We’re excited to share the latest results from our close collaboration with PiXYZ – the release of 2018.3 versions of both the PiXYZ PLUGIN for Unity and PiXYZ STUDIO. While both products offer powerful new capabilities, we’re emphasizing the new Toolbox and Rule Engine capabilities available with the PiXYZ PLUGIN, as well as a new Live Sync feature to keep your Unity projects up-to-date. These changes open up new opportunities for interactive optimization of models within Unity and promise to save even more time for Unity customers.
2018.3 versions of these PiXYZ products are available today from the Unity Store.
Cool tools in the PiXYZ Toolbox
2018.3 opens up a dramatically improved interactive workflow with the PiXYZ PLUGIN inside the Unity Editor. Before 2018.3, users could use the various options available in the PiXYZ Import CAD menu in the Editor to control how a model is imported. If you needed to make changes to the imported model, you would re-import the model with different options. Now with the new Toolbox menu in 2018.3, you can modify selected GameObjects from directly within Unity. Even better, these operations can be applied to any GameObjects in the Scene, whether they were imported using PiXYZ or not.
Using the Toolbox, you can perform multiple operations on selected GameObjects. You can decimate and merge meshes, flip normals, create UVs, change the origin, switch materials and more.
Even better, you’re not limited to the predefined modifiers! Using the Create New Custom Action menu item, you can create your own Toolbox actions using C# scripting. Using this powerful new option, you can extend the PiXYZ PLUGIN to meet your specific workflow needs.
Toolbox actions can’t be undone in the current version. You can, of course, save your Scene before making any changes that you might want to undo.
Take me to your Rule Engine
Interactive model operations are great, but sometimes it makes sense to automate tasks to achieve greater consistency and efficiency. That’s where the new Rule Engine in PiXYZ comes into play. The Rule Engine provides a way to construct a series of sequential operations to be applied to imported models, or if you prefer, to all GameObjects in a Scene. The Rule Engine contains filtering logic that allows you to restrict operations to portions of the model which meet specific criteria, such as property names and values. Note that metadata from the source model is available only when the option to preserve product hierarchy is selected.
Perhaps you have a need for even more control? You’re in luck because just like the Toolbox, the Rule Engine also has access to Create New Custom Action for developers and customers to create C# scripts that can be included within sets of sequential operations. Rule Engine actions can’t be undone in the current version.
(C) Sharp ideas
It’s obvious at this point that the PiXYZ PLUGIN 2018.3 fully embraces the C# scripting capabilities at the core of Unity. In addition to associating model properties with GameObjects so they can be displayed in the Inspector window, PiXYZ PLUGIN also provides classes and methods to expose supported formats, read and write model parameters (metadata), and perform certain model operations.
PiXYZ scripting within Unity supports synchronous and asynchronous importing, callbacks, return values, and error handling so you can create robust and predictable processes. For more information, refer to the associated API documentation.
Independent developers can also take advantage of Create New Custom Action to develop add-ons for PiXYZ. These add-ons can be compiled and submitted to the Unity Asset Store for distribution so that developers can directly benefit from extending the power of PiXYZ.
Dealing with the design du jour
One universal truth about design data is that it undergoes constant change during the development phase of the lifecycle. Keeping up to date with these changes can take time that is better spent on activities that add more value. The new Live Sync feature in the PiXYZ PLUGIN 2018.3 helps you keep your Unity project up to date when source design data changes.
No plugin is needed for the source application, and no intermediary format is involved. The Live Sync feature works with all formats supported by PiXYZ, so you can keep your Unity project up to date with changes in the source data. Your CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, or Revit data will be kept up to date without the need to manually update your Unity project.
Furthermore, Live Sync is compatible with all optimization features available in the PiXYZ Plugin, as well as the new Rule Engine. This way, the whole import-optimize-stage process can be done during the synchronization process, providing users with lower error risk and greatly improved productivity.
What about PiXYZ STUDIO?
With all the excitement about the new PiXYZ PLUGIN, it’s important not to ignore the great improvements that we’ve introduced in PiXYZ STUDIO for 2018.3. This blog post doesn’t cover all of the improvements, but we’ve highlighted a few things that we’re confident will make a difference in your workday.
Within the Scene menu of PiXYZ STUDIO, there is now a new menu command to Transfer CAD Materials On Parts. Using this command, materials inherited from a parent node or from the CAD surfaces of a part are transferred to the material property of all associated GameObjects within the hierarchy in Unity. Within the Optimize Mesh menu, there is a new Decimate Target command which enables you to provide a target mesh count for decimation, which is useful if you are trying to hit a polygon count budget. The original algorithm uses quality criteria for decimation to provide maximum topology preservation – this new command provides an alternative algorithm which is especially suited for surfaces with more organic form.
PiXYZ STUDIO also benefits from all of the behind-the-scenes algorithm upgrades that provide improved performance and model import fidelity compared to previous versions of PiXYZ. These improvements include continuous enhancement for all CAD formats (notably Revit and IFC), as well as handling of materials, hierarchy, and metadata.
For customers who need high-volume processing of complex models, PiXYZ STUDIO.batch provides all of the capabilities of PiXYZ STUDIO, plus the ability to control file I/O using Python scripting. PiXYZ STUDIO.batch can also be used for interactive optimization, of course.
Is there anything else?
Yes, of course, there’s more! Lost in all of the great new features for PiXYZ PLUGIN for Unity for 2018.3 is the fact that import into Unity now takes less than half the time on average compared to 2018.2. This is especially impressive considering that 2018.2 was 3 to 5 times faster on average than 2018.1. This is the result of close collaboration between Unity and PiXYZ to take advantage of efficiencies in the import process.
Frequent readers of the Unity Blog also may have noticed our article on November 13 discussing planned capabilities to import VRED data into Unity. Stay tuned for more news on this exciting new feature.
We’re always listening to customers, and encourage you to post your ideas and wishes in the comment section below, or if you want to talk with us directly or get access to a trial, please contact us. If you’re interested in purchasing PiXYZ, please visit our web store.