Visualisation all the rage at Develop3DLive in Sheffield

A new virtual reality visualisation tool from Siemens Lightworks, a trading platform for three-dimensional (3D) objects and an upcoming VR engine were among the talking points at Develop3DLive in Sheffield last week.

The meeting for product designers included a VR and visualisation track that saw several speakers introduce and explain what they’re working on right now.

Ben Widdowson, marketing manager at Siemens Lightworks

Ben Widdowson, marketing manager at what is now Siemens Lightworks, a Sheffield-based computer software and technology licensing company, used his presentation to explain how his organisation is working to give automotive designers more time to be creative.

Automotive designers currently face several barriers to creativity, he explained, including spending too much time on manually preparing data, pressure to scale down ideation, and having to produce costly physical models.

VR has the potential to break down these barriers, “but there are a lot of limitations [to the technology] at the moment”, such as visual fidelity, data preparation, resolution and tracking.

For automotive designers to be able to sign off a design theme in VR, the technology has to be able to automate the data process and be visually compelling.

Slipstream from Siemens Lightworks achieves these two aims, Widdowson said, with full automation of computer-aided design (CAD) data, multiplay collaboration and customisable environments.

The solution was designed “for industries with a lot of heavy data that need to see something visually compelling” at the end of it.

Slipstream takes the CAD data, converts them to game engine assets and then Siemens Lightworks builds the resulting environment, all before the client sees anything. For them, it’s as easy as click and go, he said, adding: “We really wanted to simplify the workflow.”

Widdowson was keen to point out that Slipstream “complements rather than replaces physical models”.

A compelling proposition was put to the VR and visualisation track audience during the presentation that followed Widdowson’s.

Dalia Lašaitė, chief executive officer of CGTrader

Dalia Lašaitė, chief executive officer of Lithuania-headquartered CGTrader, highlighted the multi-faceted nature of the business that she oversees, which operates an online 3D model marketplace, a custom modelling platform known as 3D Projects, and offers mass 3D modelling solutions to enterprise customers globally.

The “democratisation of 3D visualisation” has helped drive demand for CGTrader’s services, she explained, which has included lower costs from automation, the higher quality of 3D printers, more powerful game engines and the rise of augmented reality (AR) for ecommerce and social media.

It’s the last one, AR for ecommerce and social media, where CGTrader is pushing ahead, particularly in its work with enterprise, but a lack of 3D content remains a bottleneck to growth—one that Lašaitė and her team are working to overcome.

Henrik Wann Jensen, chief scientist at Luxion

Henrik Wann Jensen, chief scientist at Luxion, maker of KeyShot, went into great detail about the strides made in the development of the 3D rendering and animation software during its last update, particularly how it handles light, material and even the molecular structure of the objects it’s fed.

He concluded that a “fully immersive 3D world” is “where we’re going”, but repeated a common theme from Develop3DLive that effective “visualisation and rendering is all about communication”.

This is why Luxion is working on a VR add-on for KeyShot that Jensen said will launch soon.

Without giving away too many details, Jensen said that One-Click VR is a custom real-time engine that will be able to transform any KeyShot model into VR-ready content.

To view a playback of the Develop3DLive livestream, watch the video below:

Image credits: Develop3DLive