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Editing DAE & OBJ with Photoshop?

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After reading "Second Life Avatar meshes in AC3D and OBJ format" on the Best Tools and Scripts for Second Life page I discovered that I can load and edit OBJ and DAE files using the 3D functions of Photoshop CS5 and later. More details on Photoshops 3D functions at A Basic Guide to Photoshop’s 3D Tools. I have a LOT more experience wiuth Photoshop than I do with Blender so I'm interested in investigating this.

Has anyone here had experience in doing this, not only for clothes or skins, but also with creating textures for mesh objects?

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I use Photoshop's 3D paint features just about every day.  It's not my go-to 3D paint program, though.  I tend to use Mudbox to do most of the heavy lifting, since it's infinitely faster to work with, it's far more stable and reliable, and because it's a true 3D paint program, as opposed to Photoshop's oddball hybrid of 3D and 2D, it's just easier.  But Photoshop still plays a crucial role, in that it well supplements the weaker parts of Mudbox's tool set. 

For example, Photoshop's cloning and healing tools are far superior to those of Mudbox (or any other 3D paint program I've ever seen), and sometimes its projection-merge feature can serve as a nice sledge hammer, to solve certain problems by pure brute force, which can be a little bit trickier with the otherwise vastly superior projection paint abilities of real 3D paint programs like Mudbox.  (And of course, for working in 2D, Photoshop is second to none.)

It makes for a bit of an odd marriage, using both, since the interfaces are so different, and since Photoshop treats the very concept of 3D in a strange way.  But still, the two tool sets do fill in each other's gaps well.

If I had to choose only one 3D paint program, Mudbox would win hands down (as long as I still could use Photoshop for 2D).  But if Photoshop is all you've got, it'll certainly do the job.

 

Since your thread title was "Editing DAE & OBJ with Photoshop?", let me address that question as worded, before I get to anything else.  No, you cannot edit a DAE or OBJ file with Photoshop, nor can you use the program to directly edit a 3D model in any way.  You cannot alter 3D geometry, manipulate UV maps, assign materials, or change anything else inherent to your 3D model itself.  All you can do is paint textures onto the existing surface(s). 

Remember, no mater how many new bells and whistles get added to Photoshop with each new version, the program is strictly for image editing, nothing more, nothing less.  It just happens that these days, "image editing" now includes working with  textures directly on 3D models in addition to on 2D canvases.

In other words, you must complete your model, including all geometries, UV maps, material assignments, etc., BEFORE you bring it into Photoshop for texturing.  Photoshop is just for the paint job, not for the construction.

 

So, let's talk about Photoshop as a 3D paint program. It's a decent 3D painter these days, but it's got a lot of quirks to it.  While its (pseudo)3D capabilities have been getting steadily better since it first acquired them with CS2 (way before CS5, by the way), Photoshop remains a 2D application.  It will never be a true 3D paint program like Mudbox, Zbrush, etc.

It's important to be aware that when you import a 3D model into Photoshop, the model is embedded into your working PSD, which is a 2D document.  The model ends up on a "3D layer", which is sort of a pocket-universe of 3D space within the PSD's native 2D existence.  I know this sounds kind of confusing, but it's important to grasp the concept, as it does affect the way you'll work.

The fact that the environment is 2D doesn't mean you can't do things like move, scale, and rotate the model as if it were in 3D; you can.  You just have to make sure you're working on the 3D layer at the time, and that you're using the 3D manipulation tools, rather than the old 2D manipulation tools that you're used to.

For example, if you zoom in on the image via the navigation methods you're used to in Photoshop (ctrl+, ctrl-, scroll wheel, navigator panel, etc.), the model will start to look pixelated.  This is because you're zooming in on the image as a whole (because Photoshop is still Photoshop).  If you want to zoom in on the model itself, without changing the overall image magnification, you need to activate the layer the model is on, and use the 3D camera tools for that layer.

