AskInga logo

Original Article Date: July 8, 2004

The following presentation was put together to show an employer just what MicroStation could do with 3D. It's an excellent article that highlights MicroStation's 3D capabilities including rendering and animation. All of the images and animation were produced with out-of-the-box MicroStation and a little creativity. The results are an excellent example of you can do without any additional software. Way to go Eric!

MicroStation 3D
MicroStation has built-in solids modelling and uses standard CAD commands. This means that anyone with a 2D skill set can be trained in 3D in a very short time, unlike the training needed for many specialist packages.

MicroStation is totally compatible with many data base programs making BOM (Bill of Materials) extraction and data sheet generation extremely fast and easy.

MicroStation can also read and write AutoCAD files directly, allowing for the seamless sharing of existing AutoCAD drawing files. This interoperability also allows for 2D DWG files to be quickly converted to 3D models within a MicroStation V8 design file.

3D design filea are geared for 2D extraction, enabling G.A’s, sections and elevations to be generated directly from 3D models in a fraction of the time needed for 2D drawings to be generated manually by 2D draughtsmen.


Let MicroStation do the calculations
MicroStation allows Mass Properties to be taken from 3D models which can then be used for stress and engineering analysis. These properties include: Surface area, Volume, Mass, Centre of Gravity, Principle Moments, and Principle Directions. In addition, this tool also automatically shows the centre of gravity on the 3D model.

It’s not just architects who like pretty pictures
Adding photographs as backgrounds is standard on most CAD packages but getting the right scale and perspective between the photo and model can be time consuming and difficult.

MicroStation has built in utilities to merge photographs with 3D models making it extremely easy to generate accurate photo realistic renderings. Show the client exactly what you have in mind.

3D model of pump support base in transit:

3D model of pump support base being deployed:

Measure the photograph
Taking measurements from photographs can be a difficult task, but MicroStation's built-in utilities to match 3D models to photographs also takes into account the camera angle and perspective. This allows the model to be checked against the photograph and then accurate measurements to be taken from the model.

Points on the model are assigned to points on photograph in a ‘No Go’ area:

MicroStation utilities rotates the model to match the photograph:

The model is rendered to make a visual check of accuracy, any adjustments are then made and final measurements are taken from the model:

When checking was allowed on-site, the accuracy of above model was within 2mm!

Will I see what I think I’ll see?
MicroStation's built-in visualization and rendering tools allow you to position cameras, assign materials and emulate all lighting conditions whether natural or artificial. The end result yields true photorealistic views and makes the positioning of CCTV cameras extremely easy. MicroStation's rendering engine also allows you to produce solar and light studies.


True view from CCTV camera position:

True view from CCTV camera position at night with a light source:

Make it move…It does in real life!
Animation adds a whole new dimension to any 3D design. Using MicroStation's Animation Producer, you can create high-quality animation sequences that show your designs in action. When combining animation with MicroStation's advanced rendering capabilities, you'll be able to produce outstanding levels of engineering visualization.

Proposed transport route of equipment across a plant:

Demonstration of a proposed remote repair:

What about the person on site?
Animation utilities can also be used to create simple but effective animations of on-site operations such as the following proposed pipeline repair scenario.

Why check data twice!
MicroStation imports data direct from stress analysis packages such as CEASAR II

Pipeline data, designed and checked in CEASAR II.

Pipeline data, exported and incorporated into a 3D model as Centre Lines. The lines are then populated using standard MicroStation 3D commands.

Don’t tell me you fill in your data sheets by hand!
With the use of MicroStation Tags, you can make any drawing intelligent and can link to a wide range of databases.

Tags can be added to any part of a 3D or 2D drawing making it intelligent:

Data is automatically extracted:

Extracted data is linked to external database:

Schedules and data sheets are produced from combined data:

In conclusion, MicroStation has built-in tools and utilities to customize, program and automate complex operations and routines and eliminates the need for expensive external programs.

AskInga Article #215