How Lighting Leads to More Accurate Designs
nTopology’s new immersive visualization features enable you to create and fine-tune complex structures for additive manufacturing faster and more accurately. Let’s take a closer look at the new features.
Accurate visualization enables you to be more productive inside the virtual environment of engineering design software. It helps you to better understand how your decision affects the final geometry while you iterate on your designs. Of course, this need for intuitive visualization becomes increasingly important as design complexity increases.
For example, while you design a lattice structure in nTopology that blends into the walls of a hollow shell, accurately inspecting this transition with the required level of realism enables you to avoid unnecessary mistakes and more effectively apply your knowledge of the manufacturing process and fundamental design principles.
However, since our software is built upon an implicit modeling engine, the tricks engineers are used to while working in traditional CAD and B-REP or mesh-based models aren’t applicable.
In a recent update, we introduced two new lighting features that significantly improve your ability to view the complex geometry you generate in nTopology: three-point lighting and ambient occlusion.
What is Three-Point Lighting?
Three-point lighting is a classic method of illuminating objects in a scene with light sources from three positions: a key light, a fill light, and a backlight.
nTopology’s new lighting scheme uses a modified 3-point lighting scheme with a white key light and multiple orange, and blue fill and back lights that are carefully positioned around the object to provide a more realistic visualization experience. We made these adjustments to ensure that the software’s lighting was most relevant to the main applications of our users.
With the absence of the familiar “wireframe” overlay viewing mode common in 3D CAD environments, it was often difficult to get the best visual insights from the model. This could cause confusion to nTop users and required fiddling with the view controls to ensure the design was exactly as intended.
What is Ambient Occlusion?
Ambient occlusion is a global method of illuminating a scene where each point of the object is lit by taking into account all other geometry in the scene. As a result, areas that are less exposed to direct lighting around corners will appear darker and shadowed.
Previously, looking at a typical lattice in nTopology made it difficult to understand how the structure looks as internal features almost blended with the external surfaces.
Putting it all together
The new lighting features, of course, work well with the existing nTop viewing utilities.
Using the section cut tool in combination with the new lighting is particularly helpful in thermal management while designing heat exchangers or any other application where an internal lattice requires careful inspection by cross-sectioning.
The Next Steps
Moving forward, we will continue to focus on improving visualization to help build a more immersive, informative, and intuitive modeling environment.
The current lighting implementation sets the foundation for further advanced visualization improvements and features tailored to your use cases and design workflows.
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