Finally - Fusion 360 Meets KeyShot

January 1st, 2014

It has been regarded for a long while that Autodesk’s manufacturing tools needed some love in the rendering department. Autodesk Inventor® received its real-time rendered environment, as did many of Autodesk’s modeling tools in recent years. This functionality, while attractive and helpful in many instances, is not picture perfect. Inventor Studio helps close the gap, and Showcase can help product rendering get even closer, but what about the cloud and  Autodesk’s Fusion 360?

That is why Autodesk’s recent announcement that it has joined forces with Luxion KeyShot is such wonderful news. This brings Fusion 360 users two important things:

• the ability to further extend the capabilities of Fusion 360 without degrading the flexibility of the product
• a product regarded by many as one of the best 3D rendering engines, and hands down the easiest user interface

Article Outline

Luxion and Autodesk Partner to Transform Product Design
KeyShot Features
KeyShot Plug-in for Autodesk Fusion 360
How Do I Get It?
Support
My Thoughts

Luxion and Autodesk Partner to Transform Product Design

Autodesk and Luxion announced on October 7, 2013 that the two design and visualization powerhouses would team up to bring users of Autodesk’s Fusion 360, the semi-cloud based modeling software, world class rendering integration.

Figure 1: The KeyShot plug-in for Fusion 360.

Fusion 360 customers will now be able to download a free plug-in that bridges the gap between Fusion 360 and KeyShot in a simple and powerful integration. Both applications remain separate, but maintain a link through Luxion’s LiveLinking technology, allowing you to both work and keep your Fusion 360 geometry updated within the KeyShot environment.

In a discussion with Richard Blatcher, ‎Senior Global Industry Marketing Manager for Manufacturing at Autodesk, I learned that this plug-in addresses the largest user request for Fusion 360.  “Autodesk is pursuing open strategies for their cloud products,” Richard notes. “We are very clear about offering choices to users, and not forcing things upon them.”

Allowing users to choose to render with Autodesk’s products such as 3ds Max and Showcase or with Luxion’s KeyShot is a great option, adding a wonderful flexibility to Fusion 360. Furthermore, when the transfer of data is seamless and available at the push of a button, I look forward to using these features in new ways.

Requirements

KeyShot is 100 percent CPU-based, and scales with the number of cores and threads available to it.

No specific graphics card is required.

General requirements include:

  • Valid subscription to Autodesk Fusion 360
  • A valid license of Luxion KeyShot 4
  • Fusion 360 – KeyShot plug-in
  • Minimum 2GB of RAM
  • Minimum 1GB hard disk space
  • 3-button mouse
  • Monitor resolution of 1024 X 768 or greater
  • Internet connection for product activation

PC Users will need:

  • INTEL Pentium 4 processor or AMD or better
  • Windows XP, Service Pack 3
  • or Windows Vista
  • or Windows 7 32/64 bit
  • or Windows 8 32/64 bit
  • OpenGL 2.x or higher

Mac users will need:

  • INTEL-based Mac, Core2Duo processor or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.6 or later (including 10.8 Mountain Lion)
  • 3-button mouse, including Magic Mouse plus MagicPrefs

KeyShot Features

KeyShot is renowned for excellent lighting and being an easy-to-use, photorealistic rendering platform. While some people may disagree, KeyShot is the best all-around product rendering platform. I have not met any of those people who disagree, nor have I heard any complaints about the product.

Here are some highlights:

  • Real-time Raytracing environment
  • Real-world lighting and editing
  • Scientifically accurate materials
  • Texture, bump map, and labeling
  • Model interaction
  • Image composition
  • Image input

For more information on KeyShot’s capabilities, check out Gus Petrikas’ review (Design & Motion):
http://designandmotion.net/featured/luxion-keyshot-4-review/

Figure 2: Fusion 360 and KeyShot, side-by-side.

KeyShot Plug-In for Autodesk Fusion 360

The KeyShot plug-in brings Fusion 360 users a simple, integrated method of connecting their model to KeyShot while retaining a link to Fusion 360. After the plug-in is installed, there are three ways to transfer geometry from Fusion 360 to KeyShot:

  • Export to KeyShot
  • Update model data with manual selection
  • Update with KeyShot

Figure 3: Fusion 360 Interface with the KeyShot plug-in installed. Quite simple.

Once installed, users can choose an option from the Image menu and their Fusion model is handed off to KeyShot, which then loads the model, maintaining color, assembly structure, and camera views. Once the user is done working in KeyShot, all changes and updates to the KeyShot environment are saved. 

  • Maintain color assignments on the part and assembly level
  • Transfer saved camera views
  • Export to bip without KeyShot installed

Maintains Assembly Structure

KeyShot associates a link between its data and that of the Fusion 360 model by the model filenames. Changes to the model data are synchronized in KeyShot when the data is opened again. If a part is added or removed, KeyShot updates accordingly, without disturbing the setup on other pre-existing components. Furthermore, in the event that a part does not exist in KeyShot, it simply adds the new component to the scene.

LiveLinking

The plug-in also allows real-time synchronization between the Fusion 360 and KeyShot, so when the model is updated in Fusion 360, the changes are immediately visualized in KeyShot.   

Figure 4: Luxion’s LiveLinking technology allows data transfer and real-time model updates between the software.

How Do I Get It?

The plug-in is free, compatible with an installed license of KeyShot 4 and the latest version of Autodesk Fusion 360. The plug-in can be downloaded immediately from keyshot.com/fusion360. Information on plug-in installation and getting started is available there as well.

Even though the plug-in is free, it does require a full license of KeyShot 4, starting at $995 USD for the standard version, $1,995 for the Pro version and $95 USD for students. KeyShot can also be purchased from Autodesk Exchange Apps.

You will need Fusion 360 installed, of course. A free, 90-day trial is available via fusion360.autodesk.com. Pricing for public availability is being announced by Autodesk in the near future.

Support

Support for the new plug-in will be handled through Luxion, which is available at support@luxion.com or keyshot.com/help/.

My Thoughts

I have been a fan of Luxion KeyShot since I was first introduced to it a few years back by a vehicle design and rendering expert. Since then I have watched talented students and professionals weave the most amazing images using the software.

Allowing users to experience this amazing software as an optional yet integrated component within Fusion 360 is a very smart plan. Some critics have argued that Autodesk’s product rendering portfolio was not quite as useful as it should be, that lighting was not as accurate and fast as it should be, or that users are not given options. Now they will have to find something else to criticize.

The plug-in is free, and KeyShot’s licensing is perpetual, so once you buy KeyShot 4, it’s yours to use indefinitely. What remains unclear at this point is how future updates to Fusion 360 will affect the integrated use of older versions of KeyShot.

I can’t wait to see this plug-in in action!

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About the Authors

John Evans

John Evans is an Autodesk Certified Inventor Professional . He provides technical troubleshooting at Gustin, Cothern, and Tucker, Inc. He works as design consultant and author from his company John Evans Design and manages the blog “Design and Motion.” He can be reached at john@johnevansdesign.net

 

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