Is 3D A Total Waste Of Time? :-)

cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

Every couple of years I try to experiment with animated 3D characters, sketchfab, mixamo, daz, makehuman etc.   So far each time I've concluded that 3D is way more trouble than it's worth.  But I'd like to be wrong...

I'm currently expanding my understanding of Hitfilm and thought I'd give 3D characters another go.  Just want to import an animated character in to Hitfilm, put them on a stage, play around and see what I can learn.

The same problem always appears immediately in every 3D app, importing.  I'll try to import a couple dozen 3D models or animations, and they either don't import at all, or they import but then don't work at all.

Obviously my ignorance is a major obstacle, so perhaps you can help.  Can you direct me to any animated 3D character which you know will import in to Hitfilm?

If you know that a file works in Hitfilm then I'll know that if there is a problem the problem is me.  That would be a really good start.

My impression from previous 3D adventures has been that there is no reliable data transfer standard for 3D so every file  is a crapshoot.   As example, Hitfilm imports FBX.  Ok great, but that tells me nothing about whether a particular FBX will import correctly, and it seems most of them don't.   This scenario has been true in every 3D app I've tried so far, so it doesn't seem to be a Hitfilm problem.

3D character animation in Hitfilm.   How do I get started?







  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,632 Enthusiast

    I remember you asking this question last year or so? Short answer is no...3D is not a waste of time.

    But.....let us KISS.

    Watch @FilmSensie newest instructional on the topic using Mixamo models and animations. That should get you started.

    Now...there are thousands and thousands of models out there. Yes..some are a crap shoot but ALL can be made to work in Hitfilm but may require using another 3D application such as Blender to "massage" the model so it will import properly into Hitfilm.

    3D is an animal and is simply not point and click so the learning curve is HUGE if you have never worked successfully with 3D modeling. Took me 2 years to wrap my head around .fbx, .obj and .lwo and still much to learn. I'm much like you I suppose...I was totally clueless to 3D models and Hitfilm 5 years ago and to some extent I still struggle at time. I found that not giving up and try, try, try, try again usually ends in success...but not without serious heartburn at times ?

  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Posts: 3,155 Expert

    @PhilTanny I made this video just for you. When you get a chance, please do me a favor and try it out and then let me know how it goes...

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Hey guys, thank you both for the videos.   

    @FilmSensei - thanks doubly for the personalized video.   I've watched, and will download to ensure I have it when I need it.  Your video seems clear enough, and I appreciate your effort, but honestly that's a lot of steps just to find out if a model will import and work.   Not your fault obviously, as it seems you've made it as simple as it can be.   For me, the value equation just isn't there.

    @GrayMotion - you have a good memory!  I only barely remember my earlier whining on this topic myself.   I hear what you're saying about sticking with it, and that has worked for me (finally) in Hitfilm.   But for 3D it just seems a LOT more work for a LOT less benefit.  

    But hey, there's this.  A little known fact about Blender is that it's the work of Satan.  I don't know if you'd heard that.  :-)

    Not sure I'll live long enough for this, but it seems the solution for me is just to keep waiting for the 3D industry to mature beyond it's current primitive state.  So set your watches, I'll probably be back again in three years to post these questions again.  :-)

    Sorry to take up your time with this.  I keep hoping that the 3D industry will grow up, and I guess it's just not time yet.  To me, the chronic inability to make something  as basic as file transfer simple and reliable just ain't excusable.



  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Posts: 3,155 Expert

    @PhilTanny In your original comment you asked...

    "Can you direct me to any animated 3D character which you know will import in to Hitfilm?"

    That's what I did. I am certain that any character that you choose and any animation that you choose, which would be literally thousands (if not millions) would in fact import into HitFilm. Then you said...

    "...honestly that's a lot of steps just to find out if a model will import and work."

    Personally, I completely disagree with you... I don't think that is a lot of work at all. Importing a 3D model and making it look good is not like copying a sentence from Notepad and pasting in Word, or loading a jpg that was made in Photoshop into MS Paint. Quite frankly, given how complicated models are, I think that it is crazy easy to import a Mixamo model into HitFilm. In fact, I would say that it's amazingly easy!

    Of course, this is coming from someone who twenty years ago painted every frame of a three minute video to make lightsaber effects. It took approximately forty-five minutes to make one second of footage... per lightsaber! The video took several months working every minute of my spare time to complete. Now you can just slap the Lightsword Effect on, keyframe it, maybe mask some parts, and your done. I could have completed that video in less than one week with the current version of HitFilm... and it would have looked three times better!

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Hi @FilmSensei,

    Yes, again, I apologize for dragging you in to my confusion.   Thanks to your assistance I've realized I'm getting the cart before the horse, a classic newbie mistake.   There's a LOT about the 3D space I need to learn in Hitfilm, and I should do that before diving in to 3D models.  Your videos about shadow casting also were helpful in bringing about this realization.

    So I've started a project where I create a 3D stage with simple planes, add the cartoon man I animated in Puppet, will add lights and shadows, animate the lights etc.   I'll work on such projects until they seem easy, and go from there.

    I'd be happy to engage in a philosophical conversation about the 3D realm, and interfaces in general, as such things are one of my obsessions.  I'm a little reluctant to go fully in to rant mode though, as it sounds like I already did that.

    Best I can do briefly is to invite you in to this thought experiment. 

    If you had to learn Unix to put up a web page, would you consider that an advanced or primitive interface?   

    Unix is very powerful and complex and it takes a good bit of skill and experience to master it.  So on one hand we could call that advanced.  But, for the vast majority of the market a point and click CMS like Wordpress would be far more useful.  

    Sketchfab and Mixamo show  that some  segments of the 3D market already get this and are working in that direction.  At some point their skills and mine  will proceed far enough where we meet in the middle.  

    You wrote, "Importing a 3D model and making it look good is not like copying a sentence from Notepad and pasting in Word..."

    That's true of course. 

    But it should be that easy.  Working with 3D should be just like working with  video and images.  You should be able to just drag the 3D model file on to Hitfilm and then start working with it.   And when that happens the market for 3D services will explode, because then bozos like me will find it inviting.  There are waaaaay more bozos like me than experts like you.

    So, this is my um, brief summary of the situation.  :-)  Sigh, my posts tend to be just like 3D, way too complicated!!  :-)

    I've saved your video.  I will get to it.  I'm just not ready yet.

    Thanks again!!


  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert

    @FilmSensei Have you heard that Mixamo is shutting down in the fall?  I seem to recall reading that somewhere recently and thought I'd bank a few animations I'd mostly likely use.  I just tried your instructions in the video and noticed after washing the animation through Blender you didn't specifically say "to export it back out as an FBX" is there a trick I don't know about that makes that uneeded?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,288 Power User
    edited June 2020

    @tddavis I don't see Mixamo shutting down this year. I see all the posts about Mixamo removing 2/3 of its functionality in August 2017. That doesn't mean it isn't happening, just that a Google search of "Mixamo shutting down" didn't return immediate response. 

    Adobe is killing Fuse this year. Fuze was a 3D modeling/animation program from the team that created Mixamo. That may be what you're thinking. 

    Typical Adobe. Buy something innovative, ruin it while deciding what parts to rip off and stick into After Effects, then kill it. 

    Get this - Adobe says they're killing Fuze because of issues with the newest Mac OS - the same OS causing Hitfilm issues. Windows? The same OS that broke everything on Mac? 

    Everyone on earlier versions of MacOS? Screw you, no Fuse software for you! We're Adobe! We won't let you install older versions of our software anymore because we got sued for not paying our tech royalties! Subscribe or we shut your software off! (Can you tell I have nothing but contempt for Adobe?) 

    Phil, Mixamo is useful, but it barely counts as a 3D app. It's a limited library of animations that hasn't been added to or updated since 2014*. All its other functionality was removed, (Mixamo used to have hand and face animations, let one store assets online, download the motion capture data for import into other apps) well, in 2017. But, as an "easier to use tool," that's like comparing an Instagram or Snapchat filter to Hitfilm. Hitfilm is certainly harder to use than an Instagram filter, but the Instagram filter does the one thing. Hitfilm lets one build unique things.

    *well, Mixamo did add about two dozen animations in 2017. Adding 24 to 2000 is... Not a big deal. 

    Hitfilm is a tool. Mixamo COULD have been a tool, but now it's a toy. 

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert

    @Triem23 Entirely possible I mistook something about Fuze as applying to Mixamo.  

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Just to clarify, should that be needed...

    None of my whiny complaints above have anything to do with Hitfilm.  I'm obviously a 3D nube, but I have used a number of different 3D apps, three months in DAZ for example, and simple tasks like moving a file from one place to another was a problem in all of them.  I've since discarded all those apps and am still using Hitfilm with enthusiasm.

    As for Adobe ranting, some of you may recall that when I first got started with serious video editing I bought one of their tools, which I used for about 2 weeks and then discarded.  Mistake!   Their support forum was about 4% as useful as this one.  One lives, one learns.

    I did pretty thoroughly research getting in to 3D animation using iClone from Reallusion, because I LOVE  one of their products, CrazyTalk.  The  bottom line turned out to be that you can't really do 3D animation on old Macs, or maybe any Macs.   And as my posts on this topic may illustrate, perhaps you can't do 3D on old brains either.

    You can run DAZ on old Macs, and I did for 3-4 months, but it's really a stills app, and not an animation tool.   You can animate in it, and I did for a bit, but in the end concluded it was more trouble than it was worth, for me at least.  

    I'm going to experiment further with animating using Puppet Tool, maybe a bit of 3D extrusion, some lights, some shadows, some exciting camera moves perhaps.   To spice things up further I can animate a face in CrazyTalk and layer that on top of the Puppet character.  None of this is really 3D, but it should keep me happily occupied for awhile.

    And don't forget, Blender is the work of Satan, use at your own risk!!!  :-)



  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,632 Enthusiast

    Ah...there's the Phil I remember!

    Phil..I feel your pain. It took me two years to realize that my 2013 Mac was just not made for 3D animations. Not enough horses under the hood for what I wanted to accomplish. In the end I did break down and buy a PC JUST for 3D work. It was a tough pill for me to swallow as I'm not a Windows fan by any means. If you asked me I'd say Windows is the work of Satan. ( philosophy).

    Please keep this in mind though. Hitfilm is not a 3D application nor do I think the developers meant for it to be. In reality in my minds eye (when it comes to animation and models) the FXHome team added a simple importer to help facilitate those who wanted 3D power in a VFX software. 

    You can do amazing things with Hitfilm as I'm sure you must know. Just don't try and make a horse eat a steak - just won't happen.

    Now - iClone...that is really any amazing piece of software but extremely pricey if you go all in...well above 3000$$ for everything you "think" you would need: such as the  ability to animate your own movements or use Mocap animations. Again...very pricey...but hey...that's capitalism. Get what you can for your troubles as there are plenty of fish in the sea. Right?

    One last thing - you and I will certainly be long gone before 3D is point and click and everything works with everything. Standardization is a pipe dream. I've been in comms (I build and activate fiber optic networks) for my entire life (60+). It is totally amazing that EVERYONE does their own thing. Part A won't fit part B. Our stuff is superior to all. You have to re-gear your network if you want to be like us. Bullpucky!

    Keep up the good fight Phil but don't rob yourself of knowledge just because it doesn't fit your expectations.  Knowledge is power and will benefit your sole when you ascend to the next level of existence. ( philosophy. To each their own...right?)

    Oh.... "bozos like me than experts like you".  We are all bozos. Expert is in the eye of the beholder. Part of that I'm better than you mentality the world has. We are all bozos. :-)

    I look forward to seeing how you progress. You never know when the light switch will suddenly turn on. You might just be one of them experts that can teach us. Anything is possible right? ?

    @tddavis - I found an entire library of Mixamo animations that someone put together. my minds eye it was all about the animation files anyways. If I find out where I downloaded them I'll let you know.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert

    @GrayMotion And you ain't wrong about Windows... especially in light of Gates' involvement with Coronavirus research in China and being big, big buddies with Fauci. And, oh, yeah, wanting to inject everyone with nanites...That's Mark of the Beast stuff, right there!

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,632 Enthusiast
    edited June 2020

    @tddavis "Grey" or "Gray" minds think a like eh? ?

  • alaska_vfx_filmer
    alaska_vfx_filmer AlaskaPosts: 556 Enthusiast
    edited June 2020

    Windows user here, Like above statments ^^ @!&#&\#! $#!+ I'd like to see somone try to make me get stuck with unknown pins without my consent!

    Back to thread topic, I have also bookmarked this thread and would like to add my thanks to @FilmSensei for the streamline tutorial.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast


    Ha, no philosophy?  No philosophy!!???   Well please read my 72 page post which explains my philosophy on that!  Seriously, I was born for text, not video, so staying clear of rant land is just one of the many challenges I face.

