OBJ to Surfaces

Can anyone please provide a pipeline to converting OBJ data into surface data like IGES for use in solid modelers?
The goal is to use Rhino to create the surfaces from OBJ models created in Zbrush, Maya, XSi. At least with XSi, the IGES export is not useful within Inventor, which is final destination for the converted file.
The process I’ve found til now is painful, time consuming, and mostly inconsistant.
Any help would be appreciated.

I have had the same problem!

Entertainment properties tend to send obj files too… maya can’t seem to do a good job of exporting them either.

Any help on this would be great!!!

Hey Pezzy,

It looks by your website that you’re into toy design.
I’ve done work for Mattel as a vendor.

Please outline you’re pipeline at the moment. I’ll do the same, maybe we can get
some headway in this.

What are your sys. specs and software?


i’ve had success going from Maya polygons and subD’s to Pro/E solid model. usually have to zip a couple gaps. but have had good luck otherwise.

Hi ykh,

Care to detail your workflow? Id like to learn from others success.


My problem is getting a Maya polygon file (.obj) to nurbs (.IGES) for solid modeling. The software could either be solidworks or cobalt.

What I have been doing, thus far, is working around the maya file (using a polygon file in cobalt/solidworks) Then, after I have the other parts working with the .obj/polygon file I export everything back into maya and export as an .STL for prototyping.

There has to be a better/easier way.

convert Maya poly to NURBs. export iges to Pro. make solid. piece of cake.

From what little I know of Maya, it only converts polygons directly to Sub-divs. The crunching never works for me to go from sub-divs to nurbs then an export to iges. It looses a lot in translation.

Am I missing something?

just practice. and i’m using Pro/E. not all importers are created equal.

This I know all too well. Is Pro/E that much better or is it just a preference thing? I use solidworks (mainly because it was pretty easy to learn) but would consder learning some new software if it was truly easier to go from Maya to Pro easier. I use way too many .obj files to not be a bit more flexible…

PM me with an email. can send me a sample .obj file and i’ll see what i get.

i posted tests here last year. images. had stuff on a website. and samples. but email virus from a Core forum person brought that to an end. not too interested in trying to help like that again.

i just did a quick sample for Pezzy. he might show screencaps if you ask. may not be able to though.

ykh did it with 100% conversion. He used Pro/E to fix the file, which was needed in order for it to convert from the original .obj.

Overall, after correspondance with ykh it seems apparent that there is no really easy to go from .obj to solid modeling geometry. Each file is different depending on their complexity.

In other words… try the commands that the software offers and through trial and error there is a way to get a solid out of the polygon geometry…

thanks again ykh.

i lopped off the top of his head too.

btw, i like the look of the patches in your screencaps. nice.

There is not really a simple way for converting polygon data into NURBS data.

ykh probably described one of the simpliest (and cheapest) way for doing so, although there is not much control in Maya over what the patch layout will be like. Plus there is not much control over the precision of the data generated nor tools to measure surface deviations with the original data.

What you are really looking for is actually called Reverse Engineering (making a search on Google should provide you with more information).

In the usual Reverse Engineering workflow, the polygon data come from scanned data (which is a cloud of points).

All the major CAD applications have Reverse Engineering modules (ie Pro/ENGINEER Reverse Engineering, CATIA Digited Shape Editor + Quick Surface Reconstruction, etc.).

Some of the top standalone products include Geomagic Studio, Rapidform, Metris Paraform.

Alias StudioTools also has tools for reconstructing data and also does Rhino I believe (although possibly quite basic).

Reverse Engineering is quite a job in itself and all these very specific solutions (modules or standalones) are quite expensive.

i’ve worked with cloud data and have done more precise conversions using other tools in corporate environment. fact is not every product requires more level of precision than what i gave pezzy. if someone has modeled a toy in Max (whether or not i think thats a good tool for it). has made a rapid prototype. and wants to tool it. then getting that part solid may be all the precision they need.

as an aerospace engineer, i’m familiar with precision. all things have their place. expecting a sculpted model to maintain engineering precision as if it’s for the space shuttle is usually overkill. match the tool for the job.

It is not even necessary to make it a “solid part” to make a RPT. I send out STL files of componets modeled in Rhino… never solidified. It is important to remember that what companies really value is speed to market… Doing something fast for a componet that does not need to be for the space shuttle endevour has it’s benefits. As long as I have complete control over the form…

agreed. poorly worded. was partially-thinking along lines of inserting material properties to get basic engineering information needed for sign-off or for confirmations. have sent data straight to shop from Maya and taken into Pro for that sort of thing. apologies for not thinking and speaking more clearly.

Hey… I slipped through the cracks… I can barely read for gods sake.

Yes indeed - using the right tools for the job.

Thanks for clarifying this. My post wasn’t clear on that point.