ADA Characters in Beyond CAD

Now You Can Add ADA, Scooter and Other Characters and Animations to your Beyond CAD Scene

As Beyond CAD has gained users in the early months since release, we’ve worked to have one-on-one calls to better understand their needs and requests. Some of these requests are bug fix requests and minor tweaks while others are major features that we won’t be able to address for a while.

Some of these requests are made by multiple users at different times, which is a decent sign that it should be higher on the list of priorities. One of these has been to add ADA and other character variety for both better representation of individuals that would use a project and increase the types of projects that could be visualized with this new 3D visualization engine.

With our limited development team and resources, we always need to break down requests like this to see how it can go from a wish to a reality. For this ADA pedestrian request, I started by making a list of the types of animations that could take Beyond CAD to the next level. The list started small at first but the more I thought about it, the more types of animations I wanted to add to the list. For example, we think ‘wheelchair’ but may not initially realize there are self-wheeling wheelchair users, pushed wheelchair users and electric wheelchair users. 

My list of around 5 animations quickly turned into 12, and I figured if we were going to go through this process, we might as well try to capture as much variety as possible.

We found an external animator to create the animations from sample videos, and we started seeing the seeds of what we started calling the ‘Pedestrian Variety Pack’.

The Beyond CAD 3D asset library already contains over 80 people assets, so we decided that our (brilliant) developers could use these animations with our existing people assets. Our advanced traffic system also already works to quickly animate pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and more, so we figured out a method to use the existing traffic system to include these new animations and characters while still giving incredible control and flexibility.

Rather than create new traffic types (we currently have 5- vehicle, rail, bike, run and walk) we decided to fit the new animations into the existing categories. Specifically, the upright cyclist would go into the Bike category, the scooter and running stroller would go into the Run category and the wheelchair, canes/crutches, walking stroller and children would go into Walk. Using our distribution % system that currently controls the ratio of cars, motorcycles, busses and trucks in our vehicle traffic category we broke these different animation types up into these traffic categories so the user can control the ratio of each. Additionally, our global vehicle library picker can select which assets should show up in the scene.

After roughly two months of work, this system came together without a major overhaul of our UI or traffic system while giving new functionality to our current and future users.

In total, the animations include: 

  • Upright cruiser bicycle
  • Scooter riders
  • Jogging stroller
  • Walking stroller
  • Self wheelchair
  • Pushed wheelchair
  • Electric wheelchair
  • Single cane
  • Cane for blind person
  • Underarm crutches
  • Children

Two other animations, forearm crutches and walker are included but need some fine-tuning so they are off by default. While this type of animation and variety is possible with other 3D visualization software, only in Beyond CAD can you do this with a few clicks in a few minutes.

You can learn more about the Pedestrian Variety Pack and learn how to use it for your own Beyond CAD scenes today in this video: