ObjConverter

Overview

ObjConverter is a utility that converts 3-d models from various file formats to X-Plane object version 7 files.  An X-Plane object file (.obj) contains geometry and texture information describing one 'object' for X-Plane scenery.  An X-Plane object can be one building or many nearby buildings, contain only a few polygons, or be a detailed model.  Typically you create an object in a 3-d modeling program like AutoCad, 3D Studio Max, LightWave, SketchUp, ObjectMaker, etc., and then convert it to an X-Plane object version 7 file for use in scenery.

ObjConverter can also convert files to 3DS or DXF format.  This can be useful in case you need to do additional editing, but converting the objects sometimes removes information from the object files.

Using ObjConverter

To use ObjConverter, start the program, then drag files into the ObjConverter window to convert them.  For each file you drag onto ObjConverter, ObjConverter will create a new .obj file with the same name and a _new extension.  ObjConverter files will be created with the same line-ending format as the platform you are working on.

Converting X-Plane Objects from DXF or 3DS Format

You can convert DXF and 3DS files to X-Plane object files by dragging them into the ObjConverter window.  The objects will be converted, but no texturing information will be provided.  You must use a separate program to add texturing and level-of-detail information to the files later.

Converting X-Plane Object from VRML97 Format

ObjectConverter can read limited VRML97 files.  VRML97 is a very flexible specification and only some VRML97 files will work.  Some VRML97 files may contain S&T texture specifications that ObjConverter can read.  However, ObjConverter cannot properly handle objects with multiple bitmap files.

Converting X-Plane Objects from Version 2 to Version 7

You can convert X-Plane version 2 objects to version 7 by dragging them into the ObjConverter window.  The object will be converted, and all texture information will be preserved.  All verison 2 object options are supported in version 7.

Note: You cannot convert version 1 objects to version 7 using ObjConverter.  Christian Franz created a utility for Mac OS 9 to convert version 1 objects to version 2 objects called "ObjectConverter" (no relationship to this program); since Christian is no longer working on ObjectMaker, I do not know the status of this program.

Converting Objects to DXF or 3DS

Any object (VRML, X-Plane OBJ2 or OBJ7, 3DS, or DXF) can be conevrted to DXF or 3DS instead of OBJ7; simply choose the appropraite format from the settings menu (see below).

When you convert to DXF, texturing information will be lost, and all geometry will be converted to triangles, quads, and lines.  When you convert to 3DS, all geometry will be reduce to triangles and lines will be lost.  These are limitations of the file formats.

Because converting to 3DS and DXF are lossy, you are probably better working with your modeler first and only converting to OBJ7 as the final step of your work.

Conversion Settings

ObjConverter has a number of settings to customize the conversion process.  These settings are applied to 3DS, VRML, and DXF files but not to x-plane type-2 objects.

Units:

You may choose either inches, feet or meters for the conversion.  This is the distance that 1 "unit" length in your source object will hold in the X-Plane world.  ObjConverter cannot read any kind of unit hints from your source files.  Usually a 3d program will always export a file with the same units.  The default is meters.

Center Object Horizontally:

When this object is checked, the object will be moved horizontally so that an approximate center of the object is used as the anchor point in X-Plane.  (The object will rotate around this point in WorldMaker too.)  Use this option if your object appears far away from the placement point in WorldMaker.

Flip X, Y or Z axis:

ObjConverter can flip the orientation of any of the axes in the object.  However this may cause polygons to face in the wrong direction and become invisible.  This is provided as an advanced option only.

Polygons are Clockwise/Counterclockwise:

This defines the orientation of a polygon's vertices when facing it from the outside of the object.  most 3-d programs use counterclockwise polygons.  (X-Plane uses clockwise polygons; ObjConverter will swap as necessary.)  Note: for a VRML file the polygon orientation is specified in the file, so this option has no effect on VRML files.

Y Axis is up/Z axis is up:

This defines which axis faces up in the model.  Most 3-d programs use the Z axis to indicate up.  However, others use the Y axis for up.  X-Plane always uses the Y axis; ObjConverter will rotate your model as needed.

Saves as OBJ7

This is ObjConverter's default setting and causes ObjConverter to save all output as X-Plane 7 .obk files.

Save as 3DS

This causes ObjConverter to create 3D Studio Max (3DS) format files.

Save as DXF

This caues ObjConverter to save AutoCad Data Exchange (DXF) files.