Optimizing Your CAD for 3D Web Viewing – ONU 3DLite Best Practices

Screen shot of ONU 3DLite being used to optimize a Reverie bed for 3D Web

More companies are using 3D web technology to display their products online. These companies are bottlenecked by the 3D asset creation. The process is inefficient, time consuming and costly. For companies that design and manufacture their own products, CAD data is the answer. Using existing CAD provides the starting point for more efficient and cost-conscious asset creation.

 

The other consideration when displaying products online using 3D is performance. Starting with CAD data will result in dense 3D models. This density creates performance issues on a browser, particularly on mobile devices. Where rule of thumb for 3D assets to perform is under 250,000 polygons. For more in-depth information on perfoemance and other considerations, read our Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web.

 

This is where ONU 3DLite excels. Providing high quality visuals without the density of normal CAD files. Companies such as Xenith Helmets use our technology to provide a 3D product configurator to their e-commerce customers. Below is a list of frequently asked questions when using ONU 3DLite. If any of the terms are unfamiliar, our Glossary of Terms For CAD to Low Poly Conversion will be helpful.

 

1st-Pass Optimization - Importing and Automated Tesselation

What CAD formats do you support?

Information about supported CAD import formats and best practices can be found here.

 

What do the polygon count options have to do with my model?

Selecting Low, Medium, or High will help us take an initial pass at optimizing your model. After our 1st-Pass optimization, you will be able to use our 2nd-Pass tools to further increase or decrease detail levels on a part by part basis.

 

If the desired polygon count is unknown, leaving the settings at Medium (default) will produce the best results.

 

What is deviation angle?

Deviation angle, in our tool, refers to the amount to detail applied to the model. A small deviation angle will produce a finer amount of detail, but increase the polygon count. A larger angle will have a lower amount of detail, and use the fewest amount of polygons possible in order to maintain the shape of the part(s).

 

What is auto size?

This parameter defines the lower size limit of an element side. Increasing this parameter will speed up the meshing process at the expense of quality (surface feature details).

 

What does merge meshes do?

By enabling this option, all meshes sharing the same assigned material or color will be combined as one mesh. It decreases rendering time and simplifies your model, however, assembly structure and part hierarchy will not be retained.

 

The initial position of the model is not oriented the way I want. How can I change this?

The model can be manipulated by manually zooming, rotating or panning. Select the image4.png button in the lower right hand corner of the Viewer for instructions on how to perform these operations on your device.

 

You can also use the image11.png drop-down to choose from Top, Bottom, Front, Back, Left, and Right views of the model.

 

Once the model is oriented to your preferences, use the image10.png button in the upper left corner of the Viewer to save the current view as your default.

 

2nd-Pass Optimization - Defeaturing (Hiding Parts) and LODs

If I know the part numbers for specific parts, what is th ebest way to find them?

The Tree View image2.png contains a hierarchical structure of all parts in the assembly. You can search for an exact matching part name, or type in a few characters and it will filter to match any/all parts containing those characters.

 

What is the best way to identify parts that contain the most polygons?

The Sunburst View image13.png is a visual representation of the part hierarchy. The innermost ring represents the entire assembly or top-level, the next ring ring out represents the first level of sub-assemblies, and so forth, with the outermost ring representing individual parts.

 

The Pie Chart View image9.png is a visual representation of parts grouped by name. Parts with the same name will be grouped together and represented in a single piece of the pie chart.

 

In both views, the larger the colored section, the more polygons associated with the part or parts. Clicking on one of those sections will select the corresponding parts in the Viewer and provide information about the selection, such as names and number of polygons.

 

Can I select more than one part at a time?

Yes, there are a number of ways that multiple parts can be selected.

 

Hold the CTRL key to multi-select individual parts of the model in the Viewer.

 

Using the Tree View, multiple parts can be selected by holding CTRL key and clicking the individual part names. Holding SHIFT allows you to select an entire range of parts between the first selection and last selection.

 

Using the Sunburst View, selecting a section on any of the inner rings will select all parts associated with the section.

 

Using the Pie Chart View, selecting a section containing more than one part will select all parts associated with the section.

 

What does my reduction percentage value mean?

The reduction is a percentage value, calculated based on the number of polygons removed from, or potentially added to, the model after import.

 

How many Levels of Detail (LODs) are created by default? How do I switch between them?

There are 3 LODs created by default. You can switch between them using the image12.png and image1.png buttons located beneath the Tree View.

 

Lowering the LOD should decrease the number of polygons in the model and increase your reduction percentage. Note that each individual part can have a separate LOD setting, depending on your needs.

 

How do I defeature my CAD model?

Parts can be hidden by selected them, using any of the methods described above, and then using the image8.png button located beneath the Tree View. Note that hiding parts will decrease the number of polygons in the model, bringing you closer to your poly budget.

 

Once I’ve defeatured my CAD model, can I make parts visible again?

Yes, there are two ways to make hidden parts visible again. The first is by locating parts in the Tree View represented with the hidden icon image6.png . Select any of these hidden parts and make them visible again by pressing the image7.png button.

 

Is there an easy way to identify parts that are on the inside of the model?

Yes, use can use the image5.png button, located next to the search box above the Tree View. This button will limit the parts listed to those on the inside of the model. These can then easily be selected and hidden.

 

How do I make sure all my work is saved?

Use the image3.png button located beneath the Tree View.

 

Exporting and Sharing

If I share a link to my optimized CAD model, will other users be allowed to make changes?

No, shared links simply allow anyone with the link to view the model. They will be allowed to zoom, rotate and pan, but not select parts or edit the model in any way.

 

I want to export my optimized CAD model for use in Unity. Is that possible?

Yes, our optimized FBX exports can be uploaded to many applications, including Maya, 3DS Max, Modo, ZBrush, Cinema4D, Blender, Keyshot, Unity3D and Unreal Engine.

 

Will hidden parts be included in my exported FBX?

No, hidden parts will be excluded from the exported FBX.

 

I'm working in 3DS Max and my FBX imports with 2D splines around the model. What are those?

3DS Max refers to those as "Dummy Helpers" and can easily be removed with a marquee selection, then delete. Click here for more information.

 

What should be my target polygon count when optimizing my CAD file for 3D web?

Polygon counts between 250,000 - 500,000 are best for performance and quality. However, if longer load times are not an issue, 1,000,000 polygons should be the maximum target.

 

What should be my target polygon count when optimizing my CAD file for the Microsoft Hololens?

Polygon counts under 125,000 work best in the Hololens environment.

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