Transmutr vs Skimp?

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  • I'm testing out both Skimp and Transmutr for importing assets from third party sites. Wondering if anyone here has experience with either of these that can offer some insight. Seems to me so far that it's more matter of asset model quality vs the import plugin.


    In regards to Skimp specifically, there doesn't seems to be a way to create a proxy. Enscape has the ability within SketchUp to "add to enscape library," but I don't like how it just creates an empty box as a proxy inside SketchUp, instead of a more traditional low poly white placeholder. Is there a setting I'm missing here that can do this?

  • When in comes to importing the geometry and simplifying the geometry, Skimp and Transmutr are similar.


    But Transmutr is more focused on rendering. It can preserve material information from the source file and convert it to Enscape (bump/normal, reflections, etc). And as you mentioned, it can create Enscape proxies with various options for the placeholder (besides a basic bounding box).


    We are currently working on Transmutr v2 that will be able to export directly to the Enscape Library.

  • So far I'm linking both, but definitely Transmutr for the initial import. I'll probably end up buying both. Really like how Transmutr grabs the appropriate material maps on import. That's a big time saver. Though Skimp seems to do a better job simplifying a model after initial import. And it's easy to undo simplification with Skimp if it's immediately looking poor. Of course, all of this only works as well as the source model quality (geometry, maps, etc). Having a lot of varying quality issues from a large qty order recently from CGTrader.

  • Sounds like you may have some V2 feature requests in this thread

  • Though Skimp seems to do a better job simplifying a model after initial import. And it's easy to undo simplification with Skimp if it's immediately looking poor.

    Could you elaborate on this?
    1. How does Skimp do a better job at simplifying after the initial import?

    2. What do you mean by undoing simplification? Is it before or after clicking the "import"/"replace" button in Skimp?

    How do you think these could be improved in Transmutr?

  • Could you elaborate on this?
    1. How does Skimp do a better job at simplifying after the initial import?

    2. What do you mean by undoing simplification? Is it before or after clicking the "import"/"replace" button in Skimp?

    How do you think these could be improved in Transmutr?



    Firstly of all, thank you so much for listening! Really awesome to see the involvement. I'm still learning both plugins and am probably needing a little more experience with importing assets and improving my workflow. I'm sure each plugin wants you to work a certain way for best results, which I may or may not be doing.


    Transmutr's secret sauce is definitely in initial automation. Which is killer when it works, but frustrating when it doesn't. When Transmutr can't find the appropriate maps or (more likely) applies ones I don't want (opacity sometimes , see below) and I need to get hands-on, I find it difficult to use - having to find/hunt and undo some of that material automation.


    As an example- this "pizza equipment" scene from CGTrader:


    Transmutr import preview:

    - Note the missing objects. This is because of the automatically applied opacity maps in Transmutr, that now need to be located and corrected. In a scene like this, it is a very difficult guessing game as to what is missing in the preview and where those maps might be in the material list. From this preview, I can clearly see that a few large objects are missing, but I won't see those objects are actually there until I open it in SketchUp and fix the opacity maps or had I started with Skimp.


    Skimp import UV base:



    I also like the initial import preview Skimp uses, as I personally think it's easier to initially visually inspect.


    Skimp initial import preview (original/full geometry):


    Transmutr's exported SketchUp file (original/full geometry):


    - After imported from Transmutr, I can now see what maps were applied incorrectly. Notice the wire frame objects that are set as "0" Opacity. This happens from time to time from some imported assets, depending on their quality- which I don't get to find out until after purchasing...



    When it comes to simplification- again, just a personal preference to the visual style the Skimp presents in showing the basic/flat color tones vs the material, which can make it difficult to see the geometry if the material is dark. A toggle button would be massively helpful, because I do really like that Transmutr will quickly show any deformation in materials, depending on how the model is mapped by the creator.


    Transmutr simplification:

    - Hard to see the geometry simplification with the material applied.


    Skimp Simplification:

    -Unable to see material deformation, but much easier to see geometry.


    Finally, one big UNDO SIMPLIFICATION button would be awesome for when we have gone too far and found out that simplification had unwanted consequences and needs to be dialed back. I keep the original full geometry export, but it can become a file handling mess deep into projects. < - - - This is likely more of a me problem, not using Proxy components appropriately. Something I'm working on.

  • Thanks a lot for your detailed feedback! This is very valuable.


    In a scene like this, it is a very difficult guessing game as to what is missing in the preview and where those maps might be in the material list

    It's not very obvious, but when you are in the "Materials" tab and move the cursor to the 3D viewport, the cursor becomes an eyedropper and you can click on an object to highlight its material. It makes it easier to locate it.


