Friday, July 30, 2010

How to Create 3D Anaglyphs with Autodesk LandXplorer

3D Anaglyph created with Autodesk LandXplorer
In a previous post, I discussed the importance of visualization as part of the BIM process. I also provided several examples of visualization in action including this short 3D anaglyph video of a water treatment plant. Most of the videos referenced in my post though were pre-rendered with some of the animations requiring hours of computer processing power to create.

However, instead of pre-rendering your BIM models, another option is to create your 3D anaglyph in real time. This type of stereoscopic rendering is possible via the Stereo Mode option in
Autodesk LandXplorer. You can setup Stereo Mode for use with 3D anaglyph glasses (ie the type with the red/cyan lenses). Stereo Mode also supports 3D shutter glasses if your graphics hardware supports such functionality.

To enable Stereo Mode and create a 3D anaglyph, do one of the following:
  • Click the Tools menu and then select the Stereo Mode option
  • Use the keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+S
  • Enable Stereo from the Stereo Viewing toolbar
Note that you can adjust the setting for your eye distance in the edit field of the Stereo Viewing toolbar so that you can achieve results that generate the best 3D effect for you. The default value = 1.0.

So, grab your 3D glasses and hang on tight as you visualize your BIM models while flying through your cityscape in 3D with Autodesk LandXplorer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Visualization and BIM: A Powerful Combination

Explore, validate and communicate model based designs before they’re real.

Proposed transportation networks, above and below ground infrastructure, neighborhood developments and other major municipal projects are often subjected to great scrutiny. Being able to use model based designs to generate high quality visualizations can help engineers, architects and others improve stakeholder communications, better convey design intent and expedite approvals.

As discussed in a previous
post, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that leverages model based designs throughout the entire municipal lifecycle. Visualizations are an important part of that process. Accurate, photo realistic renderings, as well as, drive-through, fly-over and animated simulations can be used to explore design options clearly and accurately, validate designs and detect errors before construction.

For example, check out the Alaskan Way Viaduct
animation as released by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The video shows the drive-through experience after proposed changes to this major Seattle transportation corridor have been completed. In addition to communicating design intent, this type of visualization helps validate the design. Note proposed lane configurations, exit ramps, and tunnel lighting. Also, note the potential impact of buildings, signs, barriers and other visual obstructions on sightlines.

Visualizations are also useful in clash detection scenarios where the individual design elements of a BIM model are checked for interference with one another. Identifying and documenting clash related problems prior to construction can significantly reduce construction costs by reducing the number of RFIs and change orders during construction. For example, this
video posted by CivilFromTheGroundUp shows how clash detection can be used to identify the clash between an underground utility and the surface of a roadway.

Construction sequencing which is demonstrated in this
video is another useful type of visualization that aims to show how a design will be built over time and can be used to help coordinate multidiscipline construction projects.

Furthermore, BIM models can be used to create 3D visualizations to enhance the experience of a project before its real. With 3D movies such as “Avatar” and the release of 3D televisions, the importance of a 3D experience as it relates to design will undoubtedly increase. For example, check out this stereoscopic anaglyph animation of a water treatment facility. This video was created using
Autodesk 3DS Max by my colleague Louis Marcoux. You will of course need special glasses to view the 3D effect. Get the glasses with the red/cyan lenses.

In summary, visualizations and BIM are a powerful combination that can have a profound positive impact on your business:
  • Become more competitive
  • Win more RFPs
  • Identify the best design alternatives
  • Accurately convey design intent
  • Improve public and stakeholder communication
  • Reduce construction costs
  • Improve coordination of multidiscipline teams

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cadalyst Article on How to Work with Point Clouds

Here's a short post on my latest Cadalyst article. This article focuses on one of my favorite new features in AutoCAD Map 3D 2011: the new point cloud tools for viewing, querying and analyzing 3D laser scanning and LiDAR data sets. I have also posted a video to accompany the article.

Please be sure to check out both the article and the video.