Importing 3D models

Importing 3D models

Requires HitFilm 2 Ultimate.

3D models can be rotated and animated in 3D inside HitFilm, retaining full 3D geometry and not requiring pre-rendering in a 3D application.

3D models are saved within the HitFilm project file, so you may experience larger project filesizes when working with 3D models.

To import a 3D model, click the drop-down arrow on the Import button in the Media panel.

import button

Select Import 3D model, then select a 3D model to import. HitFilm supports .lwo, .3ds and .obj formats.

The 3D model properties window will appear with information about your selected model:


You can now customize the model before completing the import.


A preview of the 3D model is rendered in the window on the left. You can track forwards, backwards, left and right using the controls in the top right corner.

Left clicking and dragging in the window will orbit the camera around the model.


Some 3D models are built using groups. These are pre-defined parts within the main model which can exist as separate geometry. For example, the rotors on a helicopter or the wheels on a car.


During import you can specify which groups you want to have their own animation controls using the Groups panel.

Selecting a group in the list will highlight it in the preview. Checking the Individual transform property will create transform controls for each selected group.

You can also rename a group by right-clicking and choosing the Rename option from the menu.

Setting up groups can only be done during import. Make sure you define your groups at this stage as they cannot be edited later without re-importing the model.

Groups cannot be created inside HitFilm, they must be part of the original model.


A model's textures are listed in the Materials panel.


The properties of each texture can be adjusted either during import or at a later stage.


Diffuse and specular textures can be applied using the Diffuse Texture Filename and Specular Texture Filename properties. These will be automatically linked during import if the textures are found. The texture can be changed or relinked by clicking the ... button, or removed entirely using the X button.

To avoid having to relink your textures, ensure that all texture files are in the same folder as the model file itself during import.

Diffuse textures define the basic color of a surface.

Specular textures define the variation in intensity and color of the specular highlights on a model's surface.

Not all models will include textures. You can always assign your own textures using the materials properties.


The color properties are used to set up the default colors for the material.

The Diffuse color alters the base color of the material and will work in addition to a diffuse texture.

The Specular color determines the color used for the specular highlights on the material.

Here is a model without a specular color, showing no specular highlights at all:


Here is the same model with the specular color altered to a vivid blue, with the specular highlights clearly visible around the front edges:


Ambient color defines the color of the model under an ambient light source.

Emissive color allows a material to reflect an additional color. This is useful for 3D models that are simulating light sources.

Shininess defines the intensity of the specular highlight. A large value will create the specular highlights seen on a mirror-like surface.


The reflectivity properties work in conjunction with an environment map, which is defined once a 3D model has been added to the timeline.

Diffuse reflectivity take the colors from the environment map and adds them to the material's diffuse texture. This can help a model look like it is part of a composited scene and being affected by lighting in a shot.

Specular reflectivity uses the environment map to create a visible reflection on the surface. A high value will create a mirror-like surface.

Opacity determines the transparency of the material.

See Working with 3D models for more information on assigning environment maps.


The advanced panel contains additional controls for defining how the model behaves in HitFilm.


After adjusting the advanced settings the Update Preview button must be clicked to see the changes in the preview.

Coordinate system

Flip YZ axis can be used to alter the default orientation of the model. This is useful if the model has been built in software that uses a different coordinate system to HitFilm.

Center anchor point will ensure the anchor point is at the center of the model. This can be useful if the model is offset in 3D space.

The coordinate system can only be adjusted during import.

3D model units/scale

The scale of an imported model has to be adapted to the HitFilm 3D scene.

Auto normalize will scale the model automatically to fit within a cube 500 units on a side. This will ensure the model fits neatly within the frame of a default HitFilm camera.

If you are working with multiple models or multi-file models that have been created to a specific scale you should uncheck auto normalize and set the Single Unit Scale. This will ensure all models use the same scale.

The unit scale can be set using the drop-down menu and the value set with the slider.

The scale of a model directly affects the behaviour of ambient occlusion. Small scales will produce deeper ambient occlusion, creating the impression of a smaller model.

The model scale can only be adjusted during import.


In most cases the Normals properties should not be changed. Only alter them if the model is rendering incorrectly.

Normals are used to determine how light interacts with a surface.

In the event of lighting seeming inaccurate, with areas appearing dark when they should be light, activate the Flip Normals property.

The Generation Method can be used to create normals for models that do not have them, or to alter the existing normals. Auto smoothing creates a more realistic surface, while faceted produces a surface that highlights each individual polygon.

UV mapping

UV mapping determines how textures are applied to a surface. If textures are appearing inverted or upside-down, make sure you activate the Flip UV Coordinates property.

RECAP Some 3D model properties can only be set during import. Material properties can be edited at any time from the Media panel.