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Blender Fluids To Max Format Script


maxfluid.jpgMark Theriault has written a neat script for Max users to take Blender fluid sims and bring them into Max.

You might be thinking: "I already use Blender exclusively, what can I do with a script that takes Blender fluid sims and brings them into 3DS Max?" Honestly? Unless you are using Blender in your production pipeline with Max, probably nothing. But if you are using Max, and have been using Blender every so often, this might help you on your way to using Blender just that much more.

From the site:

BlenderFluids2Max: An importing script I wrote because I was amazed that Blender had fluid simulation. I searched and searched and no one wrote one to get it into Max. So I wrote one. It also includes a script that was written by someone else to get the fluids out of Blender as an OBJ sequence and my script brings those in and adds animation to it. I don't have a tutorial yet but one day I will get to it. It's really system heavy so use at your own risk. It eats RAM for dinner. For real.

The script (zip) comes with a python script exporter (the .obj exporter) and a max script to import the information into Max. The site also has an example video from Max showing the results of the import. It's great to see Blender-only tools getting Max users to want the results importated into their for-money program!

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. Timothy Wallis on

    I really think theirs a problem with this else 3d max is now open source. Yes its nice for other people but what about for blender. If we just give our really cool features to non open source applications as plugins we will lose any advantages we had over other 3D applications.

  2. I agree with Timothy, Blenderheads need to be wary of having their work 'exploited' by others using commercial programs. This is the second raid on blenders coool bits. The first was UV unwrapping. Ok nice that people should recognise Blenders tools are better than those avialable to them or there is a freely shared solution if they don't want to spend major $$$ but how about preserving some dignity in the process.
    Is it not possible to protect Blendes integrity somehow?
    Perhaps they could be required to show Blenders logo in credits or something.
    I am sure coders see themselves as working for the community rather than unpaid plugin makers for Max.
    Its sorta like leaving your hard saved for car on the side of the road only to have the wheels flogged.

  3. ...but this is Open Source!

    What you ask is a sort of Creative Commons :)
    And you can't put right on your creation!
    You can export fluids, but it's your fluid creation, your creation.
    If you should have to put a Logo on every can I export on other render engines having to show that I have modeled with blender? And isn't just a sequential obj export?
    And... didn't we want more and more people using blender? ...also combined with commercial solutions...
    Have a nice blending!

  4. No i was asking that Blender be given credit for its tools being used in a production.
    so handbag by Widgets, shoes by Whatzit and fluids by Blender.
    OK publicity for Blender so more people use will people know Blender is the source of the fluids calcs....they look at his work and they think it is all from Max.

  5. Please, I know this post is again very realistic, but refrain from deleting ;)

    This is the crux of open source - especially in the rare case when an open source application is actually as good or even better in some ways than commercial counterparts.

    If you have made your program GPL once, you have sacrificed your past, current and future ideas forever. That is not normally a problem, because most open-source apps are just cheap wannabe-clones of established commercial apps.
    Though, Blender has a problem: it is incredibly exceptional in terms of quality: I know of *no* other example in the open source world where a single application is that powerful, stable, and actually comparable to commercial software.
    Take a look at the audio field: I've been working in the pro audio field for roughly 8 years and used a LOT of software (well, and hardware). ALL open-source audio applications I've tried so far are - I'm sorry - total crap. I won't mention names, but any look I took at - say - open source sequencers or audio editors - made me laugh, then cry, then press the big "Delete" button. I don't care how often the authors stress that their programs are "professional" and that "professionals worldwide" use them. They have useless, slow or chaotic interfaces, announce stuff that any "professional" would consider basic core functionality as "Highlights", and have no documentation.

    Blender has everything a commercial app ought to have: An insanely good interface, usable documentation, an insane amount of features (which are stable and work)... So, no wonder that people using commercial software often take a jealous look at it.

    Ton (and a few others) is working his ass off and does it in an admirably consistent way - even though the only thing he gets in return is - fame. I would bet he sometimes regrets having made Blender GPL - because no matter how well he does his job - most people will always point a finger at Blender and say "haha, look, it's free, it MUST suck.". Too bad they're wrong!

