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FBX, pivot and animation


FBX, pivot and animation


I am a beginner using Vuforia Studio and Creo Illustrate, I usually use 3ds Max. So for learning I wanted to create an easy example: Create a box, that opens its lid when clicking on it. Not far in I already bumped against several walls, maybe more experienced people here can give me a hint or two:

- Box and lid are simple polygon objects, the pivot of the lid is placed correctly at the hinge in 3ds Max, I have animated the lid to open, they have Standard materials, no textures

- I used FBX as an export format, default AME settings

- Vuforia Studio imports the geometry and the basic materials, animation is unfortunately ignored (feature request!)

- So I learned the only ways for animation is cumbersome javascript or Creo Illustrate. So I installed Creo and new problems arise: The pivot point of the lid is ignored, it is always at the center. I see the button for changing it manually, but it does not do anything. I could not change the pivot in creo. How does this work? It is quite frustrating when you have 3ds Max at your fingertips and have to animate with Powerpoint... 😉

- I see how Vuforia Studio makes all the technical stuff easier, like building and connecting 2D interfaces, managing markers and such - but is there really no artist-friendly possibility for making it look nice? No lighting, shading, reflection environment etc.? Well, unless you know how to code OpenGL shaders manually, I guess. Or is there something I have missed?

- Well, maybe I am better off learning Unity and use the Vuforia plugin there. Or are there disadvantages as well?


Thanks a lot,



Hello Bob,


To answer to you questions :

  • In Creo Illustrate, to change the pivot point, please follow these steps :
    1. In Step Editor panel, click on the Add New Step...
    2. In Animation ribbon, in Orientation, select an orienation who will help your work
    3. In Animation ribbon, in Transform list, select Select CSYS
    4. Click a Component in Figure1 window in 3D
    5. In selection Filter, at the bottom, at right of Creo Illustrate window, select Edges for example
    6. Select an Edge who it will be the axis rotation
    7. In Select CSYS, the Reference: field has been updated
    8. Click the OK button
    9. In sBOM tab, select the Component to rotate
    10. Rotation gnomon has its center on the EdgeCreo Illustrate rotate.png


     More details in Help Center at this web page :

     To Transform and Rotate Parts


  • You are right Vuforia Studio doesn't have Lights ...etc.. to have a better renderer of 3D Objects. Only coding Shader is possible to improve that.
  • In Unity 3D, you will have to develop some scripts but your will have more flexibility about the rendering pipeline. In Vuforia Studio, it is easier to communicate with ThingWorx Platform and to use IoT Things. 

Best regards,


Hi @bobweb ,

the answer of  @sdidier  is very detailed showing the workflow.

But the  simples answer of you question:

- FBX files containing animations will be better to be handled in unity3d directly.  In this case you need for the Augmented application the Vuforia engine:

And you need to register on the Vuforia dev portal

- if you want to use studio you need to use as temporary step the PTC Tool Creo Illustrate where you can load the data  and create your own sequence ( as described in the post @sdidier )

-another option ( I do not think that this is very usable but want just to mention it) is to load the data directly in Studio and to use transformation for some movements but this required some more intensive mathematical calculation of the space transformations .e.g. to have the correct hinge axis for  a rotation in 3d space (when the rotation axis is not the x,y.z coordinate axis). In case that you have only some translation this could be handled easily by script.


Thanks a lot for both of your quick and detailed answers @sdidier and @RolandRaytchev . I will have a look at Unity as well and see how far I can get there. Still I would like to know how this works with the pivot. I am surprised that the workflow has nothing to do with the button "Set spin Center". It sounds as if this should do something like this, although it seems to not do anything, at least for me.

I have tried to recreate your workflow, unfortunately I could not do all of it, at point 6/7 nothing happens when I click on the model's edges, it keeps saying "Global" in "Select CSYS" window. I have also tried points and faces, but nothing happens, no matter where I click on the model.




Hi @bobweb,


so tryed in the following picture to explain how to rotate to an edge axis a part or subassembly (here in the example is subassembly):


1.) You have to define a figure and set it as current. Now you can select the object what you need to rotate

2.) Menu transform 

3.) select free rotation

4.)menu point "Select CSYS"

5.)select e.g. edge which you want to use as hinge

6.) rotate the object in the step

so hope this will make it clear. If not then let me know!


Wow, thanks a lot for your effort! But still, when I try clicking the edge nothing happens, at most the whole lid becomes Reference, but not an edge. I have made a video and attached it together with my FBX file, if you want to take a look at it. What am I doing wrong here?


Thanks again,


Hi @bobweb,

I am sorry for the delay! I tested it today.

Ok there are 2 points:

- I tested in my first answer with older version of Creo illustrate - so there is a  difference in the UI.

- now I tested with Creo Illustrate 5.1 -  so here to be able to make to correct selection we need to use geometry filter (part, edge , axis...) 



Depending of the filter that we can use in the selection  the behavior is different. Here I selected a part coordinate system as shown in the picture  above. So means it will take as rotation coordinate system the part csys. Here in the cylindrical bolt is working fine  Another option  is to select   an geometry item - here in the picture below an  edge:





But of course, the requirement is that the type of geometry items does exist. In the fbx file format I have the impression that no edge is selectable. So I do not have much experience with FBX models and for me is strange that we cannot select any edges in the geometry.

So, in your model I was able to select only a part coordinate system.



But I think if you have an assembly where you have a small part ( - it should be the desired hinge) which position will match with the correct axis location , in this case you can select this part and use his csys as rotational axis. 

In your model , there was no problem to select the box or the decker coordinate system - so that was possible to use for the rotation  axis -- unfortunately in this case it will not make much sense.

Hi @RolandRaytchev 


Thanks a lot for taking so much time for me. Since sdidier mentioned it, I had already tried the filter option. It did not do the trick, so it probably is about the FBX format, as you mentioned. Dealing with helper objects makes sense, that would be a workaround. For this little test no problem, for an object with much more elements this could get quite tedious.

It would be really great, if Vuforia Studio imported animation from FBX files, that would make it at least for non-CAD-people a lot easier. Well, maybe in the future...


Thanks again for all your support!