Implementing 3D Models in PowerPoint

3DVIA_Composer_FullScreenAs part of this post for today, I will be reviewing the necessary steps for using 3DVIA Composer files within Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.  This process can use a number of formats directly however for the purposes of this post I’ll focus on the most common .smg.  Fundamentally by setting this up allows the presenter to interact with a 3D model in the midst of a presentation.  Before I go through the steps to set this up I believe that it is important to mention a housekeeping measure for file management that could help in working with this setup. When linking the .pptx to the .smg file (or supported format), each program looks in a specific location to find the referencing file. To make it easier to find the referencing file and also when sending these kinds of presentations outside of your organization, it is my recommendation that the .smg file (or supported format) is saved in the same folder as the .pptx.

Customize Quick AccessToolbarBefore you can import a .smg file directly it is important to either have 3DVIA Composer installed or you will need to install the 3DVIA Composer Player.  Installing either program should automatically initiate the RegisterAll.bat found in the following location; C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\3DVIAComposer\X.XX\Bin.  This batch file registers the 3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX control within PowerPoint and allows users to import .smg files with relative ease.  To begin importing content you will need to turn on the Developer tab within PowerPoint, this is done by selecting the “More Commands” pull-down from the Customize Quick Access Toolbar.  After the PowerPoint Options dialog has opened select the “Customize Ribbon” option from the left-hand side of the dialog.  Next by adding a checkmark to the Developer tab under the Customize Ribbon (Main Tabs) column will allow this tab to remain open by default.  To wrap up this up simply select Ok and exit back into PowerPoint.

3DVIA_Composer_PowerPointOptions_CustomizeRibbon

Next with the Developer Tab ready for use, simply select it and find the “More Controls” button found on the Controls pane.  Right at the top of the More Controls dialog the 3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX option should be highlighted and available for use.  After selecting OK the cursor will change, and the user will be allowed to select the size of the viewing window for this presentation.  If it is important to play the inserted content at full screen, make sure the Presenter’s View is enabled in PowerPoint to make it easier to exit out of the full screen view.

3DVIA_Composer_MoreControlsl

3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX_Object_Properties_GeneralThe last piece is to connect the ActiveX window with the .smg file, this can be accomplished by selecting the outer boundary of the window and right-clicking.  The right-click menu will give the “3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX Object” option and provide two additional functions; Edit and Properties.  For the purposes of this post, I will focus on the setup and configuration of the Properties function for the 3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX Object.  After selecting Properties option from the right-click menu the 3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX Properties dialog will open, simply select the ellipses button in the upper right corner and browse to the .smg file (or supported format) that you want to import.  Before selecting OK be sure to select any other options on the General tab that you want to include such as Ground, Ground Shadow, Anti-aliasing on idle, or any of the other available settings.  3DVIA Composer Player ActiveX_Object_Properties_LayoutAlso take note of the “Pack 3DVIA Composer document” checkbox, this function takes the referencing .smg file (or supported file) and packs it into the .pptx file removing the referencing file altogether.  I should add that this also increases the size of the .pptx accordingly.  Finally, before selecting Ok to insert the .smg, take a moment and review the Layout tab as it includes a number of options that control whether the toolbars are displayed for use during the presentation.  Personally, when I add 3DVIA Composer content to PowerPoint I generally turn off all the toolbars so that the focus can remain on the product.  Once you have confirmed all of these settings simply select Ok and place the .pptx in Slide Show mode…..and Voila, you now can easily present your 3D models from 3DVIA Composer in a PowerPoint presentation.

3DVIA Composer Player FinalInsertedSMGFile_1280_720

Dominick D. Gallegos