Camera exporting question (FBX or .chan or..?)

Started by terlin, August 11, 2020, 11:58:49 am

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I'd like to hear practical opinions about exporting camera movements from Terragen to Maya and vice-versa. If you bought Terragen with animation capabilities, would .chan or FBX be preferred by professionals and is one actually better if available. Since the Nuke .chan format seems to be handled by Terragen, what is the best way to get a .chan file into Maya, if .chan is preferable?

For practical purposes, if animations from Maya need to be incorporated in a project, what would be the best option to export a camera from Terragen so that it imports to Maya and functions correctly with the least difficulty so the two animations can later be composited?

Also, if Terragen defaults to centimeters, what problems does that cause with other programs that maybe in metres or feet?

james adamson

I have been moving cameras between Nuke Modo and Terragen as FBX files. The format is pretty robust but there can be issues
with rotations.
I usually just export and they work fine although I have had the odd issue with focal length being off a smidge. No idea why.
  But in answer to your question the FBX format is tried and tested. I thought the .chan format was Nuke specific and with that format I believe you only get translation rotation data no focal length stuff. (Could be wrong on that though.)
I usually render a quick cube anim from each app as I find its the easiest way to check the cameras line up and if not whats up.


I prefer the .chan format - focal length (animated or not) can be exported with the translations.

With .chan you are just exporting the data between apps, if you are doing multiple iterations of camera moves it's much easier just to re-load the .chan data rather than exporting/importing camera nodes.

My script suite - Terraman - handles all those exports from Maya to Terragen (and vice-versa) and also automatically adjusts for the differences in scale. In fact, it can set a master scene scale you'd like to work to in Maya (1:100, 1:10 etc) and adjusts the export accordingly.

Terragen defaults to meters, and Maya defaults to centimeters.

Give it a whirl: