A surprising bit of art
Cross-post from my blog:


Every once in a while, somebody asks for an ability to export models from Armok Vision, and I mostly ignored them, largely because it's something that isn't trivial to do properly, until I saw some renderings from a program called MagicaVoxel, which had really nice lighting, and inspired me to do some of my own.

Unfortunately, the lighting in Armok Vision isn't up to that level just yet, but I do have my work computer where I do renderings for a living, which tends to come out looking great, so all I have to do is get it in the right format.

Easier said than done. The only free exporter I could find was for obj format, which doesn't support a second UV channel, nor vertex colors, both of which I depend heavily on.

So I got to work making an exporter for COLLADA models, which support damn near everything.

Except that, again, vertex colors didn't work.

Or rather, they did, but whenever I exported them, 3Ds Max crashed when I tried to import the model.

So I stuck with the two UV channels, exported the texture atlases, imported it all into Max, and made some renders.

The result? A stark, grey edifice, devoid of color, and resembling bare concrete constructions, like a soviet designer tried to make a space-age skyscraper, based on a description of a futuristic utopia.

It looks surprisingly good, I think, and I might include an option in Armok Vision to turn off the colors and get a similar effect, but I still need to debug why the vertex coloring isn't working.

My current best guess is that the extra, unused vertices are throwing off max, somehow, so I'm going to try stripping them out before export, and see how it works.