[Chimera-users] importing general 3D models into Chimera

Greg Couch gregc at cgl.ucsf.edu
Tue Sep 9 13:14:46 PDT 2008

On Tue, 9 Sep 2008, Jeff Triffo wrote:

> hi users,
> I figure someone on this list has run across this before. I have been
> using a modeling/CAM tool - Rhino - to generate a 3D model that I would
> like to import into Chimera, if possible. Does anyone have a "best way"
> to go about doing this?
> Rhino is a NURBS modeler that will export as .dxf or .dwg (AutoCAD), .ai
> (Adobe Illustrator), .fbx (MotionBuilder), .obj (Wavefront), .igs/.iges
> (IGES), .sat (ACIS), and .stl (Stereolithography). It also saves in its
> native format - .3dm - but that is a NURBS (openNURBS) format and I
> realize that Chimera does not render NURBS.
> Of the export options above, having limited familiarity with
> Illustrator, I am unsure what the nature of "3D" is in that format.
> thanks for any suggestions,
> -Jeff

The only general graphics file format that chimera imports is VRML97, 
a.k.a., VRML 2.0.  Chimera also has support for VRML97 Amendment 1's 
NurbsCurve and NurbsSurface nodes.  So ideally, you would convert your 
files to VRML97 with the NURBS nodes, but very few programs acknowledge 
that VRML97 has NURBS support.

We're planning to add support for X3D importing and X3D (a.k.a., VRML 3.0) 
supports NURBS natively.  So if you can generate a X3D NURBS file, I will 
work with you to massage that to VRML97 Amendment 1 and/or get chimera's 
X3D import working.  For conversion software, I'd recommend the PolyTrans 
software from Okino Computer Graphics, http://www.okino.com/, because it 
understands the Rhino .3dm format and can generate X3D output with NURBS 
(and Okino has academic pricing available!).  And if you ask, they might 
even add in VRML97 Amendment 1 NURBS support for what they already support 
in the X3D output.

 	Good luck,


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