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Massive Model 3D Navigation with Right Hemisphere’s Deep Vision file format

August 9, 2011

This week we have something very special for the readers of this blog: The very first post by a guest author. And who better to start with than Right Hemisphere founder Mark Thomas. Mark founded Right Hemisphere in 1997 and, today, guides Right Hemisphere’s product strategy as the President and Chief Technology Officer (CTO). He is an acknowledged expert in both engineering graphics (Mechanical CAD, 3D Visualization, FEA, CFD) and entertainment graphics (Game Animation, Special Effects, 2D/3D Video Editing).

Mark has some very interesting information to share about an exciting new technology that Right Hemisphere has been working on.


Mark Thomas:

Right Hemisphere has been working on some exciting new technology over the last 2 years to address the needs of companies and users who need to interact with very large assemblies in a variety of business applications.

The goal has been to generate, load, view and interrogate assemblies of over 2 million parts, and 1 billion polygons on a 2GB 32 bit computer with load times under 20 seconds and interactive frame rates above 20 frames per second.

These goals were set and achieved while working in partnership with a major US Aerospace company.

There are many reasons why the ability to navigate and view a complete large assembly is useful in a wide variety of contexts.

These include:

  • Digital Mockup in the design processes (DMU)
  • Generation of Manufacturing Bills of Materials (MBOM’s) through Interactive 3D selection for creating work instructions or linking with MES systems
  • Display of “3D context” for Manufacturing or service and repair instructions. e.g. providing the visualization of the areas surrounding and internal cockpit infrastructure to enable a remove and replace procedure for a single instrument or control.
  • Interactive 3D selection and generation or other Bills of Materials (BOMs) for service and support or other Parts Maintenance and ordering.
  • As an alternate metaphor to tree hierarchies, chapters or indexes for search and navigation of any associated product data or publications.

To meet all these requirements, and to deliver the value of large assembly navigation as widely as possible, the Deep Vision file format was developed by Right Hemisphere as part of their Deep Server Enterprise Soltuion. Deep Vision is a new file format, also termed .vds file format, that is optimized for massive data sets.

The .vds files can be created by Deep Server 6.5 using connections to Enterprise CAD and ERP data.  These files can then be viewed in Deep Exploration and Deep View in much the same way as .rh files can be today.  Anywhere that Deep View is embedded into business applications, the benefits of massive assembly navigation may be added.  Any application programming utilizing the Deep View SDK for interaction with other applications can also take full advantage of the .vds files.

Industries that benefit from a wide variety of use cases include:

  • Aerospace & Defence
  • Automotive
  • Heavy Manufacturing
  • Plant and Process
  • Oil and Gas
  • GIS and Architecture

In addition to providing interactive 3D navigation of assemblies it was also clear that a whole new approach to visual navigation was required.  Right Hemisphere developed a very powerful set of query tools that allow a user to make part or geometry selections based on a rich combination of spatial and data filtering.  Data can be read from internal CAD metadata or combined from external data storage systems such as ERP systems.  In addition to basic actions in the queries such as show or hide or select, more complex actions may be taken, like layer creation, parts list generation, appearance changes including colors and material.

Users can run queries such as:

  •  Show me all electrical equipment from xyz supplier within the selected bounding box from configuration C of aircraft Model 34-Z
  •  Display and color all parts released as Green, all parts waiting for approval as blue, all parts work-in-progress as red.
  •  Display and generate an external XML report of all items touching or within 5 cm of the selected series of hydraulic pipes

Such queries can be very complex and refer to external Bill of Material (BOM) lists as well as generating new XML BOM data.  They can also be attached to standard steps to create dynamically configured instructions or animations during design updates, or based on assembly configurations.

Here are some example videos of queries:

Click here for more example queries.

Right Hemisphere and Right Connect welcome inquiries  regarding this technology from customers interested in massive model navigation.  For more information please contact us at

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