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File SOP - automating FBX export for games

I've found myself using the File SOP a lot to export series of meshes for import into a game engine - in this case mostly Unreal Engine 4. It tends to be really useful to have a File sop at the end of your network, so Houdini updates a series of assets every time you change something in your SOP network and cook it out again, especially as game engines tend to automatically pick up on the changes and reimport those assets.

 

However, while this tends to work okay with .obj files it's a lot more awkward with .fbx ones. Unreal tends to be quite picky about the .fbx formats it will read and if I go through the File > Export > Filmbox FBX route then I get a dialogue that allows me to specify the .fbx export settings and set it up to be a format compatible with Unreal. That works fine! But if I want to automate mass exporting within my sop network using File sops, then there doesn't seem to be any way of actually configuring the FBX export options. I thought perhaps they defaults you set up in the FBX export dialog would be used, but they're not.

 

So I can either laboriously go through and export every FBX file by hand, or I can get fbx files spat out by the sop network automatically, but they are not readable by Unreal.

 

There's got to be a way around this, surely?

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You have the Filmbox FBX ROP in /out. Probably not as automatic as you want, but you could wire a bunch of them together so you only have to click one button to export everything.

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Thanks, it's just the kind of thing I was looking for. Unfortunately, I don't think I know enough about rop networks to make this work - using a single fbx node to export over a frame range just writes out all the objects I'm after into a single fbx with a vertex cache, which isn't quite what I was hoping for. Trying a more laborious set up of having a separate fbx node for every frame and setting it to render across a specific frame range (of one specific frame per node) kind of works if I trigger them individually, but where I would expect to be able to wire them up to a Merge node and have them all render at once, they do, but they all only render the final frame for some reason.

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Can Unreal read Alembic files yet?

There is also a MDD option for output as well if Unreal supports that.

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