Separating materials from geometry

June 7, 2016

Until now all the materials in 3D Wayfinder have been replaced with each 3D model update. Now it is possible to keep the materials and their attributes’ values. This will save a lot of time, when creating a nice-looking 3D wayfinding application. See how to separating materials from geometry.

Separating_materials_from_geometry_in_3D_Wayfinder_software

We have added a small feature to our 3D model converter. That enables to replace the 3D models without overwriting the materials. This means, that all the changes that were made in 3D Wayfinder for the purpose of tuning materials, are not lost when replacing 3D models. See it in user manual.

3D modelling software packages are different and the way 3D models are exported also varies. In most cases you need to change the color of the materials (diffuse and ambient color). After the creation of the model to get good looking 3D floor plans. We are now supporting specular shader, transparency etc. that might not come directly from the converted models. All these material attributes can be changed in 3D Wayfinder, but these values were replaced each time the geometry was updated. Now there is the option to keep the materials and their values, when replacing the 3D model.

At the same time we have added ambient attributes to each material when uploading the 3D model for the first time or when replacing the model. So there is no need to enter the “ambient” attribute anymore, just change the color.

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New reflection feature in our 3D engine

December 18, 2015

FRAK WebGL engine has now built in Cubemaps and reflection shader. This gives 3D Wayfinder access to use reflections of surrounding area.

We have added built in cubemaps and cubemap reflection shader to FRAK WebGL engine. In addition reflection with cubemaps is efficient way to create reflective surfaces like glass or mirrors.
Also cubemap reflection is a rendering method. It means that reflective surfaces reflect the cubemap textures.

Cubemaps_and_reflection_shader_frak_reflections_webGL

It will be available for 3D Wayfinder in near future. This will be the effective way to create large glass walls or buildings. It make them more realistic. It might be used also for expensive shopping mall floors.

Next feature in FRAK will be specular map to mark efficiently reflective areas.

Cubemap demo can be found under FRAK repository.

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3D Wayfinder is sponsoring CG Architecture Challenge

October 29, 2015

CGTrader is organizing challenge called “CG Architecture Challenge”. More than 240 thousand 3D enthusiasts and designers have been invited to participate. 3D Wayfinder has set awards for each challenge subcategory. Award will be given for the best 3D CG model or visualization uploaded during the challenge period.

The challenge will take 3 months and there will be 3 individual winners in each architectural category. Categories are: Best Architectural Interior Model; Best Architectural Exterior Model; Best Architectural Details Model and Best Architectural portfolio. Read more from cgtrader.com. In addition winner in each category will get 3D Wayfinder Pro account for a year.

CGTrader is a 3D model marketplace for computer graphics and 3D printing. For example 3D artists and designers share and sell their models. Then they get valuable feedback, learn from peers, and interact in a designer-friendly environment.

Here are 2 winning works from last year challenge:

Best 3D Architectural Exterior model 2014
Best 3D Architectural Exterior model 2014.
1st Runner-up in Best 3D Architectural Exterior model 2014
1st Runner-up in Best 3D Architectural Exterior model 2014.

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Preview of inserting external 3D models to floor plans

June 17, 2015

Currently we are developing features to insert external 3D models to floor plans. With this it would be possible to add these “little details” (like escalators, benches, trees or even cars). That make the floor-plans look realistic. The best thing is, that it doesn’t require any 3D modelling skills. So all our users can detail the floor plans by themselves.

3D object library can be opened in Editor window with object thumbnails:

3D_wayfinder_add_3D_models_from_library_to_add_3D_models_to_floor_plans

Added objects appear on the 3D scene. The good part here is, that the same model can be used inside the scene many times. Therefore it doesn’t increase the downloadable model sizes as each model will be loaded only once.

3D_wayfinder_add_3D_models_to_scene

3D models to floor plans can be resized and moved inside the 3D Wayfinder.

3D_wayfinder_add_3D_models_rotate

With external 3D models. We will definitely provide common library of models we are using to detail the floor plans. For example these will include trees, cars, different indoor plants, escalators, tables, stairs and so on. See our user manual.

