Importing and exporting shapes
V-REP uses triangular meshes to describe and display shapes. Because of this, V-REP will only import formats that describe objects as triangular meshes. If however you wish to import objects described as parametric surfaces for example (e.g. IGES, etc.), then you will first have to convert the file to an appropriate triangular mesh format. There are several conversion application that allow for this operation, and most 3D drawing applications support this quite well too. Make sure you read the sections further down to be able to obtain the best triangular mesh description possible for your 3D drawing.
V-REP supports following file-formats for shape import ([Menu bar --> File --> Import --> Mesh...]):
The import functionality is handled by the Assimp plugin for V-REP. See here for its API functions. More formats can be supported if the Assimp library (and Assimp plugin) are recompiled with the required flags.
If after the import operation you can't see any shapes in the scene, but the scene hierarchy indicates the presence of newly added shapes, then most probably your shapes are either too big or too small to be seen. You can then proceed to a scaling operation in the object common properties. Also, when exporting meshes from a CAD application, try to export them as a whole (best is to export them as a single object, later on in V-REP you can then divide the imported shape with [Menu Bar --> Edit --> Grouping/Merging --> Divide selected shapes]); this is to avoid the CAD application repositioning/reorienting individual meshes according to their reference frame during the export operation (V-REP's reference frame is different!), which may result in a broken appearance.
Make sure that your imported meshes do not contain too many triangles (for a robot, typically between 10000-20000 triangles in total), otherwise V-REP could be drastically slowed down (rendering, calculations, load/save operation, etc.). There are applications allowing to reduce the number of polygons in a mesh (e.g. MeshLab or polygon crunsher). You can also use following V-REP functions:
When exporting shapes from an application that handles shapes as parametric surfaces (e.g. IGES, etc.), it might be important to export the objects in several steps when the drawing consists of large and small objects; this is to avoid having large objects too precisely defined (too many triangles) and small objects too roughly defined (too little triangles): simply export large objects first (by adjusting the desired precision settings), then small objects (by adjusting up precision settings).
Make also sure to follow the tutorial on how to build a clean simulation model.
V-REP supports following file-formats for shape export [Menu bar --> File --> Export --> Selected shapes...] (note: only selected objects will be exported):
V-REP supports following file-formats for heightfield shape import ([Menu bar --> File --> Import --> Heightfield...]):
After selecting the file to import, a dialog will open:
[Heightfield import options dialog]