RapidCompact Development Update 2021
In the past calendar year, we have dedicated our development efforts to the improvement of RapidCompact, and extended its feature set. There have been quite some exciting enhancements that we can’t wait to share with you in this review of the past year – let’s have a look!
3D Core Software Updates
The essential part of our software is still the RapidCompact 3D processing core, coming with a lot of improvements and new features – these are mostly available through our web-based UI, and fully available to on-premise clients using our RapidCompact CLI:
In the core system, we have come up with a new, improved decimation algorithm that comes in handy when preserving mesh features like UVs, materials, and similar properties. We also significantly improved baking, unwrapping and rendering performance, so you should note a decent speedup if you’re comparing with 2020 versions! There were also other improvements in the core systems, such as improved baking of close geometry layers, and the option to preserve mesh normals during decimation. Invisible geometry removal got improved as well, and there is a setting to control the tradeoff between its accuracy and execution speed.
Animation support was improved in several ways: RapidCompact now supports import and export of skinned mesh animations, as well as FBX import of rigid and skinned animations. Furthermore, animation frames with redundant data are now filtered, in order to reduce the size of the asset, and if you’d like to discard all animations on import, there’s a setting for that too.
Regarding data I/O, the most interesting update is probably our fresh USD(Z) importer! It was particularly added to support import of photogrammetry output from Apple’s new ObjectCapture API. However, you can also import hand-crafted USDs into RapidCompact. We also worked on smarter detection and support of spatial units, not only for USD but also for FBX. Other enhancements include advanced material support, with improvements in the reading of FBX PhysicalMaterial as well as a bunch of new glTF extensions that are now supported by RapidCompact. This includes KHR_materials_volume / KHR_materials_transmission, KHR_materials_ior and KHR_materials_specular, as well as support for KHR_materials_specular, KHR_materials_clearcoat and KHR_materials_sheen, and for unlit glTF materials.
We were also happy to announce several improvements related to image processing, including substantially smaller exported PNG files, support for import of compressed textures (KTX), optional texture color quantization to 256 color palettes, as well as a setting to control the speed and quality of texture compression.
In early 2021, our public cloud system didn’t only get a fresh look, but also quite some cool new features – including a free plan, improved support system, a tagging system, and a lot more! We have written an own blog post about this fundamental update. We also added new video tutorials, showing how to use the platform in just a few simple steps.
Another major update was the option to use brand-new optimization presets – they allow you to get your asset ready for many kinds of delivery platforms, with just a single click!
If you like to see an example of an asset optimized with the SparkAR preset, check out our little glTF flight helmet demo for SparkAR!
We have also significantly improved the performance of our cloud API, which includes reduced response times for API calls, as well as accelerated uploads and downloads using our CDN.
Finally, the integration of RapidCompact into an existing enterprise structure has become easier than it ever was before. Examples include webhooks for our API, an updated Python test app showcasing API usage, as well as optional proxy support for CLI-based on-premise licensing.
We’re much looking forward to work on RapidCompact in 2022, and to extending its feature set even more! To get in touch with our team and the community, be it for technical questions, best practices, optimization tips and recipes or sharing your nicest showcases, feel free to drop by at the RapidCompact forum as well: https://forum.rapidcompact.com/