For their 2020.1 release, our partners at Pixyz have focused on improvements ranging from core geometry capabilities and new import formats to visualization and user interface enhancements. Taken together, these improvements result in tools that are more capable, polished, and controllable than ever.
Pixyz is a critical companion to Unity for many of our users. Their products, including Pixyz Plugin, Pixyz Studio and Pixyz Batch, make it easy to import and optimize 3D data – from large CAD models to point clouds – to create real-time 3D experiences in Unity.
If there is one theme for the 2020.1 release of Pixyz Studio, it has to be “control.” With this release, the user interface has been overhauled to provide more finely grained controls, presented within a streamlined interface. Beyond the surface, new import formats and optimization algorithms extend Studio’s capabilities into new applications.
The overall look and feel of Studio has been redesigned with a fresh, refined interface that provides better functionality across various screen resolutions and aspect ratios. The new interface is also easier to use and understand.
Several functional improvements are also apparent in Studio. Undo and Redo have been improved with an easily managed History feature and can now be used with more algorithms. Objects can be manipulated with a new, expanded gizmo which provides 3-axis or per-axis scaling plus constrained rotation and translation. Object selection is also improved, with the ability to select among an isolated set of objects within a larger design context, plus box selection with multiple inclusion modes.
Rendering has been completely reworked in Studio to provide the ability to preview prepared data with a much higher level of realism. Improvements include High-Dynamic Range (HDR) lighting, Image-Based Lighting (IBL) from HDR environments, Screen-Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO) and Physically-Based Rendering (PBR) shaders. Eight HDR environments are included in Studio, but it’s also possible to import and map your own HDR environments with a set of mapping controls.
While it’s important to have great rendering quality to evaluate data preparation, it’s even more important to prepare optimized models for rendering. Studio doesn’t disappoint, with major improvements to UV projection tools. You can now interactively apply UVs by manipulating a dedicated gizmo, with more finely grained control over parameters to tailor UV projection.
Pixyz Studio introduces import of two new 3D formats with this new release: Studio can now import RVM files exported from AVEVA PDMS, extending Pixyz support to a major design solution for process plants. Studio can now also import USD files (USDC, USDA, USDZ) with support for the scene graph, meshes (normals & UVs), instances, PBR materials and textures. The addition of USD import supports the optimization of models coming from modern digital content creation tools. Finally, Pixyz Studio can now import images as objects in 3D space in addition to the variety of supported 3D formats.
Once that data is in Studio, there are more tools than ever to optimize it. The new Decimate to Target + Baking algorithm provides a way to dramatically decimate an object while maintaining visual quality by baking textures onto the object. A new algorithm to decimate point clouds is also available to create a much more performant model. Studio even has an algorithm especially useful for objects such as pipes and cables. It can convert them into splines, and vice versa. This provides dramatic reductions in data density for process plant models and facilities with extensive piping and cabling.
Pixyz Batch is the server-based version of Studio, targeting high volume and automated workflows. In place of a user interface, Batch gains the ability to script input and output in addition to the full range of Studio algorithms. Now for 2020.1, Batch includes new scalable templates to better handle large-scale data conversion, with cloud-ready containers to run in a high-performance data center.
For 2020.1, Pixyz Plugin for Unity offers three key improvements. Point clouds are now automatically processed into a seamless chain of LODs for point cloud data. This avoids the need to stream or preprocess data in the majority of cases, and provides excellent scalability for handling larger point clouds with increases in system RAM.
Pixyz also introduced a number of improvements to baking, with faster performance and better quality results. One notable addition is the ability to handle custom maps such as opacity, which enables the accurate display of highly complex geometry with lightweight representations.
The final key improvement is the ability to directly generate a collider component from a selection or imported 3D data. Creating colliders directly from source data simplifies the process of using data to detect physical collisions within Unity.