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Q&A Using Flexsim and building models

Old 12-05-2013
andrecorreia andrecorreia is offline
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Default 3DS Imported Surface Flexsim6 vs Flexsim7

Hi Guys,

I'm having trouble importing a 3DS shape into FlexSim 7. I used to do it in FlexSim 6 without a problem, could even choose the color I wanted for the surface.

In FlexSim 7, the surface comes in plain black and changing colors doesn't affect it. (see images attached).

Is there anything I could try as a workaround?

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Old 02-26-2014
mbaccalaro mbaccalaro is offline
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Default Same problems

I have a customer having similar problem: some object well looking in Flexsim 6 doesn't have the same visual aspect in Flexsim 7.
I tried to change value or to add and set a value to the new attribute: drawflags, but without success.
Is there some indication on how to manipulate correctly 3d shapes?
Old 02-26-2014
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arunkrmahadeva arunkrmahadeva is offline
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Dear andrecorreia,

You can change the colour of a 3ds shape by importing it into AC3D.The left bottom side colour panel on the AC3D window will help to change the colour,for colour changing you just need a trial version only.


Old 02-26-2014
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Please send your shape to FlexSim support so that they can determine what the problem is and how to fix it.


For version 7, we stopped using our own custom 3ds importer and started using the Assimp library for importing 3ds shapes (as well as many other shapes). This caused two main changes:
  1. Colors appear different (often darker) because the Assimp importer actually reads and uses the ambient color properly, but our old 3ds importer used the object's diffuse color as both the diffuse color and the ambient color. We fixed our 3d shapes so that they have their ambient colors the same as their diffuse colors to solve this problem with the media in the fs3d directory.
  2. The lightning is blending across all edges causing the gradients along faces to look weird. 3ds files do not store normal information ( To overcome that limitation, our old custom importer used a custom "crease angle" function to smooth between faces based on their angle. The new importer doesn't do this, but instead uses 3D Studio MAX's "smoothing groups" feature to determine what faces to smooth. If you are using 3D Studio MAX to generate the 3ds file, then you can use this feature easily. If you are using a different 3d editor, then you should use a native file format instead of 3ds. For example, use .ac files if you use AC3D. Collada files will probably work best if you are using a 3D editor whose default format is not supported by FlexSim.

Issue #1 is a bug fix so although they look different now, the importer is now properly reading what the file specifies, which is an improvement over the previous importer. This issue should be resolved within the shape files rather than changing the importer.

Attached is an AC3D script to make this process easier.

To install it: unzip ambient.tcl into "c:\program files (x86)\AC3D 7.0.11\scripts". Your directory may be a little different depending on the version of AC3D you have installed.

To use it:
  1. Import a 3ds file.
  2. Note how many materials are in the list. (Material numbering starts at 0, so if the last material is 15, then you have 16 materials that need to be updated.)
  3. From the new Flexsim menu at the top of the screen choose "Copy Diffuse Colors".
  4. A small popup GUI should appear. Scroll to the number of materials that are in your list and press the "Copy Diffuse Colors" button.

This will update all of the materials in the list, except those that already have a diffuse color of (60, 60, 62), which is the special value to tell FlexSim to show the FlexSim object color instead of the material color.

Note: AC3D does NOT reset the material list when you start a new model, so I found it best to close AC3D between files. That way my material list wasn't growing out of hand.
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Last edited by Phil BoBo; 01-22-2015 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Re-uploaded the script file.
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