Tools / BS Exporter for Blender


Colors and Materials


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Supported material types

The exporter currently supports one material per mesh, colors (per object, vertex or face), textures (including multi-texturing, bump mapping and movie textures) and shadows (approximated via BS Contact's shadow groups).

Material naming conventions

The Blender material name (MA) is used for DEF and USE when different objects share the same material. For example, a material named "MA:door" in Blender will be defined as DEF="MA_door" in the X3D format.

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Supported features

For the correct export of materials, use the Blender "Shader" panel defaults of "Lambert" diffuse and "CookTorr" specular. All the VRML/X3D material properties are supported by the exporter:

Blender (Panel > Button) VRML/X3D
Material > Col diffuseColor
Material > Spe specularColor
Material > A (alpha) transparency
Shader > Amb ambientIntesity
Shader > Hard shininess
Shader > Emit
World > Amb R,G,B emissiveColor*

* "emissiveColor" is influenced by both "Emit" and "Amb" above.

Alternatively, clicking "Shadeless" on the "Material" panel will export a shadeless material using only the "Col" color (the VRML/X3D material will resemble the Blender "Preview" panel), overriding other defined properties of the material.

Clicking "TexFace" will suppress writing the material node altogether (in order to create a self-illuminating object, i.e. one not affected by standard lighting at all).

Supported features for material properties
Supported material properties


At present only one material per mesh is supported, so if you're using multiple materials per mesh try to split the mesh by material. If the exporter encounters multiple materials on one mesh, it will display a warning dialog naming the offending mesh.

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Vertex colors (and radiosity)

The exporter supports vertex colors as applied in Blender via painting directly onto the surface or calculated automatically by the radiosity renderer. The vertex colors will influence the appearance of the textures, providing more realism to exported scenes.

To manually paint vertex colors, enter "Vertex Paint" mode and use the tools available on the "Paint" panel.

To automatically calculate vertex colors, set up your scene lighting and then calculate a radiosity solution using the "Radio Render" and "Radio Tool" panels.

If you wish to export vertex colors (colorPerVertex="true"), activate both the "VCol Paint" and "VCol Light" buttons on the "Material" panel. Alternatively, to enable the export of colors per face (colorPerVertex="false") activate only the "VCol Paint" button on the "Material" panel. Colors per face will produce "hard" lines between adjacent colored faces, whereas colors per vertex will output smooth gradients/blends of color. Each mode has its uses.

Painting and exporting smooth vertex colors in Blender
Painting and exporting vertex colors in Blender

Using Blender's Radiosity to calculate vertex colors for realism
Using Blender's radiosity rendering to calculate vertex colors for added realism


Vertex colors will not be exported if the options "VCol Paint" and "VCol Light" on the "Material" panel are not activated.

If your radiosity rendering results in black faces, check the orientation of the normals in "Edit Mode" by activating "Draw Normals" on the "Mesh Tools" panel. Use the "Replace Meshes" button to convert the radiosity solution to vertex colors and then click "Free Radio Data". Lastly, it is important to delete the multiple materials on the "Link and Materials" panel .

The process of radiosity rendering will increase the number of triangles in each mesh, depending on the settings used. This will, in turn, impact the performance of your exported BS Contact scenes, so try to balance the visual quality of radiosity with real-time 3D performance.

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Animating materials

The exporter outputs animation of VRML/X3D Material colors (diffuseColor, specularColor, emmisiveColor) and alpha (transparency). Within Blender, animation keys for materials can be added by pressing "i" (insert key) while the mouse is over the "Material Buttons" window, or by using the auto keying feature of the "Timeline" window. You can modify and fine-tune your animations in the "IPO Curve Editor".

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