This slight disconnect between tool sets tends to confuse people the first few times.  But once the logic clicks, you'll find it's not a problem.  It's just something to get used to.

 

The good news is, because it's Photoshop, you've got the full arsenal of familiar tools at your disposal.  You can use literally every single one of Photoshop's tools to paint and edit textures, either directly onto a 3D model's surface, onto its 2D texture canvas, or both. As you work, changes you make on either the model or the canvas will appear on both at the same time, which is nice.

The bad news is, in addition to the aforementioned oddities that are inherent to working with 3D objects in a 2D environment, that there are also occasional memory usage glitches which can stop you in your tracks.  Every so often, you'll find that the changes you make on a model surface won't appear on the 2D texture canvas, or vice versa.  Once that happens, stop working immediately, because none of the changes you make will save.  You have to close Photoshop, and re-open it in order for things to work normally again.  The more RAM you have in your machine, the less often this will happen.  8GB seems to be the magic number.  If you've got less than that, expect the problem to happen often.  If you've got more, it'll be pretty rare.  Either way get in the habit of saving very, very, very often.  Seriously, hit ctrl-S like every 2 minutes or so, as you work.

 

Adobe continues to do its best to force-fit 3D into Photoshop's 2D existence, but at the end of the day, it's somewhat of a square peg in a round hole, compared to true 3D paint programs like Mudbox and Zbrush.  But again, if Photoshop is what you've got, use it.  It will do the job.

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That was very informative. Even though Photoshop can't made mesh directly it does have other uses, like creating textures the old fashioned way. It's not the only 2D graphics editor I know that plays with 3D models - I also have Manga Studio 5. I've also played around with "Fake Baking" and strange plugins!

But it's abundantly clear that even if Photoshop could do more, I obviously don't know enough about Mesh yet to know the difference. I browsed Youtube after I asked the question and found this...

...so there are probably better ways to use Photoshop here, like texturing the map made in that tutorial. I should probably go off and learn lots more.

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I've used it for clothes, household objects, and I made a mask last night.

Nothing like editing the 2d texture and seeing 3d results.  Can also edit directly on the 3D for clean up as the textures are not easy to follow always.

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Thanks for posting this. I just got the creative cloud version of photoshop.  I can open  dae and obj files but I am still struggling how actually paint on the models   for clothing and how that works;

One of the problems I am having with 3D feature in photoshop cc is  yes I figure out how to open the files but I haven't figured out how actually paint or bake   3D wise on the object most I have  been  able to do is paint on layer above the 3D object.

The problem with this is its only 2D I can't rotate  to back or sides I have  to do another entire layer which is bit of hassle.

I don't know how to do this yet.

What I hear is I have bake in blender. I have read there is add on  for sl in blender but it cost money and I am not sure if its worth it yet.

I paid years ago for av painter with my computer changes I can't get app to work now.

 I am still struggling with Blender. I even bought a book for it my brain not rezzed enough to get it.

Anything relating to Maya i.e Mudbox is way out of my budget.

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FD, if you're using Photoshop CC, painting on the imported model is quite easy (assuming the model already has UV's and materials on it). 

First, make sure Photoshop is set to use hardware acceleration.  To do that, click Edit -> Preferences -> Performance, and make sure Use Graphics Processor is checked, in the lower right quadrant of the dialog.  Also, click the Advanced Settings button, and set the drawing mode to the highest setting your computer can handle.  (If it's set too high, you'll experience lag as you paint.)  if you know your graphics card is super high end, then Advanced should work for you just fine.  But if it's midrange or low end, I'd suggest you start with Normal, and see how it goes.  If it's laggy, you may need to drop down to Basic.

Once Photoshop has been configured to use your GPU, you'll be able to paint on 3D models as easily as you paint on regular images.  Simply import the model, make sure its layer is active, and start painting. The paint should land on the model, instantly.

