Monday 24 September 2012
Augmented Reality using Autodesk Showcase
I have been recently trying out the Augmented Reality (AR) plug in for Autodesk’s Showcase 2013 software.
I first saw this in 2010 at Autodesk University at the Autodesk Lab’s booth. I was quite amazed with it then and thought the possibilities are endless.
Basically what you can do is “Augment” reality by placing a digital model in the real world using a digital video camera or a Webcam.
Currently the AR plug in is still in development and only available as a Beta download from Autodesk Lab’s web site. I tried it out on the sample files that came with Showcase, namely a house and a car (I prefer the car, it looks cooler!). I also looked at how to bring in my own Revit Models, if you own the Design Suite Ultimate I believe there is a tool available to directly export your model to Showcase…. For those of you who only own Revit all you have to do is export your model to a FBX (3Ds Max) format, and download the free trial of Showcase, that’s what I did.
Imported the model into Showcase, you then have to create a group in showcase so the “model” stays together, make the background “Infinite”, this allows for your webcam to pick up your background. Under the AR plug in you can then setup the “Marker” which your model will be placed upon, a marker can be any type of image. I used QR code and also a simple “X” I printed out as well, they both work well.
Enable the AR Mode and point your camera to your printed copy of the “Marker”. I had to use an external webcam for this as I don’t think the webcam on my laptop was good enough quality but I did still get it to work. I also found the external web cam easier to move around and point to the marker.
What you should be able to see is your model placed on your marker, you can pick up the marker and move it around, move the camera towards or away from the marker, introduce other markers and have multiple models displayed.
I can see us using this for conceptual site development where we may have a range of building concepts and look at alternate site placement in real time. It is also possible to layout multiple buildings such as a College or University campus, we can then look at options in real time and see how each 3D model of the buildings interact with each other…Awesome!
Check out my Vimeo video, that quality of the video is not great but you get the idea!: http://vimeo.com/49419565
Using technology to our Advantage!