FreeCAD animated render

For an upcoming project I wanted to create a render of a rotating assembly created in FreeCAD.

I checked Twitter and YouTube and a few options came up. Firstly was to export to Blender then use Blender to render it. My last attempt with Blender was a complete disaster so I didn’t really want to go down that option. CADRays was also mentioned as a rendering tool that would take models from FreeCAD. I tried that and it did produce some quite nice results. There was a scripting tool too with that but I could not find documentation that would allow me to rotate and export the images.

FreeCADNews recommended the Render workbench. That requires a 3rd party rendering tool. I tried LuxCoreRender and Appleseed but I did not seem to be able to get good results from them, either just getting a blank screen or having render times that were hours per frame. And also there was no easy way to produce an animation.

At this point I was reminiscing back to the days when I used Carrara for my animation projects and wondered if I could use that. I found that software was now owned by DAZ and a license was nearly £300. So not really an option. But it did remind me that I owned a copy of DAZStudio and that would be able to import OBJ files into that. I tried that and ended up with a transparent object. But I tried again using the Colada file format and that correctly exported my object and properties. I found it a bit tricky to get the lighting quite right as the preview was a lot darker than the render. But it was possible to create the rotating animation and I should also be able to animate the lights.

I also tried the Screen Wiki Macro and that did make for an easy process, although it seemed a little temperamental. I found that worked best if you select the option for rotate the 3D view rather that the object. I like the results and simplicity of this but won’t be able to easily animate the lights using this technique. But I might be able to borrow some ideas from the macro to create my own custom animation/export.

I also created a light object, this will be a flashing orange light lit with an LED. I will be printing that in a translucent filament that I’ve previously used for the lights on the Upcycle It Design Challenge car.

2 thoughts on “FreeCAD animated render

  1. Ethan Mayer says:

    For a part this simple I would suggest rotating the part, say maybe every 10 degrees and saving that body out as a seperate step file, then with your 36 bodies import all of them into cadrays and keep your view the same and then turn one on, render, turn off and repeat for all 360. Then import all the images into any movie making program and set the desire duration of each frame. outpout and bam you got your movie!

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