Increased Performance Thanks To Updates In 3D Model Rendering

April 28, 2020

Our goal at 3D Wayfinder has always been to bring affordable products and services, without sacrificing quality. Accordingly, we have made a few updates in our 3D model rendering. We are constantly updating our software to enhance your experience and to stay competitive in the venue management and digital signage market.

Like in motion pictures, computer graphics create images at a certain frequency – frames per second (FPS). This dictates how we perceive motion and the smoothness of it. For example, early silent films had a FPS of about 16-24. This was enough to give a lifelike representation of movement, that would amaze people. Our usual frame rate is 30 FPS, because anything larger is unnecessary. In addition, FPS also affects the performance of the devices that process it. Obviously, the higher the FPS and the level of detail, the more resources a device has to allocate to display it.

Our 3D models have a varied level of detail, according to the client’s wishes. For instance, a 3D model of a hospital can contain chairs, people and beds with pillows and blankets.

3D Wayfinder R&D AS Demo Project showcasing hospital detailed 3D map.
A screenshot from our demo projects, which you can access by signing up!

More Detailed Shadows Without Reducing Performance

In order to reduce pressure on the device’s GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) we have stopped the rendering of shadows for every frame. The position of a theoretical sun in the model is always the same. Therefore the shadows stay the same as well. There is no need to waste resources on rendering shadows again and again. The shadows still change according to the number of floors displayed. This allows the device to save energy and use it’s processing power for other needs.

Moreover, we added an option to increase the level of detail for shadows. Until now we used a 2048×2048 image for shadows, which is fine for smaller projects. Now it is possible to increase size from our settings page depending on the hardware capabilities of your project. This doesn’t reduce the device’s performance in a significant way, but does offer a more realistic experience.

These might be a small changes, but we believe that fine-tuning details like these make us the market leader!

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Creating BIM Applications with 3D Wayfinder

June 15, 2017

3D Wayfinder is now being used for Building Information Model (BIM) applications. By creating BIM kiosk software for Estonian National Museum we have added many new and useful features to our software and improved the performance for larger models.

Estonian State Real Estate Ltd ordered Building Information Model solution from us for recently opened Estonian National Museum. Now the visitors can easily explore the 3D model of the whole construction. Also they get the overview of the building by all the details.

erm2016

What is BIM applications?

BIM model is a digital equivalent of the building. It can contain everything from doors to electric fixtures. Although BIM applications technology and methodology is more common in the design of the building. It has large potential benefits for buildings management and maintenance phase.

Estonian National Museum’s new building is meant both for exhibitions and scientific work with net area of 33 879 square meters. We received a model of a building made with Revit, Autodesk software for BIM. It contained highly detailed information – e.g. all the pipes – so it needed a lots of simplifying.

erm_wayfinder_BIM

After the adaptations we still had a huge file with close to 12 000 separate elements. It is the largest model we have had in 3D Wayfinder. It was also the reason why we changed the logic of initializing POI data to make the loading of large objects faster.

Table view for all objects in BIM model was done by using Spreadcell. Spreadcell has easy upload from MS Excel files and it provides table-view, sorting etc by webservices (in JSON format). All the objects are divided into separate groups so the final user can choose what do they want to see, hide or find.

ERM_wayfinder_BIM

Kiosk design

We also built and designed the kiosk from scratch. Since most of the modern kiosk hardware is only enough for showing advertisements or 2D wayfinding plans. The kiosk is equipped with a landscape LCD screen, a touch panel and a dedicated graphics card. It makes kiosk suitable for applications that require greater graphical computing capabilities.

ERM_BIM_kiosk

3D Wayfinder application helps to make BIM useful for those who have no access to specific softwares themselves. For example we can integrate BIM with different management softwares. Also add the ability to write comments. In this way we make it easier for different parties to collaborate on centrally shared model.

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15% performance gain for larger 3D floor plans

January 31, 2017

We have improved our 3D rendering engine. Thanks to better memory management we got 10..20% performance increase in FPS with larger 3D models.

We updated our WebGL javascript engine – FRAK – in 3D Wayfinder. Many memory management functions have been improved in the new version. With the new FRAK engine 3D Wayfinder provides better loading speed performance for larger 3D models, that use more memory. With smaller 3D models, the increase in speed is not noticeable.

Testing with one really large shopping mall floor plan we got increase in performance in average 15%. In idle mode we recorded 16 frames per second (FPS) increase, jumping from 44 FPS to 50 FPS. While actively showing path we recorded a 7 FPS increase, jumping from 38 FPS to 45 FPS. In normal use, 3D Wayfinder is limited to 30 frames per second.

3D_wayfinder_webGL_performance_gain

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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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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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