Improved Viewport rendering (PBR)
As high-fidelity visualization tools such as game engines and ray-tracing solutions become more and more an integral part of our user’s production pipelines, it was our goal to improve the quality of our rendering in the Viewport. Therefore, with CityEngine 2020.0, we introduce physically based lighting in the Viewport for higher quality rendering. This means static and procedural models with PBR (Physically Based Rendering) materials using emissive, roughness, occlusion, and metallic maps are now correctly displayed in the Viewport.
Tool Options for interactive design
In previous CityEngine versions, many features of our interactive 2D and 3D design tools were only accessible with the hot keys. We now added the new Tool Options window to make these features easily accessible in a graphical user interface for each tool. The Tool Options also allow for better numeric input while drawing and a simple control of the snapping behavior.
We also significantly improved the snapping capabilities for a more intuitive drawing experience. The drawing tools are refined to give clear visual 3D feedback when the mouse pointer snaps to other objects and guides. You can now also save the guides as part of the scene, which means the guides are available when reopening a scene. Similar to other digital content creation tools like Adobe Photoshop, the guides help align shapes and visualize key lines in your design.
CGA: Arrays, CSV reader and more
We added extensive support for arrays including a native reader for CSV files (Comma Separated Values). This means you can add to your CGA rules data from an external file created from spreadsheet software, such as Microsoft Excel. Because it is now possible to better separate code from data, the CGA code is cleaner and more readable. This decouples changing data from editing and recompiling CGA code. CGA array attributes are also now fully supported in the UI (Inspector), allowing for an intuitive and clean interface with the rules.
Additionally, the performance of the CGA Editor was greatly improved which makes rule editing more responsive, especially for rules with many parameters.
Export scene to ArcGIS with MSPK
Sharing a complete CityEngine scene including layer hierarchy to the ArcGIS platform just got a lot easier: the new Mobile Scene Package (MSPK) exporter combines several different exporters to create a single file containing all the geometry and elevation layers. This allows you, for example, to export 3D buildings and roads together with adjusted terrain elevation, and the objects aren't partly buried in the ground anymore. An MSPK file can easily be shared on the ArcGIS platform and consumed in other programs like ArcGIS Pro or ArcGIS Earth.
Support for USD
Pixar's USD (Universal Scene Description) is a very modern and fast 3D file format supported by many popular 3D applications. USD allows CityEngine to efficiently export large scenes to VFX, animation, and game production pipelines. It is the first format to fully retain CityEngine layer hierarchies and object boundaries at export time. Also, USD provides a much faster export or import experience for large scenes compared to traditional formats like FBX or OBJ. The "USD Preview Material" allows for out of the box PBR material support in downstream applications, such as SideFX Houdini or any other renderer compatible with USD.
...and many more enhancements and fixes
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