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Tips for using Blender with Simumatik

January 2021

In this post we will discuss some techniques for making 3D assets both perform and look better. If you are working with a detailed model, and want to make it perform better on the Simumatik platform, the steps discussed here will help you find what to focus on. We’re going to look both at what can be done in the CAD software, and what can be done with Blender to further optimize the model. Blender is a free program with lots of powerful tools. If you want to improve the way your models look and perform in Simumatik, learning how to use Blender is going to come in handy!

We will also take a look at how to measure the performance of the model, this will help to identify which models need to be optimized further. A good tool for measuring performance is this online glTF Viewer.

First off it’s always a good idea to remove any parts that are not going to be necessary for the end result. It is often a good idea to remove screws, nuts and bolts since those models can be complex and still not have a big impact on the look of the model. Always remove anything that will not be visible from the outside of the model. Let’s use this example of a cylinder block model. There are many details on the inside that are not going to be visible. By removing the internal details we can see that the triangle count was reduced by 35%.

Now let’s look at the changes we can make to the geometry of a model. Models that have lots of bevels and rounded parts will often have a high triangle count. Even the really small bevels will add lots of complexity. So if you are seeing that the model is having lots of triangles, try to reduce the amount of rounded parts. In the example below, removing the bevels reduced the triangle count by 73%.

After removing everything that is not necessary and making the geometry changes, the next step is to make sure that the level of detail on the mesh is as simple as possible. It’s often possible to reduce the complexity without even making any visual changes. An easy way to reduce the triangle count is to use the decimation modifier in Blender.

Now to the final touch, modifying the materials. To improve the looks of the model, modifying the materials will make a huge difference.

After simplifying all the parts and adding materials, it is time to join them all together. This is an important step since it is trivial to reduce the draw calls, which will have a big impact on the performance.

When exporting the model from Blender, choose the .glb format. Now let’s open the model in the online glTF Viewer to make sure that our optimizations and material modifications are applied correctly. Press the ‘Model details’ link in the bottom left corner to view statistics about the model. Ideally the draw calls should match the number of materials in the model, and the triangle count should be as low as possible. If the triangle count is still really high (several hundred thousand triangles), the model should be simplified further to have a better performance.

So there you have it! Useful tips on how to increase the performance and visualisation of models within Simumatik. If you have any questions on this do contact us and we’d be happy to help!

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