October 9, 2019
Meshmatic: optimizing CAD data for interactive visualization
To solve this problem, VRSQUARE created Meshmatic, a software solution that works with Epic’s Datasmith add-on to Unreal Engine and automates tedious data preparation tasks when importing complex design files into Unreal Engine. Meshmatic yields significant time savings—it cuts down the time required to prepare files from months to less than an hour. After vigorous research and testing, Meshmatic is now publicly available with a free trial for beta release.
Birth of an optimization toolFrom their offices in Vancouver, VRSQUARE has been providing 3D visualization and AR/VR development services to the engineering, architecture, robotics, automotive, and manufacturing industries for 10 years.
VRSQUARE incorporated Unreal Engine into their pipeline about three years ago. Although the team members (and their clients) were very happy with the results, they realized there was room for improvement in the pipeline.
“We kept facing similar challenges across multiple projects, and that was manually cleaning large 3D files so they are performant for real-time rendering, especially on mobile platforms,” says Amir Tamadon, CTO and Co-Founder of VRSQUARE. “Not only were these tasks repetitive and tedious, but also prone to human error, making the entire pipeline very inefficient and costly.”
With the aim of simplifying this workflow, VRSQUARE began researching and implementing various optimization algorithms to deliver their internal projects more cost-effectively. After many months of testing and improving the UI and reliability of the engine, Meshmatic has now been released to the public.
Meshmatic is currently available as a free trial as part of its limited beta release; the company offers both subscription and enterprise pricing plans depending on a company’s requirements.
Meshmatic and Datasmith: a streamlined pipelineDatasmith, a suite of CAD import tools for Unreal Engine, has long been available from Epic Games. While Datasmith can streamline the conversion and import process, Meshmatic focuses on pre-import optimization. In Meshmatic, you can save your optimized data directly to a Datasmith-compatible file for quick and easy import to Unreal Engine.
“Datasmith’s CAD-to-UE4 conversion is fast and accurate, producing a high-fidelity representation of the CAD data, but if your source data contains massive amounts of high-poly meshes, duplicate assets, or a long list of parts, then you’ll want to optimize with Meshmatic before importing,” explains Tamadon. “If all the content you bring into Unreal Engine is cleaned up and compact, then you can start developing your project faster, and with data that is already highly performant.”
Case study: Remtech SystemsRemtech Systems, a company that offers robotic solutions for manufacturing, wanted to visualize a food assembly line in VR using their original engineering CAD models. The VR simulation, to be exhibited at a trade show, needed to be both physically accurate and aesthetically pleasing. Remtech chose UE4 for this project because of its animation tools and its accurate physics simulator, giving them a final simulation that was both realistic and interactive.
Since the project was to be deployed and visualized using the Oculus Quest VR headset, there were file-size constraints.
After struggling with handling and optimizing their CAD models manually, Remtech decided to use Meshmatic to help prepare their files for fast import into Datasmith. The software automated repetitive tasks like deleting duplicate assets; creating instances of repeated assets like bolts and screws; deleting empty nodes without data loss; removing overlapping vertices and faces without deforming the surface; and improving mesh quality after CAD conversion. Meshmatic cut down the data cleanup and preparation process from three or four weeks to less than an hour.
Using Meshmatic to clean up their file, Remtech was able to easily import their project into Unreal Engine and develop VR simulations for Oculus Quest significantly faster.
At its core, Meshmatic is developed to address the need for handling massive 3D models. The structure and hierarchy of 3D files makes it challenging to implement multi-threaded processing, Because Meshmatic restructures the file as it reads it, without breaking anything, it can process large files very quickly and efficiently using multi-threaded programming. By decreasing system loading and memory usage, Meshmatic makes the importing, exporting, and handling of large 3D files possible.
In cases where 3D files are not even that large but are detailed and complex, Meshmatic helps clean up and organize the file so future content development is more streamlined. By making Datasmith more accessible to 3D teams and 3D technicians, Meshmatic aims to help fast-track the development of the next generation of enterprise solutions utilizing real-time technology.
Ready to get going with your own real-time projects? Download the Meshmatic trial for free, and then get Unreal Engine and Datasmith.