Mechanical Engineer Quick Start

The following shows the typical workflow for a mechanical engineer working with Vortex® Studio to import 3D models, create parts and constraints, and work with simulated mechanisms and objects.

A good way to start is to try out Creating a Mechanism tutorial, which takes you step-by-step through the process of building a simple mechanism.

Once this is completed, there are several other hands-on tutorials available for most of the more advanced Vortex Studio features (vehicles, cables, earthwork, etc.).

You can also dive straight into the general Mechanical Engineer Guide.

Creating a Mechanism in Vortex Studio

Vortex Studio stores the simulation model and all its components (parts, constraints, etc.) into a set of files: Mechanisms, Assemblies, and Parts. It's also possible to refer to external files, such as Python scripts or Simulink blocks.

These files are then sent to the level designers to build a scene and scenario.

Research the object being simulatedRefer to specs, user manuals, blueprints, drawings, or CAD files to acquire data about the object.
Possible sources of information:
  • Internet
  • Library
  • Client

Plan the workFigure out how to break the object down into parts, constraints, scripts, extensions, etc. Check if the design has too many (or too few!) parts, or if it's is over-constrained.
Consider what you want to simulate and don't add unnecessary objects to the simulation. For example, a single Spot with a Projected Texture (serving as a mask) is better than adding multiple Spots mounted side-by-side.

Mechanical Engineer Best Practices

Launch Vortex® Studio EditorLocate the Vortex Studio shortcut on your desktop and click on it.
You will find yourself on the Vortex Studio Home page.

Create a new assembly file

Assemblies contain the basic dynamic and graphic features of a mechanical component. The Assembly is usually put in a Mechanism to create a more complex object. In other cases, Assemblies can be used as stand-alone features inside a Scene directly. By starting from an Assembly, the Mechanical Engineers can concentrate on all the dynamics features of the object they are building. Assemblies contain Parts, Constraints, Python Script, and Graphics.

On the Vortex Studio Home page, click the Assembly shortcut. Save your new file (*.vxassembly) in your preferred location.

Working with Documents
Import a 3D modelVortex Studio imports and stores the model and all its components (materials, textures, etc.) into a single native file: the Graphics Gallery.
From the Toolbox, select Basics, then double-click Galleries From Files... and browse to the desired file (*.vxgraphicgallery), which a 3D artist should have prepared for you. (You can also create your own Graphics Gallery and import a 3D or CAD model into it.)
A Graphics Gallery will contain:
  • A locked container displaying connections between the graphics nodes (these change only when modifying the node hierarchy in the Explorer panel)
  • A hierarchical list of graphic nodes (hierarchy can be changed by drag-and-dropping nodes in the Explorer panel)
  • A flat list of graphics geometries
  • A flat list of graphics materials
  • A flat list of textures
Graphics Galleries
Create part(s)Use the various graphic nodes of the model as starting points to create parts.
Note that if your simulation does not require a visual component, you can also create parts without starting from a graphic node.
Add physical properties such as mass, collision geometries, contact materials, and inertia tensors to the parts.

Vortex Studio Editor Documents

Create constraint(s)Parts are joined together with constraints.
Constraints can be free, locked (restricted in position), or motorized (restricted in velocity).
Other parameters include axis, limits, damping, friction, stiffness, and more.
Working with Constraints
Add collision rule(s)Collision rules let you control whether a collision will be calculated between a pair of components.
They help to define the relationship between components in the simulation.
Collision Geometries
Add scriptingYou can further extend the simulation and provide additional functionality with Python scripts.Python 3 Scripting
Add attachment point(s)Attachment points allow you to attach and detach assemblies and mechanisms at runtime.Attachments
Add connection container(s)Connections let you pass on transforms, values, and parameters between components such as extensions or scripts.Connection Editor
Create a new mechanism file

Mechanism is a more complete representation of an object. A Mechanism contains one of several Assemblies, and additional behaviors can be added with Extensions.

On the Vortex Studio Home page, click the Mechanism shortcut. Save your new file (*.vxmechanism) in your preferred location.

On the Vortex Studio Home page, click the Assembly shortcut. Save your new file (*.vxassembly) in your preferred location.

Working with Documents
Add the Assembly to the MechanismFrom the Toolbox, select Basics, then double-click Assemblies From Files... and browse to the Assembly you just created.
Note that it's possible to have more than one assembly per mechanism.
Vortex Studio Editor Documents
Add extension(s)Add extensions such as control hardware, cameras, lights, etc. These add specialized functionalities to the simulation.
Note: some extensions can only be used at the Scene level.
Adding Extensions
Optimize mechanismRevise the design and see if there are ways to streamline the mechanism: reducing the number of constraints, simplifying collision geometries, etc.Mechanical Engineer Best Practices
Test and tune mechanismTest the mechanism using tools such as the Vortex Studio Player and the Plotter.
Tune parameters and repeat tests until the desired behavior is obtained.
Vortex Studio Player
Graphical Simulation Plotter