Alembic Support, DAZ Studio & Octane Render

I'm really pleased that Hitfilm now has Alembic support. I create animations in DAZ Studio and render with Octane Render both of which export (and Octane can also import) Alembic format.

Is there any information or tutorials explaining how to use the Alembic format? For example, can I export an animated scene created in DAZ Studio into Hitfilm using the DAZ Alembic plugin, edit it in Hitfilm and then import it into Octane for rendering? Do you plan on integrating an unbiased renderer into Hitfilm?


  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,279 Power User

    I don't believe you can edit and export the Alembic data from Hitfilm. I believe the intention is to actually bring the animation to Hitfilm for composite and final output. 

    I can't speak for unbiased renderers (not FxHome staff), but my guess is it's low priority if on the list at all. While Hitfilm has some 3D capabilities and a decent, if basic, editor, it's primary focus is still composites, effects and grade. Unbiased renderers are still pretty much the domain of a dedicated 3D program. 

    But, I could be wrong. 

  • According to the Alembic site:

    Alembic Would Be Used...

    • ...To bake the results of an animated scene for hand-off to lighting & rendering
    • ...To hand off an animated creature for cloth or flesh simulation
    • ...To store the results of a cloth or flesh simulation for use in lighting & rendering
    • ...To hand off animated geometry to a physical simulation engine
    • ...To store the results of a physical simulation engine for use in lighting & rendering

    The problem I envisage is that the animation won't have the level of realistic lighting that an unbiased renderer would produce. If I  understand the problems associated with compositing 2D film with 3D models correctly then if the 2D film is an animated material playing on a plane in a 3D space, wouldn't it be possible to use an unbiased renderer?

  • Triem23
    Triem23 Posts: 20,279 Power User

    When compositing 3D objects with existing video in Hitfilm you actually have multiple options. Most likely the video layers would be straight 2D layers, possibly with transform data (scale/position) to frame up. Depending on the shot, there might be a 2D point track, an imported 3D point track, or a 3D planar track (Mocha). Video layers may also be 3D planes in space, and, of course there might actually be a 3D model environment, or camera projection environment, or even an environment wrap, depending on the shot. 

    While Hitfilm currently uses a biased render, the new Cook-Torrance physical shader, and indirect reflections/refractions lighting in 4 are a huge improvement over the Phong shader in 3 (and, of course, still an option in 4).

    For the record, unbiased renderers do have their own weaknesses (Caustics, for one). 

    There is no technical reason why Hitfilm can't add an unbiased renderer in the future, but there are complications.

    First, an unbiased render still has to somehow maintain compatibility with the existing renderer--otherwise projects from previous versions are locked out.

    There's a speed issue--unbiased render engines eat up a lot more resources.

    Hitfilm is designed around Open GL to maintain compatability with as many GPU'S as possible. I have no clue if Open GL can handle that. 

    FxHome is a small company, so, is there enough demand from enough users to prioritize that? I can't answer that. 

    Either way, an unbiased renderer won't be added to HF4, as that would be a major change to core code, and, during the Hitfilm 3 life cycle, when questions of physical renderers came up it was unequivocally stated core code changes won't occur mid-life. 

  • ESPictures
    ESPictures Posts: 521 Just Starting Out

    Don't forgot that you have options when compositing as well. You could render twice. Once with an unbiased render engine like Octane or Luxrender and then do an alembic export and add the model in to HF in order to interact with particles in the unified 3D space and change the blend mode, opacity, and masking settings to get the effect that you are looking for, as long as the cameras line up exactly.

    I work using a very similar workflow to you.