How to easily create 3D content for your Digital Twin visualization

Updated: Jul 20

Intro

#3DVisualizr is an outstanding #digitaltwin technology that improves the information management by placing data and information clearly arranged in its respective context. Our 3D approach follows a couple of simple ideas: It needs to be resourceful while maintaining a high visual quality, and it needs to be compatible and reusable.

In this post we will line out how we facilitate the 3D scene creation for our customers.


Asset library

In general, our 3D scenes are a collection of 3D objects combined in a 3D space. When we decided to productize our #Digital #Twin #visualization technology, the asset library concept is a cornerstone in our offering. Through the asset library we offer our available 3D content to our customers for them to recreate the industrial environments.

This makes it paramount for us to make sure our customers find the fitting 3D content in our library to get as good a representation as possible. For this reason we have 3D artists that constantly extend our library. You will find the latest overview here.

In case we are missing one or several 3D objects, we offer two options to add them to our library.


Option 1: Manual 3D model creation

This is our established approach to create 3D content and extend the library. We have a team of highly skilled 3D artists and are capable of creating any kind of 3D model. All we need is a set of pictures, information on the object's dimensions, or some other existing 3D content showing the object.

Depending on the models visual complexity this will takes us round about a day per model.


Needless to say that, if you have existing 3D content in BabylonJS format, you can just upload it and use it.


Option 2: Semi-automated 3D model CAD conversion

The second path is to convert an existing 3D model. As our tool is based on Blender, we are limited towards our import capabilities to .fbx, .obj or .gltf. However, addons like STEPper extend the import capabilities to cover a wide range of 3D formats. Once you have a compatible format you can use our CAD converter to convert your file to the BabylonJS format.

The conversion reduces the models' complexity to make them performing better in our 3D scenes.


We have created a comprehensive documentation to guide you through the conversion process.


Scene creation in 3DV portal

Now that we have all the ingredients, e.g. 3D models available, we can start creating our 3D scene. The process is divided into two process steps, the layout creation and the asset placement.


Layout creation process

The layout contains all the static elements in a 3D scene, like walls, windows, and floors. First, you will start drawing walls to create your rooms. After this is done, you will be able to add details like windows or pillars, and add floor decals, too.

One key feature is the reference image overlay including the automatic scaling, that allows you to recreate your industrial environment based on your shop floor plans with high precision.

Once your layout is created, you will proceed to the asset placement.


Technically, the elements that are added through the layout creation process will be defined as not pickable which means that they will not be selectable in the later visualization.


Asset placement process

The asset placement is organized as a WYSIWYG editor. Select the respective assets from our library and position them on the scene. Again, the reference image feature allows for a very precise positioning based on your current floor plan.

Each model can be adjusted in size by using the scaling feature. For the positioning you can rotate all objects in all axes, and also align them automatically. As of June 2022, the auto-align considers the object's origin, which might produce not the best results. We are investigating and optimizing this feature to create a better user experience.


Once you are done, you will export the scene to BabylonJS (for our engine usage) or .obj for other applications. The export will be available as a scene in your asset library.


INTERESTED? Sign up for our trial to test the portal yourself!


The technology behind 3DVisualizr

The technology setup that fits our needs best is BabylonJS, one of the most powerful, beautiful, and simple Web rendering engines in the world. Since the year 2016 we are developing our 3D technology on this great technology stack.

Our main tool to create 3D content is Blender (Their mission: Get the world’s best 3D CG technology in the hands of artists as free/open source software). Therefore, Blender also provides the technical platform for our 3D CAD conversion tool.


Glossary

Layouts contain static elements such as walls and pillars.

Objects are 3D models like machines, assets or vehicles that are placed in our 3D scene creation process. Objects are usually tagged with our data labels.

Scenes are layouts in which 3D objects are positioned to create a proper representation in 3D. Our 3D scenes don't have restrictions in size or number of objects. Theoretically, you can recreate the whole world in one scene.

Origin is the defined "center" of a 3D object. It will scale and rotate around this point.

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