Importing FBX files into Blender with full armatures/weights

Update, Dec 23rd, 2016

Someone released a new version for Blender 2.77+ here:

http://www.deviantart.com/art/Bos-FBX-Importer-Exporter-for-Blender-2-77-Win64-621287370

Updated June 22nd, 2014

I discovered a bug that would make the FBX importer crash if the meshes in the FBX did not have materials assigned. The importer now handles this more gracefully, adding a blank material in Blender to any meshes that do not have one. The blank material will be named “Generatedxxx” where xxx is a number starting from zero. This number will increment as more missing materials are encountered. Overwrite any old version with the newer version to update.

Updated for Blender 2.70, April 2014
While Blender has with rudimentary FBX support, it’s incomplete and doesn’t transfer armatures or weights into blender. However, 3rd parties have created a more full-featured plugin.

To start you need to have Blender 2.70+ installed. The latest is always available here.

After installing blender, you need to download two files for the FBX Import:

Installing the Converters

First, unzip the umconv20130303.zip file into your blender directory. This directory will usually be:

C:\Program Files\Blender (for 64 bit blender) or C:\Program Files (x86)\Blender (for 32 bit blender)

Make sure you unzip with create directories so the files inside are placed in a folder called ‘umconv’  Basically you want the structure to be:

C:\Program Files\Blender\umconv\

or

C:\Program Files (x86)\Blender\umconv\

with the executables in that directory.

Installing the Plugin

Now, Locate the  io_scene_bos_fbx.zip that you downloaded and note it’s location, you’ll need to find it for the next step.

Open Blender, and go to User preferences:

prefs

On the Prefs panel, go to the Addons tab, and choose “Install from File” at the bottom:

install

Navigate to the location of the io_scene_bos_fbx.zip you noted earlier, select it, and Press “Install from File…”

The pane will then change to show the new plugin highlighted, but disabled. Click the checkbox on the right to enable the new plugin. Then press “Save User Settings” to save the changes. (Very important!)

enable

You can then close the settings pane.

Importing the FBX

Wish a fresh, clean, blender scene, go to File->Import and choose the BOS FBX importer.

Navigate to the FBX file you want to import, select it, and click to begin the import.

inport

The model and armature will be imported. However, they have an incorrect rotation for use in SL. This rotation must be kept though, so all Transform matrices work correctly. The model will be correctly rotated by the exporter when the “Export for OpenSim” option is selected on the export settings pane.

screenshot

If the skeleton doesn’t appear as shown in this pic, a few more clicks are needed to clean up appearance.

done

Hit  ‘a’ to deselect everything. Then Right click on the armature bones only.  On the right hand Editors pane, you can then go to the Armature section, and display, and change the bone type to “Stick”.

stickbones

The model is now ready to use. It has the full skeleton and full weighting groups as defined in the FBX file. It can be saved as a .blend file or exported to any other supported formats.

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21 comments on “Importing FBX files into Blender with full armatures/weights

  1. This is awesome – is there also a way to import FBX with full armatures/weights on the Mac? What seems to be needed is a Mac build of umconv but so far, I wasn’t able to find a solution for that 😦

  2. I imported FBX file I got from mixamo.com, but I only see a cube, no character at all.

    Actually, I believe that the FBX file is correct, because I used it in NeoAxis game engine.

    Is there any steps I should do?

  3. Hai,
    First of all i would like to say that this is amazing,
    I tried and it works,

    One question though,
    the title says for armature and weight but i just wanna check with u whether i can actually import an armature with animation data,
    for example i import an .fbx file containing the armature and animation using this addon but only got the armature instead of both,
    fyi i already checked that the animation is there using motion builder,
    just wanna check with you if the addon capable of doing so as i prefer blender to edit the animation,

    Thanks!

  4. Thank you man! you’re a life savior, and you helped me to talk Shait to the autodesk lovers that work with me!

    thank you!
    If someday you visit Lisbon, i’ll buy you a beer :Dcheers

  5. Importing armatures and blend shapes in FBX will be released in Blender 2.72 (http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Dev:Doc/Projects). The code is actually already there, and I’ve been able to use it to successfully import armatures from FBX in Blender 2.71 on Mac.

    If you’re comfortable with git, you can git clone git://git.blender.org/blender-addons.git, checkout the fbx_io_development branch, and then copy the io_scene_fbx folder to the appropriate location so that Blender can use it. Or just wait for Blender 2.72, it will be released towards the end of August.

  6. Hi Darien, thank you for sharing this valuable addon.
    I have installed Blender 2.71 and then installed the BOS FBX importer as per the above instructions. The installation did not report any errors but when importing my first FBX file that was exported with IClone-3dxChange 5.0 as FBX format I receive the below message from Blender.
    Please advise if you understand what is causing this problem and a possible fix.

    Report: Error. Traceback (most recent call last). File C: Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.71\Scripts\addons\io_scene_bos_fbx\_int.py”, line 133, in execute_bos_fbx.import_bos_fbx(self.filepath.bpy.context)

    C: Documents and Settings\User\Application Data\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.71\Scripts\addons\io_scene_bos_fbx\import_bos_fbx.py”, line 391, in import_bos_fbx import BL

    ImportError: no module named ‘BL’

    location:-1

    • Yes, it seems with Blender 2.71, they have changed from using Python 3.3 to Python 3.4 Normally if a plugin was written in pure Python, this wouldn’t be a problem. However this plugin uses a PYD file (an extension to Python written in C). The plugin would have to be recompiled for Python 3.4.

      Given the limited lifespan of the plugin (as with 2.72 it will be unnecessary), I don’t know that putting in all the effort to provide Python 3.4 support is worth my time. So I suggest just using Blender 2.70 for importing, then save as a *.blend file, and opening in 2.71 for any further work.

  7. Hi Darien, the import is working well but I am now am experiencing a problem linked to the exported file. I have trialed exporting in BOS FBX 2011 and 2013 but I am unable to import into 3dxChange5.5. 3dxChange5.5 is the file conversion program used with IClone 5.0. The import process reaches about 60% then an error happens “the program needs to close”. Any ideas? I am using Windows 7 if that has any relevance.

    • Really hard to say. I’m sure the exporter is as buggy as the importer. 🙂 You may want to try exporting with Blender’s Native FBX Exporter. It’s likely more robust. Buf if that doesn’t work, I”m at a loss.

  8. May I get a screenshot of what the FBX. settings should look like when exporting a FBX. file to 3DS-Max 2014? When it has an Armature, Mesh, Materials, and Textures on the design. I have made a tree and need it transferred into 3DS-Mac 2014 for touch ups. If ii cant transfer it all that’s ok I mostly want to take the Armature and Mesh.

    I can export the Animation done in Blender 2.7’s video editor into FBX. for Unreal Engine 4? If so I also need to see the screenshot to only send the animation! If anyone can show this! I would be very grateful and bless your kind soul. Have great day everyone! Hopefully I can get some feedback here.

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