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Unity and Autodesk: Powering immersive experiences with more efficient workflows

, November 13, 2018

If you’re creating real-time 3D experiences with Unity and Autodesk products, here’s some great news for you. We’ve taken our collaboration with Autodesk to a new level with interoperability advances. All users of Unity and Autodesk’s Revit, VRED, Shotgun, 3ds Max, or Maya products should read on.

Whether you work in the gaming, film, automotive, or architecture, engineering, or construction (AEC) industries, we are working to enable direct tie-ins to many Autodesk formats. More than ever, designers, engineers, creative and construction professionals can easily import massive amounts of CAD or BIM data into Unity to visualize environments, build interactive and virtual experiences, and connect all departments in a simultaneous, collaborative work environment. Our goal is to eliminate design friction among all customers so that you can unlock cost savings, increase efficiencies and better collaborate.

When we announced our collaboration with Autodesk in October 2017, Unity was the first real-time 3D development platform with source code access to the Autodesk FBX SDK, creating a streamlined process for asset sharing and in-game iteration. This means that artists who work with Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max can get their content into Unity more quickly and iterate on it faster. Learn more about Unity + Autodesk DCC round tripping here.

Building interactive AEC models with smooth BIM data imports

By ensuring Revit and 3ds Max models can be effortlessly imported into Unity, Unity will deliver streamlined workflows and faster time-to-market for users as they publish their interactive and immersive 3D content across 25+ platforms, including VR, AR and mobile.

Previously, importing a Revit model and all its BIM data into Unity could be difficult and time-consuming. Often, customers would create a model in Revit then import it into Unity using multiple plug-ins. When imported, some of the Revit data (like BIM and materials) would be lost, creating additional work for them.

With Revit data flowing smoothly into Unity, this collaboration will make it much easier for AEC developers to quickly assemble VR visualization experiences such as interactive office walk-throughs and lifelike AR models of actual building sites – at any stage of the project.

Architectural design of Unity’s London office, made with Unity and Autodesk 3ds Max

Importing your BIM data into Unity

Read more about how this collaboration benefits those who work in the AEC industry here.

Automotive workflows enter the fast lane

With the improved workflows from this collaboration, automotive designers and engineers can easily import high-fidelity VRED data (including environments, lighting, materials, and animations) directly into Unity. This allows them to quickly develop interactive, real-time applications (such as car configurators and training applications) and run them on multiple platforms, including PC, VR, AR, and mobile.

In the past, converting VRED models for downstream use typically took hours for each version of a model. This new capability will result in major savings across the multiple design versions typical for every vehicle project.

Your CAD model maintains its data and fidelity when brought into Unity.

Read more about how VRED and Unity work together here.

Shotgun + Unity boost Media & Entertainment productivity

The tight integration of Shotgun, Maya, and 3ds Max with Unity will enable technical directors in animation and film to create seamless workflows with a unified UI. Artists will no longer have to worry about asset locations, naming conventions or managing files, but instead focus on their creative work. Animators and modelers will be able to work in the context of a sequence and get real-time feedback on changes in lighting, camera location or asset selection.

Tracking the resulting analytics will provide supervisors with more accurate evaluation of artist management – increasing productivity. Teams will be able to easily manage multiple asset types (Alembic, USD, FBX, etc.) in Unity with the familiarity of Shotgun, the leading asset-management tool in these industries.

With Shotgun for Unity, artists will have instant access to their assets, tasks, and notes.

Read more about how Shotgun and Unity work together here.

Coming Fall 2019

Both the Revit and VRED interoperability, as well as the Shotgun integration, will be coming by next fall.

Learn more about the Unity and Autodesk collaboration here.

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  1. I specialize in Revit to Unity workflows and they are problematic because of problems from both companies. It is unclear if any of these shortcomings will be addresses. Some questions that have not been addressed. Will the workflow provide:
    -Combining geometry by material like 3ds Max linking of FBX Revit files allows (this is good to save draw calls in Unity)
    -Splitting geometry (anything over 18000 faces is problematic in Unity if you wish you use UVWs for light baking)
    -Simplifying geometry. Revit curved surfaces are terrible and shock full of triangles.
    -Unwrapping UVWs automatically
    -Importing IES lights into Unity will likely be a continuous problem, since Unity does not support most Revit light types (rectangular, circular and linear are not supported, neither are IES profiles and lumen values which are essential to accurate architectural lighting)
    -The ability to do ‘jacketing’ and ‘defeaturing’ to remove the useless parts of the model that is inside geometry and never sees the light of day

    There are lot of operations that cannot be done properly in Unity and we don’t know if this workflow will help. There is no user testing that I know of, so I am looking forward to testing, but foresee a lot of limitations to doing the conversion manually, which is extremely time consuming. If Unity and Autodesk were open to listening to customer during his process, maybe we could get what we really need out of this. Hopefully we will be happily surprised.

  2. As a user of both Unity and Revit, I am looking forward to tracking the progress of these developments. Thank you!

  3. This post doesn’t give any technical information: Unity editor platform support (Mac, Windows)? Runtime platforms supported? Loading models at runtime? What is retained from files: hierarchy/scenegraph, metadata, object GUID, naming of objects, components, materials? How are materials created: name, color, texture mapping? Will you load RVT-files directly? Or improvements to the current FBX-importer (FBX from Revit are not usable, from 3ds Max they are)? The screenshot shows IFC via Tridify. Is this related to this announcement?

    Disclaimer: I have a blog where I document my approaches to loading BIM models into Unity. Multiple scenarios have been documented, with varying success. Currently, using a combination of a converted Mesh and the embedded information from IFC gives the most usable result.

  4. Would prefer better integration with Blender…

  5. “Unity Democratizes Development for Artists and Developers Around the Globe”
    Unity, I hope you understand your partner, Autode$k, doesn’t share this vision….
    Please stay close to your core values.

  6. Still, no runtime fbx loading.

    1. We’re about to release an update to the FBX Exporter that includes FBX SDK bindings that work in the runtime for Mac/Win.
      This is not exactly a runtime FBX loader, per se, but will enable developers to roll their own.

  7. What about mesh optimization? Ok I can import huge cad model, but there is no way one can use it for for example AR if not spending days of work on optimization…

    1. With the PiXYZ Plugin (2018.3 version) a user can now optimize meshes directly within Unity.

  8. works this Multiplatform or ONLY on Windows ???
    like I’ve said before…
    it only makes sense if Mac & Windows…

    1. At this time, Windows only.

      1. Not for long :)

  9. So did you guys ever fix the 90 degree rotation on meshes when importing from 3ds max?

    1. We are working on this, but it may take some time. In the meantime, here is a workaround: https://forum.unity.com/threads/tutorial-best-way-to-import-3ds-max-models.470733/

      1. Actually, there is a much better solution : Using a AssetPostProcessor (I’ll post an anwser with details on the forum thread)