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fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:15 pm
by deadalvs
hi ..

sometimes it's needed (arch-viz for example) to have some 2D dwg plans in the 3d viewport. of course there may be lots and lots of lines.

do pro-graphics cards speed that up too ? like a quadro fx or similar .. ?

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:43 pm
by msantana

As usual, I think the answer is: it depends.

One way of approaching this is to have a plane that then is textured with the drawing. If your drawing is very high resolution, say 2048 by 2048. And then you use hardware texturing to see it and also apply x-ray shading, then the answer is yes. I have a Quadro FX4500 and I do see improvements over gaming cards, specially if you turn antialiasing on (for example to see all the detailed lines in your drawings). This will be noticeable when rolling and zooming and tumbling around.

Now the ugly side: Maya is famous for its BAD viewport performance. There was a studio that rewrote the whole viewport because it was just unacceptable (The studio that did the latest Fallout game). If you use other 3D software you may be better off for this kind of work. Don't get me wrong, I love Maya, but if you use say, Modo, you may be pleasantly surprised by its performance with the same scene complexity (we are just talking about the viewport here).

Also, another way of looking at this is for example to use a projection from the camera with a background image in Maya. And from what I know, I don't think this will benefit as much from using a highend Quadro card as the first approach I mentioned (using a plane with a texture and turning x-ray on).

As I said, it depends on what you want to do and how you do it.

Maybe some other people have more experience with this.

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:15 pm
by deadalvs
hi there ...

i've heard of those problems in maya .. also of that studio that rewrote the whole viewport code. and sure it is only a display problem.

but the main point i wanted to say .. it seems it didn't get through .. is that i wanted to ask about the dwg actually as converted curves, so the plan can be curve-snapped precisely. of course all that stuff can be projected in different ways like image-plane (which is a camera-oriented) or with a mapped/textured polygon.

so .. the question actually was if geometry ("lines" / curves) get an even better sceen performance with professional cards in comparison to textures polys with hires maps.

cos i've read in a longer excerpt about the differences between gamer and pro graphics cards that acual lines are drawn much better and quicker (AA!) on highend CAD cards, especially on multiple overlapping windows whereas gamer cards only work properly (memory issues too !) with one viewport.

i don't remember, but it's been a nvidia pdf someone posted some time ago.


sorry i didn't communicate this clear enough..

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:34 pm
by msantana

hmmm tell you what,

I don't work with curves that much. However, I have a Mac Pro with a QuadroFX 4500 and it has maya in Linux, mac and windows (all native). I don't know the answer to your question, but would like to find out. If you send me a scene in maya that you may have in mind already, I can tell you my performance and compare it to what you have.

I think the answer is going to be yes, it will be faster. Otherwise I would like to save what I paid for the QuadroFX on my next purchase and rather buy a gaming card!

Also, the user cgbeige does some testing of QuadroFX cards (I think for anandtech) he may have some insights as well.

Let me know if you want me to try this out.

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 10:36 pm
by deadalvs
hi ..

this sounds interesting. having plans to test this would not be a huge problem. i could draw some or take older files from my studies. the problem is rather to get a proper test setup that really gives numbers that reflect the hardware power.

how should that work ? would you have an idea ?


Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:33 am
by msantana

One think we can do is you can make a 360 rotation of a scene (group all the geometry and rotate it 360 degrees every 24 frames or so) and I can tell you if I see an improvement in a scene with curves over a scene with textured geometry. If that works then we can actually measure the difference through rendering through the hardware frame buffer or something similar.

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:24 am
by deadalvs
i think this is more complicated...

i guess there's a sweet spot in this problem.

--> lots of precise curves vs. hires texture.
where does the raw curve geo compute faster than a very hires texture base.

* * *

the question is also: can a 4K or 8K texture be displayed in native resolution in the viewport ? [[i doubt so ..]]

* * *

a test could be the following.

1) texture: 8K (maya's max supported texture resolution) with a line on each other pixel, horizontally and vertically. --> 8000 Lines. (4000 horizontally, 4000 vertically)
2) curves: same thing with linear curves. 4000 horizontally, 4000 vertically in a grid.

have it spin in realtime and check fps.

i am pretty sure that the curves will be extremely slow when compared. why ? because each curve has a shape node, a transformation node, and many hidden nodes that all slow down the system.

it'd be worth the test .. who's in ? i can try tomorrow when i'm back from work.

* * *

but let's stay on course too: the original question was if highend graphics cards boost exactly that curve display a LOT or just negligable compared to a consumer gamer card. for example 20% better fps with those 8000 lines as discussed above would not be worth spending 10 times more on a graphics card... :!:

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:53 pm
by deadalvs
i just did that test with a 2K map (each other line a pixel), saved as an uncompressed .tif and 2000 linear nurbs curves (1000 horizontally, 1000 vertically in a grid)

rotating 20'000 degrees in 2000 frames, played in realtime took the curve array about twice as long as the simple lambert poly quad in hires display mode (2K mode is max there)

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:55 am
by msantana
Can you post the scene file and textures? I want to just play it on my computer and see if I see the same difference.

If you can't post it, you can send it to my email:

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:46 am
by deadalvs
hey ..

here's the two files files:

just reassign the map and hit play with either one layer active.

Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:18 pm
by voxelpictures

Check out and get you an FX1700 512mb, that really great for CHF 600. I got 2 of them and i regularly work with dwg file inside maya.

re-send me your email adr. might need your help for some maya scripts!



Re: fast 3d-dwg plan display for modeling

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:45 am
by deadalvs
are you using them in the same box (parallel) ?

is this supported by maya ?