The FBX COMP imports geometry, animations and scenes using the FBX file format from Maya, 3DS Max, Cinema4D, Houdini and others. The FBX COMP currently uses the 2019.0 version of the FBX SDK.
FBX is a file format and set of libraries from Autodesk that is used to exchange models, animations and image/texture data between applications. The FBX COMP reads FBX files and supports most of its features. You can drag-drop a
.fbx into a TouchDesigner network or import it via the File > Import File... menu. The FBX COMP can also import meshes from .obj and .4ds files, see also File Types.
The assets from the FBX file are saved into a "
.tdc" file with the same name as the FBX file inside the
TDImportCache folder, which is created next to your
.toe file. Assets are read from the "
.tdc" file using Import Select OPs (Import Select TOP / Import Select SOP / Import Select CHOP). Upon reloading a
.toe file, the assets can be imported directly from the "
.tdc" cache, and the FBX file will not need to be re-imported. However, if there is no existing "
.tdc" (for instance, if the toe file changed computers) then the FBX file will be reopened to grab the assets and a new "
.tdc" will be saved out.
To open an FBX file in an FBX COMP:
1) Specify a valid file path in the "FBX File" parameter, including the name of the file with correct
2) This step is varied depending on whether the FBX COMP is just created and if any changes in the default values of parameters are required or not. If the file is being loaded for the first time in the network and the default parameter values are accepted then simply press the "Import" button to generate the FBX network and import the assets. Note that we recommend changing the "Import Method" to to other modes (less work) can significantly improve performance. Generally, any changes in the parameters above the "Import" button requires the network to be built again.
3) With the "Import Method" menu set to "Merge with Existing", the "Import" pulse will reload the internal assets (e.g. meshes, etc.) and this is specifically useful if the file has moved to another location and when the
.toe file is opened the assets were not found and reloaded properly.
4) With the "Import Method" menu set to "Import Assets (Import Selects)", the "Import" button is used when some changes on FBX file are made and we want to merge those changes into the current network without fully rebuilding it.
Animation channels: When there is animation in the FBX file, use the controls on the Play page to initialize, start and guide the animation. Also create an Info CHOP and attach it to the FBX COMP to watch its animation timing. The Info CHOP channels are similar to those of the Timer CHOP.
Textures: Textures can either be embedded within the FBX file or external and referenced by a path to a texture file. For example, Blender has an option during FBX export to embed, otherwise they'll be external. If they're external then they may be exported with an absolute path to the texture file, which means if you move the FBX file to a different machine or relocate the file, then the textures will fail to load. In this case, if you are unable to re-export to embed the textures, then you can instead specify a search directory using the Texture Directory parameter so that the FBX COMP knows where to locate the texture files at import.
Parameters - FBX Page
NOTE: changes to any of the below parameters aren’t applied until the FBX File is rebuilt, either through "Build Network" or "Update".
file - The FBX file to import.
importmethod - ⊞ - Determines what to do when clicking the 'Import' button below.
- Full Replacement
full- Fully rebuilds the network inside the FBX COMP and reloads the assets from the FBX file.
- Merge with Existing
merge- Merges any changes in the FBX file with the existing contents of the FBX COMP.
- Reload Assets (Import Selects)
reload- Assets that are loaded into Import Select operators (geos, textures, animations) are reloaded into the existing FBX COMP's network from the FBX file.
imp - A pulse to import the contents based on the setting in the 'Import Method' parameter above.
importscale - Scales the imported geometry as a multipier.
texdir - Specifies an additional search location for external texture files if they can't be found at the default location specified inside the FBX file.
lights - When enabled the FBX COMP will import any lights within the FBX File.
cameras - When enabled the FBX COMP will import any cameras within the FBX File.
Generate Actor COMPs
genactors - When enabled, will generate Actor COMPs in place of Geometry COMPs as the parents' of Import Select SOPs. This is useful for working with Bullet Dynamics systems with your imported geometry.
mergegeo - When enabled the FBX COMP will merge Geometry COMPs. Geometry COMPs are merged if they have only default parameters except transform. If they have the same material then their Import Select SOPs will be merged.
mergelevel - When enabled the FBX COMP will attempt to merge up to the desired “level”. Level is how many steps down a node is from the root (FBX COMP). If its level is higher than the merge level and it is mergeable then it will be merged upward.
primgroups - When enabled the FBX COMP will put each merged SOP into its own primitive group, so that they can be split up later if need be.
Max Wired Children
maxwiredchildren - Any COMPs that have more wired children than this parameter will have those wired children converted to internal children of the COMP. This maintains parenting but can cleanup networks.
Direct to GPU
gpudirect - Load the geometry directly to the GPU.
keepparams - When enabled, any parameter conflicts during update will keep the user changes. When disabled, any user changes to parameters may be overwritten.
keepconnections - When enabled, any wiring/connection conflicts during update will keep the user changes. When disabled, any user changes to wiring/connections may be overwritten.
callbacks - The Callbacks DAT will execute during import or update allowing for modification and customization of the imported operators and resulting network.
Parameters - Play Page
This page includes the animation controls parameters of FBX within TouchDesigner.
animation - Specifies the animation name (if any is specified) to playback from the imported FBX.
Shift Animation Start
shiftanimationstart - A toggle to specify whether to shift the animation to the start of animation indicated in the importing file.
Sample Rate Mode
sampleratemode - ⊞ - Select between using the 'File FPS' embedded in the FBX file or setting a 'Custom' sample rate.
- File FPS
samplerate - Set the sample rate when the "Sample Rate Mode" parameter above is set to 'Custom'.
playmode - ⊞ - A menu to specify the method used to play the animation.
- Locked to Timeline
lockedtotimeline- This mode locks the animation position to the timeline. The parameters Play, Speed, Index, Cue and Cue Point, are disabled in this mode since the timeline is directly tied to animation position.
- Specify Index
specifyindex- This mode allows the user to specify a particular index (position) in the animation using the Index parameter below. Use this mode for random access to any location in the animation.
sequential- This mode continually plays regardless of the timeline position (the Index parameter is disabled). Play, Speed, Cue, and Cue Point parameters below are enabled to allow some control. The default is set to this value.
initialize - Resets the animation to its initial state.
start - Resets the animation to its initial state and starts playback.
cue - Jumps to and holds at the Cue Point when set to 1. Only available when Play Mode is Sequential.
cuepulse - Jumps to the Cue Point when pulsed. Only available when Play Mode is Sequential.
cuepoint - Set any index in the animation as a point to jump to. Only available when Play Mode is Sequential.
Cue Point Unit
cuepointunit - ⊞ - Select what type of unit to specify the Cue Point with.
play - Animation plays when On and stops when Off. This animation playback control is only available when Play Mode is Sequential.
index - This parameter explicitly sets the animation position when Play Mode is set to Specify Index. The units menu on the right lets you specify the index in the following units: Index, Frames, Seconds, and Fraction (percentage)
indexunit - ⊞ -
speed - This is a speed multiplier which only works when Play Mode is Sequential. A value of 1 is the default playback speed. A value of 2 is double speed, 0.5 is half speed and so on. Negative values will play backwards.
trim - A toggle to enable the Trim Start and Trim End parameters.
tstart - Sets an in point from the beginning of the animation, allowing you to trim the starting index of the animation. The units’ menu on the right let you specify this position by index, frames, seconds, or fraction (percentage).
Trim Start Unit
tstartunit - ⊞ - Specifies a unit type for Trim Start. Changing this will convert the previous unit to the selected unit.
tend - Sets an end point from the end of the movie, allowing you to trim the ending index of the animation. The units’ menu on the right let you specify this position by index, frames, seconds, or fraction (percentage).
Trim End Unit
tendunit - ⊞ - Specifies a unit type for Trim End. Changing this will convert the previous unit to the selected unit.
textendleft - ⊞ - Determines how the animation behaves before the start of the animation (or Trim Start position if it is used).
textendright - ⊞ - Determines how the animation behaves after the end of the animation (or Trim End position if it is used).
Parameters - Xform Page
The Xform parameter page controls the object component's transform in world space.
xord - ⊞ - The menu attached to this parameter allows you to specify the order in which the changes to your Component will take place. Changing the Transform order will change where things go much the same way as going a block and turning east gets you to a different place than turning east and then going a block. In matrix math terms, if we use the 'multiply vector on the right' (column vector) convention, a transform order of Scale, Rotate, Translate would be written as
T * R * S * Position.
- Scale Rotate Translate
- Scale Translate Rotate
- Rotate Scale Translate
- Rotate Translate Scale
- Translate Scale Rotate
- Translate Rotate Scale
rord - ⊞ - The rotational matrix presented when you click on this option allows you to set the transform order for the Component's rotations. As with transform order (above), changing the order in which the Component's rotations take place will alter the Component's final position. A Rotation order of Rx Ry Rz would create the final rotation matrix as follows
R = Rz * Ry * Rx
- Rx Ry Rz
R = Rz * Ry * Rx
- Rx Rz Ry
R = Ry * Rz * Rx
- Ry Rx Rz
R = Rz * Rx * Ry
- Ry Rz Rx
R = Rx * Rz * Ry
- Rz Rx Ry
R = Ry * Rx * Rz
- Rz Ry Rx
R = Rx * Ry * Rz
t - ⊞ - The three fields allow you to specify the amount of movement along any of the three axes; the amount, in degrees, of rotation around any of the three axes; and a non-uniform scaling along the three axes. As an alternative to entering the values directly into these fields, you can modify the values by manipulating the Component in the Viewport with the Select & Transform state.
r - ⊞ - The three fields allow you to specify the amount of movement along any of the three axes; the amount, in degrees, of rotation around any of the three axes; and a non-uniform scaling along the three axes. As an alternative to entering the values directly into these fields, you can modify the values by manipulating the Component in the Viewport with the Select & Transform state.
s - ⊞ - The three fields allow you to specify the amount of movement along any of the three axes; the amount, in degrees, of rotation around any of the three axes; and a non-uniform scaling along the three axes. As an alternative to entering the values directly into these fields, you can modify the values by manipulating the Component in the Viewport with the Select & Transform state.
p - ⊞ - The Pivot point edit fields allow you to define the point about which a Component scales and rotates. Altering the pivot point of a Component produces different results depending on the transformation performed on the Component.
For example, during a scaling operation, if the pivot point of an Component is located at
-1, -1, 0 and you wanted to scale the Component by
0.5 (reduce its size by 50%), the Component would scale toward the pivot point and appear to slide down and to the left.
In the example above, rotations performed on an Component with different pivot points produce very different results.
scale - This field allows you to change the size of an Component uniformly along the three axes.
Note: Scaling a camera's channels is not generally recommended. However, should you decide to do so, the rendered output will match the Viewport as closely as possible when scales are involved.
constrain - Allows the location of the object to be constrained to any other object whose path is specified in this parameter.
lookat - Allows you to orient your Component by naming the Component you would like it to Look At, or point to. Once you have designated this Component to look at, it will continue to face that Component, even if you move it. This is useful if, for instance, you want a camera to follow another Component's movements. The Look At parameter points the Component in question at the other Component's origin.
Tip: To designate a center of interest for the camera that doesn't appear in your scene, create a Null Component and disable its display flag. Then Parent the Camera to the newly created Null Component, and tell the camera to look at this Component using the Look At parameter. You can direct the attention of the camera by moving the Null Component with the Select state. If you want to see both the camera and the Null Component, enable the Null Component's display flag, and use the Select state in an additional Viewport by clicking one of the icons in the top-right corner of the TouchDesigner window.
Look At Up Vector
lookup - ⊞ - When specifying a Look At, it is possible to specify an up vector for the lookat. Without using an up vector, it is possible to get poor animation when the lookat Component passes through the Y axis of the target Component.
- Don't Use Up Vector - Use this option if the look at Component does not pass through the Y axis of the target Component.
- Use Up Vector - This precisely defines the rotates on the Component doing the looking. The Up Vector specified should not be parallel to the look at direction. See Up Vector below.
- Use Quaternions - Quaternions are a mathematical representation of a 3D rotation. This method finds the most efficient means of moving from one point to another on a sphere.
- Don't use up vector
- Use up vector
- Use quaternions
pathsop - Names the SOP that functions as the path you want this Component to move along. For instance, you can name an SOP that provides a spline path for the camera to follow.