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Faster loading with JSON 3D model format

May 25, 2015

Now the JSON 3D model formats are also implemented in 3D Wayfinder. This gives us better browser-side loading time as browsers’ native JSON parser is faster, than parsing binary models in Javascript. The average gain in loading time is 55%, which means that 3D Wayfinder is loading more than 2 as fast as before.

Below are testing results with 2 different project. It seems, that the improvement affects more larger projects.
We have made a minor change in loading logic also. Now the application will render the 3D models before all the textures are downloaded. Textures will appear as they are loaded. This allows to start using 3D wayfinder as soon as the 3D model files have been loaded.

Here are the initial test results for 2 projects:

1. Project: demo
———————————————–

Project statistics:
Visible faces (opaque/transparent): 5653/646
Visible renderers (opaque/transparent): 10/24
Visible batches (opaque/transparent): 10/4

Total geometry loading time (measured by floors):
Binary format: 1666.570ms + 1941.258ms = 3607.828ms
JSON format: 846.446ms + 945.121ms = 1791.567ms

Loading times without network transfer time:
Binary format: 1211.667ms + 1149.466ms = 2361.133ms
JSON format: 46.198ms + 31.087ms = 77.285ms

2. Project: Large customer project
———————————————–

Project statistics:
Visible faces (opaque/transparent): 229533/6459
Visible renderers (opaque/transparent): 629/13
Visible batches (opaque/transparent): 49/13

Total geometry loading time (measured by floors):
Binary format: 23673.256ms + 13435.160ms + 4924.420ms = 42032.836ms
JSON format: 10225.722ms + 2929.486ms + 3642.354ms = 16797.562ms

Loading times without network transfer time:
Binary format: 20016.574ms + 11549.349ms + 3087.721ms = 34653.644ms
JSON format: 226.997ms + 136.840ms + 70.465ms = 434.302

JSON model specifications can be found from FRAK Github repository.

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Support for JSON 3D model format in FRAK WebGL engine

May 12, 2015

We have released a new version of FRAK WebGL engine with support for JSON 3D model format. This decreases the browser-side loading time as browsers’ native JSON parser is faster, than parsing binary models in Javascript, as we used to do so far. Of course we will continue to support binary models also.

FRAK JSON model specifications can be found from FRAK Github repository.

3D Wayfinder JSON file format


Initial testing shows, that compressed JSON files are the same size as binary files, but browser side parsing is many times faster.

Here are testing results for parsing with different 3D geometry:

RGB box (12 poly)
With binary format: 250 ms
With JSON: 10-60 ms

Axis Test (3440 poly)
Binary: 300 ms
JSON: 36-60 ms

Wayfinding demo ground level (20069 poly)
Binary: 1265 ms
JSON: 50-70 ms

Browser side parsing time varies a bit, but even with larger models it should be less than 100 ms.

Support for JSON models will be available in 3D Wayfinder in near future. This will probably make the 3D Wayfinder application (with models) loading time smaller about 50%. Of course it will depend on the project size, textures, internet connection etc.

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Bumps and dents in 3D with normal maps

March 24, 2015

With new material management, we have added also normal maps. Normal mapping is a technique used for faking the lighting of bumps and dents in 3D models – an implementation of bump mapping.

It is used to add details without using more polygons. Which means you can create smaller and faster models for 3D Wayfinder. Normal maps will enhance the appearance and details of a low polygon model by generating a normal map from a high polygon model or height map.

Here is an old town model without normal map:

3D Wayfinder without normal map

In following screenshot is the same model with normal maps applied:

3D Wayfinding with normal map. Bumps and dents in 3D models.

The result will look like the stones are all modeled out in 3D.

Here is the texture and normal map added to this texture:

Texture and normal map

To use normal maps, you have to select “Normal-mapped” for the material from the shader column.

Normal maps material selection

Then press “Edit” and you can upload texture and normal map image:

Selecting material for normal map

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