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FAQ: I have 3D models I imported into CityEngine and have applied custom textures and geometries. How do I share them to users without CityEngine?

Question

I have 3D models I imported into CityEngine and have applied custom textures and geometries. How do I share them to users without CityEngine?

Answer

The easiest way to share 3D models from Esri CityEngine is to simply select and export them to one of the supported formats. COLLADA probably provides the best options, as the model can be imported directly into ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro, and a number of freeware readers/viewers, such as Blender, are available to ensure model integrity. Another option is to export the CityEngine Scene as a 3D web scene. This can be accomplished with ArcScene and ArcGlobe through use of the Export To 3D Web Scene (3D Analyst) geoprocessing tool.


[O-Image] Web Scene General Export Options


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In ArcGIS Pro, this is achieved through the Web Scene sharing options from the Share ribbon tab.
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The 3D web scene can be viewed in any WebGL-compatible browser and allows the end user to interact with 3D content without access to CityEngine or ArcGIS. The 3D web scene can be viewed, but editing at the geometry or texture level cannot be performed. Attributes can be preserved upon export and queried within the viewer.
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Esri Campus Web Scene

Beginning with Desktop 10.2, and extended with the ArcGIS Pro release, the ability to share 3D geometries and textures has been streamlined with the Features From CityEngine Rules (3D Analyst) geoprocessing tool. This tool creates a Rule Package (.rpk) file that is a compressed file containing a compiled CityEngine rule and associated assets used by that rule. This tool applies the CGA code to either polygon or multipatch features. This allows for a great deal of extensibility, as a number of rule files can be accessed online and via the tutorial data on the CityEngine resources website. Unfortunately, at this time there is no way to view the CGA code that is compiled and contained within the RPK without CityEngine. As this is a compressed file, it can be easily provisioned to other users as long as they have existing geometry matching those in the CGA code. CGA code can also be directly shared with other CityEngine users as it is a text document and can be imported as such.

Another option is to export existing CityEngine models to file geodatabase feature classes, which creates multipatches that preserve textures. These can be added to ArcScene, ArcGlobe, or a Scene View within ArcGIS Pro through the Add Data dialog, as they are a native format. If multipatches have been created in ArcGIS Pro for example, and reside in a file geodatabase, then the Export XML Workspace Document (Data Management) geoprocessing tool can be utilized to output an XML file to be shared with other users. This option preserves UV texturing and is only a single file, which significantly decreases the possibility of data corruption.

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