Production Tip: For Smooth Motion Along a Path - Having a Component follow an animation path is simple. However, when using a NURBS curve as your path, you might notice that the Component speeds up and slows down unexpectedly as it travels along the path. This is usually because the CVs are spaced unevenly. In such a case, use the Resample SOP to redistribute the CVs so that they are evenly spaced along the curve. A caution however - using a Resample SOP can be slow if you have an animating path curve.
An alternative method is to append a Basis SOP to the path curve and change it to a
Uniform Curve. This way, your Component will move uniformly down the curve, and there is no need for the Resample SOP and the unnecessary points it generates.
roll - Using the angle control you can specify a Component's rotation as it animates along the path.
pos - This parameter lets you specify the Position of the Component along the path. The values you can enter for this parameter range from
0 equals the starting point and
1 equals the end point of the path. The value slider allows for values as high as
10 for multiple "passes" along the path.
Orient along Path
pathorient - If this option is selected, the Component will be oriented along the path. The positive Z axis of the Component will be pointing down the path.
Orient Up Vector
up - ⊞ - When orienting a Component, the Up Vector is used to determine where the positive Y axis points.
bank - The Auto-Bank Factor rolls the Component based on the curvature of the path at its current position. To turn off auto-banking, set the bank scale to
Parameters - Pre-Xform Page
The Pre-Xform parameter page applies a transform to the object component the same way connecting another Object as a parent of this node does. The transform is applied to the left of the Xform page's parameters. In terms of matrix math, if we use the 'multiply on the right' (column vector) convention, the equation would be
preXForm * xform * Position.
pxform - Enables the transformation on this page.
pxord - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
- Scale Rotate Translate
- Scale Translate Rotate
- Rotate Scale Translate
- Rotate Translate Scale
- Translate Scale Rotate
- Translate Rotate Scale
prord - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
- Rx Ry Rz
- Rx Rz Ry
- Ry Rx Rz
- Ry Rz Rx
- Rz Rx Ry
- Rz Ry Rx
pt - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
pr - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
ps - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
pp - ⊞ - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
pscale - Refer to the documentation on Xform page for more information.
preset - This button will reset this page's transform so it has no translate/rotate/scale.
Commit to Main Transform
pcommit - This button will copy the transform from this page to the main Xform page, and reset this page's transform.
xformmatrixop - This parameter can be used to transform using a 4x4 matrix directly. For information on ways to specify a matrix directly, refer to the Matrix Parameters page. This transform will be applied after the regular Pre-Transform transformation. That is, it'll be applied in the oder XformMatrix * PreXForm * Position.
Parameters - Render Page
material - Selects a MAT to apply to the geometry inside.
drawpriority - Determines the order in which the Components are drawn. Smaller values get drawn after larger values. The value is compared with other Components in the same parent Component, or if the Component is the top level one listed in the Render TOP's 'Geometry' parameter, then against other top-level Components listed there. This value is most often used to help with Transparency.
pickpriority - When using a Render Pick CHOP or a Render Pick DAT, there is an option to have a 'Search Area'. If multiple objects are found within the search area, the pick priority can be used to select one object over another. A higher value will get picked over a lower value. This does not affect draw order, or objects that are drawn over each other on the same pixel. Only one will be visible for a pick per pixel.
wcolor - ⊞ - Use the R, G, and B fields to set the Component's color when displayed in wireframe shading mode.
lightmask - By default all lights used in the Render TOP will affect geometry renderer. This parameter can be used to specify a sub-set of lights to be used for this particular geometry. The lights must be listed in the Render TOP as well as this parameter to be used.
Parameters - Extensions Page
The Extensions parameter page sets the component's python extensions. Please see extensions for more information.
reinitextensions - Recompile all extension objects. Normally extension objects are compiled only when they are referenced and their definitions have changed.
Extension Object 1
extension1 - A number of class instances that can be attached to the component.
Extension Name 1
extname1 - Optional name to search by, instead of the instance class name.
Promote Extension 1
promoteextension1 - Controls whether or not the extensions are visible directly at the component level, or must be accessed through the
.ext member. Example:
Parameters - Common Page
parentshortcut - Specifies a name you can use anywhere inside the component as the path to that component. See Parent Shortcut.
opshortcut - Specifies a name you can use anywhere at all as the path to that component. See Global OP Shortcut.
Internal OP Shortcut 1
iopshortcut1 - Specifies a name you can use anywhere inside the component as a path to "Internal OP" below. See Internal Operators.
iop1 - The path to the Internal OP inside this component. See Internal Operators.
nodeview - ⊞ - Determines what is displayed in the node viewer, also known as the Node Viewer. Some options will not be available depending on the Component type (Object Component, Panel Component, Misc.)
- Default Viewer
default- Displays the default viewer for the component type, a 3D Viewer for Object COMPS and a Control Panel Viewer for Panel COMPs.
- Operator Viewer
opviewer- Displays the node viewer from any operator specified in the Operator Viewer parameter below.
opviewer - Select which operator's node viewer to use when the Node View parameter above is set to Operator Viewer.
Keep in Memory
keepmemory - Used only for Panel Components this keeps the panel in memory to it doesn't reload every time it is displayed.
enablecloning - Control if the OP should be actively cloned.
Enable Cloning Pulse
enablecloningpulse - Instantaneously clone the contents.
clone - Path to a component used as the Master Clone.
Load on Demand
loadondemand - Loads the component into memory only when required. Good to use for components that are not always used in the project.
externaltox - Path to a
.tox file on disk which will source the component's contents upon start of a
.toe. This allows for components to contain networks that can be updated independently. If the
.tox file can not be found, whatever the
.toe file was saved with will be loaded.
Reload .tox on Start
reloadtoxonstart - When on (default), the external .tox file will be loaded when the .toe starts and the contents of the COMP will match that of the external .tox. This can be turned off to avoid loading from the referenced external .tox on startup if desired (the contents of the COMP are instead loaded from the .toe file). Useful if you wish to have a COMP reference an external .tox but not always load from it unless you specifically push the Re-Init Network parameter button.
Reload Built-In Parameters
reloadbuiltin - When this checkbox is enabled, the values of the component's built-in parameters are reloaded when the .tox is reloaded.
Save Backup of External
savebackup - When this checkbox is enabled, a backup copy of the component specified by the External
.tox parameter is saved in the
.toe file. This backup copy will be used if the External
.tox can not be found. This may happen if the
.tox was renamed, deleted, or the
.toe file is running on another computer that is missing component media.
Sub-Component to Load
subcompname - When loading from an External
.tox file, this option allows you to reach into the
.tox and pull out a COMP and make that the top-level COMP, ignoring everything else in the file (except for the contents of that COMP). For example if a
.tox file named
geo1 as the Sub-Component to Load, will result in
geo1 being loaded in place of the current COMP. If this parameter is blank, it just loads the
.tox file normally using the top level COMP in the file.
reinitnet - This button will re-load from the external
.tox file (if present), followed by re-initializing itself from its master, if it's a clone.
Info CHOP Channels
Extra Information for the FBX COMP can be accessed via an Info CHOP.
Specific FBX COMP Info Channels
- fbx_file_version -
- initializing -
- ready -
- running -
- done -
- timer_fraction -
- timer_seconds -
- timer_index -
- playing_seconds -
- running_seconds -
- length_seconds -
- cycles -
- file_start_index -
- file_end_index -
- file_sample_rate -
- sample_rate -
- index -
- start_index -
- end_index -
Common COMP Info Channels
- num_children - Number of children in this component.
Common Operator Info Channels
- total_cooks - Number of times the operator has cooked since the process started.
- cook_time - Duration of the last cook in milliseconds.
- cook_frame - Frame number when this operator was last cooked relative to the component timeline.
- cook_abs_frame - Frame number when this operator was last cooked relative to the absolute time.
- cook_start_time - Time in milliseconds at which the operator started cooking in the frame it was cooked.
- cook_end_time - Time in milliseconds at which the operator finished cooking in the frame it was cooked.
- cooked_this_frame - 1 if operator was cooked this frame.
- warnings - Number of warnings in this operator if any.
- errors - Number of errors in this operator if any.