Video Copilot - Tools for Digital Artists
Exporting 3D Objects for Element 3D

For pieces to be accessed as separate, editable pieces in Element, they need to have separate materials mapped to the polygons. In most 3d applications you can drag a new material to the pieces you need to be separate in Element.

Giving each object it's own material in the full 3d app then importing to Element as an .obj or C4D file, allows them to be adjusted and separated in Element. You can turn off pieces with the blue buttons next to each material. 

In Element V2 you have the option to automatically link textures to your material by loading an MTL file with the obj file. Most 3d programs have an option in the obj exporter settings to export an MTL file along with the obj. The MTL file is basically just data telling the obj file where to pull texture files from.

Put the obj file and mtl file in the VideoCopilot/Documents/Model folder so that it shows up in the Element Scene Setup Model browser. Select the model and and import settings box will pop up with options. Once you hit ok, the model should import with the textures linked to the corresponding channels. If you are importing from C4D, see next section.


Exporting from 3D applications and settings

Objects need to be exported as an .obj file

Triangulating Objects before Exporting

Element auto-triangulates models that aren’t already triangulated. Performance will be increased with the model Pre-Triangulated.

Surface Normals

Make sure that all polygon normals are facing the correct way.  If the Polygon Normals are backwards they will appear as invisible.

UVW Coordinates
Make sure that the UVW Coordinate information is being saved out with your obj. This is usually a checkbox in the export settings. This is the information telling the program how to map materials.

Smoothing groups
Make sure that the smoothing groups information is being saved out with your obj. This is usually a checkbox in the export settings.  Without this, the model might look blocky.

Auto Normals & Edge Threshold
If your program does not have an
export setting for smoothing groups,
you can try using Auto Normals
and Edge Threshold in Element to
try to get a smoother look. 
3D Object Troubleshooting if your
model does not look as expected.


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