The way 3D data is viewed has come a long way over recent years. With the introduction of CAD interchange, standard 3D graphics model content formats and then 3D PDF, it has never been easier to share 3D CAD files between users of multiple programs and platforms.
As technology continues to innovate, many professionals who work with 3D modelling data are treated to new tools that enable them to communicate their designs or research in ways that richly illustrate information for much faster decisions and knowledge transfer.
One of the popular features of these new tools is 4D visualisation. 4D, in this case, refers to the animation element of the 3D model, and can show how parts are assembled, how a landscape evolves over time or how an object reacts to its environment at different stages. 4D visualisation can be immensely useful for planning, design and workflows, in that it can highlight potential problems or therefore slow improvements to safety, design scheduling and, consequently, costings.
4D visualisation isn’t new in itself. It has been around for many years and is particularly critical in the engineering analysis industry for describing transient events, but it is only fairly recently that animation has been included in 3D PDF technology.
Animated 3D PDF
Developments in 3D PDF conversion technology have surged forward, and as a result, 4D viewing of 3D data has progressed significantly. With a tool such as ReportGen, 3D CAD drawings and models can be converted into fully interactive 3D PDFs that can be animated and viewed with a range of functions that include zoom, rotate, pan, pause, slow-down and rewind – all at the click of a button.
Allowing the presenter, or end-viewer, to fully explore an animated 3D sequence or changing 3D landscape can greatly streamline workflows and decision-making times. And, with the excellent file compression that comes with PDF conversion, file size is significantly reduced (without loss of image quality) making sharing, saving and downloading much faster and easier.
These animated 3D models can also be embedded into reports and documents, with full mark-up features to speed up feedback and review procedures.
With this one-click technology enabling fully immersive (and controllable) 4D animation almost instantly, we expect to see many other industries embracing 3D animation in the future.
If you already use ReportGen, watch this video on how to create a 3D animation.
If you’d like to discover more, you can view 4D visualization in action here.