Supported 3D Authoring Tools

The X3D and VRML file formats are based on standard text, so it is possible to use any common text editor to create virtual scenes. You can also use a 3D authoring tool, which enables you to create sophisticated virtual scenes without a deep understanding of the virtual world file format.

Simulink 3D Animation™ supports files created by:

  • Native X3D and VRML editors
  • General 3D editors that can export X3D or VRML files
  • Special-purpose 3D authoring tools
  • Model conversion and optimization tools
  • 3D content providers

Native X3D and VRML Editors

Native X3D and VRML editors let you visually build scenes, using features that are unique to these formats, such as interpolators and sensors. These editors let you author, edit, import, export, validate, and view X3D scenes. Most editors are freeware or open source applications. One of the few advanced, commerically available VRML editors, V-Realm Builder by Ligos Corporation, is included with Simulink 3D Animation. Examples of other supported native X3D and VRML editors include:

  • X3D-Edit -- a free tool available for Windows®, Mac, and Linux®.
  • Titania X3D Editor -- a free tool available for Ubuntu® and Debian® distributions of Linux operating systems.
  • BS Content Studio -- a licensed tool from BitManagement, available for Windows and Mac.

In addtion, the Web3D Consortium maintains a list of native X3D editors.

General 3D Editors

General 3D editors do not use X3D or VRML as their native format, but can export X3D or VRML files. Examples include:

  • Blender
  • SketchUp
  • Microsoft Paint 3D
  • Autodesk 3DS Max
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Dassault Systèmes CATIA
  • Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks
  • Inivis AC3D
  • NewTek LightWave 3D
  • PTC Creo

General 3D editing tools are designed for specific applications such as visual art, animation, games, or CAD. The complexity and price of these tools vary widely from basic freeware to high-end commercial applications. With most of these tools, you can define the precision and complexity of the exported tessellated X3D files to suit the performance needs for your model.

For more information on working with CAD systems, see Using CAD Models with Simulink 3D Animation.

Special-Purpose 3D Authoring Tools

Some 3D authoring tools let you create models for specialized applications such as terrain generation, urban modeling, laser scanning, and reverse engineering from 3D scan data. Many of these tools can export X3D or VRML files for use in Simulink 3D Animation. Examples include:

  • 3DEM
  • 3D Nature World Construction Set
  • FARO Laser Scanner software tools

Model Conversion and Optimization Tools

Model utility tools that import and export major 3D formats can further improve the 3D model that you use in Simulink 3D Animation through capabilities such as polygon reduction and model optimization. Examples of these tools include:

  • Okino PolyTrans
  • VizUp
  • MeshLab

3D Content Providers

Instead of authoring a virtual scene from scratch, you can acquire elements of your virtual scene from a third-party provider and assemble your scene in a VRML editor. Many sources of 3D models are available online, including: