I am curious ... Blender

Well, I’m trying to catch up with all the new things that I have missed over the last year … and that includes advancements in my 3d modeler - Blender. There is a new beta version Blender 2.80, and looking at the new features - which have been described by at least one person who creates tutorials as making Blender “like a new 3d modeler”. it raised some questions in my mind

So I’ve downloaded and installed Blender v2.8, but there is, as far as I can tell, no stable Babylon Exporter to use with this new edition. However, it can export scenes in the gtlf/gtb format (and import as well). Now looking at this new forum, I have been impressed by the number of times I see people talking about using this gltf/gtb format, and a question immediately popped into my mind - will that make the old style exporter obsolete?

The gltf/gtb exporter also will export “shape keys” and I’m not sure how BJS will handle them. I see there is a Playground demo for handling “morph targets” which to me are the same thing… So can BJS handle this gltf/gtb shape key export and animation … and how? I know in the past that @jcpalmer had a special “Tower of Babel” exporter and code for doing this.

I realize that Blender 2.80 is still in a beta version, but I want to get a head start - and there are so many changes that I am finding, that my memory of past Blenders seems to be over-riding the new features - old age memory blocks :open_mouth::smile:

just a few thoughts/questions about where Blender and BJS are heading. Are there features of gltf/gtb that BJS can not handle?

cheers, gryff :slight_smile:

Hey! I know that @JCPalmer is working hard on the new exporter for blender.

In the meantime, regarding your questions: babylonjs supports shape keys and that’s why we can load them from gltf.

.Babylon file format is not obsolete as it is far more complete that gltf (physics, shadows, particles etc…) But it is a propretiary format where gltf is like jpeg for 3d

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" I know that @JCPalmer is working hard on the new exporter for blender."

Ohh David, I’m sure Jeff is - known him a long while - and he is very dedicated to the task, but you know that. I guess that Blender 2.80 represents a big task - just like I’m finding this new version a whole new approach - have to double tap the “A” key to deselect all just for starters.

Old habits die hard - or maybe I’m not as adjustable as I used to be :open_mouth::smile:

And as 2.80 beta is not a final version and things will undoubtedly change, it must be tough for Jeff. Still it gives me the opportunity to try the gtlf exporter - and the shape key possibilities intrigue me.

cheers, gryff :slight_smile:

I’m so glad you’re back

The morph targets which the glTF exporter makes from shapekeys is also done by the .Babylon (JSON) exporter. Those keys are the entire mesh, and cannot be isolated to groups by key name. Whatever can be done with them from a .glb can also be done from a .babylon.

TOB can have multiple groups of keys, in the same mesh, that can be morphed independently. The Morph targets approach is implemented on the GPU, which probably limits having keys that are only some vertices. Also being on the GPU requires that they take up attribute / or uniform resources. There are limits. Not sure if you can have that many. I use 24 for the face alone & 4 for eyes, & 10 for each set of fingers.

For face, there are also derived keys for each expression, and each viseme. These can be combined on the fly (or saved as well) for speech.

I would probably eliminate those keys I was not using in a production work to save file size, but that is easy as long you do not save the .blend afterward. TOB is also far more compact. The other formats do not even assign their keys to be relative to the basis value. This reduces file size, especially when a vertex does nothing (value exported would be 0). If a vert goes from 23.05 to 23.75, it would be expressed as .6 not 23.75.

As far as other differences between .glb & .babylon, @Deltakosh is right .babylon is more complete than .glb. Some of note:

  • For 2.80, .babylon supports much less rigid node structure for materials. Have also thought of supporting their rigid nodes, but only once all else is done.

  • .glb results in a PBR material, I think. There is a switch in .babylon / JS exporters to generate either a standard material or PBR material.

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@JCPalmer : Thanks for your input Jeff :slight_smile: I only got interested in gtlf/gtb because you were still working on an exporter for Blender 2.80 which is of course not yet complete (if such a thing exists in programming anymore). I wanted to try and get a grip on the new Blender approach - including keyboard shortcuts, materials and “collections”. I don’t envy you trying to sort out changes that have to be made to the BJS exporter - given the current changes to Blender, and what might change again before the “final” version.

I think I have found at least one bug in the version of 2.80 that I am using - just has an impact on window subdivision, so should not interfere with exporting.

Do you have a simple shape key example so that I might experiment with shape keys and TOB. I’ve seen your head talking example but I would like to play with something a little easier that my poor coding skills can easily get a grasp of :open_mouth::smile:

And thanks to you and @Deltakosh for pointing out that the BJS exporter and your TOB is more inclusive than the GTB exporter.

cheers, gryff :slight_smile:

I do. They are actually made by you. One a tablecloth, I sort of transformed into a flying carpet. Here is it in the scene.

Another was testing multiple shapekey groups in a single mesh, which might not be as useful, since only TOB has groups. Here isit’s scene.

As far as experimenting with TOB, I have not published in over a year. It is being updated to version 2.0. Will only export from Blender 2.80. It is not ready. Many breaking changes.

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@JCPalmer TY Jeff - I’d forgotten about the little scene I made :grin:

I will use the carpet scene you created to try to understand what is going on :smile: It will be one of three items on my agenda - getting to know Blender v2.80, shape keys and a little project that popped into my mind over Christmas but not to do with Santa and reindeer though !

cheers, gryff :slight_smile: