3D Alembic software

I have HitFilm4 Pro and I am interested the the 3d animation part of it. I am very impressed with Alembic animated files but trying find software that isn't a per month deal is hard. Doesn't anybody make abc file software that is a one time purchase? I am doing strictly as a hobby. If something can be edited now in some software I could care less if there is a new feature available in the future. I mean if a piece of 3D software can do it now that's good enough for me. Paying  $1,000's annually for a piece of software for a hobby is ludicrous. I hear about animation of 3d files is possible but what are the differences between animating 3d files and 3d Alembic files and editing of them. I guess being a hobby, if I can get decent animation from other 3d formats I guess I'd stick with that but I haven't really seen any examples of normal 3d files besides making a wheel turn or propellers turn.



  • Hello Hglider - inexpensive options are very limited at the moment.

    Hopefully alembic export will be possible from Blender soon. There does seem to be an unofficial plugin but not sure how well that works. Another alternative is Daz 3D which is free. There is a separate plugin which costs $90 but again I cannot vouch for it's functionality.

    I am trying to encourage Reallusion - makers of Iclone - to introduce alembic export but am not holding my breath.

  • HGlider Lightwave (one time license) supports abc files. Essentially an abc file contains all the animation settings for the 3d object that was animated. So think of an abc file kind of as a null. It holds all the animation information in the .abc file whereas the standard 3d object itself is just that, the 3d object. So for Hitfilm 4 Pro you would import the 3d object then drop it into the footage, then in the dropdowns for that 3d object you will see an 'animations' setting. You would then import a 3d animation in 'abc format' and drag it onto the 'animations' dropdown of that 3d object you imported. Then your 3d object is now animated.

    As @Toonarama stated talks and supposed support for alembic is going to be available for Blender this year which would be awesome. Cant say enough about Blender especially being it is a FREE full software. You might want to check it out and get used to using it and hopefully this year there will be alembic support. And it works well with Hitfilm for a camera solver as well.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Only caveat for Blender is Alembic was also announced for Blender in 2014-15. Hoping it comes out this year. 

  • Thanks. As as far as I can understand having Alembic animation in Hitfilm is a big advantage. I saw example of 3DS Max and was floored by the quality. I am almost 65 so maybe I don't have the time to learn. But to me getting the best software to begin with is key. Too many times I get software and the cheapest to begin with yet by the time I get one that I like I could have bought at least two copies of the final for the price I spent while learning.

  • For a hobby, you really can't beat the price of Blender.  So giving that a try would be a good start I think, as you can the figure out if it can do what you need for no cost at all, and maybe learn what other things you'd like that you can look for when considering other options.

    While Alembic support in Blender isn't that developed right now, it will be coming in the next release:

  • edited May 2016

    Found something...if users are feeling adventurous AND have either a dual-boot system with Linux OR a VirtualBox-type of software installed wherein they can run a virtual system of Linux. There is an experimental build of Blender with Alembic support...but it's only for Linux 64-bit. I have only just found out about this and have not tried this myself (yet), so try at your own risk.

    See here:  http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?399763-Dev-Linux-build-Alembic-I-O&highlight=alembic

    Hope this helps.

  • Pencilandinc There is a link for a windows test build too.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    'Bout time! Alembic has been on the "next release" list since 2013! Heck, FxHome thought Blender output Alembic when they added that to Hitfilm! 

  • edited June 2016

    @Triem23 "FxHome thought Blender output Alembic when they added that to Hitfilm! "

    Really? It would take less than a 30 minutes to find out it does not. DL, install and test. To test your apps Alembic import you would want to try output from various well known/used apps that support Alembic. Blender would fit that mold.

  • Does anyone still have issues with Alembic in HitFilm? I saw some threads a while back, I think it was to do with the scale upon import for the .ABC file or something like that, 

    Using 3DS Max for Alembic has been a pure treat, every modifier setup in max works perfectly in HitFilm. :)

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @NormanPCN I think FxHome got confused since Alembic had been announced for Blender in 2011 (my 2013 in the previous post was wrong) as announced here: http://www.graphicall.org/625

    And, in June, 2015,here : http://blender.stackexchange.com/questions/32478/new-xcode-wwdc15-export-from-blender-supported-formats-alembic-abc

    With this comment from Simon Jones in Nov. 2015: 

    Yeah, we were surprised that Blender didn't already have Alembic support. Seems like something the open source community would have embraced early on. Hopefully the devs will be able to implement it soon, at which point Blender will be a lovely companion app for HitFilm users."

  • I'm certainly not trying to stop you from asking for additional features. However, selling something that is faulty (“broken”) is clearly a wholly different class of action from selling something that works, but not as you need, and that is the distinction I was trying to make.

  • Hi,

    iClone 6 from Reallusion can export 3D assets into Alembic format.
    Only catch, you need also to buy 3DXchange 6 Pipeline in order to be able to do so.

    As an extension of this post, I wonder whether HF 4 Pro is able to read all the material assignments done in the 3D software and recompose the various material channels for each of the exported assets.

  • edited August 2016


    Lightwave 2015 supports Alembic... Haven't tried it with HF4pro yet.

    "Paying  $1,000's annually for a piece of software for a hobby is ludiczrous".

    Understandable, why I recomend Blender as great alternative.

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator
    edited August 2016

    LW export to Alembic and import to HF4 seems to be working fine.

    As far as surfaces - if your object is UV mapped, then all you have to do is go into the object properties in HF and re-find the texture maps.

    Again the catch to Alembic is to not have any extra polys in your mesh that were there when you created the alembic file in LW.  

    I ran into an issue with this when I brought in a LW object into HF that still had the skelegons embedded from Modeler.  Of course, Layout will strip the skelegons out of the object when creating the IK rig.   So after you animate and write out alembic for the object the skelegons aren't there and you get errant polys.  The solution is to write out a separate object without the skelegons from Modeler and use that in HF, and it will match the alembic file.

  • edited August 2016



    Had same issue with skelegons, gotta love them though.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    It would, but how much would that add in licensing costs? I can guarantee you the only reason Hitfilm doesn't write DNxHD or read PSD files is the license fees would raise the cost of Hitfilm by a hundred bucks. 

    This can be seen with3D models, too. Hitfilm reads 3DS, OBJ and LWO at base specifications. So the materials supported are based on file formats designed in the late 80's/early 90's. Things built for Vray (as an example) won't work. Vray material settings go far beyond base spec--and Vray is a proprietary third-party renderer, so, for Vray compatibility we're back to license fees and additional cost. 

    I don't have an exact number, but I know for a fact that every HF4 Pro license sold pays out well over a hundred bucks for things like AVCHD and Dolby Support, Mocha and Boris among other things nor mentioned. To put it another way, that $200 upgrade from HF3P to 4P makes more money for FxHome licensees than FxHome. 

    So I wouldn't count on ever getting LWS support. I'll settle for transparency and reflection/glossiness maps. Refraction maps if we ever get a raytraced renderer. 

    (side note--there are recent Wishlist requests for "physical shading." Yeah, Cook-Torrance is a physical shader. Oh, you want IBL? Try turning up Diffuse reflections and assign an Environment Map... Oh, look! IBL! Stop wishlisting things the software already has!) 

  • edited August 2016


    No argument from me, totally understand.

    Didn't mean to upset ya (side note thing)... Peace? I'll keep wishes locked in "hope chest" from now on. 

    Ok, all fixed (sorry about that).


  • Triem,

    How about exr support with buffers/aovs?
    Without it HF won't go beyond indie and compete with ae.

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator
    edited August 2016

    @chibi That support in After Effects actually comes from a licensed third party plugin called  ProEXR  and like the other stuff mentioned more licensing fees means a higher cost

  • Higher licensing fees is the reality of doing business. User backlash to higher costs is inevitable, however, end users can not except the world for free. This leaves many developers in a quandary.

    (1). Except that a package is an intermediary step toward something else which offers more advanced tools or related support (thats fine). The downside is customer retention, and moving to a competitors product. 


    (2).  Develope a package which offers more at the expense of higher costs (be it licensing fees and other overhead). The upside is you'll most likely retain customers who may jump ship for another package that's more robust in the future.

    No doubt... Higher costs hurt the entry level and hobby users. Trust me, I feel their pain, most of us began with the basics (and broke to boot).

    However, to hear end users from the professional side of our industry scoff at suggestions based on "higher licensing fees & other costs" is just plain silly IMHO .

    Anyway, I don't need to lecture you guys on CBA, Overhead Alocation, and other business related practices (I mean on our end).

    PS: Sorry, not trying to pick an argument or offend anyone .

  • @Sarasota I don't think anybody is scoffing at the suggestions. I know I wasn't I was just adding some information that if you think about has some implications. In this it was about OpenEXR which is an open project with licensing that allows anybody to implement it. Adobe chose not to. Instead they chose to pay license fees to a third party for a free, open project. This is Adobe we're talking about so you have to ask why in the heck would they do that? I have no idea but I'm sure it's more than a simple business decision

  • edited August 2016

    You can work with alembic models and animations in HFP for free. As long as your not using it to make money etc , Your free to download 3dmax  learning /student package for free.

    Think the way autodesk look at it. if you get a job are  start a studio then your going to use 3dmax licence version at a later date , good business idea 

    Then pick up a free copy of Daz and you can animate inside of Daz for free. Its easy to animate inside of Daz and  its ideal for a  hobby , you can key frame animations and export them as FBX to 3DMax and once in 3Dmax convert it to alembic and send it to hitfilm and your in business.

    Now saying that Alembic can be very good , But its just as good to use a green screen in daz and export the video footage direct to Hitfilm and  then use the chroma key you can also do the same with game engine environments . Just have to think outside of the box and experiment , I made these three animation using hitfilm and alembic and green screen imports along side cryengine which is also free.








  • edited August 2016

    Aladdin: I was speaking in general. Honestly, HF4 does everything I paid for, not complaining... Sure, I'd like to see new features and I'm willing to pay for them. However, this doesn't mean I'd drop HF if they don't. FXHOME provides an invaluable set of tools, regardless of future development.

    That being said, I'm very sorry for being touchy in my last reply. Although I have my opinions, it wasn't fair to jump on Triem's reply the way I did (please forgive).

    Adobe?  Last thing I purchased from them was PS-CS6 (right before they went "Rent-A-Center" with their product line). 

    "This is Adobe we're talking about so you have to ask why in the heck would they do that?"

    Hmmmm... Greed?

  • @Sarasota ;

    Hmmmm... Greed?

    Hmmmm indeed........It's Adobe, OpenEXR source code is free and open but instead of exhibiting true greed by adding it in on their own and charging for it they're paying somebody else for it cutting into their profit margin. That tells me there is something very difficult about implementing it and they don't want to deal with it. 

  • edited September 2016

    Aladdin: Whatever the reason, you can bet it's to benefit they're bottom line. Purchasing  a competitors product and shelving it, or, paying them to slow development are all ways to reduce competition (a little underhanded).

    It could be an issue with implementation, anyone know an Adobe developer who could answer this off the record?

  • Blender 3D 2.78 RC is out with Alembic support. Didn't test it yet, but it sounds amazing.

    Source: https://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Ref/Release_Notes/2.78

  • @Messen Sweet! Hopefully they get it stable and working so I can start making animations and using them in Hitfilm. But I think I might wait till it becomes a full release. Don't feel like working on something for hours on end only to have it crash on me and a slip of the mind causes the last save point so far back ya might as well start back from scratch. :) Thank you for the update on this though, I am going to keep a watchful eye on it and maybe even ask around to see if there is major crashing bugs with 2.78.

  • I've completed two very simple tests with the Blender 2.78 Alembic export to HF4P and it works great.

    Only bugs I've found are that the Blender export progress bar does not update in real time. Oh and it may take a minute or two to export an animation with a model that has a two million + faces.

    Next I'll need to run some tests with a fully textured model but that may wait another week or so, till I fully heal up from my Werewolf... cough, cough, accidental, regular ole, run of the mill, non Supernatural Dog bite. :)

    Super exited about this. :) 

  • Thought I'd mention 3Ds Max and Maya (as well as all other Autodesk software) is free to students... so if you know child with a school email... you know what to do ;)

Sign in to comment

Leave a Comment