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I want to generate sprite-sheets for an isometric projection of various 3d assets purchased from the Unity3D asset store. I'd preferably also render the normal maps. I am a programmer, but new to 3D modeling software (Blender, etc.)

I found two tools for this; SpriteForge and SpriteWorks, but neither supports enough formats to be worth their cost.

There must be an efficient way of isometrically rendering various animations of a 3d assets in Blender—but I don't know how. How can I do this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If they do what they claim and easily solve your art asset problem, I wouldn't say that at $20-$50 they're "not worth their cost". \$\endgroup\$ – Jari Komppa May 5 '14 at 10:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ They don't work very well. Aside from that, they only support collada and DTS, which I have yet to find the proper tools to sufficiently convert widely used formats (like fbx) to properly. AutoDesk provides a solution, but it fails to properly convert fbx to DTS\DTA... Regardless, I don't want to spend hours trying to figure out how to fix these conversion errors on a per model basis - at that rate it would be quicker to do it manually... At the very least I don't want to purchase a unity3d asset and have to guess if it will work in spriteworks after spending hours trying to hopefully convert \$\endgroup\$ – user45488 May 5 '14 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Spriteworks/forge people are not willing to help with these kinds of things? \$\endgroup\$ – Jari Komppa May 5 '14 at 11:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Nope. SpriteForge is dead, SpriteWorks is specifically for the use with the torque engine. \$\endgroup\$ – user45488 May 6 '14 at 8:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ You can do that just fine in Blender itself, see clintbellanger.net/articles/isometric_tiles \$\endgroup\$ – API-Beast May 17 '14 at 23:14
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Blender is a good start.

To get "isometric" view you just need to configure the camera to orthographic projection and place it at the correct angle above and to the side of your model.

Then you need to animate the model as required. Here you need to ensure that the number of animation frames equals the desired sprite sheet.

Then you "film" the animation loop. You set the duration of the capture to equal your animation duration. Set the output to JPEG or PNG and the size to whatever you need.

Finally using something like ImageMagick and a small driver script you glue the images together into one big sheet.

Although the process could be a bit more automated, it should be feasible.

See also @API-Beasts's link for the isometric setup.

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Fragmotion can create all the sprites you need and technically it's free... You load the FBX or BVH in and select Create Sprite Sheet from the menu. If you have the animations already pre-loaded into the character, it should be easy.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Can it make isometric sprite sheets? (That's an important part of the question here.) What does "technically free" mean? (Just curious.) \$\endgroup\$ – Anko May 17 '14 at 22:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ You have recite the Lord's Prayer before opening up the application word by word. And after you complete that in the app, it's free for 7 days. You can do this forever, so it's basically free :). \$\endgroup\$ – NiCk Newman Nov 20 '15 at 23:49
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All credit to API-Beast for this, but since they didn't add it as an answer and this question remains technically unanswered...

Check out this link for a blender script to actually output the individual frames. That's doing just a rotation, but fundamentally it's the same process to iterate over multiple frames of animation and output a snapshot render taken of each frame.

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