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Editor’s Pick: 3D Model Polygon Reduction Gears Up

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

3D visualizations of your MCAD and CAE files for digital communication with downstream users is a given in engineering circles. But the problem with 3D visualization is that complex meshes and MCAD files are huge. So you exhaust a bunch of time trying to slim down files to a manageable size, yet you still get a monster file that nobody wants to spend the time it takes to download. Or you get a reasonably sized file that’s too distorted to be of much use. VizUp 3 is your answer.

VizUp 3 is a polygon reduction and optimization program. Stay with me now. I can hear your eyes glazing over at the thought of manually reducing some file by a few thousand polygons. VizUp 3 does it automatically, or you can do it manually if you’re into it. All that you have to do is import the file when you want, make a couple of decisions concerning compression ratios, and let VizUp 3 run. Its polygon reduction algorithms — the company’s specialty since 2002 — can, for example, compress a 6MB file down to 1MB and the thing looks as good as the original.

VizUp 3 has a couple of catchy features to help you choose the best compression ratio. First, you can look at a model with 10 percent, 20 percent, or whatever level of compression, before you commit to the actual compression and without constantly restarting the reduction every time you want to check your work. VizUp 3 also lets you rotate your model, zoom in or out, and move it around in the viewing plane. You can display a model in different ways, such as a set of textures or as a set of vertices. In its top of the line version, called VizUp Ultimate, you can even reduce models in a batch mode.

VizUp 3 does its polygon reduction and compression as quickly as your workstation allows and without drudgery, so no wasting time or struggling to stay awake. To see what I mean, give it a try. Go and download the evaluation from the link in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. You do not have to sign up for it — hurray! Once you’ve installed VizUp, load the iPaq file and fool around. You’ll see that the interface is clean, and there’s a running tally of triangles reduced across the bottom.

I’ll never forget the time a wiseacre I worked with suggested that I rest my head on a photocopier and hit a couple of keys to achieve a cranial reduction. If only it were so easy. When you need to reduce the size of your 3D models without sacrificing image fidelity, VizUp 3 is as easy as hitting a couple of keys.

VizUp 3 costs from $299 to $1,495, although it’s probably the $595 Professional version that’s the fit for most of you. Check out VizUp 3 from the links in the write-up.

Thanks, Pal – Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering magazine

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Digital Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@digitaleng.news.