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Okino Computer Graphics Posts Tutorials for Converting Models from 3D CAD to Non-CAD-Animation Packages

Making the process more efficient (November 15, 2001)
On the anniversary of their 10th year of incorporation, Okino Computer Graphics posted tutorials, discussions and case studies explaining the realities and problems related to moving complex CAD data into common non-CAD 3D rendering and animation packages. The basic problem is that CAD programs often will represent 3D models as Breps (solids), formed from a combination of stitched trimmed NURBS and parametrics, whereas many rendering & animation packages will use polygons as their basis of model creation.

The raw conversion from CAD (solids) to non-CAD (polygons) often results in an explosion in polygon count and the number of objects in a scene. This explosion in complexity can lead to extremely slow import of the resulting data into the destination rendering & animation program, or resulting slow interactivity and/or rendering speed.

The tutorials acknowledge these problems and discuss various ways to optimize them, such as (1) reducing the complexity of the assemblies in the source CAD program (why import the full transmission of car if only the car body will be seen and animated?), (2) compressing the number of objects according to hierarchy and grouping nodes, and (3) using polygon reduction to reduce model complexity. When such suggestions are taken into account the final import and rendering process can be greatly optimized and sped up.

Okino also posted a succinct set of case studies culled from users of Okino's PolyTrans & NuGraf software. The case studies exemplify cases where Okino software has benefited customers who must move complex CAD data into third party rendering & animation programs such as Maya, 3DS MAX, Lightwave, trueSpace or Okino's NuGraf for rendering & animation. The conversion process and optimization steps taken are some of the key aspects of making the CAD data useable within these non-CAD programs.

"Since we began developing our CAD importers in the late 80's and early 90's (IGES, DXF, SLP, STL, etc.) we have been approached by customers on a weekly basis asking how & why their large CAD datasets do not transfer easily or well into their favorite rendering and/or animation packages, " said Robert Lansdale, President of Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. "The problems are multi-faceted, dealing with such issues as non-ideal default import converters in the customers' 3D packages, datasets that are just too massive to handle, datasets with too many objects or an initial lack of understanding that CAD packages are streamlined for solid models that do not afford the same level of efficiency when converted to non-solids programs. As topics I have discussed verbally with Okino customers over the years, I have summarized the key points of these discussions in the tutorials posted to the Okino WEB site. They are open for comment and are not the gospel according to Okino, but rather some interesting points that often help our customers solve their CAD to non-CAD conversion problems. A good understanding of the problems at hand, and that the customers are not alone encountering such problems, are key starting points to performing clean & efficient data transfer between CAD and non-CAD programs."

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Related Keywords:Okino, 3d, CAD


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