    From this preview, I can clearly see that a few large objects are missing, but I won't see those objects are actually there

    Enabling "Show Edges" helps in these cases.


    Quote from Tim

    I also like the initial import preview Skimp uses, as I personally think it's easier to initially visually inspect.

    I agree that in cases like this, it's quite useful to visualize the UV mapping and have unique color per objects.

    In Transmutr v2 we will have a PBR preview alongside the SketchUp-like preview. Maybe we can have a third one similar to this?

    Quote from Tim

    When it comes to simplification- again, just a personal preference to the visual style the Skimp presents in showing the basic/flat color tones vs the material

    ...and a fourth one with just a clay material to better visualize the geometry?

    Quote from Tim

    Notice the wire frame objects that are set as "0" Opacity

    Yes unfortunately this can happen with poorly exported models. I found that it happens mostly with OBJ, which is a really bad format when it comes to materials. If possible, try to stick with FBX as it contains much more information.
    Transmutr can only work with the information it is given.

    Quote from Tim

    one big UNDO SIMPLIFICATION button would be awesome for when we have gone too far

    Do you mean undoing after importing the object in SketchUp?

  • Yes unfortunately this can happen with poorly exported models. I found that it happens mostly with OBJ, which is a really bad format when it comes to materials. If possible, try to stick with FBX as it contains much more information.
    Transmutr can only work with the information it is given.


    Thank you for this. I couldn't land on a decision as to which file type is "best" to choose when given the choice. Some of the lower quality ones I received were particularly bad nomatter which format. I never liked how any of the .obj exported file types handles material names - "wire" etc.


    Speaking of format, all of the models I purchased were native to .max. Will V2 have the ability to import these? Maybe that will fix some issues with file exports?


    It's not very obvious, but when you are in the "Materials" tab and move the cursor to the 3D viewport, the cursor becomes an eyedropper and you can click on an object to highlight its material. It makes it easier to locate it.

    Yes. I eventually found this, but it wasn't immediately obvious that it was a simple opacity map issue causing the transparency. At first I thought it was a bad export, which led to me trying different file formats available. Now that I know, it's a simple fix.


    For V2, the ability to have Transmutr only import certain maps automatically would help. I'd probably always just default to only the albedo/color at first and handle the others in the Enscape settings later.


    I don't know what to do about objects that at UV mapped though, when it comes to their transparency areas. This blender for example (free from Poliion, if you want to try it). I can't seem to find a way to get the glass to work as expected. I manually changed the glass top object/group material in SketchUp after import, but lost the text that used to be on in it. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?


    Do you mean undoing after importing the object in SketchUp?

    Yes. The workaround would be to just go back and grab the original full geometry output from Transmutr, but then any changes to the model I had made would need to be redone. Retexturing, geometry changes/fixing, etc.



    And yes, a preview "clay" style for seeing the simplification would be a great option.

  • The .MTL files that come with OBJ files is a simple text file, it ‘should’ list all the materials used in the model.

    Quite often when I’ve had material problems with models from the likes of CGTrader in Transmutr I’ve looked at the .MTL file and it’s empty, this will result in no materials being applied to the model in Transmutr even though all the image maps are supplied.

    Either the originator of the model screwed up in their export to obj/mtl or CGTrader did something in converting it.


    If there’s a .FBX version available that can often have everything mapped correctly otherwise it’s a case of manually reapplying everything whilst cursing whoever screwed up.


    .MAX files are proprietary to Autodesk/3D Studio and they don’t want/allow people to convert from it, your only option is to have 3DS and export it to your reqd format.

  • otherwise it’s a case of manually reapplying everything whilst cursing whoever screwed up.

    lol :DYES. But considering what I paid for some of these models I guess there's not a lot to complain about.


    .MAX files are proprietary to Autodesk/3D Studio and they don’t want/allow people to convert from it, your only option is to have 3DS and export it to your reqd format.

    I suppose it wouldn't really matter anyway, since it seems a lot of the models I've acquired seem to have been modeled with Turbosmooth modifiers or LOD mesh options in their respective softwares. When the FBX/OBJ file doesn't come smoothed there's not much to do to round the edges etc, outside of doing it manually in SU or maybe Blender (which I haven't learned).


    I've only had one instance where the model I needed was only available in .max and nothing else. But I contacted the creator and they said they'll send the FBX over when they get time. I can see now how .3ds and .max are very popular in the 3D asset market.