What’s new in CityEngine 2016
Build cities in minutes with ‘Get map data’ interface
This words from ESRI CityEngine
The new ‘Get map data’ interface of CityEngine 2016 enables the creation of 3D mock-ups of cities all around the world within minutes. It allows a user with an ArcGIS Online subscription to clip out and import georeferenced satellite imagery and 3D terrain. Also, street and building footprint data from OpenStreetMap (OSM), if available, can be conveniently downloaded and imported into the scene.
Previously, it took 3D professionals several days to (1) collect the different data sources for imagery, elevation, and building footprints; (2) reproject, transform, align, and clean the source data; and (3) mash it up to create compelling 3D models. With ‘Get map data’, we have streamlined these steps down to a few clicks in an easy-to-use interface.
Share content by using new 3D streaming services
When you create a 3D model of a city, a master plan, or a redevelopment project in CityEngine 2016, you can export 3D object layers as scene layer packages (SPK) files. You can upload the SPK to ArcGIS Online or Portal for ArcGIS, where a 3D streaming service is created and hosted. Once published, the resulting 3D scene layer can then be viewed or combined with other web layers in the ArcGIS Scene Viewer, a browser-based application to view 3D content at any scale and with unlimited extent.
CityEngine can write SPKs for either a local scene (i.e. projected coordinate system) or a global scene (i.e. WGS84 geographic coordinate system). You can easily combine global scene SPKs with items from Esri’s world elevation and basemap gallery. Unlike the original CityEngine Web Scenes, the new SPKs allow for large data sizes and extents.
Work in the cloud with the ArcGIS platform
The 2016 release integrates CityEngine with the ArcGIS platform, our unique and powerful cloud solution for hosting, sharing, and visualizing 3D and GIS data. Highlights include:
- The new portal Navigator allows you to conveniently find rule packages, web layers, and other contents by searching the libraries in ArcGIS Online or on-premise portals (based on Portal for ArcGIS).
- Feature layers are supported, i.e. the user can connect to feature services that can be combined with rules to generate new 3D layers for buildings, parks, streets, or other features.
- The ‘Get map data’ function allows for the consumption of elevation and basemaps from ArcGIS Online.
- You can share SPKs or CityEngine web scenes (3WS) directly from CityEngine.
- Multiple ArcGIS Online and on-premise accounts can now be simultaneously and conveniently managed within CityEngine.
Handle massive 3D city models via Alembic
We are pleased to announce a highly anticipated new feature to CityEngine, the Alembic exporter. The Alembic format is used by visual effects and animation professionals, and is well suited for handling massive 3D models (dozens of GBs).
As a result, for the first time since the origins of CityEngine in 2008, the complete procedural modeling power of CityEngine can be fully utilized out-of-the-box in commercial 3D tools. By using Alembic caches, it is now possible to batch generate tens of thousands of building geometries at the highest level of detail and visualize them in a renderer without the need for an advanced production pipeline anymore.
Alembic cache files written by CityEngine can be read by popular 3D tools such as SideFX’s Houdini, The Foundry’s Katana, and Autodesk’s Maya, where they work together with renderers such as Chaos Group’s V-Ray and Pixar’s RenderMan.
Use novel CGA operations for procedural modeling
In CityEngine, the procedural modeling of buildings is based on rules. These rules are written in CityEngine’s own shape grammar language, CGA. With CityEngine 2016, we have introduced numerous novel operations and modes which simplify and enhance the CGA user experience, including:
- New CGA operation for generating inner rectangles that allows for the accurate placement of building instances within parcels. It supports different alignment options and lets you compute the remainder shape between the original input polygon and the new inner rectangle. It also computes correct inner rectangles for concave polygons with reasonable vertex count.
- New parameters for the insert operation allow for the easy-to-use positioning of custom 3D models by keeping the original dimensions or proportions of the input geometry.
- New operations for creating 3D primitives such as spheres, cones, cylinders, cubes, disks, and quads. All operations let you set the dimensions and corresponding mesh resolutions.
- New splitArea operation for subdividing polygons according to area sizes. For example, the operation allows for the subdivision of a block polygon into smaller parcels of exactly the same area; regardless of the complexity and shape of the initial block polygon.
- New extrusion modes lets you extrude in the direction of the vertex normals. This allows for the extrusion of non-planar meshes without resulting gaps or overlaps along the edges. Another new mode allows you to generate a flat top surface regardless of the alignment of the input polygon on the ground.
- Roofs can now be generated using the roof height as an input parameter (before, only roof angles could be set). This allows for the creation of roofs of an exact height, regardless of overhang. Also, we fixed issues in the roof geometry generation resulting in improved shading, trim planes, and edge classifications.
- New tools for cleaning-up the normals of polygonal meshes have been introduced. For example, irregular normals of corrupt 3D objects can be automatically corrected, resulting in consistent normal orientations. Furthermore, a new operation automatically computes smooth normals while preserving hard edges where required.
- The geometry clean-up capabilities have been improved, e.g. duplicate faces are now correctly removed (up to inversion and index shift), and the vertex merger is more stable.
- A CGA rule editor issue has been fixed so edit changes in imported CGA rule files are now detected and the rule is now re-compiled automatically.
- We improved floating-point precision in overall, specifically for normal and area calculations.