NEWS: Umbra streams visually rich BIM models to any device

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Cloud-based 3D solution optimises geometry so complex models can be viewed on tablets and AR/VR devices

A technology that has long been used to optimise real time rendering in 3D games, is now being applied to the AEC sector. Umbra Composit is a fully-automated cloud-based 3D solution that applies Umbra’s patented algorithms to intelligently optimise complex models so they can be viewed on virtually any internet-connected device.

With Composit, CAD/BIM models are uploaded to the cloud where they are then automatically optimised through geometry decimation, occlusion culling and texture and light baking.

Composit also automatically generates Level of Detail (LoD) within the model so only data relevant to the current view is streamed on demand to a WebGL-enabled device, which could be a PC, tablet or AR/VR platform such as the Microsoft Hololens, Apple ARKit, or Samsung Gear VR. This is different to many AR/VR workflows which require a large packaged file to be downloaded and then loaded into memory.

According to Umbra, its streamlined workflow makes it possible for large, geographically dispersed teams of varying technical expertise to review renderings in real time, greatly accelerating the design review process. Importantly, the company says that users do not need powerful 3D workstations to view the models.

Umbra currently offers a ‘single click’ workflow from Revit and ArchiCAD. Users simply download the relevant Composit plug-in, select the model to optimise and hit ‘Umbrafy’. Support for Rhino, Navisworks, SketchUp and 3ds Max is coming soon.

Currently, when changes are made in the BIM authoring tool, the entire model has to be re-uploaded to the cloud. However, in the future, Umbra will support delta changes. Meta data is not currently included in the model, but this could also change.

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“Composit is addressing multiple pain points in today’s complex AEC design workflow.” says Shawn Adamek, Umbra’s chief marketing officer. “Upstream, our ability to optimise models in minutes enables architects and designers to accelerate revision cycles with colleagues, clients and other stakeholders. Downstream, our platform-agnostic viewer allows anyone, anywhere, on any device to view and interact with 3D models.”

“Umbra has made a huge difference to our team’s workflow, as now all our Revit users can display models in the HoloLens for clients, which before was impractical and time consuming,” said Dr Maxwell Mallia-Parfitt, Fulcro Applied Technologies.

Composit is available now, pricing starting at $239 per month. A free 14-day trial of can be downloaded here.

BIM models are uploaded directly to the Umbra cloud using a plug-in

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