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 Jeff's MCAD Blogging

Posts Tagged ‘Blender’

The CAx Cloud Becoming More Than Vapor

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

As much as I have tried to resist the temptation to gush all over myself, I’ve had a tough time restraining my enthusiasm for the myriad cloud-based computing and storage options that have come online in the recent past and their potential. OK, it’s time for a reality check – facts, fallacies, myths, and risks.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a newcomer on the block, Onshape entitled Onshape: The Day After a New Dawn For 3D CAD.

Keep in mind, though, that Onshape is online only and always requires a Web connection to be functional. With connectivity so universally ubiquitous, this shouldn’t pose a problem for a majority of prospective users. At this time, the company has no plans for making Onshape available offfline, so if this is an issue or concern, then Onshape may not be a design tool for you. However, that said, I’d encourage you to check out Onshape.

Also, I pointed out that as interesting Onshape is, it is by no means the first or only cloud-based technical/design/engineering software offering. As a matter of fact, it turns out there are quite a few, including:

Admittedly, this is not an exhaustive list, and is not meant to be. I just wanted to provide some of the cloud-based tools currently available. I also realize that the above have different features and capabilities, so it’s not an “apples to apples” comparison.

While the following video is a few years old, and some of the technologies discussed have been superseded or retired, it provides a good overview for novices of what cloud computing is about.

Introduction to Cloud Computing

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Want a Challenge? How About a Basic Physics Test?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

How long has it been since you really thought about your engineering roots? By that I mean basic math and physics.

Recently, I thought about it a lot. This past fall I enrolled in a computational physics class in Optics. It was a real eye-opener, especially the math part – calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, etc. Although I enjoyed the challenge of the physics, I struggled for several weeks with the math – trying to recall principles after (quite) a few years removed from the classroom. I caught on, though, and eventually caught up with the rest of the class.

While maybe not totally applicable to hard physics, the following video illustrates some basic physics principles with regard to shatter and fracture:

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SIGGRAPH 2014: Clara.io – Cloud-based 3D Modeling, Rendering, and Animation

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Although SIGGRAPH is primarily focused on computer graphics (CG) as it relates to media and entertainment (M&E), there were several technologies that could be used constructively in the MCAD arena.

One of the more interesting ones we came across with possible MCAD implications was Clara.io, a web-based 3D computer graphics software developed by Exocortex, a Canadian software company. Clara.io was announced in July 2013 and first presented as part of the SIGGRAPH 2013 program later that month. With that in mind, we checked it out earlier this month at SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Clara.io: Basics of Polygon Modeling

Clara.io is offered on what the company calls a freemium basis, a pricing strategy by which a product or service (typically a digital offering such as software, media, games or web services) is provided free of charge, but money (premium) is charged for proprietary features and functionality. Clar.io freemium pricing structure is discussed below.

Clara.io is part of an ongoing proliferation of web/cloud-based 3D technologies. WebGL, HMTL5, CSS3D, and Canvas were the start, and were followed by a myriad libraries and other 3D software that runs inside web browsers, and also can run under any OS, tablet, or smartphone.

Clara.io is an impressive example of such burgeoning cloud-based technology. Instead of being a proof of concept or a set of limited features, Clara.io is a comprehensive 3D app. It’s also open source and promises to support the Blender file format in the future (more about Blender later).

Clara.io: Real-time Collaboration

Clara.io has many interesting following features, including:

  • Hierarchical scene graph
  • Lights and cameras
  • Robust support for Polymeshes, including indexed UV, Normal and Color maps
  • Flexible operators (known as “modifiers” in 3DS Max.
  • Keyframe-based animation
  • Powerful sub-object editing
  • Renderer and pass management
  • Extensive materials
  • Sharing/collaboration capabilities
  • Rudimentary bones and skinning
  • Real-time multi-user collaborative editing
  • Automatic versioning with history (somewhat analogous to parametric, history-based CAD modeling and a PDM system)
  • Plugin model
  • Script log
  • FBX, Collada, OBJ, ThreeJS and STL file format support.

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The (Possible) Future of MCAD CG and Interaction Innovation Showcased at SIGGRAPH 2014

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

 

We just returned from one of the most interesting events of the year for us and one that we always look forward to – SIGGRAPH 2014. SIGGRAPH (short for Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques) is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics (CG) convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization.

The first SIGGRAPH conference was in 1974, and this year’s event was held in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

As usual, we found the most interesting aspects of the conference to be the SIGGRAPH Emerging Technologies program and the exhibit floor.

SIGGRAPH 2014 Emerging Technologies Preview

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