dae file in the PhyreEngine Collada Viewer worked. All the animations, bones worked properly.

[2010-01-14] Here Yuna does another pose. But the texture doesn't appear properly with the PhyreEngine Viewer.

[2010-01-23] Here I fixed the texture problem (turned out to be some stupid filename error). But somehow the lightings are weird.

Playing Around with DirectX


[ 2010-01-13] Implemented a FPS count with WINAPI  function GetTickCount(), which counts in millisecond with DWORD return type.

3D in Flash


[2010-01-13] This is the result of loading the .dae file into flash by the Away 3D engine. You can see the pose is loaded properly. To enable the viewing of the file, I had to go to the "Global Security Settings" page on the adobe website. There I can specify which folder on my computer I can run files from.

Direct3D with "Character Animation with Direct3D" by Carl Granberg

"Character Animation with Direct3D" is a great book. I recommend it.

[2010-01-11] This is a screenshot from the sample of loading .x files into Direct3D. This can serve as a good starting point of loading and verifying asset

[2010-01-11] I can check the .x file animation with the DirectX SDK tool.

[2010-01-11] Only managed to export the mesh successfully with pandasoft 3ds directx exporter.


[2010-01-11] Texture is now exported as well with the mesh using the pandasoft directx exporter.

[2010-01-11] With the lighting effect

[2010-01-10] rendering a .x file without the lighting fx effect

[2010-01-12] Finally got Yuna loaded with the pc runtime. There were problems with the scale, look-at vector, and the orientation of the model. After fixing those, there are still problems with the lighting (why so dark?), flickering bits near the bottom of the shirt (can't see the flickering from a picture), and the shadow is away from the model, making the model appears to be floating in the air.

[2010-01-12] After adjusting the light, I can finally see yuna's face. The face is chunky again. How do you smooth that out? What's happening here?

Google Sketchup


[2010-01-11] I have used google sketchup long time ago, but didn't put too much time into building asset then. Now taking a look again, SketchUp now comes with version 7 that is free, and a paid professional version that you can try for 8 hours for free. It even somewhat supports the collada format in addition to its native format .skp. 

[2010-01-11] Upon opening Sketchup, you can choose different templates, for general, architectual, or engineering use. You can export to google earth .kmz file as well as .dae collada file. Input from .3ds (no maya?), .dae (collada), .jpg, .tga, .psd (photoshop!), .bmp are supported. There are also link to Google 3D Warehouse for .kmz and .dae file downloads.

[2010-01-11] Trying to load Yuna from FFX into Sketchup didn't work so well.

[2010-01-11] Things look alright in 3ds max.

Art Tools Export Formats

[2010-05-26 Bill Hung London]


Google SketchUp


Autodesk 3DS 2010


Book from Carl Granberg
    "Character Animation with Direct3D"
Exporter from Damien Rumiano
Models from
  1. Yuna of "Final Fantasy X-2" by Square Enix
  2. Soldier of "Day of Wrath" by Markus Tuppurainen
           Body Mesh: 2100 Polygons
           Head Mesh: 1000 Polygons
           Number of Bones: 26
           Height: 1.8 Units
Tools from
  1. Autodesk - 3ds max trial edition
  2. Away3D - Away3D Flash Engine
  3. Google - Sketchup
  4. Microsoft - DirectX SDK
  5. Pinecoast - SwirlX3D Viewer
  6. Sony - Collada Viewer, PhyreEngine Viewer