This is a Tutorial on how to export a model with animation as fbx file out of Blender.
Exporting to fbx with included animation out of Blender is a difficult thing, especially if you want to use it for 3D web applications like Verold or the coming soon animation feature on Sketchfab, it is important to reduce the animation keyframes, so the animation runs smoother and also the whole scene will loads faster. After the export, the result often looks not like you have made it in Blender, also the export may take a lot of time or fails. This is why i wrote this tutorial. There are a lot of things you need to consider, like the number of keyframes, inverse kinematics and bone constraints are not supported like in blender and it is better to have only one animation in your fbx file after the export.
I used the Blender version 2.70 for the export, because there are some problems with the fbx exporter under 2.74.
For this tutorial I decided to used my animated dragon, because it has a lot of animation bones, actions and bone constraints, what can cause problems if you simply export it as fbx. Also, I will show you how to keep the numbers of the keyframes small by using bake actions.
1. Export the animation as a bvh (motion capture file).
I did a lot of animation for this dragon, but I only want to export the idle animation now, so I go into the Pose Mode (1), then I press the a key to select all bones, now I choose the idle animation (2) into the Drop Sheet Editor.
Now I export the bvh.
File/Export/Motion Cature (. bvh).
The bvh exporter will only export the current action and this is good.
2. Separate the model from the armature and save the blend file.
I select the armature and then I press the x key to delete the armature object.
Also, I delete the armature modifier from the object.
Now I save my file.
3. Setup the export scene.
I need an empty scene, so I click on Load Factory Settings under File, then I delete the default cube and the camera.
I Append the model of my dragon.
1. Select the blend file
3. The object you want to append
Next I need to import the bvh Idle animation.
File/Import/Motion Capture (.bvh)
After importing the bvh file the armature rotation needs to be corrected.
I select the armature and fix the x rotation under the transform sector.
0° to -90°
It is important to apply the rotation, So I select the armature by pressing Crlt + a key and then I click on Rotation to apply.
Next I need to connect the Model with the armature.
I select the model first and then I select the armature with Shift key pressed.
Now I press Crlt + p, then I set the parent to Armature Deform.
4. Reducing the keyframes.
Reducing the key frames is important, it speeds up the animation playback, it reduces the file size and the whole scene loads faster. So now I go into the Pose Mode, press the a key to select all bones, and then I click on Bake Action…
1- Enter the last frame of animation here
2- Defines the frame step, 3 should be okay
Before Bake Action…
After Bake Action…
Now the file is ready for export.
5. Exporting and Testing.
File/Export/Autodesk FBX (.fbx)
For testing my exported file, I use the Autodesk FBX Converter
Just drag and drop the file into the program.
Hope it helps :)