Will this 3D model work in HitFilm 3?

RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out
edited December 2014 in Post-production techniques


Totally new  to 3d models.   Please look at this model:  Sewing machine. 

How can I be reasonably sure that his model will import into Hitfilm3.

Also I am going to want to make some of the sections of this model "work".  That is, I want the yellow wheel on the back to spin,  And I want the sewing machine "needle" area to go up and down.  Finally I may want the two foot pedals to go up and down :)

Would I make those modifications in Hitfilm3 or would I need to import it first into a program such as Blender?  Also I assume i can import the obj file into Blender, even though it was created in 3dsmax???




  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited December 2014

    Animating any part of the model will be dependent on how it was put together and exported. When importing models in HF3U there is a set-up window that will list each part that the model contains. So if the yellow wheel isn't listed seperately (I presume it wouldn't be called 'yellow wheel') then you can select that part using a checkbox provided next to it's listing which will allow you to animate to your hearts content. If the model was designed as one piece then animation won't be possible.

    I would recommend contacting the Gentle Giant folks and ask if the model is capable of being animated per the parts you want. Better to check before dropping $50 on a model that isn't what you want.

    And yes, since it lists an obj file in the specs, it will import into HF3P or Blender just fine.

    If you know enough about Blender it's possible you can modify the model yourself to get the results you want.

    Simon's tutorial on importing 3D models will give you an idea of how 3D models work in HitFilm. It's a tutorial for HF2 but the process has not changed in HF3. Also, Simon's new tutorial on Unified 3D space shows an example of importing 3D models in HF3P with animated parts.

    Hope this helps.

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    It certainly does help, StormyKnight.

    I've already set a support ticket to the model site and was able to ask it "intelligently" after looking at Simon's so excellent tutorial.

    While I await their reply I'll check out more of Simon's model tutorials.

    It's good to know, at least in this case, I probably won't have to learn "Blender" to get what I want -- it looks like it's all within Hitfilm...!


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,278 Ambassador

    Let me just add this this tutorial as well:

    I'm going to discuss my workflow for importing models here. In terms of use of software, the tutorials cover everything, but you'll see Simon load his model and pretty much always bring it right into his demo shot. I don't recommend working like this. Read on:

    When I import a model into Hitfilm, the FIRST thing I do is check for animation groups.Once the model is brought into Hitfilm, I can't change these, so it's important to get them right. Also, you can right-click an a model group and rename it. So if you have a stupid group name like "group 32," it can be changed to "right propeller"

    The SECOND thing I do is go into the advanced tab and decide on my object scale. The scale you import an object at (normalized vs 1 unit=1 pixel/centimeter/inch/etc) changes how it's ambient occlusion is rendered. So, once I define my object scale, I commit to loading and drop it on a timeline to look at BEFORE I do textures. The reason why is because you can only change animation groups and model scale on initial import, where I can change textures and materials at any time. I don't want to spend 20 minutes adjusing materials then discover that I brought the **** model in at a bad size and have to start again!

    The THIRD thing I do at this point (assuming I brought my model in at the correct scale) is go make to the media panel, and click the settings cog for the 3D model--now I go back and adjust my materials and textures. This is also when I'll adjust ambient occlusion, turn on cast/receive shadows, etc.

    The FOURTH thing I do is go into my model composite shot and do animation groups for things like rotors and propellers.

    The FIFTH thing is point rigging: Create a point and link my model to it. If the center of the model is off this is when I adjust World Transform>Anchor Point (for a car, the Anchor point needs to be at the base of the tires, center of bottom. For a helicoptor the anchor point should be just below the main rotor, since that's the center of rotation for the coptor, etc.) This is ALSO where I think about rigging secondary elements. For your shot, this would be the missiles on the wings. For Sci-Fi ships this might be thruster. if the model has, say, guns, this is when I'll add points for muzzle flash or laser origin effects. The point being it's easier to think ahead and pre-rig at a 0,0,0 position and 0,0,0 rotation before animation than having to add points to a model that may be at a strange angle or position in the middle of a shot. parent secondary points to the MODEL and not the point you've parented the model to. If I am doing a space ship or a jet, or something else that I know has jets, thrusters or something, this is usually when I will go ahead and create the particle systems for those elements.

    The SIXTH thing I (usually) do is duplicate my model a couple of times in the media pool. If I am doing a "Lights" overlay. I will also make  copies of the model with no textures and diffuse/specular color set to all black and all white. I do this because in Hitfilm 2 or Hitfilm 3 with the model in "2D" mode, I may need the all black/all white version for making mattes and masks. All these overlays then get placed in the composite shot with the main model and parented to the same point as the main model.

    Oh, when I refer to a "Lights" overlay, I'm talking about the technique Simon Jones discusses in this tutorial:

    The SEVENTH thing I do is add my basic effects stack to the model. Usually this is something like Curves, Color Balance, Light Wrap and Blur. YOu'll see Simon do this in the "Realistic Compositing" tutorial. In HFU2 or using a model in "2D" mode HFP3 these effects can be useful. In 3D unrolled these effects will sit there doing nothing, but it's good to add them as this point.

    Finally, I save this entire thing out as a Composite Shot in the same folder where the source model is.

    Setting up a model can sometimes take a while, and I'm lazy. All of the above step  are done before I even put the model into an animation shot. By doing these steps one time and saving the whole rig out as a composite shot, I never ever have to do it again... If I'm working on a new project with the same model, I can just load the composite shot and I'm ready to go!

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    Hi, Triem23,  I just finished checking out Simon's tutorial before I returned here and found your detailed suggestions.   All of this is starting to finally trickle into my brain.  And seeing how different people approach model prep etc is giving me (and I'm sure others lurking here) better understand the overall concept of all this!

    I'm also checking out Turbosquid which Simon mentioned in his tutorial.  So I'm getting lots of resources here!!!


  • chibichibi Website User Posts: 257 Just Starting Out

    I think its best to choose formats that hitfilm supports. Lightwave lwo files are a safe bet.

  • StephansBilderweltStephansBilderwelt Website User Posts: 523

    @Triem23 Thank you for explaining your steps to make 3D composition better. I think HF should ask you for permission to use it in there manual. 

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    Wow, @triem, that's some fantastic insight into your process, there. Whether you need to go to that level of detail depends on the nature of your work and the specifics of the project, but for models you'll be re-using or for which you're doing intensive work it's a great workflow.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,278 Ambassador

    Heh, already working on a tutorial. Oddly enough, I recorded all my import footage in HFU2. May bring another one into HFP3. 

    I will do this with particle systems as well. My ringed planet is a comp shot preset, same with my particle nebula. The explosion in Strike Wing is modified from my particle explosion in La Invasion: Westin Bonaventure, etc. Eventually you end up with your own library of original stock elements. 

    My Klingon D7 and Federation Starships are saved as full projects, including the photon particle system and the embedded comp shot for the photon textur

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2014

    Looking forward to your tutorial, Triem23 -- even if it is intially for HFU2.,


  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    Hi chibi (and others)

    I checked out squid and found another sewing machine which has much more information about how it was made, groups, etc.    Here's the link: Turbosquid sewing machine 

    Along with a image of the actual wireframe setup, Included in its description is:

    This is a 3D Model of a Sewing Machine.
    Modeled in 3DsMax 2010. Rendered with V-ray Adv 2.10

    Scene totals

    Objects: 139
    Shapes: 8
    Lights: 3
    Cameras: 1
    Helpers: 11
    Space Warps: 0
    Total: 162

    So I think I would be pretty safe with that model.  

    Any thoughts?



  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    I went to squid and put in a conversion request, prior to purchase.   

    So I will see what they say! :)


  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited December 2014

    Rowby - On the right side of the page (under "Included Formats") it lists the models specs. It would appear it is not animation capable.

    Triem23 - Thanks for sharing your workflow! Just a quick question on point #2: How does one determine how big or small to make the model for the best ambient occlusion? I did not know that scale had any effect on ambient occlusion. Good to know.


  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out

    Ah, Stormyknight,   I see that now.    I'll keep looking.

    Animated: No
  • VikingFilm65VikingFilm65 Website User Posts: 261

    Triem23  Thank you SOO much for your explanation about your workflow! For a newbee like me, and with the little time I have to play with HF3 PRO, it's of great help! Now and if you make a tutorial explaining and showing that process, that would be even better!

    SimonKJones  Thank you also for your newest tutorial, which I yet have to study, but will soon!

  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast

    No worries, @VikingFilm65! Always a pleasure putting these tutorials together. We'll have plenty more coming out through 2015.

    Outside of official tutes, I keep meaning to find the time at home to put together some more motion graphics/titling-focused tutorials, focusing specifically on recreating titles from trailers/movies/games/etc. Not sure if there'd be much interest, but could be a fun thing to do.

  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador

    SimonKJones - I'd be interested! That would be right up my alley with my work at the theater.

    Rowby - I can't believe Turbosquid doesn't have an animated sewing machine. Especially at the prices they charge!

    I tried a search for animated sewing machine models and look what popped up as #1 on the google list!


    Anyway, I tried 3dexport.com & tf3dm.com and found sewing machines but none of those were animated either. It also looks like 3D model sites share the same models in some cases.

    Hope you're able to find something.

  • RowbyRowby Website User Posts: 58 Just Starting Out
    edited December 2014


    Even though the sewing machine said "not animated" -- as it turned out it is animatable.  So I got my sewing machine!

    I downloaded the sewing machine from turbosquid -- after they did a conversion for me -- and it works!   That is, all of the groups can be animated.

    The nice thing about turbosquid -- this is my first experience with them -- I made a conversion request via a form they have and they did the conversion -- but said they could not guarantee it work work with Hitfilm3.  Since they did not have Hitfilm3 to try it out on.  But said if it didn't work they work give me a refund.  So they seem pretty fair about this.   BTW I did let them know they they could at least get the free demo to test it.  Perhaps they will do that if they get more Hitfilm3 requests -- or perhaps someone here at Hitfilm could contact them and make some arrangement.

    Now I have to go into hitfilm tutorials again and see how to do the animation I want.  Also I have to re-look at the tutorials where we see how materials are handled.    At least I now have my own "model" to work with.

    Why a sewing machine -- of all things?  We'll you'll all see what I hope to do with it after I get it to look like something!


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,278 Ambassador
    edited December 2014

    Turbosquid is pretty solid on customer service, tis true. 

    On thing about Turbosquid- - I think when they are flagging a model as "animation ready" they are referring to IK rigging or having groups assigned to animation within the host program the model was created for (i.e. Lightwave for lwo), which isn't quite the same thing as the model still existing as seperate poly groups that can be selected and used as animation groups in Hitfilm. As an example, I grabbed some architecture models from them. Obviously buildings don't usually animate, but most of the buildings still have seperate poly groups--I COULD select that castle tower, make it a group and make it spin, but that would be silly 

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