  6. You people don't understand that this is what the developers want! Its kinda funny but maybe they should make there intentions clearer to some. The developers of blender would love it if everyone made blender a big part of their work pipeline - and the bigger the part the better. Who knows, maybe this will "render" (=)) some 3dsmax 2 blender converts.

  7. Thanks to Mark Theriault for this nice script. I test it and it override the normal Wavefront Exporter. If it is possible, it would be nice if the script get its own link for exporting fluids to obj sequences. I cannot understand why someone is angry about the possibility to get stuff out of Blender?! That makes Blender to what it is - a digital revolution from humans for humans. I hope there will be more projects like Elephants Dream to payoff the hard working developers and artists around Blender.

  8. I don't think there's any loss here- autodesk/max can't copy blender fluid sim internally because the gpl protects blender- they could only do so legally if they wanted to gpl max itself. what I see here is something very cool, using blender in a pipeline playing nice with other apps. I think this is an oppurtunity to get blender out to new users, and not a problem for blender at all. If blender was bsd licensed, yes, autodesk could incorporate the code internally and not give anything back- but we don't have to worry about that at all.

  9. I agree with Bassam, and what is more, autodesk already owns the Maya fluid sim, so why on earth do we need to fear that they are taking something they don't already have? They have it already guys, and a system that will sorry to say kick blenders systems butt. I think though that it is a great boost for Blenders Development and for Ton and the rest of the Developers for creating a tool that now sooooo many people want to get their hands on!

    WE should be proud that someone has found a way to further incorporate blender into the bigger picture, I mean make it more appealing for studios to at least consider incorporating into their tool set.

    Just say thanks that someone has taken the time and energy to add another feature that once again anyone can use. One that makes 3D accesible to anyone, which is what Ton first envisaged! My two yen!

  10. yeah, I agree with the last comments. If a max user says "wow, Blender has this great feature" it's a good thing.
    It's a sign of Blender being taken seriously by its competitors.
    Hollywood's CG pipelines use several software packages, not JUST MAYA as many people tend to think. They use Max, XSI, ZBrush, Messiah, etc.
    If Blender gets between those names it will be great. Even if it doesn't make it as the main tool.

  11. Well no one provides me with an explanation of why they removed my second post - so for the new year I call you moderators wankers...

    Guys I think you are all living in a silly fantasy. Blender is not competing with any big names and never will. Clever bits are being picked over for free yes.
    The only way Blender has this license is because it was a condition of sale - for all purposes it was rendered worthless by the original owners. Even ton admits he had no idea how it would pan out with the Foundation or the Dutch govt funding so I don't think you can say it is how he envisaged it. It was hobsons choice and Tons determination.
    Personally I will would not contribute code to Blender and especially not groundbreaking ideas purely because its use really can't be controlled in a wider sense, sorry guys. I am fine with blender for Blenderheads but not bits here and there for Max or Maya or who ever. GPL is a rather unfortunate pit to be stuck in in some ways.
    I hope the year gets better as we go along...

  12. Timothy Wallis on

    Do you guys really think that this plugin will draw more people to blender? All people are going to do is say, if they even notice that is part of blender, "O it was made in blender thats nice" and then they will go download the plugin. The reason for that is because, they are not going to spend time to learn a new application so they just can do fluids or UV they will just use the plugins. It wont help blender in the movie making world.

