Kineme 3d questions

freestylemovement's picture

Hello, i'm fairly new to QC ... i've been thinking about getting into kineme 3d..

as an audiovisual artist i would be interested in creating 3d models myself, and mapping them to audioreactive parameters ..

i was wondering what are some of the 3d model applications that people would recommend (free is best, but i'm also looking for the easiest integration with CS4 which is where i build most of my graphics from.. )

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dwskau's picture
3D modeler

By far SketchUp is the simplest to use, unfortunately it is also relatively limited when you begin to deal with non-orthogonal forms. Sketchup has no true curves, only segmented lines... On the upside, the non pro version is free although it has limited export abilities I believe.

If you are dealing with curves at all, Rhinoceros is a great modeler. It is a NURBS based modeler so all the curves are true curves and offer a lot more flexibility than many other methods.

Maya is perhaps the most overwhelming modeler available but it also offers the most in terms of all around capability from rendering to modeling to animation.

Can you explain better what you are looking for in integration? Because the filetypes that CS4 deals with are typically 2D and 3D modelers are, well, 3D they don't really have too many things in common although they all mix well using the formats they do share. Rhino can export line drawings to AI, PDF, and tons of other formats. Almost all modelers are friendly with dxf and dwg formats and can import a 2D image of some kind as either a texture or background to draw over.'s picture
3D Apps / CS4

Blender is an open source (free) modeller/animator/nodal compositor which can export .obj files as well as many other formats. From memory Adobe Illustrator can use .obj files as 3D objects. Photoshop also I think and photoshop now can paint on 3D surfaces directly (no intermediate of texture painting on 2D image).

Being open source blender has probably the best tutorial/support community of 3D apps. Having said that it needs it as the interface is unorthodox and not as user friendly as Illustrator. I'm just taking some classes for it now and it seems powerful once you get your head around it a little. Who knows we might see a Kineme3D plugin that reads .blend files one day ;)

For all out 3D eye candy you have to take a look at Modo from Luxulogy (Lightwave engineers who decided to make the next generation 3D app (and may be they have but I''m no expert)). Only modelling and limited animation at this stage but rendering quality is unbelievable (HDRI).

gtoledo3's picture
How stable do you find

How stable do you find Blender to be? I like Blender... but I actually find that no matter whatever updating is going on since the original company went out of business, that it's still kinda sketchy. It doesn't seem to play too well with my system, even after doing all of the prescribed tweaks. It probably wasn't even originally intended to be run on something like a macbook. If you have it working well, hint away!

I always think of 3DS Max and Maya whenever someone mentions stuff like this... I'm sure other stuff is REALLY good as well, and they all have their own unique glitches and positives.

mfreakz's picture
3D files converter ?

Do you know a "good and simple" 3D software for OSX, just for translating file format. I would like to convert some downloaded models into a compatible Kineme 3D format. Is there a little app for that ? I hope there is a good way to convert .max format without buying such a software !

cwright's picture
not max

I don't think there are any tools that support .max (it's a weird proprietary format -- that's why kineme3d isn't supporting it any time soon). Other formats are pretty versatile though in a bunch of tools.

cwright's picture
does it blend?

Over the past 6~8 years, I've attempted to run blender on Win32, Linux, and OS X, and have had an equally lousy experience with all of them... (lousy = randomly crashes, doesn't work at all as expected). Any software that elects to draw its own UI widgets, and takes 3 seconds to do so is a joke in my book :/ (which is sad, as it's the most tenable tool out there, except for maybe sketchup and wings3d)

psonice's picture
3d tools

I've not done any serious 3d work for a while unfortunately, so I don't keep up with the latest tools so much. I've not used blender at all. From my own experience though (and working with a lot of people who use these tools from both an art + code side):

  • wings3d is free, and I really like the modeller. That said though, there's only really a modeller to it, so it's of very limited use. I'd say it's very easy to learn.

  • lightwave has excellent modelling tools, especially if you're doing polygon-level work. It's also got a pretty good file format, that's very popular with coders (assuming it's not changed radically in the last few years, anyway). It's not too hard to learn the basics.

  • maya has excellent "higher level" editing tools, so it's good for building up complex objects where you're not so worried about what the polygons are doing. It's pretty complex though, expect to spend a good chunk of time learning the ropes ;)

gtoledo3's picture
Well, at least I'm not the

Well, at least I'm not the exception to the rule. I'm pretty amazed at the stuff people pull off with it, given how iffy it is on my system. What kills me is when it freezes my whole system... I mean- freezes EVERYTHING. Dock, finder, etc.... hard boot time, ugh... At this point, I always save everything before I even open it up. What can you expect when so much of it has been cobbled on over the years I guess...

gtoledo3's picture
It doesn't do max, but the

It doesn't do max, but the fbx file converter is free, and useful for Kineme3D, as far as converting 3DS, obj, etc,.... I convert everything to FBX as a matter of course when using Kineme3D.

toneburst's picture

psonice wrote:
- maya has excellent "higher level" editing tools, so it's good for building up complex objects where you're not so worried about what the polygons are doing. It's pretty complex though, expect to spend a good chunk of time learning the ropes ;)

I'd second that: my colleague here at work has been making a concerted effort to learn Maya, and has spent several years at it now. He's getting pretty competent now, at least in terms of creating and rendering scenes, but it's taken up an awful lot of man-hours to get to where he is now, and he's barely touched the modelling tools...


mfreakz's picture
Ecological & economical !

So if we consider the price of 3DSMax and the numbers of free models available in this format on internet... There is a lot of #@(k€®$ !!! I prefer using free or cheap stuff for working (ideas but no petrol ;) That's a good point (ecological & economical) for starting this new millenary. I'll get a look on wings3d... Thanx for all.

psonice's picture

He's taking years to learn it? You know what that means.. just when he considers himself competent, they'll release a major update and he'll have to start again :D

To put it in some context (as it's probably sounding way too scary to anyone considering maya): I'd say I got to grips with the basics in perhaps a day (as in I could do a basic model, texture and light it, build up a scene, do some simple keyframe animation etc.) That's really only scratching the surface though, and if you only need that much, I'd look at other apps.

To get the real benefits of the more 'high end' features, you really need a week or so of learning, but alex is right in that it does take years of practice and learning to get really fluent with it. The results can be really spectacular when you get there though (not that i ever did ;) If you're used to using 3d tools, and don't look blank when nurbs or GI are mentioned, you'll need less time to get into it.

cwright's picture
I remember

Back at NAB last year, I remember some autodesk dweeb doing a demo on one of the modeler tools (not live color correction, which was what apparently 80% of NAB was about...), and to demonstrate, he made a quick car model complete with detailed hubcaps in about 3 minutes. It was ridiculous. He was using extrude, trim surfaces, replications in space (similar to QC's patch), and some other tricks that I can't really recall/name since I'm not too up to date on the 3D tool scene.

it amazes me what people can pull off with those tools when they know what they're doing. (or any tool, for that matter -- there's lots of clever hackery in the QC scene too ;)

SteveElbows's picture
blender stability

Ive not exactly pushed blender to the limits but its never crashed like that for me on OS X. Are you doing anything in particular when it goes? Im on a Macbook Pro. I could try it on an an older macbook nonpro system if there is anything you want me to try to replicate.

cwright's picture

I think that's mostly gtoledo syndrome, and not so much blender :) He manages to crash plugins of ours that don't even have executable code (like plists)! :) [joking]

I think it's something with the Intel drivers, to be honest (me working on an older GMA950, and gtoledo on a newer X3100) -- smokris has watched me cause silly things from mysterious app crashes (where Crash Reporter says "Crashed Thread: unknown"), to kernel panics while doing CI/GL stuff. It's related to intensive GL stuff that stretch the driver's limits (it doesn't like rendering to large contexts, and has race apparent race conditions if you're emitting loads of vertex data while resizing/shuffling contexts).

gtoledo3's picture
lmao.... low blow my man :o)

lmao.... low blow my man :o)

schizdazzle's picture
other 3d models

Hi I used Sketchup to export the file formats, and find it easiest to use. Ideal if you are a beginner in my opinion.

Was wondering if there was support for OpenSceneGraph format (*.osg or *.IVE).. and whats the status with embedded textures? Sorry for sounding for too eager, I am actually quite excited with this patch :)'s picture
Blender freeze/ Modo

"What kills me is when it freezes my whole system... I mean- freezes EVERYTHING. Dock, finder, etc.... hard boot time, ugh."

I was just writing a post to say how stable Blender is on my old Mac Dual G5 10.5.6 NV GeForce FX 5200. I booted blender to stopwatch, under 1 sec boot which is faster than almost any other graphics app I use. So 3sec UI widgets-redraws I haven't experienced yet. Then my whole system froze, off/on toggle on monitor managed to quit 1 app that's it no force/quit nothing.

The UI is very unorthodox (a d@g at first flush) for a mainly Mac, some PC, guy. So is workflow for me as I'm used to the CAD approach of building lines up into form rather than sculpting primitives down. Why do I have to lose the top 22px of my monitor to an empty Menu bar? I hear they are doing a major UI overhall presently – guess they'd want to. Doubt they'll be reading the human GUI guidelines at though they love the indie/difficult image I gather. According to those who do like it, Modelling characters etc is much more efficient (keystrokes/commands etc) than Maya and just as effective. It also has a built in Games Engine and Compositor but I'm way off using that. I heard about Blender only from platform game developers.

John Knolls (inventor of the digital lens flare, co-creator of Photoshop, 22 year Industrial Light Magic veteran) was comparing Maya and Modo and saying Maya is pretty screwy/overcomplicated (my words) but sometimes the only way to do something. He gave Modo (his podcast host) a very big wrap but wants a few more features. (hey, that's unusual)

podcast:'s picture
Free Rhino Beta

Should have mentioned Rhino is in Beta for Mac OS 10.5. To participate visit this page. Long series of Beta releases that should keep going for a while yet.

Lots of architects I know swear by Rhino on PC. Has superior NURBS creation/editing tools.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Blender freeze/ Modo

I actually don't have any prob with the user interface, and think all the tools are really cool. To be very specific, what will weirdly bring it to a crash is if I get too carried away with the sculpt tool and do too much too fast. Weird!'s picture
Re: Blender freeze/ Modo

I was a bit harsh. It's very innovative.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Kineme 3d questions

Oh, didn't take it that way, but now that you mention it .... lol...

BTW, thank you for posting the thing about Rhino.

dust's picture
blender vrs maya vrs vizard

the only thing good about blender is that is is free in my opinion plus the non existent game engine port. i'm sure they got it working now i haven't looked at blender in maybe 3 years, but am very excited about unity3d and its integrated maya asset functionality. in my opinion maya is the standard, thankfully my uncle helped develop the e-license for alias wavefront and was able to get my hands on it maya some years ago, thats not to say i had any proficiency with it, or teaching my self maya. you see it is like teaching someone QC there are 20 ways to do the same thing. the one thing that took me alot of time to learn was keeping your poly count or vertex count as low as possible but still maintaining the highest level of detail possible. my preferred method is sub division polygon modeling, but there are times nurbs make are more convenient.

systems like z brush are amazing to me cause i can actually very quickly transform a real pice of clay into anything so the push and pull systems are very intuitive to me but require high poly counts, which maya does not render well, which is why i have such respect movie fx companies because there proprietary mostly systems can crank out amazing renders like in pirates of the caribbean, game companies interest me for the interactivity. it seems in the 3d industry you do one thing, you model, you light you animate you rig etc.. you don't do everything.

im not going to lie it took me years to be proficient in maya seeing that i taught myself, after a few maya bibles i was ready to give it up and go back to lightwave or something but eventually all the techniques set in, which made learning houdini, and realflow much easier. it seems auto desk is really a system leader at this point. i guess they have rolled 3ds and discrete systems into their arsenal. those where the key systems to learn back in the day discrete, like flint, smoke, flame, inferno etc...

that is supposing you could get on a million dollar computer. it seems industry standards are maya, 3ds, xsi, z brush and houdini, but if you are lucky enough to get into a company like digital domain they use houdini but mostly proprietary systems, which you can't teach your self you have to develop yourself. its not unheard of one of my first 3d systems was infini-d which was some guys college thesis that got bought out. raydream designer was my first 3d app and that was created by meta creations which pretty much made the first black and white photo editing software for mac which in turn made photoshop.