    Yes, iClone looks to be a very big deal in more ways than one.  It's probably good that I don't have the hardware for it.  And truthfully there is literally nothing I wish to do bad enough to dive in to the Windows realm.   But good for you for being a brave explorer.

    Imho, CrazyTalk is an excellent bargain.  The 3D version of CrazyTalk isn't so great, which is probably why they seem to have given up on it, but the 2D version is really a fine piece of software, particularly given the very modest price.   It's a good companion to Hitfilm also, as you can layer an animated head on top of a character and give them much more life than they would have had otherwise.   That requires some patient masking, but it does work.

    Can I teach readers anything?  Not so much when it comes to anything video.  I do think FXhome would be wise to create more accessible on ramps to their realm.  Puppet Tool seems a good example of that.  Simple, cheap, fun.

    As for philosophy, it has it's place.   As example, consider the web development realm.   Years ago simply having a web site, any web site, made one a star of sorts because it took a lot of nerd skills to put a site together.    What matters today is not one's web dev nerd skills, but whether one's site has content that is useful and interesting.  Nobody gives a $%^@ what you know about javascript etc.

    That's where I see video going too, and younger folks would be wise to pay attention.   As we progress people are going to be ever less impressed by your nerd skills, cause even geezer bozos like me can make videos.  All that's going to matter in the future is your art, what you have to say, whether your content is engaging and useful etc.

    Another example, pop music.  Some of the most successful pop songs are the simplest.   Beatles and Dylan songs often used only 3 or 4 chords that anybody could learn over a weekend.  It's the magic that folks want, not a display of one's technical prowess, which is really all about us and not the audience.

    No philosophy?  Sigh, sorry, that's even harder for me than 3D.  :-)

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Liam wrote, "Back to thread topic, I have also bookmarked this thread and would like to add my thanks to @FilmSensei for the streamline tutorial."

    Second that.  He did a great job with his tutorial, and I'm sure many will find it useful.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

     I'm watching another excellent Film Sensei video, this one about getting MakeHuman characters in to Hitfilm.  Very similar to the For Phil video, but also includes MakeHuman.   

    In the video Film Sensei launches Blender and then says...   "I'm just going to hit the A key to select everything, and then hit the delete key to delete everything."

    So I try it.   Hitting the A key does select everything.   Hitting the delete key does nothing.   Tried ten times, still nothing.   I tried various key combinations with delete just in case.  Tried the escape key.  I can't seem to find a delete feature in any of the Blender menus.   

    So, dead in the water on step one.

    I just installed the latest version of Blender today, and am running OXS 10.11.6

    I'm sure there is a simple solution to this, but have no idea what it might be.   Thanks for clueing me in!



  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert

    @clulessnube Are you making sure the cursor is in the 3D view window where you have everything selected when you hit X or Delete?  That would be my first thought.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Thanks for the tip TD.   Yes, I had to hit X.   Thanks for mentioning that, because I would have never thought of hitting X, you know, 25 years of Mac use and never deleted anything that way before.

    Ok, on to the next adventure.  Thanks again.

  • tddavis
    tddavis Posts: 5,221 Expert

    @cluelessnube You're very welcome. Blender is full of quick little one key shortcuts that once you pick them up they make it a lot easier.  But the delete key should have done it also as long as your cursor is in the active window.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Hi TD,  cursor was definitely in the active window, delete key definitely didn't work.  But, you know, it's Blender, so this is to be expected.  And now that I know about X key it doesn't matter.

    Just completed my first trip through the process.  Of course it didn't work.  It's 3D, something ALWAYS goes wrong.   Will start again from scratch to see if I can get better results.

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    Yup, as suspected, total waste of time, as usual.   On to the next project...

    Thanks for the good intentions of all involved.

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,632 Enthusiast
    edited June 2020 are really struggling sir. You may be right...3D is a waste of "your" time :-)

    BTW - the delete key in Blender for Mac requires the use of the function key ie. "fn delete" OR  "x return"

  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    @GrayMotion - first, a quick off topic thank you.   Your mention that you weren't interested in "philosophy" made me realize that a worthwhile challenge for me would be to shift my delivery mechanism  from text to video.  That inspiration could open new doors for me, so thanks.     But for now, we're stuck in text, so back to the topic.

