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Umbra’s New Game is in Architecture and Manufacturing

With a long history in the game industry, Helsinki-based Umbra is now looking to expand into AEC, discrete manufacturing, and beyond.

In the press release issued today, Umbra CEO Otso Mäkinen said, “Umbra has spent over a decade supplying real-time, 60 frames-per-second, 3D optimization to the world’s most demanding AAA game publishers. We now bring that expertise to AEC and other industries wrestling with how to interact, revise, and view incredibly complex 3D models.”

Accordingly, Umbra today launched Composit, described as a “solution that makes it possible to display any 3D content in real-time on any piece of hardware.”

Composit’s use of the cloud to optimize and stream the 3D content promises to give AR-VR (augmented reality, virtual reality) users a cordless experience.

Umbra also plans to offer a viewer called Pryzm for licensing, aiming to serve the collaboration market.

Umbrafying a Revit model into AR-VR-viewable content (image courtesy of Umbra).

The Umbra Magic

“Umbrafication,” according to Shawn Adamek, chief marketing officer at Umbra, “means to optimize complex 3D models with a single click.”

To Umbrafy something, you upload the 3D content to the Umbra Cloud. “The Umbrafication involves geometry decimation, occulsion culling, and other 3D magic,” said Adamek.

Umbra anticipates the speed and convenience with which you can iterate will make Umbra’s approach attractive to many users. With a single-click approach, the product aims to serve those with limited 3D modeling and rendering experience — such as construction engineers.

“With Umbra, you can make changes, then hit the Umbrafy button to regenerate the 3D content for a new iteration,” said Adamek. “In our tests, models with 60-70 million polygons, showing football stadiums and skyscrappers, take roughly about an hour to Umbrafy. These are extreme cases. Most models take about 10-12 mins.”

Umbra launches Umbra Composit, which lets you convert 3D content into AR-VR viewable content (image courtesy of Umbra).

Discrete Manufacturing on Umbra’s Roadmap

AEC is the first market on Umbra’s list of conquest, followed by discrete manufacturing, geospatial, automotive and aerospace, and medical.

“There are some clear pain points we can immediately address with AEC,” explained Adamek. Clash and collision detection with AR-VR proves immensely useful for field engineers and construction crews, he pointed out.

The company has ironed out the conversion process from popular AEC modelers like Autodesk Revit and Graphisoft ArhiCAD to Microsoft HoloLens.

Umbra’s Composit can output WebGL-compatible content, therefore Umbra-optimized content can also be viewed with desktop, laptop, and mobile devices with WebGL-powered browsers.

Umbra’s published roadmap shows plans to support manufacturing-specific packages, such as those from SolidWorks, PTC, and Autodesk. The R&D team’s goal is to support “object metadata visualization, enabling quick viewable changes at runtime,” the company states.

Cordless AR-VR

Some AR-VR display technologies require the viewing device to be attached to a workstation or a heavy computing system, as realtime rendering of AR-VR content demands intense computational power. By contrast, Umbra’s cloud-streaming approach promises a cordless AR-VR viewing experience, which adds to its appeal.

For customers in IP-sensitive industries, Umbra plans to offer private cloud setups. This will allow some customers to keep the Umbrafication infrastructure within the company’s own IT network, ensuring no data gets passed on to the public cloud.

Umbra plans to offer both Composit and Pryzm in single seat, enterprise seat , and per-project licenses.  Composit licenses are available now, with prices starting at $239 per month.



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About Kenneth

Kenneth Wong has been a regular contributor to the CAD industry press since 2000, first an an editor, later as a columnist and freelance writer for various publications. During his nine-year tenure, he has closely followed the migration from 2D to 3D, the growth of PLM (product lifecycle management), and the impact of globalization on manufacturing. His writings have appeared in Cadalyst, Computer Graphics World, and Manufacturing Business Technology, among others.

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