Keeping up with real-time requirements is no easy task for 3D teams working on visualization projects. With augmented reality (AR), this problem is only intensified because not only do AR creators have to work within the constraints of real-time technology, but they must also ensure that their projects meet the limits of mobile. Some of the common challenges in developing mobile AR projects include limited storage, processing power, memory, and battery life which can all affect the performance of a visualization project. In this post, we dig deeper into how 3D teams can learn to optimize 3D files for AR, as well as introducing an innovative solution for automating the optimization pipeline.

First step is always optimization

Given the limitations of AR for mobile, one of the first things developers need to consider is heavy optimization of 3D models. Optimization of 3D files however has its own challenges as not all 3D teams are familiar with all aspects of a 3D pipeline and how the various hardware and software involved can affect the project performance.

Without knowing the right tools to use, or having guidelines on optimal software settings, 3D teams rely on manual optimization of their 3D files through trial and error. And it’s not surprising that they are left with sub optimal results. The big question is however, is there a solution that could simplify the optimization process for 3D teams?

An automated 3D optimization solution is what every team dreams of, but first, let’s cover some general guidelines on what an optimized 3D file for AR looks like.


Guidelines for optimizing your 3D file for AR

As we have covered, 3D files are far too complex for AR apps for mobile. File size, part count, and polygon count all have to be significantly reduced. As a general guideline, we suggest limiting your model’s complexity to the following attribute counts:

  • 100,000 triangles for the entire scene;
  • 5,000 vertices for a large mesh, 1,000 vertices for a mid-size mesh, and 250 vertices for a small mesh;
  • 1 UV per mesh;
  • maximum of 10 shaders, as more than 10 causes random errors;
  • and a texture resolution of 2048 x 2048.

Unlike VR applications, where the minimum frame rate is generally 60 FPS, it is quite standard for many AR projects to run on 30 FPS. By lowering the FPS requirements, the strain on the CPU is significantly alleviated.

Something else to consider when creating AR apps is the mobile phone’s battery consumption. In AR applications, the mobile’s CPU has to calculate the anchor point of the mesh in space. Not only does this drain the battery significantly, but it also takes away from the rendering budget.

While the above guidelines can help with optimizing your 3D files, many of these tasks still require manual work which is inefficient, and prone to human error.


Meshmatic Cloud, an automated solution

Imagine an engineering firm that you’ve worked with in the past, wants to impress clients with an AR visualization of their latest product. With similar projects, your team would have to factor in a ton of time and resources to optimize a highly complex CAD model. However, you’ve recently introduced a new optimization tool into your workflow, Meshmatic Cloud, which has transformed the way your 3D team works. Instead of spending weeks optimizing a model, Meshmatic helps you achieve better results in minutes!

It may sound too good to be true! But Meshmatic is equipped with powerful algorithms that accurately and efficiently convert and optimize 3D files based on your AR project needs. Let’s have a look at how Meshmatic does this.

1. Convert complex CAD to functional polygon mesh

CAD files contain all the necessary information to correctly construct or manufacture an architectural or engineering project, however, this type of file first needs to be converted to polygon mesh to be used for real-time visualization. With Meshmatic, you can simply upload your model, choose your settings, and withing a few minutes your CAD file will be converted to polygon mesh.

2. Optimize CAD file for AR in Unity or Unreal Engine

The most important step is where Meshmatic ensures your file is optimized for your most ambitious AR project by:

  • Instantiating duplicate parts to significantly reduce file size, and remove the strain on your CPU;
  • Generating multiple LOD’s based on your model and project needs;
  • Finding and combining small parts to decrease your part count.

And Meshmatic does all this in only a few minutes!

3. Download ready

After Meshmatic has converted and optimized your 3D file, you’ll have your optimized file in your inbox – ready to use for your real-time projects.


Final thoughts

Optimizing 3D files for AR is necessary but it’s very expensive – both in terms of time and resources. With Meshmatic, we’ve significantly cut down the time required for 3D teams to convert and optimize their CAD files for real-time visualization. We are certain that you will enjoy using its powerful but easy-to-use features and see the massive benefits to your project! Make sure to sign up to our mailing list to be the first to know when Meshmatic Cloud will be available.

If your team is looking for an offline solution, contact us here.