At ProtoTech, we have expertise in designing, developing and implementing bespoke CAD/CAE software solutions on cloud for our global clients. Here’s some useful information on cloud technologies in the context of engineering software.

What is Cloud Rendering and Cloud Computing?

Cloud rendering is nothing but distributing or outsourcing rendering, it is the rendering of a 3D application's scene file.

Cloud computing is a type of Internet based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.

Some key benefits of cloud based CAD for enterprises:

  • CAD based on a cloud is not resident on local network servers but on a cloud and is therefore accessible on internet by any approved CAD professional from anywhere. Thus it saves on travel or location costs for the enterprise.
  • It offers reduced capital expenditure.
  • Saving on cost of licensing of CAD individualised software.

Based on our experience, we would like to list some of the toolkits for developing cloud based engineering apps, and the toolkits we have worked -

  • HOOPS communicator
  • If speed of work and extensive collaboration is your need then, HOOPS communicator is what you require. This is because HOOPS communicator allows developers to view and interact with more than 20 CAD and BIM formats within a browse.

    To know more about HOOPS Communicator Project we have worked on click here

  • The Autodesk Forge Viewer (formerly known as View and Data API)
  • The Viewer is a WebGL-based, JavaScript library for 3D and 2D model rendering. 3D and 2D model data may come from a wide array of applications, such as AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Revit, and many more.
    Since it uses cloud platform, the user can upload the model in the Autodesk cloud storage and view it in a modern browser. It offers significant advantage from business as well as development perspective as it does not limit itself to Autodesk products and you can load files from ProE, Catia, UG etc.

    To know more about the Autodesk Forge Viewer Project we have worked on click here

  • BIMsync
  • BIMsync is specifically designed for construction industry, it offers revision control of all building models in a project with built-in 3D visualization in the cloud.
    Since it is cloud based, it allows access to models from anywhere anytime.

    Project we have worked on-
    A UK based company approached us because of our team’s development expertise in 3D visualization. Their team expected us to integrate 3D web viewer (complaint with 3D BIM level2) into their main application.
    In order to design 3D web viewer, our team looked into several cloud based 3D visualization SDKs and selected the one which is developed especially for visualizing construction projects (i.e. follow BIM standards) and works on multiple devices. The important criteria for selecting the platform was whether it is built on open standards for BIM. BIMSync has all these advantages and so the web based viewer was built using BIMsync.

  • Three.JS
  • The Three.js library is a single JavaScript file. It can be included within a web page by linking to a local or remote copy. It helps you to develop complex 3D computer animations that display in a browser without a plugin. This is done using WebGL, and making it a part of website without the proprietary browser plugins. It includes features like effects, scenes, cameras, animations, materials, shaders etc.
    Since it uses cloud platform, the user can upload the model in the Autodesk cloud storage and view it in a modern browser. It offers significant advantage from business as well as development perspective as it does not limit itself to Autodesk products and you can load files from ProE, Catia, UG etc.

    Our experience with Three.JS technologies-
    1. WebGL Viewer
    For a US based client, we have developed WebGL exporter for CREO 2.0. The exported WebGL file from the exporter is consumed in this viewer. This is mainly based on THREE.js and provides various user-friendly methods to interact with exported model like common views (Isometric, Top, Bottom, Front, etc.), rendering modes (Shaded, Wireframe, etc...) & so on.

    2. WebGL Plugins
    Prototech has plugins which export data to WebGL format and are developed on Three.js WebGL library. We retrieve 3D model data from Autodesk’s software(AutoCAD, Inventor, Revit, Navisworks etc) in form of vertices, normals, texture coordinates, face indicis, material/texture information, camera information, light etc. and with these data we build a 3D WebGL model using Three.js to render it in web browser.
    In the WebGL files we also provide trackball controls to handle events like mouse click, rotate, hide/unhide, select part, isolate it, change material runtime.
    We have taken care for the performance by reducing the polygon and data precision. And for memory management used data compression of 3d model which reduces the WebGL file size drastically.

  • REDnet
  • REDnet is an ‘add- on module’ for REDsdk that empowers your cloud to process your graphics from any device or any place. REDsdk is a unified graphics C++ visualization toolkit which meets your visualization needs across devices and has all graphics features for real-time 2D, real time 3D and photo realistic rendering through a single integrated API. REDnet runs on windows, linux or Mac OS and its unique hybrid rendering technologies support both GPU and CPU to deliver the best visual experience from any server architecture.

  • Kisters 3D View Station Web Viewer
  • If you are looking for high performance even from low performance devices and narrow bandwidths then you should consider this toolkit. This web viewer is basically an HTML5 browser and online CAD viewer and a universal viewer.

These toolkits should make it handy and easy for you to develop your own cloud based engineering app which is in synch with the needs of your organization.

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