ODA World Conference – Tech Soft 3D and Redway3d

Day 2 of the ODA World Conference had two presentations by 3D graphics engine developers each trying to sell their wares to ODA members, quite similar to how Siemens and LEDAS were trying to convince ODA members to use their constraint management systems.

Ken Royall of Tech Soft 3D (TS3D) gave a brief run down of his company. There are 200+ applications that use TS3D components which span industries line MCAD, AEC, BIM, etc. TS3D is best known for HOOPS, their rich and flexible scene graph, basically a high-performance graphics engine. Under HOOPS, TS3D provides high performance drivers for OpenGL as well as DirectX. Autodesk Design Review, which has 20 million downloads till date, has been completely built using HOOPS. So is SolidWorks eDrawings.

Performance is a big deal in the industry that TS3D operates in, especially since data sets are becoming increasingly larger. 50 million triangles or 1 billion points is not uncommon these days.
TS3D components usually need to be used in conjunction with components from other vendors and TS3D offers component bridges for that purpose. For example, they offer bridges to modeling kernels (ACIS, Parasolid and Granite), 3D InterOp translators for all major CAD vendors, Adobe 3D and even an integration to the ODA’s DWGdirect and DGNdirect. The DGN bridge was built by TS3D and donated to the ODA so that development could be continued by the ODA.

Later we were shown a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) of their HOOPS technology using a shader based renderer. The plant model used in the demo had 18 million triangles.

Later in the day, Fabien Chauviré of Redway3d gave us a demo of his Redsdk 2D/3D graphics engine. The demo was a more advanced version of the one I saw at the ITC World Meetings in Athens last year (report). The thing which was different was that Redway3d implemented a graphics device for the DWGdirect platform. To put it simply, Redway3d developed a set of DLLs which need to be placed in the same folder as the DWGdirect application and their engine will take over the rendering, object picking, editing, etc. in the drawing view. There is no need to write a single line of code to integrate the Redsdk with a DWGdirect application. This was confirmed by Neil Peterson, the CTO of the ODA in his presentation later.

I found one item in the presentation particularly interesting. Airbus has licensed their graphics engine and has signed a 15 year maintenance contract with Redway3d.

I want to bring something to attention here. I have been singing praises of the DWGdirect and DRX SDKs, so much so that I dedicated an entire book to it. Now consider this. Two companies, LEDAS and Redway3d are offering all 2000 ODA members their technologies in a unique way – by wrapping them up with the DWGdirect/DRX SDKs. This means that ODA members do not need to break their heads trying to build technologies to implement in their DWGdirect applications. Third party component developers can simply do what LEDAS and Redway3d did and offer their technologies to ODA members as a end to end solution in the form of DRX plug-ins, graphic devices, etc., basically a bunch of DLLs. This way code does not get messed up between the ODA members and the component developers and problems are easily located and fixed by either party.

I believe people will eventually understand the full implications of these wonderful technologies that have been put together by the ODA.