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If you work in the architecture, engineering, or construction industries, you certainly use CAD and modeling software such as Revit, AutoCAD, or Rhin etc. These solutions are excellent for making project sketches, drawings, and 3D models, but they do not generate high-quality, appealing visualizations or engaging animations. Visualizations, animations, and VR are becoming a new standard of AEC sector, therefore, to stay competitive in the industry you must keep up with competitors and transfer data to 3D modeling and visualization solutions and to create eye-catching renderings and animations of the projects. If you are thinking of transferring your data from CAD to 3D solution, it is vitally important to develop a project modeling and 3D visualization pipeline that works for you. To make pipeline decisions simpler, you should know which types of files 3D visualization and modeling software support, so that CAD data may be loaded more simply into 3D environment.

SketchUp and V-Ray for SketchUp

The most relevant file formats used in architecture, engineering, and construction are DWG, DXF, and IFC. Each of these files has distinct information: DWG – AutoCAD software file containing full project information, DXF – includes a model of a building or facility, including spatial elements, materials, and shapes, IFC – contains a model of a building or facility, including spatial elements, materials, shapes, and classes. If you want to create a project in CAD software and import it into the SketchUp Pro environment, you do not have to worry about file format because this modeling solution supports CAD files in the DWG, DXF, and IFC formats. SketchUp also accepts photos and images in PNG and JPG formats, allowing you to start a new project from an image of a sketch. Then you get to the rendering part, you can choose not only assets from material libraries, but to create new materials from pictures, images and so on, as V-Ray for SketchUp supports bitmaps.

3ds Max and V-Ray for 3ds Max

If you want to create a project with complicated forms, 3ds Max can assist you in designing and visualizing. When it comes to file types, 3ds Max is quite flexible: you may import files in AI, SKP, RVT, 3DM, DWG formats and so on. The AI – Adobe Illustrator file, which contains drawings, as well as the SKP, RVT, 3DM, and DWG formats, contain all the initial information about a project created in SketchUp, Revit, Rhino, and AutoCAD environments. Then you get to visualization part, it is useful to know, that V-Ray for 3ds Max supports not only bitmaps, but Substance Suite files as well.

Unreal Engine

Datasmith is a suite of tools and plugins available for Unreal Engine. This tool uses a file-based workflow, allowing you to import full pre-built scenes and complicated assets developed in various applications. Datasmith plugins supports Revit, AutoCAD, Rhino, SolidWorks, SketchUp, 3Ds Max, Cinema 4D, and more file types, allowing you to incorporate all your data into the Unreal Engine environment. The Datasmith Importer in the Unreal Editor is used to import saved or exported files into your Unreal Engine project. At this point, you can control what data you want to bring in from that file and set a few parameters that control the translation process.


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