  13. The thing that will help blender is professional looking work that comes out in 2007. People will say wow did you see that ocean scene. Man the credits said blender :)

  14. yup ccherret I agree, pro looking work in 07... thats what I have alluded to at BlenderArtists in the 'whats wanted after 2.5' thread and that got me into trouble there too.
    Stability, refinement, quality artworks and credits to Blender....but no people get septic about it...I guess I am alone in looking at the Blender world a different way...
    later all

  15. I personally have always been a firm supporter of Libre/Open-source software, but even I have no complaints about this plugin. It's not a crime to like Max, though of course I prefer Blender. If someone wants to make a plugin to export from Blender to Max, then more power to him. It's HIS time and effort, not yours. He wrote the code himself, it's not like he's ripping off code from Blender's internals and giving it to the Max people (I would have a problem with that). Personally, I don't think it will cause people to make a switch away from Max after they've spent so much money and time with it. But I do think it will give Blender more credibility and exposure. For example, look at the Snog post on CGTalk by @ndy. When Max and Maya people look at a cool render and then hear that it was made in Blender (of all programs) then you can almost hear them thinking: "hmm, I didn't know Blender could make stuff like this..."

  16. Big Fan, while you've had some interesting things to say in the past, what you're saying is totally ridiculous. I'm shocked that you could think that making Blender accessible for more people to use is anything but great, let alone 'raiding'. How could it possibly be a bad thing that more people are finding Blender useful. There's no war between Blender and other applications, and it's ludicrous to despise people because they choose to use different tools AS WELL as Blender.

    As someone who actually *has* contributed to Blender, be it code or otherwise, I'm extremely happy that more people are being able to make use of it. That's the whole point, it's out there openly, free for anyone to use, and if more and more people are doing so, that's just great! In fact soon I'd like to make a series of 'Blender in a pipeline' tutorials to encourage just this sort of thing.

    And if you do think every other 3d application should be extinguished from the face of the earth, there's still no reason to be angry at this. A huge part of how Linux gained the relatively wide adoption in the professional world that it's getting now, was just like this. Companies or cities didn't just decide to switch everything to Linux overnight, it started off as just a single mail server in a network, or a firewall, or a dual boot here or there, and once people found that it was benefiting them, they got into it more and more. If Blender is going to make substantial inroads into the wider professional community, it's going to start like this, with people using Blender in a pipeline for specific tasks that it excels at. See Zbrush for a more CG related example.

  17. @Big Fan: as it was so easy to come up with the insults; it's taking rather long to come with the apologies.

    Yup, the worst thing that can happen to a developer is people using their application.
    In my opinion using tools should be about the results not about the using. So,... If somebody creates an incredible experience for me then I don't give a crap what tools he/she used to make that possible. Life is about results, not effort!
    If you don't want people to export their own creative work towards any other tool then a) you are an idiot, and b) don't write open tools (o wait, it's none of the writers complaining here is it?)

    btw. Linux is a Unix copy.

  18. I haven't yet read through all of the replies, but anyway, this "GPL protects Blender code from being included in commercial apps" is of course total nonsense.

    If I start the "Luxuriosity Instinctive 3D Suite" today, I can just take *all* of the Blender code, use a different compiler, change symbol names and strings, and poof - NOBODY WILL EVER NOTICE that I used GPL-heaven-protected Blender code. And I can almost guarantee that some of the commercial 3D apps have stolen Blender code.

    When there's no witness, there's no judge...

  19. Alexander you are right... but, doing this, you become totally dependent from Blender code.
    You will never get better than Blender... ;)

  20. Re: Alexander

    Hey look, someone who's been 'working' in the 'pro audio field' for 'years' who hasn't heard of PureData or SuperCollider.

  21. joeri,
    There won't be any apologies other than the one I already gave at 7am when I found bart posted at the same time I was typing. You might consider apologising for tacking on your own insults however which added nothing and was not your business.

    I live in a totally different time zone and how would I know it is bart that is on duty as a mod while he sleeps?

    the rest of you,
    This is absurd. Most of you have totally misconstrued the points I was making and almost had a hernia in defence of this supposedly scurrilous attack on holy Blender...weird stuff.
    Having got this far and almost caused a community meltdown I won't add anything else that could be perceived as divisive but you know not everyone sees things exactly the same way as some of you do.
    Having seen and dealt to just about every permutation of dishonesty, BS, and dirty games in my working life I can advise you that the world is not quite the wonderful place you are projecting it to be. Yes good fortune to Blender but go carefully.
    The more Blender intrudes into the big business zone the more likely Ton is to have one day 30 lawyers banging on the door and there will be very little he can do about it and even less if he wants to protect his own code contributors IMHO.