to tell you the truth im really excited about kineme 3d, with the advice of george toledo i found out about it kineme 3d and have messed with it , most recently with augmented reality which is interestingly just a novelty at this point to me, but a guy chris wood from the QC list had sent a very cool 3d thing he had made in with CI in QC that was insane, it had fog textures etc.. all with code. you see im an artist that is more used to the hands on approach or being able to visually move things around extrude faces etc.. but to bring my art to the next level it is imperative that i learn how to make art with mathematical variables, which seems to be some peoples fort-ay in QC world like kineme chris, smorkis, tone burst etc..

so the next level as far as 3d is concerned for me is to teach myself python, which you can apparently do in 2 days the website says, so i can help out a doctor with multi-modal, interactive, spatial, cognitive, environmental immersive virtual reality, behavioral testing. wow that was a mouth full, multi-modal is a more cross wire of things like vision, hearing touch etc... well not a synesthetic cross wire but how those things are interconnected like the McGurk effect for example, anyways we are just playing disorienting mind tricks on human lab rats immersed in a 3d virtual reality world. not really sure why its part of the spatial engineering department cause im not an engineer although i feel like one sometimes when throwing my arduino against the wall. so this is done with a 3d system called Vizard which a new one to me but it seems it has been around for awhile. im not a VR geek i have spent more than half my life behind a monitor but real things like "getting a girl friend and socially interacting with real people, communicating etc..." where equally important but now that i have a wife and kid i guess its ok to geek out in VR world.

so the man that got me into 3d, in 1995 is guy named tom allain, he is more into graphic minimalism and minimal techno, its funny havent talked with him in years went buy his site and his home page hasn't changed in 15 years. really this guy is amazing has always been on another level. he would make the sickest rave flyers, people would pool ram together just so he could render a 18x24 poster on power pc 9500 or something. he used cinema 4d. its not what you use but how you do it. check out his real a bit outdated now seeings its 2009 but he has this amazing clean minimalist approach to 3d.

oh yeah going to give modo a try and see how i like, probably should stick with one system but keep hearing cool things about luxology will definatly give a report.

SteveElbows's picture
Re: blender vrs maya vrs vizard

Both Blender Game Engine and Unity have potential for sure, especially if you can get your head round the scripting. Ive toyed briefly with both because I wouldnt mind some realtime physics and shadows, but Ive decided to stick with Quartz Composer because I know it quite well and there is so much potential with the 3d and particles that Ive still barely scratched the surface.

If you have Windows, there is a realtime offshoot of Houdini called Touch Designer, which has quite a lot of potential and has some quite advanced 3D features, tons of potential in fact, but getting head round the user interface & jargon they use is not easy. (jargon not so much of a problem if familiar with Houdini already, which Im not).

franz's picture
Houdini !

Houdini, is, imo, by far the best 3D modeller + animator around (unless you're in the movie buisness, then you would stick to maya). Plus, it is node based, which is awesome. If you want to be impressed, just check the procedural city modelling tutorial....

dust's picture
touch designer vrs art of illusion

there is another node based procedural 3d app open source called art of illusion its similar to houdini in the node and procedural respect, its made in java. the touch designer looks cool, had not messed with it much. i defiantly like the idea of realtime 3d interactivity and stuff, thats what is exciting me about unity, the particles are pretty wicked. i know its a game platform but that does not mean you can't use it for artistic purposes, i know the indy version doesn't support video and stuff but you can always iterated through a vector of images which is kind of the same thing ? the realtime physics are nice, i can remember just crawling through domino simulation maya. shadows are still tough for realtime as well as light occlusions etc.. not say it can't be done but usually lighting is baked into a texture, and shadows are faked with a blurry blob. sometimes its better to just fake it. houdini for sure actually does some amazing things in regards to midi, phoneme's, and procedural audio synthesis etc... or as far as a 3d app is concerned, the animation is a bit lets say not intuitive. there are so many tools out there now it just up to what work flow is best for you.

Michael Neely's picture
Re: Houdini !

Procedural fx is where Houdini has it's strength in film. Maya is better suited for character stuff in comparison. Some shops have used Houdini for character modeling and animation, but this has not been the norm. Prepare yourself for a different approach to 3D if you use Houdini, however. Procedural can feel strange if you are not prepared for the shift in workflow.