Blender to Motion 01: Essential Setup

Welcome to Blender to Motion 2023!

Back in 2020 there was a Motion 5 update that allowed you to import 3D objects. So I released a video showing you how to get a model from Blender to Motion. Then in 2021 I updated video with a new workflow. This year it’s going to be a series rather than a single video. So, this is an update and a deeper dive into the workflow. In this Part 1 I’m going to cover getting everything setup and ready to go. 

This series is not aimed at complete beginners. I’m going to assume you have some experience with both Blender and Motion. But you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to be comfortable finding your way around the interface.

Apps Needed for Blender to Motion

Make sure you’ve downloaded the latest versions of the software we’re going to use…

The most recent version of Motion can be found on the AppStore. Click the image below and then click: Open App Store

Motion on the AppStore

To download the latest version of Blender, click the image below…

Blender download page

And finally click the below to go to the Reality Converter download page…

Reality Converter download page

Check the glTF Exporter in Blender

Let’s check the glTF exporter is enabled in Blender:

  • From the File menu choose Export
  • And in the submenu, make sure you can see glTF 2.0 in the list.

If it’s not there:

  • go to the Edit menu and select Preferences
  • Click the Add-ons tab
  • Type ‘gltf’ in the Search field

When you see Import-Export: glTF 2.0 format listed…

  • Tick the box to the left
  • Click on the burger menu at the bottom-left and click Save Preferences.
  • Close the window.

Blender to Motion Workflow

This is the main workflow we’ll be following. We’ll export the model from Blender, convert it to USDZ with Reality Converter and then bring it into Motion.

Blender to Motion workflow: Blender, Reality Converter, Motion

Over the next few videos we’ll be looking at this workflow with basic models, models with materials and textures, animation and lighting. We’ll also look at rendering out a sequence and bringing it into Motion or Final Cut Pro as a movie. 

In my previous Blender to Motion video I exported in the glTF format. And that’s still perfectly fine. But Blender can now export to USDC. This is the binary encoded version of the USD framework. It still needs to be converted to USDZ in Reality Converter before it can be imported into Motion. You can also drop older file types into Reality Converter. I’ve personally had better results with OBJ than with FBX.

If you download a model you found online, it’s usually provided in a few different formats. This might be USDZ, glTF or OBJ. Depending on how it’s been packaged you might need to assign the render passes manually in Reality Converter. But that’s something I’ll cover in another article.

Open a USDZ in Motion

If you want to experience opening a USDZ file in Motion right now, do the following…

  • Go to the Augmented Reality page and scroll down to the 3D Models.
  • Download one of these.
  • Open Motion and create a new project with your preferred settings.
  • Click the Import button and choose your model.
  • In the Properties Inspector or the HUD you can move, rotate and scale the model in 3D.

There’s environmental lighting applied in Motion, but you don’t have any control over it.

USDZ model in Motion

USDZ Model in a Template

You can create a template for Final Cut Pro that includes a 3D object:

  • Convert the Motion project to a Generator
  • Publish the Transform controls
  • Save it as a Generator.

When you drop the Generator on the Final Cut timeline, the object performs as a fully 3D object. You can change the position, rotation and scale just as we did in Motion. And obviously you can animate these transforms as well.

Summary

You should now be ready to go. All the software you need is installed. And in Part 2 of this training, we’ll be looking at how you send basic models from Blender to Motion.


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