Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Paste models between 3D apps with this neat free tool

CG artist Oliver Hotz has released OD_CopyPasteExternal, a neat open-source tool that lets users copy and paste geometry and common attributes between 3D applications, without the need to export files.

The script currently works with Blender, LightWave, Modo, Maya and Houdini, and Hotz is looking for volunteers to help implement and test support for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, SketchUp, Softimage, UE4 and Unity.

Copy and paste geometry from one 3D application to another
Workflow is as simple as installing the script, using the Copy To External command in one 3D application to copy the current mesh into memory, then opening a second application and selecting Paste From External.

The demo video above shows Blender, Houdini and LightWave; this video shows Modo and Lightwave.

In most host applications, the script supports both polygonal geometry and subdivision surfaces or sub-patches; common geometry modifiers like weight maps and morph maps; and UV maps.

Less fully featured than exporting via Alembic, but simpler and more robust
Hotz likens OD_CopyPasteExternal to ZBrush’s GoZ live-linking system: a “a [simple] ‘fire-and-forget’ approach to moving an object between apps”.

While it doesn’t preserve poses or object relationships – or material, lighting, camera or animation data – as exporting a scene in an interchange format like FBX or Alembic would, it provides a much quicker workflow.

Hotz says that it should also be possible to extend the approach to applications written in JavaScript or Ruby.

The script currently uses a temporary directory on the local machine to store the intermediate ASCII file it generates, but Hotz says that this can be changed to use a network directory or Dropbox account.

OD_CopyPasteExternal is currently available for Blender 2.78+, Houdini 15+, LightWave 2015+, Maya and Modo 10.01+, although older versions may also work. It’s available free under an Apache 2 licence.

Hotz is also calling for volunteers to help create or test scripts supporting other host applications, including 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, SketchUp, Softimage, and game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity.

Read more about OD_CopyPasteExternal on Oliver Hotz’s website

Download the OD_CopyPasteExternal scripts from GitHub