Reel Pictures VR Diary Ep04 – VR CAD Model Viewer

Our 4th VR Diary video is an overview of our “VR CAD Model Viewer”. This app allows you to view and interact with CAD data in Virtual Reality. The models sit on a virtual tabletop at user-specified scale. You can view these scale models from any angle and isolate specific areas. The user can explore key areas of the model in a 1:1 real-world scale.

We think it will be incredible useful for Architects, Industrial Designers and anyone who would want to use Virtual Reality for their Rapid Prototyping!

In this video, this VR app is in its early stages. In our future videos we will show some of the progress we’ve been making as well as some other examples where it could be useful in rapid prototyping for products and in industrial design applications.

The model featured in this video was Designed By Melbourne-based Architect Paul Evans. It is part of a submission to the Royal Society of Victoria by Paul Evans, Nigel Westbrook and Michael Wentworth-Bell.

At the moment, the process of preparing the model for VR is not automated – we are preparing the model in 3ds Max before sending it to Unreal.

We are in the process of automating as many of the processes as possible:

  • Generating Lightmap UVs
  • Creating adequate Collisions based on Floors, walls and ceiling
  • Assigning Unreal Shaders based on object name, layer name or existing material name
  • Placing key teleport points based on locations placed in Revit
  • Placement of Sun based on Geo Location set in Revit
  • Tagging of Doors, Glass and individual floors to allow users to isolate / toggle visibility

Depending on the complexity of the scene, Optimization of the resulting meshes is required. With some prep, The few test scenes we have worked with so far have maintained a stable 90fps in the headset on standard hardware.

There are a few solutions available for viewing CAD data in VR that are completely automated. Ours is not completely automated yet, but we are translating our experience in Arch-Vis into realtime VR, and can create projects that are a lot more specialised in their use – adding specific functionality per project.

This is a very popular and exciting use-case for VR tech and one I can see many CG studios being a part of!

About the author

Michael Wentworth-Bell is a Melbourne-based 3D generalist and Motion Graphics artist. Michael started the Lode in 2012 as an online Portfolio and blog.

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