What can FBX and why is it so weak?


My client says FBX is the standard format for design/animation/viz and asked me how Rhino handles it.

I just tested it with the latest Rhino version 8 by saving a scene as FBX and opening it again. The following:

  • NURBS and Mesh are supported
  • NURBS objects are not connected (like IGES)
  • Objects remain on their layers
  • Layer colors are lost
  • Materials are lost
  • Cameras are lost
  • Lights are supported

Is that really all or have I done something wrong? Why did NURBS objects break up into individual surfaces? Why are the materials missing? …

Is there an alternative export/import plugin that works well?



I have just realized that it is better not to open FBX but to import it. Then it works a little bit better:

  • Cameras are retained

I would say it’s a bug that it makes a difference whether my FBX opens or imports.

Could materials and polysurfaces still be supported, please?

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FBX is just a different data structure compared to what a 3dm file contains: FBX - Wikipedia

filmbox also contains other stuff that rhino doesn’t/won’t ever use, like rigging and timeline information

At the beginning I was quite disappointed with Rhino FBX because so many things didn’t work. But as it turned out, it’s because opening it doesn’t use all the features. I hope this will be fixed.

  • There should be no difference between opening and importing.
  • Why are materials missing?
  • And does it have to be that NURBS breaks down into individual areas?
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I did some more tests and found:

  • Materials are available for meshes only, not for NURBS. Can this be fixed?
  • There is something wrong with the unwelding. I use allways the default 22.5 but in Rhino 8 I get strange edges. In Rhino 6 and 7 it works. I hope it can be fixed.

Rhino7export.fbx (60.0 KB)



Further problems I found after I open (per import in an empty scene) my current FBX export

  • set mapping type and repeats are not “baked” to the meshes (like known from OBJ)
  • gloss and reflectivity are reset to 100%
  • block instances are not supported

We also have need for the FBX format (creation of digital assets for software development). Only problem I see with it currently is that it does not save Layer Colors which makes the Rhino 7/8 implementation a non-starter for us.

It should work if you import FBX instead of opening it. That way I get retained layer colors.

I am surprised that no one is responding to the problems found, such as the import and open giving different results. @pascal Can you help?

Thank you Micah. Im creating the FBX in Rhino so there is nothing for me to import. It appears that the file is not saving the layer colors.

Checked again and I found it was a mistake in my test. Like you say: no layer colors.