If that's not happening for you, then I suspect your model doesn't have any materials on it. Take a look at the layer stack. Underneath the layer that the model is on, you should seea sub-layer called Textures, and underneath that you should see your diffuse textures, bump maps, etc.  If those aren't there, then your model needs to be fixed (in your modeling program).  If they are there, and you still can't paint, then I'm stumped for now as to what might be the problem.

Assuming they are there, double-click on one, and the texture image will open up as a PSB file.  That's your 2D texture canvas.  You can add layers to the PSB, paint on it, apply filters, whatever you want, and the changes will show up on the model.  Conversely, as you paint on the model, changes will also show up in the PSB, all in real time.

By the way, if you need to be able to paint across seams, make sure you've got your brush set to projection mode, rather than texture mode (3D -> Paint System -> Projection).

To rotate the model, grab the move tool, and drag it around.  You can also roll, pan, and zoom by changing the 3D mode in the tool settings bar at the top of the screen. 

For added control, open up the 3D panel (Window -> 3D).  This will show you a hierarchical display of your scene contents, similar to the Outliner in Blender or Maya.  When you have Current View selected, the Move tool rotates the whole scene.  If you select the model, you'll see a manipulator and bounding box appear in the workspace, and you can then move, rotate, and scale the model itself.

 

As I said earlier, Photoshop isn't the best 3D painter on the planet, but it does work pretty well.  If it's truly not working for you, maybe tell us a little more about what's going on, and we can try and hunt down the problem.

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I think Chosen Few hit all the relavent points.  Here's  a picture view of what i use.  Below I painted on the 3d model and it shows up in 3d and visa versa as Chosen mentions.

1. To be able to move the object.  Sometimes your arrow has to be outside the white box for the movement tool in 2 to work.

2. Movement tools rotate , zoom etc.

3. Paint on model directly

4. Texture you need to double click to open up 2d.  I prefer to paint in 2d and look back at the 3d model for the results.

just paint then click the 3d tab back and forth till you reach desired results.

If the lighting bothers you you can move it by selecting the light bulb in this case just by her neck( white circle) and moveit around.  Once you move it go back to area 4, double click the 3d layer and a box opens up.  Click environemnt, the the 3d movement tools will be active again.

3d Paint Area.jpg

2d upper.jpg

2d lower.jpg

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Thanks for responses. Its nice knowing you're still around Chosen Few.

I paying all fricking money for CC and I keep running into walls perhaps brain isn't rezzing properly.

I am not sure if I got proper uvs or not.

I have obj dae files that I want to draw on even though I bought a book on blender I still don't understand it.:(

Thanks too NealCruz, I hope I  am spelling your name correctly I can barely see it.

I think I need to more sleep I will re-read what you guys said and try it again

 

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FD Spark wrote:

Thanks for responses. Its nice knowing you're still around Chosen Few.

I paying all fricking money for CC and I keep running into walls perhaps brain isn't rezzing properly.

I am not sure if I got proper uvs or not.

I have obj dae files that I want to draw on even though I bought a book on blender I still don't understand it.
:(

Thanks too NealCruz, I hope I  am spelling your name correctly I can barely see it.

I think I need to more sleep I will re-read what you guys said and try it again

 

i've had the same hurdles over and over.  Your not alone in trying to figure stuff out for hours.  Personally I loathe Blender but many love it.  I have a cube obj i made for photoshop i can send you to try in Photoshop so you can see textures etc.  Just PM me.  I did find a cube example of Blender but have not followed it.  Blender tutorials drive me nuts because the menus never line up as they change them but this may help.  Making really good UVs is an interesting challenge and there are many tutorials on it in Youtube.   I use ZBrush but many use Blender, Maya, or other.  For now I dont need super clean UVs so you may just focus on getting your creations up and then refining as you go.  

http://tech.pro/tutorial/757/blender-tutorial-basic-uv-mapping

 

 

Heres one I did using Zbrush and Photoshop.  Be glad to send you the OBJ to play with in Photoshop.

cube example.jpg

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I have trying to figure out different 3d programs like in world mesh studio, just recently Wings 3D and there this browser version 3d program that is in beta called Clara.io but the easiest so far but still struggling with actual texturing part is mesh studio but I don't know how to make textures for the objects or get it to work.

