Mark Jackson

XR (VR/AR/MR) and Visualize

Discussion created by Mark Jackson on Feb 15, 2019
Latest reply on Jun 4, 2020 by Husein Delic

I'd like to start a discussion about photoreal models brought into a XR experience of some kind trying to utilizing Visualize. The applications I am creating are for use by sales & marketing teams, for training and education, and augmented remote support. To date, I've had to dump Visualize out of my workflow for this except for one single function. The most successful workflow I have right now is to bring a SOLIDWORKS model into Visualize just to be able to export it as an .obj or .fbx. Then I bring the .obj into Unity and use its shader features and Substance plugin to create and apply the appearances to make the model as photoreal as possible. I can then create a XR experince to view in VR or MR headsets.


I've also tried the workflow that is supposed to allow for direct importing of SOLIDWORKS  files into Unreal Studio (beta right now) using the Datasmith plugin. It's supposed to bring a native .sldasm file right into Unreal Studio. To date I haven't been able to get a functional and correct import. Some of the assemblies come in and some don't. Dead in the water for now.


The models I work with are large manufacturing machines and systems. On average, they have a polygon count of 4.7 million. Some more, and a lot more, some less. Visualize does provide a slightly superior photoreal rendering over Unity, but as mentioned above, I'm not utilizing that aspect of Visualize right now when creating XR content. The reason being is that taking the time to create a wonderful photoreal model in Visualize, that gives me great static images and animation renders, the .obj or .fbx does not export the materials and appearances in a way Unity or Unreal Studio can make sense of. You get a couple of appearances correctly imported, but the majority, especially transparent ones, just plain fail and you have to redo them in Unity.


The issue of using Unity is that it's a tedious and extra step that eats up too much time for my one man team. I still use Visualize to get great still images and animations. So I'm working two workflows for now wishing I could use only Visualize to add the materials and appearances to the model.


Are any of you guys also struggling with trying to find an efficient workflow to create photoreal XR experiences with SOLIDWORKS models? Photoreal is the key here.