Virtual reality is here to stay; it’s especially applicable to product design and development. Executive and client stakeholder VR visualization leads to better fundamental understanding of design, which minimizes design iteration. High quality virtual reality productions can help close a deal or take your marketing campaign to the next level.
Previously, taking raw CAD data into VR was a cumbersome, time-consuming process, particularly for real-time rendering and visualization. Many users were deterred from actively integrating VR into their workflow due to the level of complexity involved.
Enter Datasmith, part of the Unreal Studio offering (the enterprise division of Epic Games).
Datasmith is a collection of tools and plugins that helps users bring content into Unreal Engine 4. In short, it does the heavy lifting when importing complex CAD without the need to decimate models.
Unreal describes the following ambitious goals for Datasmith:
- To bring entire pre-constructed scenes and complex assemblies into Unreal, regardless of how large, dense or heavy those scenes may be. Rather than forcing you to deconstruct your scenes and assemblies into individual chunks, then pass each chunk to the game engine separately through an FBX import pipeline, then re-assemble the scene in the Unreal Editor, Datasmith re-uses the assets and layouts that you've already built for other purposes in other design tools.
- To support the widest possible range of 3D design applications and file formats. It already works with 20 different sources, including Autodesk 3ds Max, Trimble Sketchup, McNeel Rhino, and more with each release. Datasmith currently supports a direct workflow for PTC Creo, available from V13 up to Creo 4, for CAD import.
- To handle the tricky problem of bringing in changes that get made in source material that you've already imported, without requiring you to re-do all the work that you've done to those assets in Unreal. (To read more about this, see About the Datasmith Reimport Workflow)
- Currently, Datasmith is focused on translating your design content into forms that Unreal Engine can understand and render in real-time. Longer-term, the aim is to add more intelligent data preparation, tailoring the imported content for maximum runtime performance in the game engine, and adding smarter runtime behaviors.
Ready to get started?
To help you easily incorporate VR development into your design visualization process, HP, Unreal Engine, and Intel created the HP VR Launch Kit for Unreal Engine. Components of the kit include the Experience Showcase and VR Performance Profiler, along with connecting to Unreal Studio* and learning materials.
Demonstrate the power of VR with the Experience Showcase, a standalone executable that includes a product design demonstration. Easily show your stakeholders the advantages of VR in a design workflow, with a wide range of VR capabilities such as cross-sectioning and parts explosion of complex assemblies.
"With our virtual reality design meetings that we’ve been able to provide for clients, they’ve had 10 or so people all in one room looking at a virtual model, pointing out mistakes faster than they’ve ever done before.”Stephen Phillips CTO & Co-founder of Theia Interactive
The launch kit also includes the VR Performance Profiler, which grades hardware configurations based on a set of criteria across 4 levels of performance. Level 1 is the lowest grade that allows for a functional VR experience. Subsequent levels up to Level 4 indicate better performance. HP VR Ready Workstation solutions powered by Intel® processors are recommended, including the HP Z VR Backpack with an Intel® Core i7™ vPro™ processor, 32 GB memory, and NVIDIA Quadro® P5200 professional graphics.
With a library of educational materials – whether you’re new to VR or are a more seasoned developer – you can learn to build a VR experience relevant to your specific needs thanks to templates, tools, and tutorials.
Use the HP VR Launch Kit to build a foundational understanding of VR. Unreal Studio – including Datasmith – is a companion solution to the HP VR Launch Kit. Achieve your VR application vision utilizing Unreal Engine’s intuitive workflow and high-fidelity, real-time rendering engine.
HP VR Ready solutions powered by Intel technologies gives you the ultimate performance for VR content creation and fully-immersive experience.
The HP VR Launch Kit for Unreal Studio is currently in beta. Public release is expected Fall 2018.
*Disclaimer: Unreal Studio and Unreal Engine are separate offerings. Please see https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/studio for complete details.
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