  22. I think there everyone is to much sensitive...when blender developers copy important features from other packages (for example:Zbrush sculpt mode..) then everyone says: "that's cool and bla bla"...but when someone creates just a little import script for Max, everybody begins to think that every 3d software company wants to totally steale all blender features and code,,,that's stupid I think..and + another thought:I'm not programmer, but i don't think that it's so easy to copy (steal:) blenders code and integrate it directly in other program like 3ds Max...I think it's easier to copy the idea and create something like blenders fluids...and if someone will do it , I think we must not care about it, because blender also has a lot of features that was written in inspiration from other programs..
    Peace.. !!

  23. Thank you for who ever found the script i created. I honestly use Max 99.9% of the time. The reason i created this was for a project that required fluid sim. I was testing every idea i could think of. I had used blender a little and wanted to see if it would be a viable solution. Since in commercials you have FAST turn around. There isnt time to learn a whole new app and its rendering. So i made the script to bring it into the app that was friendly to me. I hate hearing this whole fight over what app you should use. I think its pointless and gets people no where. Use what you use and who cares. We are all making things move in 3d space. If its made in blender max or maya or anything thing else who really cares. I know that when i work i dont limit myself in the applications. I have to be able to know that I model better in Maya, Render in Max, animate in xsi. Its like use the app that works. Do you think that people who build houses fight over brands of hammers? No because they all realize its not the hammer that makes a good house.


  24. Thanks for sharing your plugin with everyone here, Mark!

    Guys, he wrote an import script to take something from Blender into another application so it can be used in an effective way in his pipeline. There's nothing at all wrong with that. I don't see the Z-Brush staff getting up in arms about people using meshes from Z-Brush in other programs. ;-)

    Peace, and happy new year!

  25. Its sad this turned into this. The ones that comment negatively about Blender need to be a bit more realistic. I've worked in Design, Illustration and Multimedia for over 10 years. I have friends who have worked in it longer. We all just use the tools that get the job done. 4k for a fluid simulator for a simple scene featuring droplets in a puddle of water? Or a quick work through using Blender? I myself use many applications including: XSI, AM, Strata, LW, Wings3d, Blender, Photoshop, PSpad, Silo, etc. Each corresponds to a hammer, nail, wrench, etc to get a task done.

    Thanks Mark for this great script. I hope it got the job done for you.

  26. >The ones that comment negatively about Blender

    this is the sort of stuff that would drive a person insane!!! AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!
    get a grip PLEASE I mean honest to god guys!

  27. Just a curiosity - Mark Theriault, the author of the script, just got hired as Technical Director by Frantic Films, one of the VFX studios using 3ds Max as the backbone of their pipeline. This script was actually part of his portfolio, although not the main reason he was hired. (Frantic has its own in-house fluid simulator called FLOOD, so Mark will surely get some more splashy fun in the following months).

  28. Congratulations to Mark I hope he will slip in a credit to Blender somewhere if he uses it in a Frantic production :) We like the publicity you know ;) ...many of us are very proud of Blender...

  29. chill down guys.

    because of this Blender will not die.
    without people releasing their research for free
    many features would not have made it into blender either.

  30. Lol, this isn't related much... and I'm going to get hate for it, but I'll say it anyway.

    I think that peeps who bought payware apps and rendering progs are just pissing and moaning about how they could have done the same thing for free. I don't know, its just me...

    Blender, we love you.

  31. Hey Monkey´s Tail,
    like you say, its just you. I payed a lot for Max to do the stuff for the clients that deal with Maxscenes. My personal favourite is Linux and for that I will never miss Blender.

  32. Does it work with Blender 2.45? I get this ''Traceback (most recent call last):
    File "", line 333, in
    File "", line 145, in save_obj
    IOError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: 'c:\\temp\\fluid1-0001.obj'' !?

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