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Friday, December 23, 2011

3D Stereo viewing in Navisworks - Beyond Design



3D Stereo viewing in Navisworks

Long gone are the days of red and blue glasses and Jaws 3D being the cutting edge of technology.

NVIDIA 3D Vision Kit

Image courtesy of NVIDIA

The rise in consumer graphics cards that support 3D means you can now get this effect in the office with your models, and we know plenty of you have been trying it out.

The world of graphics cards and drivers changes frequently, so we can't give an extensive list of cards and drivers that work and cards and drivers that don't, as it may be out of date tomorrow, but we can give some general tips which will help you set up 3D Stereo on your machine.

  1. You need an OpenGL graphics card with quad buffer stereo support
  2. You should check with your graphics card and stereo hardware documentation for how to setup the driver and hardware. Also check their website, there may be more up to date information.
  3. Check for up-to-date drivers, usually these will provide the most up to date stereo support, occasionally though you may have to roll back to an earlier version.
  4. Ensure you have a monitor with a refresh rate of over 100Hz, less than this and the 3D display won't change from one eye to the other quickly enough for your brain to be fooled that it's 3D. Traditionally we had to dig out an old CRT monitor to test this as flat screen monitors didn't have a high enough specification. This applies to monitors, televisions and projectors.
  5. In Navisworks you can change the File Options to reduce the Guaranteed Frame Rate (we suggest 6), this will reduce the number of times we try to draw the scene per second and reduce dropout.
  6. You can also change some of the Perfomance options in Navisworks Options > Interface > Display. We recommend switching on Guaranteed Frame Rate and Fill In Detail, switching off Occlusion Culling and unless necessary, Interactive Transparency.
  7. If the 3D Stereo button in Navisworks is grayed out then the settings on the card and driver mean we cannot detect that a card is there, you'll need to check from that side.

A few additional tips for users of NVIDIA 3D Vision cards.

  • If you have a pair of glasses that plug in to the USB but your card has a DIN connector, you may need an additional accessory from NVIDIA to 'short' the DIN connector

    Graphics Card DIN Connector

  • In the options under 'Manage 3D settings' you may need the following settings
    • Select '3D openGL stereo' in the Global presets list.
    • Set 'stereo display mode' feature to 'Generic Active Stereo(with NVIDIA 3D Vision)'
    • Set 'stereo - Enable' feature to 'ON'
  • Some hardware may require the setting 'Generic Active Stereo (with Nvidia IR emitter)'

If you have problems getting this set up and you've checked all the graphics card and stereo hardware documentation, the card manufacturers websites (they have frequent updates that may not be included in the documentation), then you should look to the Navisworks Forums, post details of the drivers, card, hardware, operating system, and hopefully someone in the community will have the same hardware as you.

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