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Real-Time 3D for Auto – From CAD to Unity

September 18, 2018 in Manufacturing | 5 min. read
Topics covered

In August, we had our first webinar for automotive, allowing audiences to see how PiXYZ’s best-in-class CAD-import solution and Unity’s real-time rendering platform can quickly bring great ideas and products to life. It was hosted by several industry experts, including Unity’s own Ed Martin and Adam Myhill, along with our partner from PiXYZ, Axel Jacquet.

This post recaps the webinar. In a nutshell, attendees learned:

  • How to seamlessly import, prep, and optimize vehicle CAD data
  • How Unity can be used to collaborate in real-time with remote colleagues on product designs at 100% scale in immersive, interactive 3D experiences
  • Ways to easily reduce project cycle time, improve 3D design models, and save time and money in development and CAD processes.

To see the whole webinar, including in-depth demos, watch the on-demand recording, and if you’re interested in a FREE extended PiXYZ trial, please reach out here.

Why Unity for Automotive?

Ed kicked off the webinar describing how people working in design, engineering, marketing or another discipline need to create 3D experiences from CAD data. For example, you might need to create high-end visuals, VR training apps, or even AR apps for smartphones. Regardless of the use case, you face the same challenge – how to prepare CAD data for real-time 3D. In the webinar, we shared real examples of how PiXYZ together with Unity can solve this problem.

He then explained the four key trends that are transforming the automotive industry in ways that drive a need for Unity:

  • Consumer expectations for convenient digital experiences
  • Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)
  • Autonomous transportation
  • The connected vehicle

Taken together, these four trends are changing the nature of competition. We believe that by solving problems to help automotive customers be more competitive, we can help all of you be more competitive, regardless of your industry.

Ed continued by explaining that at Unity we’re focused on five main areas where our customers need to design and build immersive and interactive experiences:

  • Automobile Design
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Training and Guidance
  • Human-Machine Interface (HMI)
  • Simulation and Visualization

Preparing CAD data for real-time 3D with PiXYZ

Next, Axel did a live demo on how to use PiXYZ Studio to prepare CAD data for Unity, which is based on a combination of ease of use and a full range of powerful data-prep algorithms. Now with the 2018.2 release, PiXYZ Studio includes Python script editing so that you can also automate your data-prep needs. Other PiXYZ products of interest include the PiXYZ Plugin for Unity, which not only supports easy-to-use in-Editor import, but can also import CAD data into a Windows runtime. If you need to update a non-Windows runtime, you can use PiXYZ Connect to create Asset Bundles to directly import into your runtime on any platform.

Ed then showed the new Automotive Material Library (beta 1.5) that comprises over 120 high-quality, photo-plausible materials. You’ll have everything you need to prepare a full car visualization, including plastic, leather, glass and car paint. He then demonstrated manual assignment of these materials on a Lexus LC 500. For the lit and stack lit shaders, you’ll be able to edit and adjust the materials within the Inspector window. These will be available for free in the Asset Store in 2018.3.

Real-time artistic tools for materials and lighting

Finally, it was turned over to Adam to show the kind of impressive creative work that can be done, as showcased in our Lexus trailer. He was part of a small team that created a car “commercial” using the Lexus LC 500 in under a week. They prepared all the cinematics and lighting in a few days, featuring packages from the Asset Store to get the necessary content. Meanwhile, he demonstrated how to use Timeline in order to sequence the shots, along with ways to adjust lighting, colors and visual placements, all rendered in real-time.

Recap and what’s next

We wrapped up the webinar with these main takeaways:

  • Unity is delivering the pipeline you need to create interactive real-time content from your design data
  • PiXYZ and Unity offer tools ranging from the Plugin and Unity Pro for smaller agencies, all the way to the Unity Industry Bundle and PiXYZ Studio and Connect for larger customers
  • The High-Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) is changing what’s possible with real-time 3D on “normal” machines
  • These tools are available today – if you’re interested in an extended trial of PiXYZ, contact us.

Also, be sure to tune in to our next events:

  • Car Design News webinar  - On Wednesday, September 26 at 0800 PST, Car Design News will be hosting the next webinar that will showcase how Gravity Sketch used Unity in order to create VR visualizations. James Robbins, a designer at Honda Motors, will be a special guest. Spaces are limited, so register now.
Design by James Robbins
  • AutoTech Summit at Unite Los Angeles - On October 23-25, we’re hosting our AutoTech Summit at Unite. Some of you may have attended our Berlin summit back in June (over 300 attendees), and we’re expecting even more people in LA, so register now.

Watch the on-demand webinar

In the meantime, be sure to watch the webinar on-demand, so you can witness the full power of Unity for Automotive. Please share any comments below – we read them all! In particular, we’d love to hear your ideas for making the combined power of PiXYZ and Unity even more relevant for your business. Learn more about our partnership with PiXYZ here.

September 18, 2018 in Manufacturing | 5 min. read
Topics covered