    The explanation you've offered is probably the only one that can be accepted here, so that's cool with me, no complaints.  No complaints, but apologies, um, more text philosophy.  :-)

    Let's start with agreed upon facts.  It takes something like 27 steps in four different softwares simply to move a 3D model from one place to another, MakeHuman to Hitfilm.   So let me ask you this.   If it took something like 27 steps in four different softwares for you to publish your next post on this forum, would that be a waste of time in general, or just a waste of time for "you"?   Would you consider such a situation to be "advanced", or ridiculously primitive?

    Now some market speculation.   It seems reasonable to guess that for every expert 3D user such as yourself, Film Sensei, or Triem etc, there are at least 100 or maybe 1000 people such as myself.   So by defending the status quo of the 3D realm, and shifting all blame to users, what such experts are really doing is help limit the 3D business to a tiny fraction of what it could otherwise be.   Expert operation on one level, novice on another.  

    It's a very novice operation in another way as well.   All across the net nerd world (not just 3D) it is typically assumed without questioning that knowing how to do something and knowing how to teach it are the same thing.   From the perspective of professional educators such an assumption is a classic newbie mistake.   How many video experts have teaching degrees, or even realize that teaching is a profession which is hundreds of years older than anything having to do with video?  Few to none.  Again, a novice operation.

    3D experts pretty much insist on keeping all conversations on the level of the primitive technology because that's the level where they can present themselves as experts, which they are.   And so dialog on the subject remains stuck on the surface level, rarely touching the deeper business and education levels.  And that's why it takes 27 steps in four different softwares simply to move a 3D model from point A to point B.

    The problem I'm having is that I both know too little, and know too much, both at the same time.   

    But anyway, blah, blah, blah, who cares??    There's are LOTS of other fun things to do, so on with the show...

  • GrayMotion
    GrayMotion Posts: 1,632 Enthusiast
    edited June 2020

    "If it took something like 27 steps in four different softwares for you to publish your next post on this forum, would that be a waste of time in general, or just a waste of time for "you"?

    It would be a waste of "my" time UNLESS in my minds eye I'm convinced I need to do it to get answer that I cant find elsewhere. Would I like it...NO. Would I return often...NO.

    Again..I feel your pain. I say that from simpletons point of view. I use at least  a dozen softwares...Unreal, Mixer, iClone, World Creator and Blender to name a few. All are different. Do I like it?...not really BUT what all those softwares do for me is force me to use both sides of my brain which is a good thing (for me). 

    A side- My daughter shared an ink-blob of sorts with me and asked what was the first image I saw. I said a monkey hanging from a tree. She saw a lions face looking at a human face. Both were correct. Left and right brain.

    Now - I (we) are here to help you and others like you and I - I am no expert at 3D but rather I'm novice user but if I can help anyone else in anyway then that's what I'll try to do but - as I'm sure you are aware-  many do not have open minds to new ways. Once they are out of their comfort zone and decide it's just too difficult they give up or hurl insults at the way something works. Once that happens they usually self impose limits on their ability to "see".

    Although I'm not into philosophy that doesn't stop me from wanting to help you (or anyone) achieve what they want. So...please don't give up sir. If you need help...ask. It might not be what you want to hear ... but such is life eh? In the end the choice is yours.

    Now back to the task at hand. If 3D is to play any kind of role in your endeavors then don't give up. You are robbing yourself of knowledge that once learnt you will never forget. When in doubt ....ask.

    Rock on sir!


  • cluelessnube
    cluelessnube Posts: 515 Enthusiast

    @GrayMotion - thanks for your encouragement and comments.    And, I apologize to all for being excessively generous in sharing my obsessions.  We each have our life experience and like everyone else my life experience has focused me on topics which will not necessarily be interesting to those with a different experience.

    Anyway, the bottom line for me is that is not a job but a hobby.  Hobbies are supposed to be fun.  So when a hobby reaches a certain level of not being fun, there's no longer a point to it.   I would agree that I don't really need to inform everyone in detail when I've stopped having fun.  :-)   I can work on remembering that.

    One thing I've recently learned from you guys is that I don't necessarily have to deal with 3D models to work in 3D.   I think I'll focus on mastering Hitfilm's 3D spaces before returning to the topic of 3D models.

    Given your use of a variety of 3D software I'd be interested in following your adventures from a safe distance.   I'm particularly interested in iClone, even though we agree I'm unlikely to be using it myself any time soon.   So when you have projects you'd like to share, please do.