I literally sat there few days ago and struggled for hours in 3d part of photoshop trying to just figure out how to get uv maps flat and be able just paint couldn't get that to work..

I am more often these days staying on my virtual sim ala simonastick but I have been coming around more in sl few days a week.

I miss the enviroment, friends and learning which I can't do on my own.

Big problem with the 3D in Photoshop CC is I can seem to get the flat UV texture maps to even texture. I literally can't get the program to do it be with clothes, skins or objects. I don't know why or how. I have watched every video I could figure out and I can't figure out that part.


I have been trying and failing for 10 years to use Blender, its just not intuitive program to me and even with the book I got on it last month even the introduction says learning Blender is hard most people get discouraged and give up on it.

 

I don't remember how to private message people here with the new forum set up.

Nevermind I figured it out.

Sending you my email. I would love to see the texture/obj file NealCrz send it to me.

 

BTW  in order to do meshes on any of these programs be it clothes, skins or whatever does it need something other than uploading to second life? I see lot about Avastar is that program really required for Blender and avatar meshes?

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FD Spark wrote:

I have trying to figure out different 3d programs like in world mesh studio, just recently Wings 3D and there this browser version 3d program that is in beta called Clara.io but the easiest so far but still struggling with actual texturing part is mesh studio but I don't know how to make textures for the objects or get it to work.

I started another thread about this called in-world versus external sculp and mesh makers? because I didn't know either. Have had some interestng feedback on the question. Not mentioned was an in-world maker  I discovered late called Mesh Generator by the same folk who make Prim Generator. There's a free DEMO version where you can play around with with two prims at a any one time, but I haven't had the time to look at it properly. In any case it seems that this and also Celzium also you to define texture areas by painting groups of colours on faces. I may be mistaken there but it seems to be the case.

I have been trying and failing for 10 years to use Blender, its just not intuitive program to me and even with the book I got on it last month even the introduction says learning Blender is hard most people get discouraged and give up on it.

You're not the only one. I have tried on several ocassions to get into learning Blender and GIMP, but in both cases the GUI seemed to be a major obstacle. This may have changed for the most recent versions of both programs. I know the layout for Blender is different now. With Blender the ability to cut seems and make texture maps seems to be a basic function. It's mentioned in the 2009 edition of Blender for Dummies book (luckily in my local library for free) and is probably in the 2011 version as well..

Nonetheless, it's always better to have a choice of tools to do the same choice, as some may have advantages over other in certain situations. For example I have Paint Tool SAI, GIMP, Open Canvas, Photoshop CS6, and Manga Studio 5. They're all good drawing programs but SAI and OpenCanvas are better on my laptop, Manga Studio is a breeze to draw with, but Photoshop is Industray standard.

The last time I used Wings 3D it was to edit a model generated by DoGA! It seems capable enough, but all the free 3D design programs (like Truespace, which is now freeware) have a learning curve and the only way to learn them is to spend time fiddling about.

- - - -

Coming back to what I asked in the first Chosen Few, will the same techniques listed for Photoshop CC also work for CS6?

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Yeah I am  still struggling but I feel like I made dent today. I don't know. Then I tried to do my avatar with obj mesh file  I found on sl and hit bunch of walls.

But I sent you a several files of progress I made with skirt. Made few mistakes though.

Thanks for your help NealCrz.

I bought mesh studio and new book for  Blender last month but still struggling with it.

Downloaded wings3d too but that all major pain

I haven't tried truespace yet.


I really can't spend anything more until I get handle what I can. Plus I really need make more money before I start investing in more expensive stuff.
 It just doesn't seem reasonable for me spend more on something I am  going struggle and not be proficient at.

I spent last 5 years working on my illustration skills on 2d level. I just wish I could translate that to 3D.

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Oh btw here is what I am currently doing but no clue how to do transfer it to mesh and the middle not finished.

Still trying to figure it out. This is my real face based on photo of side of view of myself with illustrations. I don't have really good photos I can use for this except side view.prntscrn of my real face avatar attempt

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FD Spark wrote:

I really can't spend anything more until I get handle what I can. Plus I really need make more money before I start investing in more expensive stuff.

 It just doesn't seem reasonable for me spend more on something I am  going struggle and not be proficient at.

I spent last 5 years working on my illustration skills on 2d level. I just wish I could translate that to 3D.

I understand the financial limitations very well. You are better off learning than buying I guess, because it may be that the tools bought aren't needed. That's why I started that other thread. I've put off investing in in-world tools until I finish my Masters. As regards 2D illustration skills, I should have thought they'd be usefull in creating textures. Good luck with it.

 

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Optimum Actor

Thanks for starting the thread. I really appreciate it. It gave me opportunity to learn few thing plus Neal helped me some.

I am not sure if I am totally able to do meshes but I did do some with Neal's guidance.

Problem with my textures is its hit miss. I did entire 1 prim house where I texture inside and outside but it really looks really weird. The texture paintings look all pixelated.

My friends are all harping I should do meshes...

I have mesh envy but really frusterated with the 3D program attempts I have tried.

 

Here is what I did last week to my 1 prim house textures. actually with unfinished texture map furniture its 4 prims You can see them here https://my.secondlife.com/fd.spark

 

I would love to figure out how to do this newest take on my face on avatar but the obj mesh look really weird every time I try.

But let me share what I did do right today.

Its not mesh yet. Its second version of my face.FDSparksDoodleshisFaceposterreallyjpegnow.jpg

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BTW  in order to do meshes on any of these programs be it clothes, skins or whatever does it need something other than uploading to second life? I see lot about Avastar is that program really required for Blender and avatar meshes?

Clothes have to be rigged with bones so they move.  Avastar makes it easy.

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At this point I can't even figure out how to open a dae or obj file and actually use blender.

Maybe when I figure out how to actually use blender without wanting to rip what little is left of my hair and I will check out Avastar,

I spent several hours trying last night to do something and I couldn't get even files I wanted open in wings 3d.

Tried it in Blender and I think I got file to open but  I couldn't figure out how to navigate there.

Need read and watch more videos, practice more too I guess.

Plus I got to figure out this whole  avatar  bone thing.

Thanks for  the help.

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FD Spark wrote:

At this point I can't even figure out how to open a dae or obj file and actually use blender.

Maybe when I figure out how to actually use blender without wanting to rip what little is left of my hair and I will check out Avastar,

I spent several hours trying last night to do something and I couldn't get even files I wanted open in wings 3d.

Tried it in Blender and I think I got file to open but  I couldn't figure out how to navigate there.

Need read and watch more videos, practice more too I guess.

Plus I got to figure out this whole  avatar  bone thing.

Thanks for  the help.

I hate BLender with a passion but use it because of the  tutorials SL people have posted.  To get a DAE/ or OBJ into Blender you Import it not open it.   When Blender opens hit X to delete the box thats there, then File - Import

When not rigging making things that are like objects, I just import OBJs and exportto DAE. For some reason Blender does a better job of exporting to DAE so I dont get errors uploading to SL as often.

Mesh Rigging and weighting with Avastar

http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avastar-5-mesh-rigging/

 

Uploading a model to SL (you have to do the SL.com mesh agrement to be able to do this)

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Uploading-a-mesh-model/ta-p/974185#Section_.4 

 

To upload to the beta grid so it's free while your testing uploads use the Aditi Grid (have to do the mesh agrement again)

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mesh

 

 

 

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