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File Requirements

VU.CITY supports models in the FBX format (2013-2016). This format is supported by most major 3D modelling packages. Please see here for a list of considerations from app to app.

If your modelling app is only able to export newer, unsupported versions of FBX, Autodesk provide an FBX converter here.

Preparing your model

You will need to familiarise yourself with the concept of zero in 3D space, and the origin / pivot point of a model.

Zero is an abstract reference point at the centre of 3D space where X, Y and Z all equal 0.  In much the same way we consider Earth’s position relative to the sun, a model’s position is considered relative to zero.

The Origin of a 3D model is a single point on that model from which all of the geometry pivots. So in the same way Earth rotates around its core, a 3D model pivots around its origin.

Optimisation

If you save 100 files totaling 1GB to your computer, this will take longer and be more computationally demanding than saving a single 1GB file. If you apply this computing principle to a high-detailed model which is typically made up of thousands of objects / layers, you’ll find your model won’t import smoothly, and may not import at all on less-powerful hardware.

All of the 3D modelling apps supported by VU.CITY allow you to group your geometry into a single object / layer. Therefore before exporting an FBX file for importing into VU.CITY, please merge / join all geometry into a single object / layer. 

Relating zero to your plan view

The centre of your scene in your 3D modelling app (i.e. zero) should coincide with your intended geolocation coordinate. This is because they will be used as a common reference point when the time comes to position your model inside VU.CITY.

So if your plan view looks like this:

…your model should be positioned in your 3D scene so that it lines up with zero like this:

This same corner of the 3D model should also be set as the model’s origin / pivot point. Note Rhino users need not set the origin / pivot point.

Geolocating your model

Once you have zeroed your model (see above), you can import your model into VU.CITY then manually position the model by entering your geolocation coordinates. See here for instructions on manual geolocation.

Alternatively, if your chosen 3D modelling app supports geolocation, and it is able to do so using the grid system relevant to your city (Ordnance Survey/GBOS for the UK, ITM for Ireland), please set your geolocation offsets inside your chosen 3D modelling app before exporting your FBX file. This will allow your model to automatically appear in the correct location inside VU.CITY when it is imported.

If you have difficulty geolocating using your chosen modelling app, please instead zero the model as described above, as VU.CITY is able to easily geolocate any zeroed model.

Scaling

For best results, models intended for use in VU.CITY should be scaled in metres. Stable support for centimetres and millimetres coming in VU.CITY 3.0, as well as support for inches and feet.

Video demonstration

Need help?

All of the supported third-party modelling packages were built for different purposes, therefore behave in their own unique way. We are unable to provide training or support for how to perform specific tasks using third-party software, however we are able to analyse your models and provide feedback on what edits need to be made to produce a suitable FBX file. We also provide a paid model optimisation service. If you would like us to inspect your model, or obtain a quote for optimising it, please raise a support ticket and attach your model.

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