Remo 3D v1.4

22nd August 2008

 

Introduction

Remo 3D is an effective tool for creating and modifying 3D models intended for realtime visualization. Remo 3D's primary file format is OpenFlight® but it allows for importing from and exporting to different file formats.

By offering the user full control of the model scene graph and allowing for modification of features like degree-of-freedom nodes, level-of-detail nodes, switch nodes, etc., this software is targeting the realtime visual simulation industry. Allowing for focusing on the individual polygons and vertices, as well as supporting the commonly used OpenFlight file format also makes Remo 3D suitable for creating and modifying 3D models intended for realtime visualization.

The product is developed by the Swedish company Remograph and has been on the market since 2005. It has users world-wide, both private and governmental, in defense and civil industries.

Remo 3D is currently available for Microsoft® Windows® XP/2000 and Linux. Node-locked and USB dongle licenses are available for purchase with an affordable price-tag and optional maintenance and support.

Remo 3D screenshot

User Interface

The user interface presented in Remo 3D is clear and intuitive. Remograph has managed to minimize the number of dialogs popping up and covering the view of the 3D model. The icons are easy to understand and their size is just right.

The model view in the center visualizes the 3D model in one, two, three or four viewports. The mouse controls for moving the camera, selecting geometry, etc. are similar to competing products.

Below the model view, the scene graph or tree structure that holds the geometry of the 3D model is presented. Nodes can be expanded and contracted as well as dragged and dropped. The view can be translated and zoomed in and out in the same manner as in the model view, or by using scroll bars.

Above the model view, there are icons for all tools, as well as for common file and edit commands and selection modes. Furthermore, there are icons for activating various visual cues such as vertex markings, vertex normals and vertex numbers. The user can also choose to shrink all polygons in order to see them separately – a very useful functionality in 3D modeling.

Remo 3D screenshot

 


3D terrain model by TrianGraphics

To the right of the model view is an area reserved for the currently active tool. Each tool uses different components such as text boxes, tabs and buttons in this area and some tools use nothing.

The area at the bottom of the Remo 3D user interface contains information about coordinates and selections. This includes the center (pivot) points of the current and previous selections, as well as the distance between them. A list of the currently selected primitives together with the number of selected primitives and the current parent node are also presented here.

In the top right corner of the user interface, you will find buttons for opening the palettes for colors, textures, texture mappings, materials, light points and shaders. These palettes will open up in separate windows, allowing for adding, removing and editing of palette entries as well as loading and saving palette files, so that complete palettes can be reused in different 3D models.

Tools

Remo 3D provides a set of different tools that together enable you to accomplish everything you might need for creating realtime 3D models. Tools are activated on the currently selected geometry. Selectable primitives in Remo 3D are vertices, edges, polygons, object nodes, group nodes, LOD (level-of-detail) nodes, DOF (degree-of-freedom) nodes, switch nodes, light points and external references.

Selections can be made interactively in the model view or in the tree view, by giving a node name or by specifying an attribute expression, e.g. selecting all polygons with a specified texture index or with an X coordinate less than 10.

A selection always has a current pivot point. By default, this point is the average position of the selected geometry, but it can be moved by the user with a simple mouse-click. Some tools, e.g. Move, Rotate and Scale, will use the pivot point as a reference. This is an easy-to-learn and very effective functionality which eliminates the need for unnecessary dialog boxes and reference point inputs.

Activating a tool creates a command. Commands can be undone and redone and are also listed in the Command List. The number of undoable commands can be chosen by the user.

The tools available in Remo 3D are divided into five groups, as presented in the table below:

 

 

 

 

Transform

These tools are used for moving, rotating and scaling geometry. A separate tool lets you apply one or more transformation matrices that will move, rotate or scale the geometry beneath a node.

Create

This group of tools lets you create nodes of all types. There are separate tools for creating polygons, disks, spheres or light points. There is also a tool for creating external references to other OpenFlight files on disk.

Surface

This group contains tools for applying and removing color, texture, texture mapping and material. You can also set the current color, material or texture to the one used by the selected geometry.

This group also contains a versatile tool for mapping textures onto the selected geometry. The texture mapping tool supports 3-point, 4-point, cylindrical and spherical texture mappings. You can use up to 8 multi-texture layers. The (u,v) texture coordinates can be edited exactly or by clicking in the texture image. You can also choose to add the mapping to the texture mapping palette in order to reuse it for another geometry.

Modify

Here you will find the more advanced and creative tools provided by Remo 3D.

They will allow you to mirror the selected geometry with respect to the current grid, reverse the vertex order of the selected polygons (and thereby the direction in which they face) or quantify the coordinates of selected geometry to a certain accuracy.

You can also extrude selected geometry (i.e. move the geometry in a certain direction and create walls along the way) and revolve geometry (i.e. move the geometry along a circle and create walls along the way).

Furthermore, this group offers very useful tools for slicing and splitting geometry. There is the Slice tool that can slice geometry along the grid plane. It can also slice along grid lines, like a cookie-cutter. There is also the versatile Split/Triangulate tool which can split a polygon between the selected vertices, split an edge by creating a new vertex in the center of the edge, or triangulate convex or concave polygons.

This group also offers a tool for shading geometry, i.e. calculating normals for flat or smooth shading. And last but not least, the Simplify tool is an advanced geometry-simplification tool that can decrease the number of polygons in a model, e.g. in order to create levels of detail.

Attributes

This group contains one tool for displaying and modifying the attributes of all supported OpenFlight nodes, and another tool for displaying and modifying a comment text for all types of nodes.

 

 

 

File Formats

Remo 3D supports the OpenFlight file format, versions 15.7 through 16.2. The following 3D model file formats are also supported:

 

 

 

Import

3DC Point Cloud (.3dc)
3D Studio MAX® (.3ds)
AC3D™ (.ac)
COLLADA™ 1.4.1 (.dae)
Designer Workshop (.dw)
Autodesk® DXF (.dxf)
Carbon Graphics GEO (.geo)
LightWave® (.lwo / .lws)
Quake Character Models (.md2)
Alias® Wavefront OBJ (.obj)
OpenSceneGraph 2.2.0 ASCII (.osg)
OpenSceneGraph 2.2.0 Binary (.ive)
OpenSceneGraph 2.2.0 Archive (.osga)
Performer™ (.pfb)
Note: For the Performer™ import file format to work, OpenGL Performer™
must be installed on the computer running Remo 3D.
StereoLithography Binary (.stl)
StereoLithography ASCII (.sta)
ESRI Shape (.shp)
DirectX® (.x)

Export

COLLADA™ 1.4.1 (.dae)
Alias® Wavefront OBJ (.obj)
OpenSceneGraph 2.2.0 ASCII (.osg)
OpenSceneGraph 2.2.0 Binary (.ive)

 

 

The following image file formats are supported for being used as textures:

 

 

Textures

SGI® image file format (.rgb, .rgba, .int, .inta)
Microsoft® Windows® bitmap (.bmp)
Direct Draw Surface (.dds)
Graphics Interchange Format (.gif)
Joint Photographic Experts Group (.jpg)
Portable Network Graphics (.png)
Portable any map (.pnm, .ppm, .pgm, .pbm)
Targa (.tga)
Tagged Image File Format (.tif)

 

 

Conclusion

Remo 3D’s multi-platform support, its large number of import and export file formats, the quick and excellent technical support from Remograph, together with the very affordable price-tag, makes Remo 3D the best choice compared to its closest competitors. More information about the product and the company behind it can be found on www.remograph.com, from where you can download a demo version and evaluate it for yourself.