Using Blender With HitFilmExpress

yonargi
yonargi Website User Posts: 2 Just Starting Out*

I'm new at this so bear with me. I am making a Christian seminar, using a Blender-made "doll" as the speaker, and she will have about 7 presentations which I hope will be in HitFilm. Besides speaking, there will be quotations up beside her and various clips to add interest and to illustrate her presentations. My question: Will the technology between Blender and HitFilm allow me to do this? I don't want to put a lot of time and energy into something that won't work. Thanks in advance for whatever counsel you can give me.

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Answers

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    Ok, the short answer is Hitfilm and Blender work together quite well, and there are several tutorials on the FXhome channel covering Blender/Hitfilm workflow.

    The long answer is more like are you using Hitfilm Pro or Express, and, if Express, do you have the 3D Models add on? You'll have different options depending.

    Blender can render your "doll" animation to an image sequence with a transparent background (if you're planning on adding your background in Hitfilm. If you have a background in Blender you won't need a transparent background). Image sequences from Blender can be loaded into Hitfilm like any other image sequence. Once in Hitfilm you can add further effects, text, etc.

    If you want to keep your model 3D and render the animation itself from inside Hitfilm there are options for this as well - but you'll need the 3D model add-on. You'll have to make certain you've exported your model from Blender in the Alembic or FBX file types with the animation data in the proper format.

    There is an export script from FXhome that can help shift Blender data like nulls and cameras to Hitfilm. Largely unimportant of you haven't animated a camera move in Blender.

    If you're in Hitfilm Pro the new FBX camera import/export can help move camera data between Hitfilm and. Blender.

    If you're a skilled/semi-serious/serious Blender user your best bet is to go to owmycgi.net and buy a copy of "Filmer." Filmer is special version of Blender re-coded by our own @spydurhank which has an entire panel of Hitfilm specific tools to help you prep and export your Blender scene to Hitfilm. Frank (spydurhank) has also coded a bunch of custom shaders and speed enhancements into Blender. His Filmer builds tend to render significantly faster than official Blender builds and Frank's been known to add features to his build before the Blender Foundation adds them to Blender.

    I'll let Frank talk a bit more about his baby, but, Filmer is the best tool for integrating Blender and Hitfilm. It takes out a lot of the extra messing around needed with a stock Blender build.

  • yonargi
    yonargi Website User Posts: 2 Just Starting Out*

    Thank you for the short and long of edifying me. I have copied it off and will study it carefully. Thank you so much.

  • spydurhank
    spydurhank Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 3,169 Expert

    Wow... Deja Vu... am I stuck in a loop? Na... not today I'm not. 🤣

    Thanks for the kind mention and sharing the love Mike @Triem23 I appreciate you. 😀

    Hi @yonargi and welcome to the forums, My name is Frank, it's very nice to meet you. 😀

    The short answer is yes, you can use Blender with Hitfilm, I know because I've done all the ways that were available in the past and in current times, oh and I've also also created many of my own. 😀

    Here's the long answer with real experience.

    Traditional and industry standard way is to animate in a dedicated 3D application Like blender then render out passes as 2D image streams/sequences and composite them together in your compositing app which in this case is Hitfilm Pro or Express. This is probably the easiest to do and maybe the simplest way to wrap your head around it. Seriously... a 3 year old could do it. 😀 Traditional and industry standard means that the Pros use 3D assets built with high standards.

    Second way which is far inferior to the first, is to import your 3D assets into Hitfilm, then animate and composite there. In this case and if you're using 3D assets which were built with poor techniques... standards are low to non and anything goes and the mentality is fake it and hope that no one notices. How your shot turns out depends entirely on the quality of your 3D assets and how they were built and your understanding of compositing concepts. If you have a low quality game engine model from say... Blendswap or Sketchfab... you're gonna have to do a lot of extra work to get it to look good. so knowing how to model, texture paint, shade, light, group and animate from scratch is mighty helpful because you'll be able to either repair or at least tweak a 3d model so that it looks better. If you're going full Hitfilm then don't expect realism as Hitfilm's render engine is more like a Game engine and although powerful in the right hands, there is no actual Ray or Path tracing happening so things are not gonna look as you would normally expect to see in the real world... although I do have some techniques that can fake very well the illusion of Ray or Path tracing for lighting and shaders in Hitfilm. Still need to make a video on that. But if you import a 3D model which was built by a professional who knows how to specifically build 3D models for any 3D application as well as Hitfilm, then that model is gonna look really, really great in Hitfilm minus the Ray and or Path tracing.

    The third way which is my way. Using my custom coded version of Blender named Filmer for Hitfilm... is far, very far Superior to the two before mentioned methods because I combine the first two methods with my own real world artistic background, concepts and ideas which are sprinkled all over the FXhome forums. I have a much higher artistic standard and I don't lower that for anyone so I build all of my own 3D assets. Here's a bit of what and how I do what I do below...

    I can export any 3D scene including animations of any kind, back and forth from any 3D application or program that has an actual 3D space/world like Hitfilm. My technique allows for mixing/compositing of 3D scenes from multiple 3D applications and compositing programs so that render passes from game engines like Unreal, or Unity, and dedicated 3D apps like Maya, C4D, 3DsMax, Lightwave and Blender can be composited with render passes created from the same 3D scene imported into Hitfilm while still allowing for live interaction with lights, shaders/materials and textures... and you have the obvious benefit of adding effects onto either the actual 3D scene and or any or all of the render passes.

    This pic is using my technique of combining path tracing render passes from Filmer with Hitfilm's render engine

    This pic is only using Hitfilm's render engine combined with my compositing hacks and fake path tracing.

    This pic shows the model in Hitfilm's 3D viewport as well as fully comped.

    in the next pics you can see my technique a bit better. The render passes and my fake path tracing and compositing techniques make it look better than if it had been done in either the Filmer/blender or Hitfilm programs alone.

    Here are a few before and after pics from a different project.

    Here's a screengrab from a Skype chat where I showed a buddy of mine how I do my stuff.


    No, no... I'm not a mad artistic scientist or coding wizard, I simply have a scrambled egg, swiss cheese brain due to brain damage so don't be intimidated by any of this. I have brain damage so I made everything simple for myself and it revolves around my concept of art and art is easy... been doing art since I was C-sectioned out of my mom... I was born with Art, music and mathematics in my soul. I love art... Love it with all my heart. 😍 Yeah anyway, my point is that I made it so simple for myself because I have a simple way of thinking about things that I can teach it to anyone... no matter what their background is. Only the the most ornery and biased of people will not get this... like, you'd have to seriously go out of your way to hate my guts to not understand what I'm teaching. Good thing everyone loves me on these forums. 😍

    Here's a link to my website. Take a look at the renders posted on the homepage... just scroll down and you'll see the type of 3D Art work that is possible with my techniques.

    This page has a bunch of breakdowns and walkthrough videos showing my process over the years.

    This page has a bunch of livestreams and or one on one video instruction and people asking me general vfx questions... and stuff.

    Here I picked two videos for you, showing my process and technique.


    And because I'm a nice guy, here's a link to FXhomes Blender camera exporter. But this comes with some warnings for you because there are problems with the FXhome script. For sure try it out but keep reading to know what problems that will arise if you do. If you're not exporting a camera then you don't have to worry about anything below. I'm just saying this because I've been doing this for over a decade so I know by heart all of the ins and outs of exporting from Blender to Hitfilm because I'm the one that actually created all of the methods, techniques and requirements for exporting from Blender to Hitfilm which are sprinkled and scattered all over the Fxhome forums. So when you're ready for questions, I'm the guy to ask.

    If you go with the Free exporter linked directly above... you're gonna have to go into Blenders User Preferences and make sure that there are "absolutely no other 3rd party addons activated" because there is some code in FXhome's script/addon that breaks Blenders export functionality and it also breaks other 3rd party exporter addons. Easiest way around this is to go to Blender... I have a list for this but I need to find it because it's on an older computer.

    File>Defaults>Load Factory Settings.

    Then save by going into

    File>Defaults>Save Startup File.

    Then go into,

    Edit>Preferences>Addons... from here you can load and activate the Fxhome exporter addon script.

    Again, make sure that there are no other 3rd party addons activated just to be sure because it'll break things in your copy of Blender.

    The one addon that you really need to watch out for the most and it's very important... is the After Effects exporter because the FXhome script breaks it and vice versa if they are both activated at the same time. So just remember that if something goes bonkers after or during export... reset Blender to Factory settings and re-install the FXhome script. The reason for this is that the Fxhome script is almost an exact copy/duplicate of the Blender After Effects script so they both contain a bunch of the same After Effects code snippets and this is why the FXhome script breaks Blender functionality. It's not just FXhome's script that you have to worry about though because other 3D party addons also break each others functionality as well so that's why I mention that you should load Blenders factory settings. It is the safest way to have no problems.

    You can then if you really must... activate any other 3rd party addons, one at a time and export till you find the addon that is giving you problems. I've done this one at a time with every addon which was free and or purchased... and so has @tddavis I think but it is a rather annoying chore to have to do by hand.

    @tddavis who is one of my very own Filmer Beta testers can confirm this. He ran into this problem during one of our VFX hangout Skype chat sessions which I'll track down and upload at some point and as soon as I have a bit more time. I tracked down his problem in just under three minutes and had him up and running in no time which the problem happened to be the FXhome script above because Terry had the FXhome script installed in his Beta build of Filmer/Blender. All he had to do was uninstall the FXhome script and his copy of Filmer was exporting properly again.

    Anyway, my Custom build Filmer/blender doesn't have any of those problems because most everything is coded into the ui with c++. My exporter is also a bit more advanced as it can now export motion blur and depth of field so that whatever camera settings are made by the user in Filmer, are exported correctly into Hitfilm and used by Hitfilm's generated camera.

    I keep all of my code including exporters updated daily as in, I wake and clean up, make some coffee and update and test my code and exporters with Blenders Source code which is also updated daily with bug fixes and or new features.

    Both of the Blender built in fbx exporter/importer and the new Hitfilm camera exporter/importer are missing some important functionality that I as an artist require so I'm writing my own Filmer exporter/importer for fbx cameras which are exported out of Hitfilm.

    I haven't released a new Filmer build with my updated exporter code but that will happen sometime this month in October, probably on the 17th which is my 49th birthday. So it'll be a nice present for me and everyone else. 😀

    And like I tell everyone that asks me to fix their problems in Blender,.. the answer is Filmer. 😀

    See... I started this comment hours ago but I'm also on Discord and talking to other folks... ahhh, sometimes I can't just focus on one thing... stoopid brain damage... oh and I'm watching an old show called "Almost Human" need to focus. 😀

    Yup... I'm a nerd. 😜

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 19,933 Ambassador

    @yonargi yeah I should have just said @spydurhank is probably the leading expert in the world on Blender/Hitfilm integration. 😁