For those of you who have signed up for the Autodesk 360 Technical Preview, you may well have already gotten a taste for its new viewing capability. Upload a 3D model of pretty much any format (the list is pretty exhaustive and goes well beyond Autodesk’s own formats, but you might try with DWG, RVT, IAM, IPT, NWD and DWF, to name a few to get you started) and you’ll see the viewer enabled for that model:
Before we go on, please bear in mind that this is very much still in Beta: it’s early days and the team is ironing out wrinkles on a regular basis. You’ll also need a WebGL-enabled browser to make this work, of course (as mentioned in yesterday’s post, this is built using Three.js which in turn uses WebGL). With all that said, hopefully you’ll see that this technology is pretty darn cool.
So, without further ado, here are a couple of models I’ve embedded in this blog post. The first is a front loader:
Model courtesy of Engineering Center.
The second is an AEC-centric model:
Aside from the standard zoom, pan & orbit, here are some things to try with both these models…
Press the structure button to browse down through the model’s assembly structure or component hierarchy. You can use this to isolate specific components in your model, hiding everything else. [Update: the AEC model doesn’t have structure, apparently. Check Jeremy’s blog for another AEC-centric model that does.]
After hitting reset , now try the explode button and then manipulate the slider that appears at the top of the window to move the various model components outwards from the centre to form an exploded view.
Aside from the need to support a huge array of formats, the viewer is really good at streaming large models – displaying them at appropriate levels of detail – and allowing you to get in and work with the structure of these models.
I should point out that models won’t typically be directly embeddable, in this way: under normal circumstances you’ll need to authenticate with the server using an access token (or a developer key if you want to request the model translation programmatically from your own web-service) but this isn’t needed for these models as they’re being served up by a demo service that takes care of all that behind the scenes. We’ll be providing more information on authentication and the various viewer APIs in due course.
If you want to start working with the new viewer sooner – and happen to be based in the San Francisco area – then you might consider signing up for HackSummitSF on June 14-15. As a sponsor of the event, we’ll be providing participants with hands-on access to the new viewing service. We’ll be following up with an online Autodesk Hackathon later in the year, for those who don’t happen to be in the Bay Area.
And don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about mobile viewing, either. Watch this space for news on that, too!