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View complex 3D models with Azure Remote Rendering

Ole Tobiesen 
Nov 12, 2020

With Azure Remote Rendering we can show high quality and high poly count 3D models on relatively low powered devices like the HoloLens 2 - or other Mixed Reality headsets. Backed by Azure, we can render 3D models with millions of polygons with ease.

In addition to being competent in Mixed Reality development our team knows 3D-modelling. Even thought the SoC on the HoloLens 2 is a power horse, we may want to offload some of the compute time to Azure.  

When working on digital twins, we often discuss models with several hundred million polygons. Often our customers also want these models simulated with high-quality real-life materials. You soon realize that even though the HoloLens is powerful, it may struggle with these kinds of unoptimized, heavy 3D models. Luckily, there are solutions – solutions we can implement.  

Ole Tobiesen jobber som Mixed Reality utvikler i Stavanger. 📸 Kay Tomas Fagervik Bertheussen
Ole Tobiesen jobber som Mixed Reality utvikler i Stavanger. 📸 Kay Tomas Fagervik Bertheussen

Azure Remote Rendering – Remote Rendering of heavy 3D models 

Reducing the poly count in a 3D model, and making sure it keeps it’s integrity and looks correct is not always a possibility, especially not when developing towards VR and AR. If it can be done, the process is often tedious and resource-intensive.  

With Azure Remote Rendering – Azure does all the heavy lifting in Microsoft cloud. You rent powerful hardware, and in return you get a fully realized and interactive 3D model – streamed to the HoloLens. The stream is interactive, so the user can walk around or interact with it – it behaves just like an ordinary hologram.  

Why use Azure Remote Rendering? 

ARR enables on demand rendering of complex 3D models. Imagine a construction entrepreneur who want to visualize the whole construction site. Or imagine offshore engineers who desires the whole offshore platform visualized in real time with the touch of a button. Or the mechanic, who wants to see an interactive guide displaying how a motor, with all its subcomponents, are assembled.  

We also save time on 3D model optimization, since we can use the same 3D model used in drawing, designing, or developing the site. The level of detail in the cloud, does not impact the performance of the HoloLens app interacting with the model.  

Azure Remote Rendering has two configurations: standard and premium. The former lets you render up to 20 million polygons, while there is no upper limit on the latter. Both allow individual textures of up until 16k. This is 64 times the texture resolution a modern video game has per square meter. To summarize, there are plenty of resources.  

Multiple 3D formats are supported, and our team is experience with model conversion for those rare cases of unsupported models or materials.  

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📸  Foto Microsoft

How to start with Azure Remote Rendering? 

We have developed a fully modular and tested library so our customers can integrate ARR into Unity applications. This leads the way for using this tech in Virtual Reality applications, HoloLens, and Xbox. The back end is easily setup in either our, or our customers Azure.  

Our library can also be linked to Azure Object Anchors (!insert AOA link). The real magic happens when these two technologies are combined leading the way for high quality models precisely placed on top of real-life physical objects.  

The Mixed Reality team, and the rest of Bouvet, looks forward to working more with this technology.